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Monday, March 31, 2014

I Knit, You Knit

I spent a good chunk of today hitting knitting and sewing shops around Paris. The first one was mostly sewing supplies, though they had some yarn and knitting books, too: L’Entrée des Fournisseurs
The shop is in the Marais area, tucked in a little courtyard off the street.

I found a beautiful Liberty print in a colorway I hadn't seen before, and the perfect buttons to go with it. 

I also picked up a "learn to crochet" book in French.

My next stop was BHV--one of the big department stores here. Wayne broke a glass in the apartment and I wanted to replace it. Since we couldn't find an exact match, I bought a pair of glasses that I hope Alexandre and Olivier approve of.  After I found and purchased the glasses, I headed up to check out the "mercerie". It was a small store-in-store, Frou Frou. It was pretty small and didn't have anything I really needed, so I went right next door to Phildar, another store-in-store. Here I found another skein of yarn that I bought in Lyon--a cotton-Myocell blend that is supposed to be antibacterial, and a Phildar magazine.
My next stop was at Les Halles, La Droguerie, but I needed a pit stop and some food, so I stopped in an Italian restaurant near St. Eustache and had a glass of wine and a caprese and arugula salad.

La Droguerie was a bit of a scene, and I had two women try to cut in front of me (the salespeople are hip to this and don't usually let it happen), and another two women who were hovering right behind the others complaining about having to wait, even though about 6 other people had been waiting longer. Oh well--there's always someone. I picked up some Linen/Cotton yarn for a scarf, then headed to my final destination: Chat'Laine.

This is a very small but well stocked shop. I asked if I could take photos, and she hesitantly agreed after I explained it was knitting friends and my blog. She only asked that I not photograph her many sample garments (which is too bad, because they were really nice).
She does not accept credit cards, so I had to run around the corner to get cash.
I found some cotton for washcloths and wool/wool blends for some fancy scarves.

I got back to the apartment after 5:30, picking Ibuprofen, a baguette and a chocolate/almond croissant on the way. Wayne had stayed home to rest and play guitar and was happy to see the ibuprofen and baguette.

For dinner we headed down the hill to our favorite local restaurant, Pomodoro. I had pizza and Wayne opted for the lasagna.

Danke Shen!

Wayne and I spent Saturday morning/early afternoon shopping for gifts, then headed back to the apartment, did some grocery shopping, then back to the apartment to wait for our friends, Joerg, Megan and Sophia who were driving from Cologne Germany to spend some time with us.

After we got them settled in, we headed down the street to get pizza. It is amazing what great treatment kids get here. When we walked up, the owner indicated a group of people were getting ready to leave. After a few minutes he told they needed to go because he had this little girl to feed.
Megan and I split an eggplant pizza, Wayne got an anchovy and caper pizza, and Joerg got the lasagna Bolognese.

Saturday Wayne got up and hit the pastry shop for us: Apple, chocolate, almond croissants and a "snail".

Our first stop when we headed out was Bastille--Megan had read about the markets in Paris, and this one was in full force. Fresh fish, meat, sausages, Paella, Lebanese food, gorgeous vegetables, cheese, clothes, leather bags, and my favorite: a notions stand.

Fresh seafood

OMG, yarn! OMG, sewing stuff!
Art or food?

Sophie was so tickled to find a 4-leaf clover.
Next we made our way to Butte de Chaumont--my friend Momo suggested it for a picnic spot--Merci, Momo! We found a great boulangerie a few blocks from the park where we got sandwiches and some desserts.
It was the perfect spot to rest and get some quiet after the frenetic energy of the market.

The bakery near Butte de Chaumont

Latin Quarter
Wayne and Joerg

Our next stop was Notre Dame, on the island in the middle of the Seine river. We walked across the bridge to through the Latin Quarter, then to Jardin du Luxembourg.

Spring in Luxembourg Gardens

Pate (or 'patty' as they call it in the Chicago airport)
We headed back, hung out for awhile to enjoy the view, then made our way just a few blocks to "Petit Parisien" for dinner.
Joerg had been talking about pate (sorry about the lack of proper characters there), so I chose this place in part because they served that and foie gras.
I thought I had gotten a photo of Wayne's duck breast, but apparently not...

Roast Pork

Daurade for Megan.

The creme brulee was perfect

As was the chocolate mousse.
It was so nice to see these guys, and spend a day in a beautiful city with them.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

We are so very lucky

There are so many ways that Wayne and I are lucky, but yesterday I really felt our great fortune for having such wonderful friends over here in France.
I spent most of the day with Segolene fabric shopping around Paris. We started in Montmartre, of course. We looked in a few of the smaller shops along rue D'Orsel, but didn't see anything we were interested in. These are the stores to check out if you are looking for fabric for costumes for dance, skating, or Carnival. They have it all--feathers, faux leather, spandex, whatever, and in between the fabric stores are "merceries"--notions stores. Some are just buttons, appliques and patches, but some of the bigger ones have knitting and needlework supplies, crafts, thread, zippers, scissors, etc.
We finally got up to Marche St. Pierre, one the biggest fabric shops in the area.

Fabric is universal

There are essentially 2 types of fabric stores here: ones that sell by the meter and ones that sell pre-cut lengths, or 'coupons'. I wouldn't call these remnants since most I saw were about 3 metres. I found a nice piece of stretch denim in a woven stripe for 10 Euros.

Our final stop in Montmartre was Tissus Reine, aptly named "Fabric Queen". I love this shop, as do sewists from all over the world. I found some corded trim that I hope will finish my latest Chanel style jacket. I talked Segolene into some linen. Apparently her sewing teacher, who is 86 and makes her baste everything, does not approve of linen because it wrinkles, so I think Sego will be doing this project on the sly.

Lunch in the sun
Next we headed to a shop I'd heard about on Ravelry--a tea shop in a knitting shop, or maybe it was a knitting shop in a tea shop. In any case, Segolene and I had coffee and pastries and I found some sock yarn.  My phone wasn't working, and Wayne wasn't at the apartment to look up the address, so we HAD to stop at a cafe and have Croques (grilled ham and cheese) in the sun while we waited for him to call back.

I'm sorry I didn't take any photos of the shop--I just might have to go back to do that. For knitters this is a must see, though: L'oisive The

France Duval Stall
Our final stop was her favorite shop, France Duval Stalla. This is a very small shop, but she has everything you need for a complete project. She had about 6-8 colors in her pallette, a warm grey, mauve, teal blue, gold (called "banane"), etc. From what I can remember, she had cotton jersey, a cotton/poly knit matelasse, a cotton fleece, woven linen, woven cotton and laminated cotton in matte and glossy. All the fabrics were very high quality, but well priced. She also had thread, zippers, cluny lace, bias and cording, and appliques, all in matching and coordinating colors.

After a little more walking and a quick look in Bon Marche, we headed home.
It was nice to see Segolene (it has been 10 years), and to spend time with a fellow fabric junky.

I went back to the apartment to rest for a bit, find out where we were meeting the Homelidays gang, and let our friend Thomas know.

We ended up in a really hip pedestrian street filled with people and restaurants. We walked up to the restaurant early, and when I looked around, I saw Momo, Linda and Sara sitting at a bar. Since we were early, Wayne and I walked for a bit.

When we got back to to the restaurant, Thomas was waiting for us. Cedric and Ludovine arrived a little later with Lea, their "petit puce" (little flea).
We could not have wished for a better night of friends and food. I felt like we have been welcomed into the true French experience.

Thomas, Wayne, Cedric


The restaurant, Il Tre, an authentic Italian restaurant--imports everything from Italy (except the vegetables, which were very fresh.

What a wonderful day!

Fried Calamari

The little flea has arrived!
Lasagna Bolognese

Ludovine, Linda, Momo, Sara

Cedric and the little flea
Seafood Pasta

Friday, March 28, 2014

Kissing everyone

I love the custom of kissing in France, and I've done a lot of kissing since we arrived.
This was my last day in the Paris office (for this trip, at least), and I was really sad to go. Everyone is so nice and welcoming, they really made me real like part of the team here. Momo especially has taken great care of me (as he does with all visitors), making sure I had tea and lozenges when my throat was sore, that I had plenty of coffee pods, that Wayne and I eat far too much everyday for lunch. For this reason, I have given him a nickname: Père Poule--Father Hen.
I had an amazing pastry from the shop near the office--something between a cake and a croissant with almonds.
The Emile showed up with some pastries in honor of my last day in the the office. I'll have to find the name, but they're like unfilled cream puffs with chunks of sugar on top.

 Wednesday night Wayne said that maybe he wouldn't meet us for lunch the next day, but I told him the guys were taking us to a sushi restaurant since I had mentioned how much Wayne loves salmon. Of course, he joined us for lunch.

At the end of the day, I said my good-byes, kissed everyone and headed back to Montmartre.

We will see Momo and Cedric one more time, Friday night. Our friend Thomas, who we've known since he worked with me at Borland in 2001 will join us, and Cedric's girlfriend, Ludovine and their baby, Lea, if Lea cooperates.

I had some time to hang out with Wayne, then we headed to the area North of Sacre Coeur to meet Segolene, another person we've known for a very long time. She lives with her family near Bordeaux now, but came up to see us and spend the day fabric shopping with me tomorrow.
It was so great to see her after 11 years--she has two little girls now, and her own internet based business, but she hasn't changed at all.
She picked a great restaurant (thanks to her brother who lives in Paris): Le Preum's. The food was excellent--very fresh and with a great blend of spices.