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Monday, April 22, 2013

Un Bon Weekend

We are going to Biarritz!
I have not fallen off the face of the earth--I have been in the southwest of France with our good friend, Thomas Ung. We left insanely early on Saturday to catch an EasyJet flight to Biarritz.

I see wonderful things...

The beach at Biarritz

We walked around a bit, enjoyed the sea air, then drove to St. Jean de Luz.
St Jean de Luz arch

Inside the church where
Louis XIV was married.

For lunch we headed to the home of the parents of Thomas' friend, Mathias. He and his girlfriend, Eva, treated us to a true basque lunch. We sat in the sun, took our time, enjoyed a great Rioja reserva and talked--in French, Spanish and English.

The cathedral in Bordeaux.
After lunch, Thomas drove us to Bordeaux(stopping a couple of times for him to nap). We walked around a bit, then had dinner--by this time we were both tired and grumpy.

A ferocious guard.
We had a good night sleep, woke late, then headed to St. Emillion.
part of the city wall

Bordeaux is beautiful, but St. Emillion is something completely different. It was a medieval walled city on a hillside. Stone everywhere, and buildings that have stood for 100s of years.

We had lunch here, then walked around. I took so many photos this weekend that I killed the battery in the camera. Thank goodness I can take pics with my camera, too.

My Croque Monsieur

Thomas' tuna and shrimp salad

Some pistachio, hazelnut and chocolate
ice cream for dessert.
Cloisters in the cathedral

someone's house
The last medieval building that survives.
One of the many beautiful streets

Inside the Bordeaux cathedral.
We headed back to Bordeaux and walked around some more. We were headed to the river Dordogne and stumbled on a huge flea market. I found a old piece of lace and eyelet, probably cut from a petticoat. The price was 20€, but I hesitated, so it dropped to 15€.

We stopped for coffee near the center of town and enjoyed the sun, visited the church which was started in the 1090s, and had dinner at a place close by. We got ice cream for our walk back to hotel. I have always liked flower flavored food, but the violet gelato was the best ever.
Now we are headed back to Paris on the train--Thomas to work and me to spend time with Mario before I head to my last destination--Cologne, Germany (Köln).

I am trying to catch up, but there so much to see!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dans ma Rue...

My apartment is on the left,
right above the windows with flowers.
That's a little grocery on the ground floor.
I woke up really early this morning, so I took my time heading to the office and took some photos in the neighborhood, on the way and near the office.

There are beautiful things everywhere: the brickwork, the railings, doors, windows.  
The market from the movie "Ameilie"

Heating and ventilation business--still in operation

A church right next to the metro Abesses

I noticed on the metro trains some of the graffiti is done by scratching the steel on the doors and panels instead of using paint. 
This one is in an elevator at Abesses metro station. (this station has a LOT of stairs, even for Paris)

Kumar made me a little nervous about the area around the office, but it is fine. It is not a tourist area, so you see far more "real" businesses. One of my favorite things in the morning is seeing the parents take their kids to school. A mother on a scooter flew by me on scooter --her daughter on the back wearing a "Hello Kitty" helmet.
A tailor near the office.
Bike lanes in Paris!
Quiche Lorraine

There are bike lanes in this neighborhood, and they are in the middle of the sidewalks. You really have to watch when you cross these, and it is easy to wander into them if you're not paying attention.

Today Jimy treated me, Momo and Cedric to lunch. We went to a traditional bistrot right next to the canal St Martin.

Steak au Poivre

Doors at the Louvre 

After work I headed out to find a bathing suit (Thomas said I need one for the weekend and I did not bring one) I was little annoyed, but it was a new experience, I found one I like and the salesgirl was really nice. Don't count on seeing any photos of that. I also found some nice little gifts to bring back.

On my way to BHV (department store), I stopped to watch and listen to a great jazz band in the station.
I left BHV and headed toward the museums--I thought I might pop in, but ended up just walking around taking more photos.
On my way to the museums, I had to stop again--this time for a 12-piece group playing classical music.
The last musical treat was in one of the passage ways near the Louvre. A single cello--my favorite--especially haunting, the way the sound echoed in the passage.

Back to the apartment, and a few more photos.

A sandwich shop in Montmartre

Tonight's dinner (no, I don't plan to eat all those cookies)

That's all for tonight! I am posting a fraction of the photos I'm taking. I plan to get them all together (maybe a slide show?) after I get back and recover from jetlag and reacquaint myself with my husband and dogs. So if this isn't enough for you, just wait!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pizza a Paris? Mais Oui!

So after the insane upside down heavy-on-the-sugar 'dinner' last night, I swore I would take it easy today--maybe a salad at a cafe or a simple sandwich from the boulangerie.
Pizza Calabrese
But then Cedric asked if I wanted to join him, Hussein and Vincent for pizza. How could I possibly say no? If you've never been to Paris, or have, but never had pizza, it is a fact that the best pizza is in Paris. I had read this before we ever visited and was unsure, but I have experienced it myself, and it really is good. Today was no exception.

I have arrived in heaven!

I left work a little early today since I wanted to hit the fabric district which is so nicely located a few blocks from the apartment. BIG mistake. I controlled myself, but it was not easy. Let me just say this is mecca for sewists and fabric whores (you know who you are).  There aren't just fabric stores here, but also stores dedicated to the little stuff: buttons, hooks, needles, ribbons, scissors, etc, etc.

There are 4 floors in Tissus Reine, though only 2 have clothing fabrics. Those floors have these really cool half scale mannekins in sassy poses dressed in really well made clothes. I will probably have to return since I was not able to get anyone's attention to cut some really nice eyelet. I did get a cool rayon/lycra knit in a mod print and some buttons to go with the Liberty lawn I bought last week.

Inside Tissus Reine (Fabric Queen)
I have a new plan that I conceived today. At Liberty in London I bought a book of sweater patterns. I also wanted to buy British yarn to knit it up, but 16 skeins just seemed like too much to carry, so I bought six, thinking I could make a scarf instead. I got all natural colors. Today I found a yarn shop in Paris, "Laine" (wool in French). No French wool, but I got some beautiful Alpaca (from Peru, I think) in similar natural colors. I just need to find 6 skeins in Germany and will have enough to make a sweater.

I'm hanging out on the terrace right now--such a beautiful day. I'll head to a place close by that Momo recommended. He said the fondue is really good. meh. I can diet when I get home.

Bonne soiree,


Un Soir a Paris

I apologize for not posting last night--this time I can blame on Thomas Ung. We met at Cour St. Emilion (12th arrondissement).
I arrived a little early, so I walked around a bit. My photos may appear a little dreary, but spring has arrived (en fin) to Paris.

Proof that Spring has arrived!

A light snack before dinner.

Typical Thomas had us walk about 5 miles to a patisserie for appetizers.We walked another mile, including about 2000 steps and sat on a bridge over the Seine to eat our decadent little cakes.

After our orgy of sugar and chocolate, we need to walk it off, so we wandered about for awhile longer, then to our destination--a basque restaurant in the 13th. The wait was 45 minutes, so guess what we did? Yep, we walked some more. I'm not complaining so much since I am probably consuming 5 x the calories I should. It is just so difficult to pass on all this amazing food.

Basque Salad

I know that Parisians eat late, but was still surprise at how many people were out eating dinner at 10.
The metros has plenty of people on them (though not packed like it is during commute hours), and Montmartre actually felt safer to me without all the tourists.
When I headed out to meet Thomas earlier it looked a concert was being set up, but it turns out they were filming a movie or tv show. They seemed to be in full swing when I returned at 11:30.

on the left: pastry filled with Nutella
on the right, Chassure du Pomme ("Apple Shoe")

Back to the morning, Momo brought pastries from his favorite patisserie (Merci a toi, Momo!)

Emilie invited me to lunch with a few folks from the team--Momo told them I like asian food, so we went to a Japanese restaurant. I tried to take photos of the team, but the light was too low, but here is my bento box. Trivia: potstickers (dumplings) are called ravioli here.

everywhere I go---stairs!

Tonight I plan to stay close the apartment and get to bed a little earlier, so I should be able to post later.

A ce soir,


Monday, April 15, 2013

Metro, Boulot, Dodo

I did a pretty typical thing this morning, though I had a much shorter commute than most of my co-workers. I took the metro to work with 100s of other Parisienne. I might have been a little nervous if I hadn't done it again, and Thomas hadn't told me which areas to avoid. The office is small, but nice in an area with very little for tourists (which is fine by me).
The photo above the sofa
I learned today that my French is much better than most Americans and not nearly good enough for work.  I don't want to make my parisian co-workers work in a second (or third) language which means I don't understand most of what they say unless they speak really slowly. The upside is that it is really easy to focus on work.

Momo (Mohammed) took me to lunch. Turns out he really likes Thai food, too, so we went to a place around the corner from the office. He also went with me to the pharmacy for a cream to help the pain in my knee. He plays soccer in a club, so he knows what works.


After work I came back through what I was hoping was the fabric district, but at least one big store is boarded up. I am hoping Reine des Tissus has not suffered the same fate.

I had dinner at a place not far from the apartment, but a little ways from Place de Tetre.

Not bad for a tourist area.

A demain!