Tour de France, Allez Allez Allez! Our final day in Paris.

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Our last day… and it was a good one!  Here is how we spent it:

Lee spent the morning in le Musee d’Orsay.  I spent my morning in the Louvre, in the museum des Arts Decoratifs.  Brilliant!

We had lunch in a cafe on rue Rivoli.  Delicious!

We staked out our places on a street close to our apartment, and watched the Tour de France come back into Paris.  Thrilling!!!

We had dinner in Les Editeurs, a cafe we like in St-Germain des Pres. Relaxing and fun.

Some pictures:

The road in front of le Louvre was buzzing with Tour de France excitement this morning, and the street was lined with the big equipment trucks like this one, and the one below.

My museum didn't open until 11, and since I arrived too early, I found myself a cafe across the street and enjoyed a nice little breakfast.

Inside le Musee des Arts Decoratifs (Louvre). Absolutely gorgeous.


As someone on tripadvisor described this part of the Louvre, it is an “incredible and well laid-out collection of furniture and clothing designs form the Middle Ages all the way through the 21st century.”  Hussein Chayalan is the fashion designer whose incredible collection is featured.  I cannot find words to describe what I saw, and how it was displayed.  This museum, which is nothing like the part of the museum with all of the paintings, is an absolute must, if you enjoy design and visual art, including clothing, furniture, jewelry, toys, and more. Thanks to Kate for letting me know about this “must do” for our Paris trip. I absolutely loved it.


I enjoyed the “History of Toys” exhibit, too.

A peek outside, from one of the windows inside of the Louvre.

And another peek out onto rue Rivoli, where the Tour de France excitement was mounting, and the streets were already all closed off.

After the Louvre (and the D’Orsay for Leo), we found each other somewhere on rue Rivoli, and then found a little cafe for a nice little lunch.

Une salade fraicheur (with beets- so good!).

Lee's lunch was penne in a cream of magret de canard (duck) sauce.

Time to get back to our neighborhood. The Tour de France is on its way!

Waiting for the Tour. This building was facing me across the river, so I took a few pictures.

Waiting, but not really minding because the surroundings are not what you'd call "run-of-the-mill"!

Can you spot Leo somewhere in the crowd?

The moment we had been waiting for. Here they come!

On their way towards les Champs Elysees. After following these guys for a full three weeks, what a great thrill it was to see them ride by. A highlight of our trip, for sure. The thing that could not be captured in these photos is the awesome sound of the cheering from the crowd- probably loud enough to be heard from miles away, and sooo much fun.

Happy crowds of very friendly people everywhere.

Helicopters flying overhead, and such a gorgeous deep blue sky. An incredibly fun and memorable afternoon in Paris!

We went back to our apartment for a little rest, a glass of wine, and a concert by guitarist Anya P., via Skype.  (Tyler played for us last night. Wow x2)  Then, back out for our final Paris walk, and a nice dinner in St-Germain des Pres.

Saw lots of fun TDF-related things around town this evening. A big day in Paris.

We are going to miss the lovely French wines. Especially drinking them in a little sidewalk cafe at dusk...

...while being serenaded. A nice little touch.

We didn't have to worry about getting too cold either, because the heaters in the cafe were all on, keeping us toasty in this delightfully crispy evening.

Here's to Paris! Cheers!

And that’s it for our 2011 Paris trip. A bientôt!

A real ‘High” today in Paris! La Grande Roue.

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Lee and I decided to walk from apartment into the 1st today, where Lee would do his thing, and I would do mine. Destination: le musee D’Orsay and le Louvre.  At one point it suddenly started to pour, and since we were hungry and it was lunch time, we ducked into a little mom&pop looking cafe for lunch on rue de l’Université.  The owner was so nice and friendly, and we had a nice little meal. Nothing fancy, but very good.

On our way, we passed by l'eglise St-Germain des Pres, and went in for a visit. Very understated as compared to some others we have seen, but so so beautiful. When we came out, the rain was really coming down.

Next... time to get out of the rain and enjoy some lunch. A very delicious boeuf bourguigon for Lee.

Une salade for me. I love how the salads here have been tossed in a very light oil and vinegar dressing-- just enough to give the salad a little flavor, but not enough to hike the calorie count into outer space. So sensible.

Rain just about over. Lee went his own way towards the Musee D' Orsay. As I was crossing the bridge towards the Louvre, I spotted something in the background that I have been really wanting to do-- take a ride on la Grande Roue, which you can see in the background.

The Louvre is so darn gorgeous. This is just a "snippet" of it-- it's also soooo expansive. I picked up my step as I passed it, and headed towards that big wheel...

The next thing I knew, I found myself in a car on the Grand Roue, by myself, hoping the hardware you see here was in good working order!

Yipes, I hope these doors don't swing open!

Going UP!! Check out this view!! And... the next few. These views took my breath away.

 

One last shot from back on the ground. What a GRAND 12 minute experience that was, wow!! Wish Lee could have been with me, but I doubt that I could have talked him into it, anyway. Next time you are in Paris, take a ride on le Grand Roue! I loved it.

OK, now over to le Louvre on the rue Rivoli side. Kate recommended the Arts Decoratifs exhibit, and this was my plan for this afternoon.

I found it !

And so did everybody else. Actually, you cannot see the end of the line through my camera lens. Maybe tomorrow morning, first thing? We'll see. I headed towards the BHV instead, and did a little more shopping for someone we know who will be turning 2 next Saturday :)

I wish I would have spoken to Kate earlier... here we have been here for three weeks and I may have to miss this until next time. Zut alors!

So I crossed the street and made my way down Rivoli towards BHV and l’Hotel de Ville, and then towards home. In the meantime, over at le musee D’Orsay, Leo found the same long line ( two hour+ wait), and so he also put that plan on hold.

Over on rue Rivoli, guess what everyone is getting ready for…!  Tomorrow is the BIG DAY, when the Tour de France arrives in Paris to end the 2011 tour, after 8 circuits of les Champs Elysees and la Place de la Concorde.  Although we will be able to see them pass by from our apartment window, Leo wants more than just a “blink”.  We will be finding our spot elsewhere.

Allez, Allez, Allez! We can't wait for tomorrow!

I watched one of the petition scams, from beginning to end, on the street across from le Louvre.  If you want to know how they do this, I will gladly explain to you what I saw. VERY interesting to watch, and so sad that this guy didn’t have the guts to walk away, in spite of pleas from his wife to walk away. I snapped a shot:

Continuing on my lovely walk down rue Rivoli…

Clip Clop. The mounted police tend to hang out around the Louvre, we have noticed.

This caught my eye. J’en sais rien, but I thought it was interesting and fun.

One last shot of my favorite... l'Hotel de Ville, as I passed it on my way home. After the afternoon rain, what a gorgeous day it turned out to be.

Lee and I are going out for dinner now, and then to the movies to see Midnight in Paris. It’s a chilly evening here, and we may need to turn on the heat tonight.  We are thinking that when we get back home, there may be plenty of natural heat waiting for us?!  We are not complaining… we are loving it.

A demain et bonne journée!

 

Vendredi with friends in Paris… Day 19

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Maybe just a little too much of that very good French VIN ce soir.   Friday’s journal postponed until Saturday morning.  A Demain!

I’m cheating a little here… it’s early Saturday morning, what can I say… (I already said it above).  I’m going to go backwards, and start with last night’s wonderful adventure, meeting up and dining with yet more friends in Paris. Three of my friends and classmates from French class, Bev, Kate, and Sharon, have also been here in Paris for the past week. As I write, they are leaving the city for the second leg of their trip, in other parts of France. Anyway, they are all three francophiles/francophones who travel to France often. After talking to Kate about her travels in France, she will now be one of our main “go to” people for ideas about the countryside of France (along with Dwight and Charee, friends from home who are equally obsessed and knowledgable about towns and villages hors de Paris). She and her husband Steve have made the “tour” of France, and know it very well. Bev, Kate, and Sharon  have taken turns this past week choosing restaurants.  Last night was Kate’s turn, and WOW. Another meal that we will long remember in a restaurant in the Marais called Pramil.  Merci Bev, Kate, and Sharon–we had such a lovely evening with you, first at your lovely apartment for l’heure de l’apero, and then enjoying dinner, wine and an evening of wonderful friendship.  See you back in the U.S.

First, some shots of our walk from our apartment to their apartment on rue du Temple, in the Marais:

Heading towards the Marais. The roads were still wet from the afternoon rain, but the weather was delightful (cool).

Paris sky, as seen from a narrow street in the Marais.

Bev, Kate, and Sharon's street.

Sharon, looking tres chic and très française!

Such a lovely heure d'apero chez "les filles", Bev, Kate, and Sharon.

Bev, Sharon, and Kate, at the entrance to their Marais apartment.

The restaurant, very unassuming, on a little side street in the Marais. What a treat was awaiting us inside!

John, notice the ris de veau on the menu.Lee and I had the cake au choufleur as our entrée, a cauliflower cake (souffle-ish) which was absolutely and unforgettably delicious. For the main course, we both had veal. Too busy chatting and didn't get many photos, other than the few below. Oh what a wonderful dining experience this was.

I can't describe the sauce... but combined with the melt-in-your mouth cauliflower cake, this was a culinary treat that I will always remember.

Several others had this appetizer... a very unusually crisp and delicious lettuce with tomatoes and shrimp. Besides delicious, tres joli, n'est-ce-pas?

                                            Sante!  To friends!

Earlier in the day… Back to l’eglise St-Severin to start of our day.

L'eglise St-Severin, right across the street. I snapped this shot before we went back in for another visit.

We wanted another look at this column in the church, which we had read about (and seen a reproduction of) in la Cite de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine , the museum that Noelle took us to. This column fascinated Leo.

The only column of its type in this church, it is the focus of the center, as you can see. It is GORGEOUS.

After St-Severin, we just wandered in our own neck-of-the-woods, shopped a little, took lots of pictures, had a nice lunch, and people-watched.

See anyone you know?

When I come to Paris, I mostly shop for books. I bought more today, and I need to start worrying about the weight of my suitcase. No more books, Linda!

Our area in the 5th, borders on the 6th. We explored this wonderful street today.

Parisian charm

Our apartment is just two blocks from La Sorbonne.

Time for dejeuner in a cafe on Boulevard St-Germain, called Tennessee. We ate here a number of times-- very nice little place. We just sat, and sat (and sipped!), and enjoyed watching the action and people on the boulevard. This is what Paris is for, after all!

Some nice and refreshing vin...

Une tartine de boeuf for Leo et une jolie salade pour moi.

A closer look- presentation is very important here, and it's always so lovely to look at.

We want to have lunch here... oh no we are running out of time!!

Remember the square in front of l'Hotel de Ville? Well the 3D earth project is completely gone now, and tonight there will be a concert in the square.

In late afternoon, there was about a two-hour period of light but steady showers, so we came back to the apartment for a little rest, before heading over the meet our friends. Another nice day, and sadly, our last full week in Paris.  Oh no… it’s coming to an end very soon.  Tres triste.

A tout à l’heure!  Bonne Journée!

Meeting Annie. Exploring the 13eme. The Arènes de Lutèce. Day 18

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We had another wonderful day today.  Once again the forecast called for a rainy day… but that didn’t happen, which helped make a super-good day even better. At one point the skies were bluer than blue. C’était génial!

Lee started out the day the way he starts out every day– off to breakfast, tout seul (all by himself). This is my time for sleeping a little beyond 8, taking my time to get ready, and enjoying Telematin on T.V.  Once he came back, we did a Paris Walks Tour, right here on our street and some connecting side streets.  The history of this ancient area is fascinating. We had not realized that rue St-Jacques, the main road near our apartment, was the road taken by the Romans to march into Paris in the middle ages. It was also the road used by pilgrims, exiting Paris en route to Spain.  We don’t talk much about the “middle ages” in North America! (much? not at all…?)

After the Paris Walks Tour, lunch.  Lee cannot get enough of the falafel at Maoz. This place is waaaaay better than Las du Falafel, btw.  MUCH better, trust us.  I passed on the falafel– I may have reached my falafel max.  Well… maybe not.  Anyway, a fun lunch time.

Maoz Falafel. Absolutely the best.

Beets are very popular in Paris.

Leo's "make your own" falafel. Yep, that's sauerkraut. Yum.

Next on the agenda– a very exciting afternoon rendez-vous for me.  My French teacher, Thu, has a very close childhood friend, Annie, who lives here in Paris. Thu very much wanted Annie and I to meet, during my time in Paris. Earlier this week I emailed Annie, and we set the date for today, at Cafe O’Jules’, in the 13th, where she lives. We met and spent a few hours together, chatting over coffee. What a charming and delightful lady.  I enjoyed every moment of our get-together (we spoke in French… I enjoyed this, of course!) After coffee at the cafe, Annie (who will be leaving for Bretagne in the morning, and STILL generously gave up a good part of her afternoon for us), gave us a tour of the area, which we found to be very charming; she showed us an area called La Butte aux Cailles, which we loved and enjoyed learning about so much.  After parting ways, we walked slowly towards home, savoring the lovely 13th.  It was so nice to experience this arrondissement, which is very francais with a very non-touristy feel to it. Merci à Annie.

Bus # 47. We took this to get to the 13th. I was going to go by myself to meet Annie, but Leo worries about my sense of direction, and thought it would be best if he came along.

Here I am with Annie. She was such a delightful lady to get to know. Of Vietnamese origin, Annie has lived in Paris for most of her adult life.

The next group of photos were taken in the 13eme arrondissement.  These shots will  hopefully help to give you a “feel” for this very diverse and lovely arrondissement.  For more information about the 13th, click HERE.

"A vendre". For Sale. Oh how we wish...

The "Back to School" supplies have arrived!

This woman was walking at such a fast clip, that she passed us up. She was amazing.

There she goes!

So as you can see, the 13th is a very “real world” and very lovely area of Paris, with a very calm feel to it.  We loved it so much.

Now on to our next adventure du jour.   Thanks to Barry, who suggested that we visit the Arènes de Lutèce in the 5th, we took a fascinating trip back in history today. This arena is one of the few remains in Paris from the Gallo-Roman era, dating back to the 1st century. The FIRST century!! Read about Arènes de Lutèce, and have a look at our pictures.  Merci Barry, we absolutely loved this hidden treasure.

First, you find this street...

And when you find it... you won't be far from the Arenes de Lutece. Here, you will experience an incredible walk back in time.

The main arena from above.

Playing a game of pétanque in the ancient arena.

Box seats.

The slaves and the women sat in the bleachers you see in the background.

Climbing some ancient steps. You can't help but wonder who climbed these before you.

Classic beauty.

This would be a nice place for a proposal, woudn't it? I thought about this when I was watching this young couple here.

Tot lot in the Arenes. What a nice way to give children an authentic history lesson!

There was only one thing about the Arènes de Lutèce that seemed a bit bothersome and soooo non-français:

Ce n'est pas vrai! No Dogs Allowed?

The poor little guy! But ça va, because French dogs are very patient, as you can see!

C’est tout pour aujourd’hui.  Bonne nuit!

Monet and Mozart – Day 17

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We spent our morning and early to mid-afternoon hours in the elegant and quite upscale 16eme arrondissement.  This is an area not close the center, which is very residential, although here you will find some museums and Roland-Garros. We virtually saw not one person today who resembled a tourist (like us…toting cameras).  Not much to do here, if you want to do most of the things that visitors to Paris want to do, but if you like beautiful parks, lack of crowds, gorgeous architecture, and want a chance to go into shops, boulangeries, and restaurants where everyone does not necessarily speak English, this is a great area to be.  Barry and Anita have often stayed in this arrondissement, in a charming neighborhood known as le Passy.  This is also the area which houses le Palais de Tokyo, where Lee and I went to that awesome cooking workshop last year.

Chaussee de la Muette. In Paris each corner street sign like this one, includes the "arrondissement". For Paris addresses, the arrd. will be the last two numbers of the postal code.

The streets above and below were on the same block as le musee Marmottan Monet. They are both named after well-known painters.

We first went to the Musee Marmottan Monet, which houses the world’s largest collection of Monet’s masterpieces, along with collections of Manet, Sisley, Renoir, and Pissarro. What a beautiful museum. Even I, who may not appreciate art as much as I would like to, appreciated beyond words what I saw today. I only wished that Chaya had been with us, because she would have appreciated this more than just about anyone, I am guessing.

Le Musee Marmottan Monet

Marmottan was both an art collector and a friend of Monet.

Exiting the museum. No photography at all permitted inside, understandably.

Leaving the museum after a few incredibly captivating hours. Highly recommend.

After our morning in the museum, we bought our lunch in a boulangerie and enjoyed eating it on a bench right along the street, as many locals were doing.  Fun!  Then, a long and leisurely stroll along Avenue Mozart and through a few lovely parks. Loved this day.

The line for lunch (to go) in this place was long, and all locals. John, here was my chance to use my French much more authentically than most times. Quick decisions without being able to see all of the choices way up front, me asking questions, getting answers shot back at me a mile a minute, more questions, etc... No English spoken, no catering to tourists. THIS is how you improve the language skills! I loved every minute, and made some quick decisions (so as not to slow up the line) and they were DELICIOUS ones!

Another view of the boulangerie.

The lunch "formule" included a sandwich or quiche, a drink, and one of these! MAGNIFIQUE!!

After lunch, a walk up and down Avenue Mozart. The French claim that although these signs indicate that Mozart was Austrian, that he was in fact, German. Interesting debate!

I love the biscuit colored stone.

Beautiful buildings and streets in the 16eme arrd. The architecture in Paris is just so... gosh I can't find the right word!

Great name for this nice little housewares shop! Nice things inside, too. REALLY nice.

Nice barbershop, right? Sans customers though, probably too close to the lunch hour maybe.

Lee thought about it... he liked the chairs, I think!

And right next door...

And right next door...

After Avenue Mozart, we walked over near some little parks in the area.  We saw quite a few grandparents with their grandchildren.  So cute.  There is no way that I can resist taking pictures when I see French children.

Grandpa and grandchild. This one melted my heart.

I have noticed more toddler boys in Paris with these little strollers than girls! This little guy, however, appears to want to push the "big boy" stroller!

Another little boy with little stroller. He was partially hidden, but you can see most of him.

A "Mamie" (commonly used French word for Grandma) with her grandson and his pink scooter. I like that little French boys aren't afraid of strollers and of pink!

Statue of Jean de la Fontaine, one of France's most beloved poets and writer of fables. He lived in the 1600's. There were two adorable children climbing on the statue, but when I got my camera out, their nanny gestured to them to get out of my shot. I actually wanted them in the picture!

Une petite flaque d'eau. A little puddle of water... in a nice little park in Paris.

And an adorable little Parisian girl who knows exactly what puddles are for...!

Do you have a feel now for the 16th? It’s a great neighborhood.  Barry if you are reading… we really wanted to get over to your area in the Passy, too. Never enough time to do it all, it seems.

Time to go home: 

Nice metro station– La Muette.

One more amusing little thing to add…  We have only had one day so far when it has reached 80 degrees here in Paris (loving it!!).  It has mostly been in the 70’s during the day, and of course lower at night.  In Paris, if you own a dog… this means:

OUT WITH THE DOGGIE COATS!!

Bonne Soiree!

Celebrating Lee’s birthday (a little late) at Les Papilles- Day 16

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We woke up to a very rainy day this morning.  We eagerly invited the excuse to have another lazy day, just hanging out in the apartment, reading, watching French TV and then le Tour, and enjoying every single minute. This is the advantage of a 3-week stay, because there’s no “have-to-hurry-up-and-see-everything” feeling, and lazy, do-nothing days feel good. Around 5 or so, the rain stopped, and the sky began to clear.  All day long we had talked about trying another of the restaurants on a list that we like, (we’ve already tried 3/20 on this list) and we had the restaurant in mind for this evening- Chez Dumonet.   However, we couldn’t get les Papilles off of our minds, after having one of the best meals EVER there, last year.  We were very lucky to get one of the last reservations available, but had to arrive early, at 7 p.m.  We were the first to be seated, but by 8, the place was packed.  We chose the fixed price four-course menu, which included cream of squash soup, a very slow-cooked veal dish (with a sauce to die for), roquefort cheese with a steamed prune, and for dessert, crême brulée  Lee chose our bottle of wine from the wall, and he made a very nice selection. The meal was delicious beyond words. I wrote about Les Papilles on last year’s blog, and explained that it is an épicerie by day, and a bistrot by night. Very highly rated, and so worthy, too. After dinner we strolled slowly home, and enjoyed what turned out to be a gorgeous evening. We made one little stop at one of my favorite bookstores on Boulevard St-Michel, where I bought three books. Photos below of Les Papilles, and a few other random shots.

The menu. French handwriting is so beautiful, isn't it?

Lee had fun choosing our bottle of wine.. there were almost too many choices.

Les Papilles was originally our plan for Lee's birthday this year (it wasn't open on that day) since we celebrated his birthday here, last year. Belated cheers for your birthday, Lee!

A very fancy little prune! Served with cheese. By this time, we had very little room left... but we did manage to finish up our incredible creme brulee. I was enjoying the wine way too much to remember to snap a shot of the very pretty dessert.

I did, however, manage to get a shot of the floor, because I loved it!

A few more shots of Les Papilles, from the outside. A really cute little place.

Right across from Les Papilles. David we were thinking that this might be the place where your boss from CRC worked, while in Paris?

Named after MOI!

The University of Paris. I wouldn't have minded going to school here! What a gorgeous place.

University of Paris.

University of Paris.

And that was our day.  A demain!

Monday Monday- Day 15

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Saw a great exhibit this morning at l’Hotel de Ville, called Paris Au Temps Des Impressionnistes (Paris during the time of the Impressionists).  The exhibit was excellent, and we saw some wonderful originals by great masters, including Monet, Degas, and Renoir.  Then, across the street to the BHV for a full lunch (avec vin of course) around 2 p.m., followed by our new favorite, grace a Noelle and Armelle: un café noisette.  I was hoping that the coffee would give Lee the boost needed to get him over to my next shopping destination in the 8th, Galeries Lafayette. Fait accompli! He sat patiently in the café and read, while I shopped for a few things, including some shoes, just like the ones that Noelle and Armelle wore over the weekend (très français!). There was only one pair left in my size- my lucky day! Metro’d home, stopped by Franprix to pick up a few things, and a nice dinner and a few glasses of wine later, we are contemplating going back out again. It’s chilly out there this evening, and so staying in our apartment where it’s warm and cozy may win out– on verra.

The forecast for today was cloudy with rain, but this is what it looked like mid-morning, over l' Hotel de Ville. There were a few showers in the afternoon, but for the most part, it was a dry and mild day. Tonight, though, there's quite a chill in the air.

No cruises on Monday mornings... this is a working boat, making its way down the river. The waters of La Seine were a bit choppy today.

We stood in line for almost an hour to see this exhibit at l'Hotel de Ville. Worth the wait!

After a nice lunch in a very authentic everyday French setting, le cafe du BHV, we each had une petite noisette. Much smaller than it appears in this photo, but packed with yumminess!

Me: "Lee, do you mind if we go to Galeries Lafayette today?" Lee: "Sure!". This ad in the metro captured my sentiment very well! (Even though I never last long with the shopping, to tell you the truth).

From Lee's table in the cafe... if he looked to the left. The Opera is the big building facing you. To the left, the Eiffel Tower (my shot came out blurry- darn.)

So understated, simple, and very classy. I loved the hanging glass bubbles in the bridal department of Galeries Lafayette.

Right outside of the department store. The sign says "Bonjour", but we were saying "Au Revoir". Shopping done! Lee was smiling.

One last quick shot of the buildings in the very bustling/busy and very NICE 8th arrd. before going down the stairs to hop on the metro that would take us home.

Bonne Soirée!

A wonderful weekend with our new French friends – Days 13 and 14

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Here I am with my new French friends, Armelle et Noelle.

After corresponding via email for many months with my new French friend Noelle, who lives in Evian, France– we finally met in person this weekend. Noelle and her friend Armelle, flew in on Friday evening just to meet Lee and me. (What a gift!) Another of Noelle’s friends, Monique, also joined us for part of the day on Saturday. We all hit it off immediately, and we had the BEST time ever– we chatted (in both languages), laughed, and enjoyed getting to know each other. I can’t wait to tell everyone all of the details about this amazing and fun-filled weekend-long adventure when we get back home. Hopefully you will have the chance to meet Noelle and Armelle (and yet another friend Odile) when they come to Columbia to visit in November!

Some photos of our weekend:

We met on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. in front of l'eglise St-Germain.  We were too busy getting to know each other and didn't manage to get any good shots.

We met on Saturday morning in front of l'eglise St-Germain. We were too busy getting to know each other and didn't manage to get any good shots.

We walked for an hour or so to the Marais and stopped in a cafe to "boire un verre" (have a drink) before lunch. In this picture, Monique is on the left, and Noelle on the right. Cheers to our new friends!

Noelle, checking out the map.

Then, a fun lunch at one of Anita's old picks, Chez Janou, in the Marais.

I chose fish. Tres bon!

Leg of lamb for Leo. Tres bon aussi!

We got some great tips from "the girls" about coffee drinking in France. We enjoyed "une noisette" after dinner. Tres bon!

After lunch we stepped into this adorable little sewing shop in the Marais. Noelle said that little shops like this are very common in France.

After this, we stopped by the La Maison Suedois, also in the Marais, to see an expo about toys for children that I had wanted to see. It was really just a room filled with Ikea-like things, but nice place.

Noelle, giving Lee and me some super interesting information about French architecture at La Maison Suedois.

The type of architecture in the top window is called un "oeil-de-boeuf". "Oeil" means "eye". A boeuf is a bull, after he has "lost his bullhood".

And this top window: un "chien-Assis". I love learning new things like this.

Next: L'Hotel de Ville to look at the "Paris Sur Seine" exhibit. The exhibits here are always so worthwhile. The history of the Seine in Paris intrigues me... I will come back here before we leave so that I can have more time by myself to read slowly and enjoy for a second time.

Ok- this next shot is one I could not resist.  Anyone thinking about a bathroom remodel?  How awesome are these sinks??  Pretty awesome IMO (RR in Hotel de Ville).

In late afternoon we each went back to our apt./hotel for a little rest. We met up again at 8:30 p.m. at the cafe Montparnasse for wine, and then dinner.  A fun and relaxing evening at the end of a super-wonderful day with our new friends.

                          _______________________

SUNDAY

Armelle, me, and Noelle.

Tres Paris, non?

Noelle and Armelle suggested THIS museum for us, and it blew us away. We LOVED it. HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you will be in Paris.

This is the largest architectural museum in the world, and it houses reproductions from all of the major architectural masterpieces in France from the middles ages up to the present. Absolutely a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Noelle was our own personal guide- she is extremely knowledgable about the history and architecture of her country. Armelle, too. I learned so much today.

This column is a repro of those in l'eglise St-Severin. We will go there again tomorrow and take more photos of the real thing.

Noelle and Armelle.

Moi.

Leo.

From one of the museum windows.

La Tour Eiffel from a window in the museum.

I loved these hanging lights in the cafe of the museum.

Speaking of the cafe... the meal was sooooooo delicious. Noelle had mentioned how the cafes in the museums served very good food- she was exactly right.

After a great afternoon, time to get back to get on the metro and head back.

A short ride on the metro, and we said our goodbyes, until November. What a weekend to remember!!

“San Diego” Day in Paris – Day 12

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When we get what we consider a PERFECT weather day back home… low to mid 70’s, blue skies and low humidity, we call it a “San Diego” day, because that’s the kind of weather we had every day when we spent a week in San Diego.  We had one of those San Diego days today in Paris. Just gorgeous. Actually, we have had delightfully cool weather every day since we’ve been here (but today was the winner).

We left the apartment mid-morning and made our way to the Marais. Lee spent time in la musée du Carnavalet, while I sat and read in la Place des Vosges.  Around 2, we had a great little meal at the Breizh Café– buckwheat galettes and cider from Brittany. It was soooo delicious. Then we wandered around in the Marais, and ducked into a few more parks to sit, relax, and people-watch.  As much as we love our apartment this year, we find ourselves always going back to the Marais, with all of its quaint charm, character, lovely little shops, and wonderful “squares”.  On the way back home we stopped in at the BHV, a department store that we love. Home by 6, in time for a little Happy Hour, and then dinner.

On Pont St-Louis, the small bridge that connects the two islands,there are generally people playing music or performing in some way in order to make a little money from the tourists who stop to listen or watch. We put some coins in the box and then snapped a few shots of this little boy, who was playing along with his dad. He played very well, but the sad expression on his face made me want to walk over and give him a great big hug.

This boulangerie in the Marais catches my eye every year. The bakers must be artists as well, as you will see.

Notice the guys in the upper left corner are little mice!

Closer look at the mice. They are so cute.

I take pictures of the pastel-colored goodies on the bottom shelf every year, yet I still don't know what they are. Maybe this trip is the time to for me to find out?

Les macarons- wouldn't you like to pop one into your mouth?

Lots of very nice wine shops in the Marais, too. (Joe!) This is organically grown, and it's delicious.

Here's Lee in la Musee Carnavalet. This is a truly wonderful museum of French history, in the Marais.

On a wall in the Carnavalet. Lee and I both looked at it and in unison said, "Sunday Morning". If you get it, you get it, if not, it's OK!

In the courtyard of the Carnavalet. Twist-your-ankle authentic cobblestone. Takes you back in time for sure.

I sat on one of these benches at the magnificent Places des Vosges in the Marais. Last year our apartment was one block away. i miss being so close.

The lovely fountains in the center of Places des Vosges.

Under those arches-- lovely galleries, shops, and wonderful cafes.

Now… Time for galettes at the Breizh Café.  ( More-from David Lebovitz)

To start: a jug of wonderful cider from Brittany.

Then, for Lee, a galette with egg, ham, fromage, and hearts of artichokes.

For me, a galette with egg, fromage, tomatoes, squash, and fresh spinach. Both: DELICIEUSES!

Then a visit and relaxing on a bench in Square Georges Cain, in the Marais.

Relaxing in a "square" in Paris on a "San Diego" day.

These two guys were really into their game of chess.

Then… a slow walk through the Marais on our way to BHV.

A fairly new restaurant in the Marais that is said to have a great Sunday brunch. I love the name: Des Gars dans la Cuisine, which means "Some guys in the kitchen".

I have seen so many little girls in Paris with this very chic "cut". So cute.

Two of them, actually...

We love the BHV. We were looking for those very French white house numbers on navy blue metal plates for our house.

Remember this in the square of l'Hotel de Ville?

Au Revoir! Imagine digging up ALL of the work that must have gone into this. We are betting that by Monday, there will be no sign that the wonderful project was ever here.

And back in our "neck of the woods" right around the corner from our apartment.

Tomorrow will be an exciting day for me and Lee.  In early March, I made friends with a wonderful French lady from Evian, France, named Noelle. We met on Babel, a language-learning internet site, and we have been corresponding regularly, ever since. In addition to our love for each other’s language and country, we have many common interests, including talking incessantly about our grandhildren, who are about the same ages.  A few months ago, Noelle generously booked tickets to fly into Paris this weekend, with her friend Armelle, just so that we can meet! We will be meeting up mid-morning tomorrow, and oh what an adventure it will be.  Full report tomorrow night!

Fete Nationale en France- Day 11

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Today was Bastille Day, which the French more commonly refer to as “le 14 Juillet, or just La Fête Nationale.  Here’s what happens in Paris (as we saw it) on this day:  The night before, les sapeurs-pompiers (firemen) sponsor traditional parties known as Les Grands Bals du 14 Juillet.  These are held all over France, and from what we can see here in Paris, are very popular with the young crowd. On the eve of the 14th, there’s lots of activity in the city, because the next day is… a day off. It’s pretty much like at home on the 4th. If you want to see all the festivities, you go down to the mall in DC. Here in Paris, you go to the Champs Elysees to watch the impressive morning-long military parade that begins at the Arc and goes down to la Place de la Concorde. Around noon or so, it’s all over, shops reopen in mid-afternoon, and then in the evening- fireworks at the Eiffel Tower.

Lee and I watched the parade on TV– great coverage and explanations, and we loved the marching band music.  Remember the planes that were practicing earlier this week?  Well they did it for real today. WOW. We watched on TV as the flew over the Arc, and then two minutes later, we watched them LIVE, from our window.  So exciting to see.

Here are some pics, taken from the TV screen:

They were doing gymastics to music from Pirates of the Caribbean. This was awesome.

And then the air show… the shots here are both from the TV as they happened, and then a few minutes later, from my camera, as they flew in front of our apartment window.  It was so impressive and exciting to watch.

Starting off at the Arc...

And within minutes... flying right in front of our window over the Cathedral of Notre Dame!

The smoke trail, hovering over Notre Dame ... I wish I hadn't zoomed in so you could have seen the Cathedral too!

At the Hotel de Ville, a demonstration by les sapeurs-pompiers (firemen) showing how they rescue people from the buildings in Paris.

Voila! Loved the demonstration.

After watching the parade we decided to take a day off too, and just relax in the apartment.

Lee is keeping a very close eye on this as well. In a week and a half, these guys will be riding down les Champs Elysees.  Lee has every intention of being there for that.

I don't think he was too happy with the way things went today!

After dinner in the apartment, we went out to walk and watch the fireworks.  We chose le Pont des Arts. Last year we went one bridge closer to the Eiffel Tower, and had a much better view than we did tonight. We enjoyed the festive atmosphere, nonetheless.

People gathering on the bridge.

At exactly 11 p.m. the lights on the Eiffel Tower went out, and the show began.  Very poor shots here, oops, I should have read the manual for my new little camera beforehand.

I just have to end this with a couple of a slightly better shots taken on the walk back home :)

C’est tout for today!

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