Tuesday, September 20, 2016

everybody has rights

I want to get this posted early today ~ 9 AM CET ~ because the rest of the day is going to be spent welcoming and settling daughter Cait whose plane arrived about 1/2 an hour ago.  She'll take the RER into the city then the Metro toy the nabe.  Stay tuned for a recitation of fun and games.

A couple of days ago, Saturday I think, we walked over to the market street and passed this gorgeous building.

It used to be a beautiful covered market called La Marché Carreau du Temple or windowpane market and you can see why.  It's huge.  This is the left wing and there's another right wing the same size.  But alas, it is no longer a market but an "event" center and home of a tourist office.  It has been pretty carefully renovated.  At least the skeleton was preserved; the big arches, the soaring roof with its thousands of glass panes.  It is so beautiful and, even though it's massive it is somehow delicate at the same time.  The inside just glows as the light pours in.  But I'm sure it can cause dismay in the neighborhood when it plays host to big music events.

In fact, the tenant in the apartment across the street says as much with this sign on the balcony.

The sign reads, "Silence1  I have a right to sleep!"

See?  Everybody has a right to something, even sleep.

Monday, September 19, 2016

market day

I was so completely exhausted last night that I didn't get my blogging done.  We had a really great day yesterday ~ or at least I did because Mr. C does NOT find strolling through a crowded market in any way amusing ~ at La Marché Bastille, aka Marché Richard Lemoine.  It's a quick Metro ride over to the Bastille (home of the old prison and the new opera house).  The market goes on for blocks and has absolutely everything you could want in the way of fruits and veggies, prepared , clothing, furniture, kitchenware, table linens,  flowers and more.  I was ecstatic!  He was bored but indulgent (sort of).  We didn't buy a lot; little quiches for lunch (they were terrible), flowers for the apartment (they are lovely), a spatula for the kitchen (:Mr. C said we needed it but when we got home we found there was already one here), and a bag of mixed olives (my favorite before dinner nibble).

The tiled walls and location name plate of the  Metro
Yummy cheese, one among hundreds of varieties at this fromagerie
Glossy fish on ice

Many varieties of mushrooms

Olives I've never seen from places I've never heard of!

There were two or three bread stalls but I was particularly delighted by the way this baker displayed his baguettes ~ sort of log-cabin style.

One of the more fascinating characters was the caning man; you bring your sat-through chair seat and he'll re-cane it.  And this is hand caning, not the stuff that comes in a roll.  It was absolutely beautiful work.  I couldn't get up close to him to take a photo of him actually working due to all the other gawkers crowded in.  I'll try again next time.

This market is very popular, especially on Sunday.  These are true French shoppers with their carts on wheels, stuffed with the goodies for the coming week.  Young, old, kids, dogs.  There are still a few debonair gentlemen in suits and vests and their  beret and ladies all dressed up.  This was the style the first time I was in this market in the late '70s.  Now it's shorts  and t-shirts and the ubiquitous jeans.  There's nothing wrong with any of this but it does make French fashion watching a bit disappointing!

We headed home, again via Metro, and walked from Republique (one of our two stops) back to the apartment, about a 7 minute stroll.  I wanted to walk this route to check out any outstanding landmarks I could point out to Cait for her arrival tomorrow.  I found a good one.

The café on the corner has these distinctive chairs out on its terrace.  They are so cheerful and bright and SO French!

I would love to have these little beauties at home.

At home we had lunch ~ the terrible little quiches (tough, dry, tasteless) and a lovely salad with my favorite green, mache.

I never see it in the US, even at our farmers' market which has several trendy greens growers.  I'll have to ask.

It rained yesterday afternoon, then the sun came out but before we could think of what we wanted to do it started raining again.  It was an early night.  More to do tomorrow, including more shopping.  I love marketing here.  There are such interesting things on the shelves of even the most humble market.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

it's been a "get-over-jet-lag" day

Anyone who has crossed several time zones, resets the watch and then tries to carry on as though still at home knows what happens.  Usually in 24-36 hours you hit a wall of total exhaustion that cannot be put off one minute more.  It's sleep or die.  Or at least it feels that way.  This phenom hit me yesterday afternoon.  It hit Mr. C today and he was out cold until around 3 PM this afternoon, his sleep interrupted by morning coffee, then lunch.  Finally we got it together and went out for a walk, some little shopping chores, and to just get some exercise.  A couple of miles later we're back just in time for some nice bread and cheese, olives and a glass of wine.  So civilized.

It being Saturday, tout le monde was out and about doing what the French do best:  eating, drinking, talking and, best of all, shopping.  Let me deal with each of those national characteristics.  First the eating/drinking.  Cafés are full all day.  This could be because nobody wants to cook because cafés can do it cheaper and you don't have to clean up.  It could be because most French apartments have kitchens smaller than a standard walk-in closet (yet they make and sell some of the most spectacular cookware and tableware in the world.  Go figure.) Café food is, for the most part, really excellent.  Simple, good ingredients, well prepared, well priced.  I'm not talking about places vying for a Michelin star or getting written up for the wait-time for a reservation.  I'm referring to the zillions of small neighborhood spots whose sole purpose is to serve good, honest meals.

It's in these neighborhood cafes and bistros that you find the French indulging in another of their great pastimes:  talk.  Jesus, these people can talk for hours and hours without stop!  Loud, animated talk accompanied by facial gymnastics, arm waving, forehead slapping and, if on an outside terrace, hungry sucking on foul-smelling Gitane or Galoise cigarettes.  If these's a lone diner, that person will be holding a lively conversation with whoever is on the other end of the cell phone, all the time enjoying a solitary meal.    They talk constantly except, I have noticed, on the Metro.  Complete silence, even between people who know each other.  They talk while on the platform but once in the carriage, nothing.  The minute the doors open and passengers step out, the chatter begins anew.  I have absolutely no idea why.  It can't be the lack of privacy on the Metro; the volume of talk in a restaurant insures that everyone knows exactly what you think about anything you mention.

The shopping is epic.  Saturday is the tradition shopping day in Paris.  Not for food; they do that every day and the myriad tiny purveyors along every street.  Saturday is when for necessities like pants, shoes, jewelry, etc.    Or for something like this that I spotted on our walk up rue de Temple.

I just wanted to go into the shop and touch it.  Probably silver grey fox.  (There is a big fur section in the 10th arrondissement where there are blocks of fur merchants and workshops where beautiful clothes are made.  When my sister and I were here in 1985 we stayed in a hotel in the 10th, across the street from a fur showroom and we could see hundreds of beautiful pelts hanging on a sort of conveyor belt ~ such as in the dry cleaners ~ where buyers or designers could come and check out the goods.)  Paris is one of the places where shops give out beautiful bags with your purchase  and, just like in the movies or the tabloids, you can see very young women hauling their loot around in bright, glitzy bags that provide not only a vehicle for getting the stuff home but also very visible advertisements for where that particular shopper found her treasures.  I guess I do too much on-line shopping to truly appreciate this particular type of peacockiness.

Mr. C is feeling much restored and thinks he's ready for a trip to the Marché Bastille tomorrow (aka Richard Lemoine).  I hope it's not raining because it is a fabulous place.  I'll also tell you about the fate of the old Marché Carreau, now enjoying a second life as an "events" site.  Sad, sad, sad.

From the guest bedroom you can see these beautiful window box gardens.  Note the graceful lamp.  I'll take a shot of it lit so you can see how pretty the street is at night.

Thus ends our second day here.  Forgot to add that I took a shower yesterday and damned near flooded the place.  Everything in the bathroom ~ other towels, bath mat, toilet paper, wall mirror ~ got soaked.  Problem?  Shower curtain waaaay to small.  It's going to be baths from now on.

Friday, September 16, 2016

dispatches from another world

Bonjour from Paris.  We arrived yesterday morning and, 24 hours later, are feeling almost human again.  These long flights and big (9-hour) time gaps are killers, even to experienced travelers.  I napped yesterday afternoon, went to bed about 10 PM and woke up at 2 AM ready to start the day.  It will be better tonight, I hope.

We left Sact'o at 7 AM Wednesday on a short flight to Seattle. Both seats were in aisle 6; only the second was in Business Class.

Once you have had the pleasure of BC it's hard to think about sitting in the back ever again.  But here's the problem.  If you are not affiliated with Delta in any way, the cost is absolutely ridiculous.   So if you want to sit up front on a fairly regular basis, encourage at least one of your children to work for an airline.  Here's the menu for dinner.

But first, a little salad of roasted apples and potatoes on a bed of arugula and soft goat cheese, washed down with a lovely Pino Gris from Oregon.  All of this served at 35,000 ft.

After that tasty tidbit came the lamb and a sharp and not-well-aged Tempranillo.  After that, sleep on a seat that opens to a flat bed.  Comfy down pillow, lightweight down blanket.  Nice.  And then it was almost dawn, spied out of my window.

We arrived at CDG right on time ~ 8:20 am ~ in a light rain, got stamped in, got our bags then a taxi and arrived at our apartment about 10:30.  The apartment is in a very old building, up on the 3rd floor looking out on one side to a street with lots of leafy green (for the moment) trees, on the other onto an apartment building with several floors of overflowing window boxes.  This pile is across the street from our bedroom.

Two bedrooms so daughter Cait can come to visit next week.  Third arrondissement (Marais), two metro stops close by, plenty of shopping, restaurants, etc.  It's Paris, after all.

We went down the street for dinner last night ~ www.lesvitelloni.com.  Light supper, very tasty, shockingly expensive.  This city is not a place to come if you plan to save money.

Yesterday's shopping provided some lovely goodies for breakfast.  First, a jar of THE BEST yoghurt. Once you're done, wash out the little jar and you have an instant wine glass.  I have dozens of them that I've hauled home.  In the "old days" all yoghurt came in them.  Now you have to hunt to find them and avoid the plastic tubs.

There's also a brand called Chambourcy but I couldn't find it.  Those glasses are a bit more fancy.  You know, for "premium" wine.

Mr. C went out early to the local boulangerie and brought back two really fantastic croissants ~ maybe even better than our favorites from Carton's ~ and a baguette.  This bakery is owned by a man who won the annual "Best Baguette in Paris" contest and yes, he deserved it!

We walked up to the Marché des Enfants Rouges to do some food shopping and check it out.

I was very surprised by how deserted it was at 10:30 on a Friday morning  Very few vendors although the restaurants were open and busy cooking up a storm for, I guess, the lunch crowd.   But we found plenty of other things at various markets along the way; a roast chicken for dinner, some fruits and veggies, a bottle of pink Bordeaux, another baguette (the first having disappeared at lunch).  It has stopped raining so we may go out again in a bit.  Mr. C is napping on the couch ~ I napped earlier.  You really can't say enough in praise of naps!

That's a wrap on the first 24 hours.  Mr. C wants to Metro over to Maubert-Mutualité and our old haunt in the 5th.  There's a terrific butcher shop that sells cooked pork roast and he's hankering for some of that.  Plus the Moroccan olive man is at the street market with great pans of olives, garlic and mushrooms in a divine herb-y brine.   If it's not pouring rain in the morning that's what we'll do.  We also need to find a good street market here in the 3rd that's open tomorrow.  Sunday is the Richard Lenoir market over by the "new" Bastille Opera.  I know I don't have to cram it all into the first three days but as long as I'm in the neighborhood . . .

HAPPY FLOWER FRIDAY from the Marché des Enfants Rouges
 This place feeds by soul as well as my body.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

going . . .

Boarding passes printed (SMF to SEA only.  SEA to CDG printed for us if we make the flight).  Euros rescued from the bank, metro tickets at the ready, passports in hand.  Shuttle arrives at 4:30 AM.  Wish us luck!

Monday, September 12, 2016

going . . .

We made it through Monday without any change in flight schedule.  I heard back from the concierge that there was no problem changing the change back to the original.  If we get through tomorrow well be waiting for the shuttle at 4:30 Wednesday morning for our trip to SMF and the first leg of the Paris Adventure.  So far, so good.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

the saga of a stand-by traveler

It's a real short story.  Yesterday I told you we were leaving on the 13th.  Today I'm telling you we're leaving on the 14th.  Who knows about tomorrow.

But no whining, please.  After all, it is FREE.