Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A week and three days back in Paris...
The weather is warming - much different then when I stepped off the plane a week and a half ago. I even wore sandals all over the city yesterday.
I'm so glad that I arrived before the ash cloud erupted. I feel so terrible for all of those travelers stuck in airports all over the world....just trying to get back home.
L and I had planned a trip to Ireland - but, decided it might be best for everyone just to reschedule for a later date.
I strolled around the city last week. It was nice to remember streets and places and feel acquainted with the city again. I stopped by the Notre-Dame and was fortunate enough to see a mass taking place. The ceremony seemed to echo throughout the cathedral - and there was a peaceful quiet inside - even with the many visitors pouring through the front doors. The darkness inside made the many stained-glass windows seem all the more brilliant.
In front of the church this boy was attracting the little birds - enticing them with crumbs of bread held in his hands. They would fly right up to him and eat right out of his hand.

The ceremony...

The candles illuminating for prayers

I stumbled upon this wonderful carousel in the square in front of the Hotel de Ville.

Check out this lion!

I absolutely love this giraffe!
Check out this little latter to help get up to the seat.
The cost:
Adults and children cost about $3.50 a ride
Here is my fabulous art store....I thought I'd include a picture!
It's all the way across town and a bit of a haul to get material - but, with four floors of art supplies - it's sure worth the trip!

Just a picture of town during one of my walks...

More bistros....

Oh, the bike rentals! I am so tempted to rent these bikes. I'm actually dying to! But, I'm still too nervous to ride them on any streets around here! I might just have to stick to the parks! The traffic is so intimidating - and fast- and crazy! I even witnessed a taxi accident yesterday - nothing too slammed into the back of another. It would be terrible to be on vacation and have been in a taxi accident. Ugh.
Anyway, there are lots of bike lanes.
The bikes pictured are the Velib program:
bikes are all over the city just like this to "rent" - you pay and get a card, swipe it, unlock a bike and are off biking! Then return when you are finished - here or at another location!

Sculpture in the park

In the background of this photo - you can just barely see the Eiffel Tower
Oh, on a Rick Steves' recommendation (which, by the way, I love the Rick Steves' series so we are using the Paris 2010 Rick Steves as our guide)
we ventured out to eat here:
L'Enoteca - in the Marais neighborhood

It was such a charming little restaurant! Color splashes everywhere - from the red, blue, yellow plates on the tables - to the hanging modish lights above!
The antipasti bar is what drew me to pick this place - as we had a wonderful experience with an antipasti bar (wine bar) while we visited Rome. And while this couldn't compete with that place - this was still a wonderful little gem! Here is a picture of the antipasti bar:
The waitstaff filled our plate with their choices and here was the final product:
Roasted zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, fritatta
L ordered the veal and I got creamy risotto with asparagus - and we both agreed that mine was clear winner!
Delicious! Molto bene!

Speaking of Italian places:
Here is one of our favorites. This place is a local hit - you have to squeeze in through the front door to grab a seat. (Which, is actually how you have to do it at most restaurants!) But, the interior is lively and fun and full of life - the waitstaff are full of cheer, busy, and always smiling. The pizza is gigantic - flowing out over the sides of the plate - and always filled with the best ingredients and so fresh.
"A real delight" as L would say!

A local flower shop - check out these colors!

Oh, and here is another Rick Steves' recommendation:
Le Bistrot Mazarin - near Odeon in the 6th

The books claims that it's "perfectly Parisian" - which seems fitting!
The restaurant was cozy inside - aside from the older drunk gentleman at the bar who was stumbling around when we slipped in - it did have a warm interior. The sidewalk tables were filled with locals - but, we decided to eat inside since it was starting to cool down. The two waiters were flying around the place (that is literally our waiter flying by at the left of the photo) filling orders, delivering food, greeting customers. They were magnificent to watch!

The waiters to the left of the photo!
L ordered the duck which was called "great" in the book. He enjoyed it - thought the menu looked great and is excited to return to try other options - namely the caesar salad. I ordered the pasta salad with grilled vegetables - which I thought was going to be hot...but, was actually a cold salad - although was still very good. All of the salads arriving at the other tables looked delicious. Large, fresh and delicious.

Puces de Vanves
Flea Market at Porte de Vanves
We headed out to the flea market on Sunday morning -
my favorite! It is amazing to see all of the different vendors every week. The items they have range from little trinkets to huge pieces of furniture and fixtures.
Here are some photos I snapped of the market:

It's well organized with vendors on both sides. It was a bit crowded on Sunday - since it turned out to be a wonderfully warm and sunny day.

Discussing the value....

Colorful dishes, plate, bowls...

Lamps, cups and saucers...

Paintings and statues...

Old antique dolls, oversized chairs, vases, desks, clocks...

Records and paintings...

Boxes and boxes of books...

Whatever it is that you are not looking for...
you will find it here!

The vendors back their vehicles up to the sidewalk and unload their goods. At the end of the market - whatever hasn't sold gets loaded back into the vans and trucks for next week.

So, we did have some good finds! I'll take pics and post them later.
A worn leather briefcase, an old book, antique buttons and antique travel postcards from vacation destinations in Europe! Wonderful finds for my books!

Musee Du Louvre

Okay, that's it for now.
I'll try to update more often with more pictures and travel stories!

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