Wednesday, December 8, 2010


One of the things I love about travel is interacting with the locals.  These are just some that stand-out:
  • My landlord Frederic and his lovely girlfriend Amelie.  He had a bottle of champagne waiting for us when Margaret and I first arrived.  There was some work being done from the terrace of my apartment - scaffolding up for my full 5 week stay as the workers had to work on the roof of the building next to mine.  Frederic was very apologetic and offered us free meals at two restaurants.  He and Amelie met us for drinks then left us to have a lovely dinner - he had picked up the tab.
  •  The men who worked on that scaffolding who greeted me with a smile and a wave through my window every morning.
  •  Frederic's assistant who told me to be sure and phone if there was a problem flying out the next day as the apartment was available if we had still needed a place to stay.
  •  Jean-Jacques (met through Frederic) who works at the restaurant downstairs.  (It was nice to have a contact close by "just in case")
  •  The woman who works at the bakery "somewhere" in my neighborhood.  Not only did she greet me with a smile, they also had the best baguette.  Unfortunately I only went there twice when I fell upon it by mistake and never really did figure out exactly where it was.  Go figure.
  •  The woman who works at the bakery right around the corner from my apartment who was although very business-like, she was also pleasant every time I went in to purchase my half-baguette.
  •  The friendly young lady who works at the Cafe Sous Rire a couple of doors down from my usual bakery.  She was very friendly and served with a smile.
  •  The 80'ish year old woman and her friend who were sitting at the next table at the cafe mentioned above.  The older of the two talked up a storm and I enjoyed eavesdropping on their conversation.  She didn't eat her whole meal in one go because she went to talk to a woman at another table (an American who she didn't even know.)
  • The bouncer at our favorite bar who both times we went told us to go ahead inside - no 10 euro cover for us! Yay!
  • The young lad who works at the Baudoyer Market every Saturday.  I'd buy my chicken from him.  He was always pleasant, smiling and joking around.
  • Francois the Paella Man at Baudoyer market who's paella is supposed to be wonderful. I never did try it as I'm not a paella fan but the beef bourgignon was pretty good.  There was a line-up every Saturday and judging by the voices - mostly tourists or perhaps expats.
  • The gentleman who at 7am on a cold dark Sunday morning helped Alex and I to get a taxi to the airport when our shuttle never showed up after we had waited an hour.
  • The man who works at the Chatelets-Les Halles metro station who patiently and with a smile gave me directions twice.
  • The young man with who Margaret and I struck up a conversation as we walked down Boulevard Sebastopol one Saturday evening.
  • The numerous Parisians who stopped me on the street to ask ME for directions.
  • The taxi driver who drove us to the airport - he never stopped talking.  He didn't speak any English.  It was one of my few long conversations in french and we did just fine understanding each other as we talked about various topics including the strike, politics and learning a second language.
  • The wonderful service we had at Les Pietons - and the sangria was ok too.  :)
  • The men who work at the Moroccan food area of Marche des Enfants Rouge - wonderful food and great service.
  • The woman I bought flowers from every Saturday while at the Baudoyer Market.
~ L

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just Some of the Things I Miss

  • Going for walks every single day!  Always something to see!  Interesting people, beautiful buildings/churches.
  • Sitting outside at a cafe for a cup of expensive tea.  Worth every centime!  (I  certainly didn't go to a cafe just for tea every day at the very inflated prices, but when I did treat myself I'd spend at least an hour or more relaxing.  Waiters don't bother you. The table is yours until you get up to leave.)
  • The ringing of the bells from Saint-Merri Church. I'd hear them every hour when I was in my apartment as the church was right around the corner.  I kick myself
    now for never going into that church to visit.  I read recently that it contains the oldest church bell in Paris dated from 1331.
  • Grabbing a crepe from a street vendor - although the choices are numerous including with a layer of Nutella, I preffered mine sprinkled with sugar or with a thick layer of creme de maron (chestnuts).
  • H&M - We don't have any where I live.
  • Promod - Cute clothes at great prices
  • Pylones - They have the cutest gadgets ever!
  • Cafe Oz (Chatelet) - Go there on a Saturday night when everyone dances on the tables until closing at 6am.
  • Discovering new (to me) french singers.  Joyce Jonathan and Zaz are two that stand out.  I bought Zaz's CD while in Paris and have listened to it a lot since I got home!
  • France24 and NRJ - (France24 is a French news station but in the English language.  NRJ is an all music video tv station.)  Hey, when that's all you have to watch you become attached.  I'm actually putting together my own CD of various songs that were played on NRJ.
  • 100%mag - a daily French tv show with short stories - therefore easy to follow.  I watched this every day!
  • This is not something I miss exactly, but I followed very closely the rescue of the 33 miners in Chile.  A story with a fairy tale ending.  An ending that could have gone so badly but ended wonderfully!
  • My Saturday morning routine.  After breakfast I'd walk to Baudoyer Market.  I'd buy a (cooked) chicken and a bunch of flowers.  Then back to the apartment to take the still warm chicken off the bone and make my chicken-rice soup.  I'd eat my soup either for lunch or dinner depending what plans I had that day.
~ L

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Down to miscellaneous

And you thought your neighbours were close?

Saint-Merri Church

Nice job!

Seen in an art store.  Just lovely!  (Artist - Josepha)

Caesar's Head statue next to St-Eustache Church

Wrought iron everywhere

What jet-lag looks like


Thursday, November 18, 2010

La Tour Eiffel and Ladurée

Visiting the Eiffel Tower was at the top of Alex's list of things to see in Paris.  We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.  It had warmed up a lot from the day before and the sun was shining brightly!

It's well organized with two separate lines depending on if you were taking the elevator or taking the stairs.  The line-ups were huge, but the one for the climbers moved very quickly. There are three levels.  You can walk up only as far as the second.  If you want to go to the top you have to take the elevator. It's my understanding the third level is very windy and the view is lovely but it's more difficult to pin-point specific sites of Paris.

Since I'd already been up the tower on a previous visit Margaret and Alex walked the stairs on their own while I sat on a bench to people watch.  Their whole "trip" took an hour which included the wait in line. 

For lunch that afternoon we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at Ladurée on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.  We had a leisurely three hour - three course lunch.  It's a lovely restaurant with a wonderful atmosphere and the food was delicious!  It was worth every Euro and I highly recommend it.

~ L

Monday, November 15, 2010

18th Arrondissement

Although not my first time here, this was a "must do" for us.  We'd been fortunate to have gorgeous weather almost every day but this particular day the weather didn't cooperate - I froze my little toes!  Alex and I took the metro the the 18th arrondissement where we met Margaret.  Basilique du Sacré-Coeur is beautiful!  Unfortunately no photos are allowed inside, but we did venture in to check it out (and to warm up!).

A block away is Place du Tertre.  A small square surrounded by cafes.  The interior has many artists selling their paintings; others just waiting to draw your picture and covered areas with heaters (thank goodness) to grab a bite to eat.

Waiting for a snack?

After lunch we left.  I would have liked to have stayed around longer but we were all so cold. Fortunately this was the nastiest weather we had and the following day was gorgeous - just in time for our visit to the Eiffel Tower...


Friday, October 29, 2010

Catching up

I apologize for my lack of posts.  Once Alex got to Paris I got naughty about posting.  I'm back home now but will continue our adventure in chronological order.

 Note:  This post has many photos


Although I had done a ton of research before going and had a notebook of things to do/see etc. there were many things not in my book that you'd find in any Paris guidebook.  For example going to the Louvre - a no brainer.  Tuileries wasn't in my radar at all but one day Alex and I decided to go to "Le Carrousel du Louvre".  This is a "mall" below the Louvre.  I believe their website says there are 45 stores...felt more like 20 but it passed the time. 

On our way there we strolled through Tuileries Garden which is right next door.  It was a lovely day and there were a ton of people there.  It's a lovely place and nice to get away from the asphalt, people and traffic.

He might be saying "Noooo not again!" hehe

The following day we happened upon a crowd right around the corner from my apartment putting on make up for this:

Its my understanding that Paris isn't the only city that does this annually but it was new to me.  We missed seeing the numerous "zombies" on their walk but spent quite a long time watching them prepare for their journey.

"Zombies (are) were people too"

~ L

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Musée du Louvre

Yesterday was Louvre day.  We spent many hours walking around - a small percentage of it lost.  Dear Louvre,  Please work on your map.  Thank you!  

Here are just a few of my favorites:

Winged Victory

Easter Island head - Isn't he adorable :)

Three Graces

 Reminds us of Sid from the movie Ice Age  hee hee

Beautiful ceiling

Like I have to tell you...

Venus de Milo

Goya - Portrait of Mariana Wald

After hour long walk around the museum we went to Angelina's for some wonderful hot chocolate.  It's as thick as molasses and is served with whipped cream.  A meal in itself.   The chocolate is not too sweet, it's just very rich and major yummy!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's the little things...

Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been sick for the last few days.  I have a miserable cold.  It's slowed me down quite a bit, but I think I'm on the mend.

Going to a new place is never 100% perfect.  There are little things that irk.  They are just little things that are different than you're used to.  I'm not a negative person, life is too short for that.  I like to focus on the positive not just while travelling but in life in general. The following are a few little things I have enjoyed about being here...

  • Walking down little side streets because you just never know what you'll discover
  • Walking a different way home and discovering a place I had wanted to go to, but had thought it was too far away and that my feet just didn't have the ability to walk that long distance that day;
  • Sitting at a cafe, drinking tea and watching all the people go by;
  • Going out to my favorite boulangerie to buy a 1/2 baguette;
  • Going to a bar and end up having such a good time we didn't get home until 4:30am;
  • Going to the market every Saturday to buy a small rotisserie chicken and some flowers;
  • Doing really well with my budget and yet I don't feel like I've missed out;
  • The metro which is hot as hell but is well organized and cheap;
  • That comfortable feeling as I step out the front door of my building and the neighborhood feels like home;
  • Drinking Orangina because not only is it tasty but reminds me of a family trip to France when I was a teenager;
  • Having little chit chats with strangers, whether they be tourists or locals;
  • Lighting the rose scented candle I treated myself to after a long day and just relaxing.
This list is by no means complete.  There's so much to love about being in this city and I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity.  And tomorrow - Alex arrives.  I can't wait to share this wonderful city with him.

~ L

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


(Tip:  For those on my email list for this blog, if you don’t see photos, please visit my blog directly as I have included photos on every entry since arriving in Paris but I realize that not all email programs support embeded images.)

There isn’t much in the way of shopping malls here in Paris.  Off the top of my head I know of two – one at the Louvre underground with 35 shops and the other is Forum des Halles which is just a few minutes from my apartment.  

What you do find here are boutiques and some very very large department stores.  BHV, which is about two blocks from me, is 7 stories and they sell everything including the kitchen sink.  Clothes, cosmetics, art supplies, large and small appliances, linens, furniture, tiles and even a store for pet supplies etc. (What they don’t have is a shoe department and that’s just weird).

The other day I ventured out on the Metro to Galeries Lafayette, another large department store.  This one has more high end brands.  Your Chanel, Louis Vuiton (with a line-up to get in), Tiffany’s, Miu Miu and so on and so forth.  Not everything has designer price tags.  I did purchase a couple of things that didn’t come close to breaking the bank.  They have a huge shoe department but I didn’t get any closer to ending my quest for comfortable shoes.

I have been to Galeries Lafayette every time I’ve come to Paris.  It’s not just about the shopping.  The building is just so lovely inside as per photos below.  Quality may not be great, I was using my IPhone to take photos that day as I had left my digital camera at home.

Window dressing 

The core inside

 ~ L

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens…

Just a few of my favorite things:

Paris on a budget?  I buy a cooked rotisserie chicken at the market and make delicious chicken soup.  There is sea salt and Herbes de Provence at the apartment already, so with the cost of the chicken and some rice I can make 3-4 meals for about 2.15 Euros per meal.  Eat with a hunk of baguette and yum!

Found these shoes for 19 Euros. Real leather and I’m so glad I bought them. They’ve turned out to be the most comfortable shoes I have with me.  Cobblestones are hell on feet!

Wonderful spreadable cheese I have with baguette every day.  Delicious!  The yogurt here is really really good – better than at home but I’m not sure why.  Dark chocolate mousse right from the dairy section of the grocery store.  Amazing!

Treated myself to this little bijou when I was in Krakow.  Love it!

People I’ve met.  Margaret’s sister and cousin.  Her sister doesn’t speak English so there was a little language barrier but we worked it out.  Margaret’s cousin speaks very well in English.

Seen on the window of a shop. Cute!

~ L