France 2023 Rugby World Cup

France 2023 - Rugby World Cup

In 2019, four years before this trip, the boys and I ventured off to Japan for our first Rugby World Cup. I was new to the sport, but agreed to go because ... sushi. By all accounts, it was one hell of a trip. So we decided to do it again in France. I'm pretty sure that qualifies it as a tradition. This time the plan was for me and my lifelong friends, brothers Nathan and Josh, to meet up and Paris and do a little week-long tour. To which my girlfriend, Carolina, said, "Oh, so you're going to France with the guys." And that's how it came to be that my tour began a week earlier as a romantic getaway in Paris. So, here is a rundown of my two weeks in France. The first part was cultural and filled with good food and wine. The second part is fuzzy. Basically a delightful combination of serendipity and poor life decisions. But all along, there was something that resembled a plan. And I've included this helpful trip map that (depending on when you read this) may or may not be current. But it includes some of the highlights we enjoyed, as well as many of the places we never got to see.

:: PARIS ::

Arriving in Paris
The overnight flight across the pond was largely uneventful. I'm told I was asleep before we left JFK airport in New York. Somewhat surprisingly, customs was a breeze at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, and everything seemed to be going smoothly until we tried to get into the city. The fastest and cheapest (but not necessarily most comfortable) way to the center is to take the RER B train. It leaves from terminal 2E and costs about €12. It shouldn't take more than 45 minutes to get to (for us) Gare du Nord. Unfortunately, it seems we hit Paris during a major heat wave and the packed, steamy, air-condition-less ride finally got the better of one passenger who became sick. The train had to stop for a while so medics could attend to the lady. She was fine. Just a bit barfy. Eventually we got to Gare du Nord and walked the rest of our way to the Airbnb. Note: Two other options to get into the city include the €17 Roissy bus to the Opera metro station, or just taking a €50-60 Uber or cab. However, both can get caught in some heavy traffic and may take longer than the train. But at least you don't risk throwing up on your shoes. 

The Airbnb
I'm going to try to be nice about our lodging ... it sucked. There. I tried. But, really, this was the final nail in my Airbnb coffin. I'm a hotel person. And this just makes it official. I'm done with Airbnb. I mean, look, the place itself was actually in a really cool area, right in the heart of the 9th arrondissement. It was small, but cute. But it just felt very lived in. On top of that, it used some selective photos and convenient omissions of information. But worst of all, it had no air conditioning. Now, I knew this when I booked. My mistake. But I had no idea it would be this hot. And opening a window didn't matter because it was so loud outside. We just never got comfortable. But more on all this later. 

First stop: Food and beer. Not far from our Airbnb we stumbled onto this little place that perfectly matched what we were looking for. Which is to say literally anything that could be consumed. But it actually was pretty good. I had a croque monsieur - a simple French-style ham and cheese sandwich. Not to be confused with a croque madame - which is the same thing but with a poached or fried egg on top. The beer was cold. And, at the moment, that was my only requirement.

La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris - more commonly just referred to as Sacré Coeur - stands atop the highest hill in the city. Which is a more glorified way of saying: I hope you like climbing stairs. If you can handle the walk up Montmartre the view is spectacular and the surrounding area has lots of great little artists nooks. But be ready for lots of people. The basilica is actually the second biggest tourist attraction in Paris after some giant metal thing. 

L'Atelier Montmartre
We were starting to hit our day-one wall, but wanted to stay awake at least through sundown so we could adjust our bodies to Paris time and also see the Moulin Rouge all lit up at night. So we figured beers at a nearby sidewalk cafe would help keep us awake. That was the theory, anyway.

Moulin Rouge
Alas, we saw the world famous cabaret at night. At least the outside. Pretty windmill and all. It went like this: "See it? Great. Let's go to bed." 


Just a quick stop at one of the 10,000 cute cafés in Paris for coffee.

Le Pain Retrouvé
Just a quick stop at one of the 10,000 cute bakeries in Paris for fresh bread. More specifically, a couple croissants and - what quickly became my new obsession - a "baguette tradition." Which is a fancy way of saying a proper baguette. Because in addition to baguette tradition there's also "baguette ordinaire." You don't want that. The former - the one you want - is as simple as it can be, made the old-fashioned way with just four ingredients: flour, salt, water, and yeast. And it has to be hand-made on the premises. Some of the French just order it as a "tradi." I never felt cool enough to do that, but I did get one almost every day. A good baguette tradition should never cost more than €1, and the quality doesn't differ all that much from bakery to bakery. Just order the right kind and trust the process. This is where France shines.

La Compagnie du Cafe Did not eat or have coffee, but long line. Must be good.

Arc de Triomphe xxx


Palais de Tokyo xxx

Noura xxx

Eiffel Tower xxx

Trocadéro Sunset and lights of ET

Café de L'Olympia  xxx

Télescope coffee and snack

Baguett's Cafe didnt go but long line

Louvre Museum  xxx create separate page with my hack

Cojean smoothie

Musée Maillol Elliott Erwitt retrospective

Les Deux Magots Jazz Apertifs every other monday juen through september 6:30 to 9:30 reviving the jazz tradition of Saint-GGermain-des-Prés

Notre Dame Cathedral xxx

Le Duc des Lombards jazz club saw Andrea Rinciari and the Takeover

Hardware Société breakfast

Hôtel Amoi love it

Elmer dinner

Le Comptoir Général Hidden bar

Mamiche Bakery

Galerie Vivienne Quaint little mall

Palais-Royal Garden and Domaine National du Palais-Royal 

Cafe St. Regis Stopped for a beer at this little corner cafe on the Ile St. Louis

The MEP a major exhibition of the photographic and video works of the internationally renowned Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra. Taking over one complete floor, Dijkstra will install four of her most important video installations, all presented for the first time in a Parisian institution.

Hôtel de Sully xxx

L'As du Fallafel food

The Centre Pompidou Just had a look and a pee

Luxembourg Gardens great for a rest

Le Barav Dinner

Train to Versailles

Notre-Dame Market
xxx Open air and found a portuguese place for one of those amazing treats

Juliette coffee and a treat

Palace of Versailles geez

Les Invalides
xxx The Hôtel des Invalides, commonly called Les Invalides, is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's original purpose

Musée Rodin Came minutes too late

Generoso Pasta

Père Lachaise Cemetery Give notes here

Joie breakfast with Josh

Bar Le Relais Magenta Brasserie They ate, i had beer

Café Gaspard Impossible to get a pre-game beer

Stade de France: Opening Match of the Rugby World Cup France and New Zealand

Georgia Final beers in Paris


Train to Marseille

The Airbnb
xxx The Midori CBD shop for key

Dürüm Kebab xxx

Brasserie Des Templiers watched Ireland match (i think)

Orange Vélodrome England v Argentina

La Brasserie Communale Late night drinks where it got a little sketch as it got later

Les Akolytes Tapas by the beach includin what is supposed to be a local thing, but was unimpressive, rest of meal was good, ceviche sucked right across street from Plage des Catalans

Bar de la Plaine I think my photo is of the owner, watched rugby here waiting for the guys

Cafe La Muse breakfast

House of Pain bakery for a traditional


Train to Antibes

The Airbnb
xxx right in the market Marché Provençal

Le Championnet Mussels

Beaches of Antibes

L'Oro Bianco Not sure I even really remember this meal

Absinthe Bar Antibes Where things get fuzzy

Marché Provençal A little stroll

Le Rustic Lunch pizzas and fondu

Peynet and Cartoon Museum Cool museum

Salis Beach
xxx Speedo town talk about the beach right before it as well

Le Nomade sculpture and water walk The Nomade, a large sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, sits atop a restored, waterfront fort.

Le Golden Beef Shitty steakhouse

Train to Monaco

Planet Sushi explain here

Casino Monte-Carlo a place to lose money and the nearby Casino Café de Paris

Falafel Gotta have one wherever I go

Gravette Beach

Il Giardino had snails and more

:: LILLE ::

Getting to Lille
xxx Plane and train

Hôtel Chagnot Lille Sir this is a hote by the train station story

Le Timgad Gotta have a shwarma

Rugby Village
xxx Most lively we saw

Bellini Italian street food

Tabac La Voûte Sat outside here and watched the rugby crowd with a beer

Stade Pierre Mauroy AKA Decathlon Arena - Great train ride, pleasant walk, well organized, best stadium, newer for France Uruguay

L'Aziza'Aziza/@50.6355664,3.0698206,21z/data=!4m15!1m8!3m7!1s0x47c2d58bc4e9098d:0x311d5292714539b0!2s12+Rue+du+Molinel,+59800+Lille,+France!3b1!8m2!3d50.635553!4d3.0699168!16s%2Fg%2F11c2ds2tm2!3m5!1s0x47c2d58bc3843793:0xb6ba62e934e16c77!8m2!3d50.635553!4d3.0699168!16s%2Fg%2F1tj_4ddg?entry=ttu Late night shwarma

We Are Ara Breakfast

Freaky Family Tattoo Got tats

Lille Cathedral cool inside

McDonald's Only including this because we insisted on a Le Big Mac

La Bellezza Didn't go in, but this place looked amazing from the outside - really cool bar

Berliner Bar Tied one on here

Capulet barely remember this

Boulangerie du Renard
xxx Last bread stop and two crousantes that i accidentally threw away

Back to Paris, Back to America

No comments: