Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dinner with Alice

Our niece Alice has been staying with us for a couple of days and took us out to dinner at a nearby brasserie. 

Duck was on the menu so I knew what I had to have. It was not as good as the duck breast I had in rural France many years ago where I moaned my way through the meal, but it was still pretty good.

Marianne and Alice had salmon. It wasn't amazing but was good.

Marianne and Alice.

Marianne said the chocolate thing was pretty good.

Alice had creme caramel.

The prunes in Armagnac was really good. I should do this at home. If you like brandy and have never tried Armagnac then you should really buy a bottle of the stuff. For some reason or other, it has a natural affinity with prunes. In addition, the area that it comes from is one of the prettiest in France, and that is saying something.

To be honest, this was our only dinner out in Paris but when you have a supermarket four floors down and markets all around as well as a kitchen, you tend to eat in. And this is why we like house exchanges, here we live like we are living there. Most people don't go out every night to eat, most stay at home and cook. 

We have been away from home for about ten weeks and it has been fabulous. Right now we are ready to go home but that is usually the case at the end of a long holiday. Our own bed will look pretty good.

Even Catty-watty might look good though she will probably give us a good scolding.

Paris - the last day

Our niece Alice requested that we go to l'Orangerie which has the famous elliptical rooms housing Monet's mural paintings of the waterlilies at Giverny.

But first, this photo is for my sister Clare. Here is a pair of booties for Ric.

We came out of the Metro at the Place de la Concorde. This is the power of the old France on display. There was a time when only England could possibly be considered as being as wealthy or powerful.

Your usual grand French gate.

Unfortunately, yet again photography is not allowed. There were attendants everywhere through out the building making sure cameras were not used. We arrived at 12:30 and there were no lines at all. We just walked in, had bags checked and bought tickets. I think that is the secret for seeing the really famous attractions. Arrive at 12:30 when most people who arrived at opening time at 10:00 are getting hungry and have seen enough. They are at lunch.

It's a well known museum for those who know art but not for the masses who only know of the Mona Lisa. There is a reasonably sized crowd but you don't feel overwhelmed by the hordes. It's possible to sit on one of the benches for quite some time in front of one of the famous murals and really take the time to become immersed in it. It's actually the best way. In Paris the phrase to remember is

less is more

There is a really good extra section downstairs featuring more artists from the period. This whole museum is well worth visiting.

Our daughter Robin sent us an email requesting us to check out a ritzy chocolate shop. They have a few outlets in Paris but all were shut in August except for one on Boulevard Saint Germain. We therefore decided to walk there and started off along the right bank of the Seine towards the Latin Quarter. 

All along the north bank are peniches (barges) lined up two deep. Some are really set up as permanent houses and not for actually going anywhere.

There could be worse things in life than living here. The barges are quite long so there is plenty of room.

There are quite a few boats carrying tourists up and down the river. They are usually crowded since the price of a ticket is usually less than 10 euros. 

Corner of the Louvre.

The Louvre is absolutely enormous. It just goes on and on and on.

You can't have a blog of the banks of the Seine without a photo of a pair of young lovers.

The Louvre just keeps going on and on. I think if you really wanted to see it thoroughly you would need to spend a year there. And then another year to see the things you missed the first time around. And a third year to visit the things you had forgotten about.

Pedestrian bridge, the Pont du Carrousel.

We came across a lot of stall selling books, paintings and postcards.

As an experiment, part of the Right Bank has been turned into a beach.

Let's say they dumped a bunch of sand. A beach usually implies that the adjacent water can be entered and I did not see any evidence of swimmers. Still, you do what you can do when you need a beach.

Downstream tip of the Île de la Cité.

Another tour boat getting ready to embark a horde. 

It was a hot sunny day and I suspect most of the people were downstairs in the shade. We've had wonderful weather in Paris considering it is August. Today was probably the hottest day with a temperature of about 80 degrees.

Yes, the hunch back is still there.

Boulevard St-Michel. There is not much evidence of the great thinkers and writers who gathered in the cafes on this street anymore. It's basically a place to be avoided now.

This blurry photo is of the inside of Patrick Roger's chockie shop that Robin asked us to check out. It's on the north side of the street so they have really dark glass in the shop windows to prevent the heat getting in. To actually see anything, you have to go inside.

Click on the photos to see the prices.

They gave us a free sample and the taste of the chocolate was very intense.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Parc André Citroën

When we were planning our final long walk in Paris we could see a park to the west of where we were staying right by the Seine. That was to be our destination. You can see the blog about the walk to the park here.

The Parc André Citroën is a comparatively new park in Paris. It is on the site of the old Citroen Factory and was opened in 1992.

The park has some large open spaces but a lot of smaller, darker and mysterious enclaves.

There are two greenhouses and while they did have some plants in them, you could not go in. I got the feeling the buildings were now used for receptions.

A large tethered balloon that can carry passengers up to about 150 meters. Apparently the balloon can change colours according to the air quality. It did not appear to be operating, possibly because of the breeze.

One of the glass houses.

Children enjoying the fountains between the glass houses.

Sunbathing was popular.

Interesting pebble pattern.

Reflection of the balloon. Most of the buildings in the area are modern.

If you click on this photo to enlarge it you will see that they have provided  lounge style seats.

On the ground you can see a pattern in the grass.

They have put down these plastic mats that the grass grows through It seems to be effective in high traffic areas.

The park was much more interesting than we expected. There seemed to be very few tourists and the majority of people appeared to be ordinary Parisians.