Saturday, July 31, 2010


Well, I did leave out an "erie" place with delectable food in my post from yesterday: crêperie! However, this is more a street-vendor than a true crêperie.

In June he was at the corner of St. Germain and rue Bonaparte, in front of St. Germain des Prés church, with a steady line of customers day and night. We saw him several times each day as we exited the Mètro St. Germain des Prés. Certainly, it was necessary to have a banana and Nutella crêpe, but more than one?

I believe that Nutella is originally from Italy, but crêpes on the street just screams Paris to me! I carried jars home from Paris until I realized that the magic of the internet would bring this nectar right to my door. Even Delta Airlines has little individual packets in their club rooms now. Well, they did until someone (?) scarfed them all! Miam-miam.....

Friday, July 30, 2010

Boulangerie St Louis -- miam, miam

Boulangerie, pâtisserie, fromagerie, charcuterie,
épicerie, marchand de vin....

How can you not love the French language with the beautiful sounds of these words! As a quiz, which of the above does not belong? You say "marchand de vin" as there is no alliteration? Oh, mais non! Je pense que tu te tort because how can you stop at each of these and not also stop in at the wine shop for une bouteille de vin rosé to round out le dîner? (Trick question, n'est-ce pas?)

J'adore baguettes! At any time of day you will likely find a queue for the warm baguettes, and the aroma of baking bread will lure you off the street. I found this scene at Boulangerie St Louis (on Ile Saint Louis) on my recent June trip to Paris, and identified with the young woman who seems to be having trouble with her decision. The little person in the stroller looks quite interested as well!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Restez cool -- bien sûr!

Living in a city without "comprehensive public transportation" I am fascinated at how easy it is to get to anywhere, anywhere at all, in Paris. Nothing is more fun than plotting out the "path" with the fewest transfers to get from Point A to Point B in Paris. The first half-dozen times in Paris I only rode the Métro (or RER) and walked. After facing the challenge of the bus routes, I found that you might actually get to Point B quicker on a bus and take in the sights à la fois!

Métro Mabillon was a regular stop on my visit to Paris in juin and I was encouraged by M. Cantona's velvety French to "Restez cool." Since the high temperature in Paris during the week of my visit was about 65F (18C) it was not difficult to follow his direction. I wonder if the Parisians commuting in the sweltering temperatures of 30C and above wish that all the Métro passengers were buying his product.

Eric Cantona, il est beau gosse or as Cécile would say "Trobooogosse" (which was, of course, not in any translator but being a smart girl I figured it out -- wink)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

La Fête de la Musique -- un quartet de jazz

(photo above courtesy of Marie -- merci)

What a great idea -- music on every corner, in every church, and in every café for the summer solstice on 21 juin. This year the jazz quartet at Pré aux Clercs (on the corner of rue Jacob and rue Bonaparte) attracted a large crowd as did the well-known Les Deux Magots only a block away. All of Paris (and all of France) was full of music this day.

Great way to celebrate the beginning of summer! Is there a celebration for the beginning of fall? As if I needed an excuse to return to Paris!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Marché alimentaire -- (and a petite shopper)

As we popped out of the Métro on avenue de Villiers (in the 17ième) ma fille Holly spied this little food store. As I took photos of the brightly colored produce, the little pink tricycle caught my eye. It was carefully parked alongside the store.

Within a minute, this pert little miss in a Pooh helmet and red coat exited, placed her purchases in the rear basket, and pedaled away with maman a step or two behind. When you get out of the touristy areas of Paris you will likely find many little vignettes to make you smile.

Monday, July 26, 2010

À bientôt, Le Tour!

To any/all of those reading this who are either French or feel a connection to France, I absolutely love les trois premières semaines du mois de juillet: Le Tour de France! What a stroke of genius over 100 years ago for a sporting event that captures the heart of the world and displays the amazing cities and countryside of France. How could you not want to visit every ville along the route? I will be a bit sad tomorrow knowing that the broadcasts from France are over until next year.

All there is left to say is: "Merci, le Tour!" "Merci, Henri Desgrange!"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Église Saint-Séverin -- Les Cierges

Although this scene would have you believe that this is a dark, dimly lighted church, Saint-Séverin is diverse with ancient windows from the 14th century and these contemporary abstract windows in the apse chapels which were created in 1970. Depending on the season and time of day, you can see the total spectrum of light and dark. You will be amazed at the twisted pillars which some say look like palm trees. This church has a wealth of interesting features and I will bring you here again.
Église Saint-Séverin can be found in the 5th arrondisement, on rue Saint-Séverin.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pylones -- Il vous fera sourire!

Have you ever wondered why simple utilitarian objects could not be whimsical and colorful? Well, in 1985 this company was founded in France and transformed everyday objects into brilliant conversation pieces. Even the website of Pylones is playful and animated and can be found here. You can find Pylones stores in New York and many other cities of the world, but the products offered in the USA are not as varied as those seen on the French website and in Paris. I imagine that many Parisians do not give these stores a second glance as the numbers of boutiques have increased. One can definitely get "quirky overload"!
So what do they make? writing pens, cheese graters, puppy dog bookends, combs and brushes, des parapluies with dots and stripes, staple removers with fangs (oh my!), and even frog toasters (not for cooking frogs, bien sûr!)

Not sure that you would want a whole room full of these products but a little object or two will certainly make you smile.

Can you guess the sport of this colorful team of men?

Magnetic paper clip holders that will chirp whether you really want to listen or not. I have one and just try not to touch it too often -- shhhhh!

Friday, July 23, 2010

La fontaine Médicis -- A quiet place

After Starman's request to feature Catherine de Médicis' fountain in Jardin du Luxembourg, I wondered if I would risk saying that it is my favorite "quiet place" in Paris. A risk, because with each trip to Paris comes the discovery of new favorites and wondering if at some point in the future I would have to toss this special place aside for un nouveau endroit. Certainly someone will remind me if/when that time comes. Hummm, a dilemma.

This is not a secret place but mostly a quiet, shaded, cool space in the enormous, multi-faceted Jardin du Luxembourg. The fountain is found just east of the Sénat with the closest entrance at Place P. Claudel. The long basin of water is shaded by a canopy of plane trees, inviting a contemplative atmosphere. The familiar green chairs line the two sides of the basin backed by a screen of draped green garlands, shielding the scene from the less serene areas of the park seen here.

I will bring you back here again, but will leave you with this thought. This is my favorite quiet place in Paris. There now-- I've said it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jardin du Luxembourg -- un répit petit

You could spend at least a week in le Jardin du Luxembourg and not grow weary of the scene. It can be a quiet place to read, even on the busiest weekends. It affords little corners for reflecting and musing -- True to the expectations of une étrangère I hear the tender words of lovers on one side of the gravel path and the playful squeals of children on the other. In certain areas, there are people on the grass but not on this lawn!

Arrive early to find a coveted green chair, and once "installed" in a prime location there is no rush to leave. In warm weather the hexagon-shaped basin will be full of activity as young children maneuver sailboats across its surface and the resident ducks seem to enjoy the action. From my observation, there are as well some full-grown fish (perhaps bass?)

You may be surprised at day's end that your book has not even been opened -- too much else to enjoy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hung out to dry

Le cinquième étage, window with a view of Paris rooftops, purring appartement chat, quiet locked courtyard, a gentle breeze....

I play an imaginary role as I fashion myself a Parisian, shopping in the market, having "un noisette" in the corner café at "sept heures et demie" each day, greeting the young couple from le deuxième étage as we pass in the courtyard....

It just does not get any better than this! Yet, when the time comes I am ready to return to my regular life, my everyday existence, le quotidien.....

To dream of the next trip to Paris...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dodo Manège -- Un carrousel

Dodo Manège, so read the hand-painted wood sign in front of this picturesque carousel, a merry-go-round of extinct and endangered species. Closed in the winter with the green tarp sealed tightly, it is a must-see for my warm-weather trips to Paris. It is found near the southeast entrance to Jardin de Plantes (Metro: Gare D'Austerlitz) and can be located by the sounds of the carousel music and children's laughter.

You will not see many tourists but parents, grandparents, children -- local families out for an afternoon. To ride the green T. Rex or perhaps the Dodo, each child clutches un billet until it is handed over to the ticket collector. Indulged most likely by grandparents, some children ride time and again, some changing animals each time the manège stops and others guarding the "first-come" rights to the same favorite animal.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Des Chapeaux: Rouge et Rose

Oh la la! A confession: J'adore bien les chapeaux! It is not quite the obsession I have with les chaussures but only because I do not wear one daily, bien sûr.

The vision of these beauties in Le Bon Marché were too much for my camera to resist and thankfully I managed to get a shot before being chastised. Did I purchase one? Malheureusement, non. A big hat presents a real challenge to carry home, and on another day I will share "that" story (and photo) with you!

Note: The link above only has the logo for Le Bon Marché so it may be in transition. However, this post on Peter's Paris has a wealth of information with photos. Merci, Peter!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Angels and Mary

The churches of Paris are, as an understatement, just stunning. La Madeleine, or more formally, L'Église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, is one that I frequently visit. When your flight arrives at CDG from Atlanta at 5:00am and your hotel is not ready, you can always visit a café or a church. Not much else is open and the Parisians are mostly still nestled in their beds. La Madeleine is warm in the winter when it is raining (or worse) outside, and it is cool in the heat of summer.

This is a photo of the altar and to give you an idea of the size/scale just look at the chair on the left. The enormous statue by Charles Marochetti shows the ascension of St Mary Magdalene accompanied by three angels. Above the altar is a beautiful detailed mosaic by Lameire.

The special attraction to ma fille Holly is that her beloved and now deceased French teacher was married here many years ago.

I'll tell you another time about the music and the people we met at La Madeleine.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


In December my daughter Holly and I went on a pastry hunt across Paris. It was our goal to find at least 5 patisseries which we had never visited. Bien sûr, part of the challenge included a sampling of the wares, all in the interest of scientific research!

This photo comes from Eric Kayser which is our daily stop on rue Monge so it did not count in our devious self-imposed contest. On the left is a périgourdin (chocolate, walnuts, caramel) and next to it an arabesque (apricots). I am not sure about the one on the right. You can barely see one in the upper left-hand corner which is a Mont-Blanc (so divine).

There will be more about the pastry hunt and I haven't even gotten to the macaron story (obsession) yet!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Il est très sérieux

One more photo before we leave le quatorze juillet -- There was a whole batallion of these guys with big guns, some with bayonets. I have never seen so many tanks, trucks, and weapons in a row, ever! The uniforms range from the simple as seen here to the elaborate. This guy was the only serious one in the crowd waiting for the parade to begin. Maybe he was Big Cheese's lookout.

From what I saw, every soldier, sailor, wheeled vehicle, horse, weapon (tout) that is part of the French military was there on Champs Élysées. The crowd was well behaved -- bien sûr, with all of that weaponry present!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hail to the Chief!

The procession begins with President Sarkozy who stands tall (?) as he rides down the Champs-Élysées, la plus belle avenue du monde. Obviously, this year's weather does not match the blue skies of 2008 -- I stood alone making friends at the barricades for 4 hours to see the parade from Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde. Quelle bonne fête nationale!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Inspection for Bastille Day

The last minute inspection before Sarkozy and the procession on Champs Elysees -- The colors and variations of uniforms is mind-boggling!

I am excited to join the community of photo bloggers and all the amazing French/Paris blogs I enjoy! Thanks, Virginia, for your mis-guidance (JB, you too).