Thursday, October 17, 2013

DATELINE: Paris (11)

You may well wonder what happened to 8, 9 and 10.  The time just got away from me and I never had the chance to sit down and get caught up.  So even though the sun is out today and the city's riches beckon I have vowed to bring this trip up to date (and clear the photos off my desktop!).  Let's return to Sunday, Day 7.

As I noted, the sun came out.  And when the sun comes out in Paris ~ or almost any big city with a lot of apartment dwellers ~ so does everyone living there.  The first thing we did was walk down to the Place Monge Sunday market, a huge outdoor affair right at the Cardinal Lemoine Metro stop and about three blocks from our apartment.

Pretty stairway up to the Moufftard area
 It has everything; food, clothing, flowers, up one aisle and down another.  Beautiful and bountiful.

These are ALL chèvre.  How many types does one need?
Likewise salamis.  How many is enough?
these are some kind of pumpkin-like squash

These tomatoes are called turbannes and they do indeed look like little turbans.
After shopping, where I bought these fabulous olives, among other things, we walked up the rue Moufftart.

Cafe life in the Moufftard
Through Moufftard and back home for lunch (including some olives, of course) and then back out to enjoy the sunny afternoon.  We headed straight for the Luxembourg Gardens.  So did lots and lots of other sun seekers.

If you were to turn around and follow the path away from the garden you'd come to La Closerie des Lilas, the restaurant where Hemingway and friends hung out in the '20s.

The Luxembourg Palace and Museum and the basin where kids sail their model boats.  Their great-grandfathers  did the same thing as children.

The launch
Busy waters

piquenique;  there's even a little sign welcoming you on to the grass

Everyone is out; young, old, stroller, joggers, baby carriages, tots on scooters and tricycles (no bikes allowed in the park).  The sky was blue, the clouds fleecy, the air warm.  And in the background,  La Tour Eiffel.  What could be better?  After two hours of strolling this beautiful park we headed home.  By now it was about 4 o'clock.  This is a photo of Le Blvd. St. Michel looking north to the river.  It is ALWAYS clogged with traffic.  Everyone was strolling in the park!

The deserted Boul'Mich
We then walked up to the Place Sorbonne, a little plaza in front of the old main entrance to the university.  It now has several  cafés that spill out onto the plaza in good weather such as we were having.

On our walk back we passed this row of apartment houses that step their way up the little hill.  There are thousands and thousands of apartments just like this all over the city.  Almost every one of them has a tiny balcony or at least an ornate wrought iron decoration within the window frame.  And they all have tall windows; no double-hung sash windows anywhere.

The alley to our street
DATELINE:  Paris (8)

That takes care of the weekend.  Now it's Monday and we have business to take care of.  The museums are all closed today so we are not tempted by any of that.  First we went to the bank to recharge the cash tank.  It goes really fast around here.  Laundry day, too, which eats up a coupole of hours of sitting and watching the clothes slosh around the then tumble dry.  Fortunately I have my reader to keep me company; listening to Herman Wouk's second volume on WWII, War and Remembrance.  A finek fine story compellingly told.  Between Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 I read Erik Larson's "In the Garden of Beasts" about
William Dodd, the US ambassador to Berlin in Nazi Germany.  A perfect fit with Wouk.

Then we took the Metro over to the Gare du Nord to buy our train tickets to Bruges for next Monday.  I am very glad we decided to do it way ahead of time.  What an incredible zoo that place is; three stories of metro trains, RER lines, ticket windows - this window for "within the Ile-de-France only" and this one for within France only and this one for Europe and this one for non-EU countries (UK, Switzerland, etc.).  Hundreds of people coming and going or standing around trying to figure out what to do next.  We found the right place, bought our tickets and fled!  When we go next Monday, dragging our luggage along, at least we don't have to go through that hassle.  A few more errands and it was back home.  Not so sunny today; a few sprinkles throughout the afternoon.  Monday night we walked down the street to a brasserie by the corner market for a nice dinner of quiche and salad.  It was raining lightly during dinner and I watched the traffic on the Blvd. St. Germaine as it sped by on the dark, shiny streets.  It really does look just like it does in the movies!

DATELINE:  Paris (9)

Market day again and, again, a cold day but no rain.  Walked over to the rue St, Jacques looking for a particular charcuterie recommended to us but never found it.  Did find another bank branch and decided to bring home some very expensive euros paid for with my own worthless currency; they really do disappear at an astonishing rate!  Walked by the front of the Panthéon which, even while under renovation, is quite impressive.

Dome in background
 Then you turn around and this is what you see.

This place is awash in "views"!  It was just after this photo that the camera battery went dead so no more photos until it gets recharged. Tuesday evening we went out to dinner to a place we have been before, Le Coupe Chou, right down the street (in the photo above of the alley leading to our apartment, you can see its ivy-covered facade on the right).  I had been panting for veal and ordered the Blanquette de Veau.  Mr. C ordered leg of lamb.  (NOTE on food photos:  it's a little hard to take pictures in a subtle way with my large camera.  It's really a production to get the thing out without being too obvious about it.  I need one of those tiny spy cameras like James Bond uses to photograph secret papers or something.)  We took a little walk then returned home full and satisfied.  It was a cold, clear night and the cafes on the street were all jumping with diners and drinkers sitting out at the sidewalk tables.  Here's our street at night.

Looking down to the lighted cafés on the corner
DATELINE:  Paris (10)

Today was another museum day.  We headed up to the 16eme to the Marmottan to see its collection of  Monet painting.  (Monet fan's note:  If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you may remember when I came to Paris in 2010 and went to the huge Monet exhibition at the Grand Palais.  After that I swore I'd had my fill of that worthy gentleman.  I guess not because there I was again, admiring his beautiful paintings in this lovely little museum tucked away in a fashionable neighborhood.  This is the only photograph I could take- nothing allowed in the museum.

The museum was not crowded when we first got there.  It's a lovely way to see the paintings; the galleries were quiet, no milling around and shuffling of feet.  No "knowing" chatter from wanna-be art historians.  Plenty of places to sit and study the paintings.  There is also a show of the art of and about Napoléon Bonapart's three sisters.  They were an acquisitive and gaudy lot I must say.  We left after a couple of hours and walked back to the Metro.  A little light rain.  Home for lunch of a delicious salmon sandwich purchased at Carton's, a bowl of soup to chase the chill.   We bought a small prepared veal roast from the butcher down the street.  It's called Roti de veau farci a l'Italienne.  It's a boned, rolled and tied piece of veal stuffed with pancetta and mozzarella and various herbs.  It's all cooked with vegetables until tender and browned.  It was yummy and we didn't have to do anything except pay for it!

Just after dinner someone knocked on the door.  It was the owner of this and four other Paris apartments. I have talked to him over the years, emailed him, and rented this and the Marais apartment but had never met him. He actually lives in Florida but comes to Paris often for business.  He was downstairs at another apartment and decided to come up and introduce himself.  It was delightful to put a face to the voice and computer messages.  We chatted for awhile, he gave us some good resources and advice for our Normandy trip but said we probably wouldn't need all that time.  As a result, we will probably come back to Paris a few days earlier than planned and have more time over in the Marais to do all our "Right Bank" business.  If the weather is particularly bad we may indeed head back here sooner than the 6th of November.

That brings us up to today.  The sun was out early this morning so we were, too.  Down to the Monoprix for some supplies; it has a fabulous market in the basement.  Then to the outdoor market down the street for a baguette and to stroll through the fruit and vegetable vendors.  I'm looking for some maché for salad but nobody seems to have it.  Perhaps this isn't the right time of year.  I remember it used to be very easy to find and it's quite delicious tossed in with lettuce and roquette.  We bought some dry salami the other day and made sandwiches for lunch.  Instead of going out again this afternoon I decided to devote as long as it has taken to get caught up on this blog.  If you've stuck it out reading all of this you are now au courant. It has taken me over 3 hours to get this all written down.  I can't let myself get this far behind again!

I don't know what's on tap for tomorrow.  It's going to depend on the weather.  I hope it's sunny so we can hit the streets and make yet more wonderful discoveries.  The camera's all charged up and ready.

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