Tag Archives: Angelina’s

An Easter Monday Birthday in Paris

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Jean Michel usually takes me to a Michelin-star restaurant for my birthday but it’s Easter Monday which is a public holiday in France and there isn’t much open so we’ve postponed it until Wednesday. Instead, he surprises me by suggesting we go for breakfast at Angelina’s. I’m secretely a little disappointed because it means I’ll miss out on talking to my brothers and nephews but can I refuse breakfast at Angelina’s?

Entrance to Angelina's on rue de Rivoli
Entrance to Angelina’s on rue de Rivoli

It’s spitting very slightly as we walk down Rue de Rivoli and we hope it will eventually clear up. At 9.30 am, the beautiful turn-of-the-century dining room is still half-empty and we order a full Angelina breakfast with mini croissants, pains au chocolat and pains au raisin, fresh bread rolls, thick hot chocolate (its speciality), scrambled eggs and fresh fruit salad. We can skip lunch!

White chestnut flowers
White chestnut flowers

After breakfast, we wander through the Jardin des Tuileries and discover a large stone arch we’ve never seen before. Yet we must have passed it countless times. We notice the chestnut trees are in bloom. Jean Michel has always told me they’re the first trees to flower in spring but this year they are certainly not. I had never noticed the delicately-coloured flowers up close before – you can have white, pale yellow and pink.

Ponts des Arts weighted down with lovelocks now crawling up the lamp posts
Ponts des Arts weighted down with lovelocks now crawling up the lamp posts

We cross the pedestrian bridge that leads to Orsay Museum which we’d love to visit but Monday is closing day so we continue on to the Pont des Arts where the number of lovelocks seems to have doubled since the last time we were there. They are even climbing, clematis-like, up the lamp-posts! It’s seems that as soon as they are removed, new ones appear.

Courtyard of Hôtel Dieu hospital
Courtyard of Hôtel Dieu hospital

Jean Michel suggests we walk down to Ile Saint Louis for lunch (as though we’re hungry!). On the left, just before Notre Dame, I see a sign for Hôpital Dieu (God’s Hospital), the oldest hospital in Paris, which we’ve never visited. Despite the overcast day (I always prefer a blue sky!), the entrance looks very attractive. We walk in and it’s like an oasis of silence in the noise and bustle of Paris, almost deserted. We are the only ones in the garden.

Etching on the first floor gallery of Hôtel Dieu
Etching on the first floor gallery of Hôtel Dieu

As we walk along the upstairs gallery, etchings of the past tell us the hospital’s story. It was built as a charity hospital in 651 and was added to over the centuries. The two original buildings were joined by two bridges, one of which collapsed from a fire caused by a barge overloaded with hay. Another fire destroyed most of the hospital in 1772.

View of Notre Dame from the second floor gallery
View of Notre Dame from the second floor gallery

The current buildings were constructed between 1864 and 1872 at the initiative of Baron Hausmann within the new perimeter of Notre Dame and completed at the end of the 19th century with the main entrance at 1, place du Parvis.

Pink chestnut tree in the Hôtel Dieu garden
Pink chestnut tree in the Hôtel Dieu garden

The etchings show the extreme youth of some of the novices – they look like mere children – and how the patients were lodged – often two to a bed. They had two meals a day – 11 am and 6 pm – which I find interesting. A visit from the Duchess of Orleans and her retinue one day caused such excitement that several patients died. Hmm.

Discreet hotel sign inside the Hôtel Dieu
Discreet hotel sign inside the Hôtel Dieu

Then I remember that there is supposed to be a hotel here somewhere. We go down to the desk and ask. Yes, Hôtel Dieu Hospitel is in wing B2 on the 6th floor. There is a lift, fortunately, and when we get there, the lady very kindly offers to show us one of the rooms. They are all under the eaves, small, very clean, with an en-suite bathroom and wifi. I wonder about the heat in summer but all have air-conditioning. Two of the 14 rooms are suitable for people with reduced mobility.

Typical room in L'Hospitel
Typical room in L’Hospitel

The hotel was initially built for outpatients and their families, but there is no restriction on guests and if you’re looking for somewhere peaceful  in the heart of Paris, this could be the perfect solution.  However, the hospital is threatened with closure so the hotel may not last for much longer.

Outside again, the sun is starting to appear and we come across a jazz band on the little bridge leading to Ile Saint Louis. We sit down on the edge of the pavement to listen. Ah, this is Paris!

Hôtel Dieu Hospitel, www.hotel-hospitel.com, 1, place du Parvis Notre Dame, Galerie B2, 6th floor, 75004 Paris 
Singles are 139 euro and doubles 150 euro a night with breakfast from 4.50 euro.

Early Morning Paris

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Because I work from home, I’m rarely outside in the street at 8.30 am, although I can see the Palais Royal Gardens through my office window any time of the day.


When Black Cat lived nearby, she would sometimes suggest we go to breakfast together before she went to work but she moved to another part of Paris a long time ago. Today, however, I was to meet up with some visiting Australian friends at Angelina’s in rue de Rivoli.


Paris was wearing another face. In the Palais Royal, a business man was reading the paper next to the fountain before the water was turned on. Joggers were running under the trees.


There were no children playing on the Buren columns and no tourists posing for photos or throwing coins into the water below.


At Café Nemours people were having coffee before work and half the seats were empty.


Most of the souvenir shops along Rue de Rivoli were closed.


Others were setting up their stalls for the day, mopping the floor or having a morning coffee break.


There was no one on the Big Wheel currently stationed in the fun park in the Tuileries Gardens.


When I got to Angelina’s no one was queueing!


I chose my favourite award-winning Bourbon vanilla slice (mille-feuille bourbon) and Angelina’s extra-thick hot chocolate.


There wasn’t a sole person in the boutique.


By the time I left at 10.30 am, all the souvenir shops were doing brisk business. Maybe I should go out to breakfast more often!

Leaving Van Gogh in Auvers – Language Exchange Speed Dating with Franglish – Visit to Institut de France Library

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This Wednesday, I’m bringing you a new blog I’ve just discovered for the art lover – American Girls Art Club in Paris – with a post that will take you to Auvers-sur-Oise where Van Gogh died. Next Paris Weekender tells us about Franglish, a novel group which holds language exchange events in various bars around Paris. Then Kathy Stanford from Femmes Francophiles takes us on a tour of a little-known monument that is open to the public: the Institut de France library, after breakfast at Angelina’s.

Leaving Van Gogh in Auvers

by American Girls Art Club in Paris

When Vincent Van Gogh died in Auvers-sur-Oise, France in July 1890, he left behind so many burning questions.

How did he die? Was it a self-inflicted gunshot wound or homocide? And why was the gun never found? How did Van Gogh ever manage to complete over 70 dazzling paintings in just 70 days in Auvers? It’s all such a mystery. Read more

Language Exchange Speed Dating with Franglish

by Paris Weekender

Do you find it easy or difficult to learn a foreign language? How do you learn best?

While I may not have mastered all the foreign languages I have studied over the years, I do consider myself an expert at being a student of languages. Yes, all of the books in the photo above do belong to me: English dictionaries, law dictionaries (arguably in English but that is debatable), French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Japanese, German…. Read more

Visit to Institut de France Library

by Femmes Francophiles

After breakfast [at Angelina’s] I headed to the Left Bank with Destination Europe and Island Girl. We visited the Bibliothèque Mazarine at L’Institut de France. To enter the library you enter through the security area to the left of the imposing main portal. You are not usually allowed to enter the Institute so you do need to explain that you want to access the library. You will be asked to leave your ID with the guard. Read more


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