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An Overnight in the City of Light

Joel Kersebet, the owner of Base Camp Coffee in Sister Bay, reveals why Paris is always a good idea, especially to this Frenchman. With just short of two days to spend in the city, he finds some favorites in the Odeon neighborhood.                  
As far as I’m concerned, there is no reason to leave Door County between May and October. It’s one of the best looking, pleasant, and fun places I’ve found in the US. When November comes around, it is still gorgeous. One gets to appreciate the bare branches of the trees, the cold weather, and the quiet. But, it is also a good time -- for us who live here -- to take a break and discover the world outside our beautiful Door County.                                        
Paris is always a good idea. A direct flight from Chicago is seven hours and fairly affordable at this time of the year. Actually, I found out that the best time to fly to Europe is either between November 1st and December 20th or between January 10th and April 10th. The offseason happens to be one of the best times to visit Paris. The weather is temperate and it is a wonderful city to walk.
For me, the only way to explore Paris is to discover the unexpected on foot down a side street. Each time I visit, I explore a different part of the city. This time, I chose Odeon in the St. Germain district on the Left Bank (6th arrondissement). Odeon is a popular area with narrow streets and is within walking distance to Notre Dame, the Luxembourg Gardens, St. Michel, and the Pantheon. You could spend your entire stay in this neighborhood that boasts an array of restaurants, boutiques and theaters.
                 
  

I recommend the Hotel des Grands Balcons at 3 rue Casimir Delavigne for lodging. Situated on a quiet street, this 2-star hotel is humble but very clean and charming for just $100 a night. If you want to upgrade, there is both a 3- and 4-star hotel on the same street.

A dining favorite of mine is the Breizh Cafe, a fusion Breton and Japanese creperie that satisfies my taste for Buckwheat galettes. You’ll also find Procope, the oldest restaurant in Paris, in Odeon. If you’re homesick and in need of a beer, check out Wos, the Green Bay Packer bar in Paris.

For shopping, I like Hoalen, a French surf shop with an American West Coast vibe. It offers nice quality merchandise and marine outdoors style. Take in the store Soleiado for shirts, dresses, scarfs, and table linens in vibrant Provencale fabrics. For the craftsman and craft enthusiast, the Musee du Compagnonnage is a museum dedicated to French trade guilds from their medieval origins to the present day. It’s also in close proximity to the Hotel des Grands Balcons, with its address at 10 rue Mabillon.

For an evening’s entertainment, a play is also always a good idea. I met some friends at the Theatre des 2 Anes; a small, cozy theater in a different neighborhood. The one-woman comedy show was a hit with our group, but it’s helpful to understand French.

Of course, I could go on about well-known places to see and visit in Paris, but I hope you take my advice to walk the city and stumble into some great surprises. If you get lost, just go to the nearest Metro station and find your way back to Odeon. And yes, there is the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Champs Elysees, too…

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