Sunday, May 31, 2009

Guess Where We Went Today III ? - The Bird/Flower Market

This afternoon we visited the famous Bird/Fleur Market near Notre Dame. The children had a fabulous time seeing the birds, fish and assorted rabbits, guinea pigs etc. Melissa and I enjoyed the flowers and the quaint gift shops. After that, we ventured across the bridge to Ile St. Louis. Well that was another crowd fest. In a city like Paris, you can get some fabulous glacé on every corner. We were amazed at the long long lines of people queing up for it at a few select shops there today. We did a little window shopping and then crossed back to Notre Dame. Forget getting to see inside that lovely cathedral this time of year. The lines were half way around the block. Not to worry, we found a park and the playground we had visited two years ago. Eva and Davis had some fun on the seesaw and we got a much needed rest! After an unusual encounter in the Metro which I cannot publish on this blog, we made our way home around 6:00.

Tomorrow Peter and I are off to the Paris Flea Market and Melissa and the children are meeting Birmingham friends who arrived today. Tomorrow night I am joining American photographer Meredith Mullins ( see the sidebar) for a photography tour. Stay tuned!

Side Entrance - Notre Dame

Having Fun at the Notre Dame Playground

Plowing through the sea of humanity - Notre Dame

Many Paris chats to be petted

Val de Grace - Mini Series

Today was another banner photo day in Paris. I started my morning by walking to the lovely Val de Grace church that we oohh and aaahhh over from our windows morning till night. I was just in time for church services at 11:00. I'm not Catholic but I enjoyed every minute of their beautiful service in French. I was fortunate to see a christening ceremony as well. After the service a sweet lady asked me to help her down the stairs. She spoke only French , but somehow I understood her request. I took her photograph then went inside to take some photos after everyone had left. ( Unlike some tourists that marched down the aisle during the service and started snapping photos. FOR THE LOVE!) When I left, she was waiting by the gate and had written her name and address and asked if I would send her the photograph. That made my day. No....that made my entire trip right there. What a dear she was.

Madame Simone - French Stranger Challenge #8

Au revoir Madame!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Guess Where We Went Today II ?

Not another picture, Mumsie!!!

Well doesn't this just say it all? We got this close to the Arch and the sun was in their eyes and....... well you can read it on their faces. After a stroll down the very crowded Champs Elysées we found the Monoprix and had a nice shopping expedition. We wound our way through the masses to Jardins des Tuileries. May I just say it doesn't look like this in March and November?? A sea of humanity. Maybe we can find a time when it's not so crowded!

In addition, I want to take back what I've said previously about learning to count to 100 en français as being a waste of time. When the kids wanted to ride the ponies at Tuileries, the "pony man" and I had an interesting "conversation" about when their ticket number was called. Quarante six et quarante sept! I think he was making fun of me en français but of course I couldn't be sure so I just smiled!

We also found our favorite piece of sculpture: Eric Deitman's "L'ami de personne" (Nobody's Friend) . I photographed Eva here in 2007. Today more photos with brother Davis in the mix.

Tomorrow ( Sunday) we are expecting Birmingham friends to arrive for a 10 day stay! A trip to the Bird Market is planned for the afternoon. We are excited about seeing them and visiting this market for the first time!

( A nice discovery at the Franprix grocery store. A nice gentleman recommended the Tropicana Gazpacho in a carton the other day ( It's amazing to me how someone speaking another language can get their point across!!) . We tried it tonight. Magnifique!!! We are hoping V. Richards will be able to get it at home!)

Nobody's Friend Plus Deux

The Pony Man - # 7 - 100 French Strangers Challenge

Eva and "Nobody's Friend" Redux

Huge Canon Camera Envy - Place de la Concorde

Friday, May 29, 2009

Guess Where We Went Today?

Well we 'd waited long enough, so we struck out before noon for la tour Eiffel! We have to pass through the street market on our way to the Metro, so we loaded up with wonderful sandwiches and Cokes and off we went. We found la tour a very busy place with lots and lots of tourists and school groups. We had a picnic lunch on the Champs de Mars and Eva and Davis played on the playground nearby. After taking a load of photos we walked across the bridge to the carrousel and had two rides. Nearby was another lovely playground and Eva and Davis made friends with some cute kids from London who are moving back to Paris in June. We stayed quite a while here chatting with their mother and then walked up the hill to the Cafe de l'Homme for a glass of wine and some glacé on the terrace with the marvelous view of la tour . After a long, crowded, warm, Metro ride home, we made a stop by the market for some groceries, and headed for home around six. It's 10:10 pm and the sun is just now setting. Bonsoir!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Afternoon at the Jardin des Plantes

We're having a little trouble getting up in the mornings so our "day" usually starts around 12:30ish. Today we walked to the Jardin des Plantes. It is a short stroll from our apartment. We've decided to pace ourselves here since we will be coming often. Today we visited the "menagerie". A quaint little zoo, it doesn't have a wide variety of animals, but we found the grounds well kept and the accomodations for the animals much nicer than the zoo at home. Of interest to me was the fact that there were many, many school groups, as young as preschool, and the children were a tad "wild"! I almost lapsed into "teacher mode" a few times but got a grip on myself.

While we did not by any means see the entire gardens , I hope my photos today will give you a little taste. Enjoy!

For those of you interested in the weather, today was overcast and pretty chilly by Alabama standards. We are NOT COMPLAINING! After the first few days of heat, we are pleased. Tomorrow's forecast is mid 50's!

ATTN Blog Friends: I am having trouble leaving comments on some of your blogs. It asks for acct info but doesn't recognize Blogger acct or Name/URL. Can anyone help me out here?

Les Girls!

Apparently I'm having better luck with Parisian men than the women. What do you think?
# 6 of my 100 French Strangers Challenge. This gardener at the Jardin des Plantes took some time explaining that that portion of the garden was planted with fragrant plants to attract butterflies. He told me the names of all them!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Time to Tackle the Metro

The Conversation

Today we struck out to find a new battery charger pour moi, ("La Stupide"). It was also our first Metro day so we wandered a bit and eventually got to our destination. Along the way we found a Monoprix !!! We love a Monoprix and had a quick shopping trip there. After lunch at a nice Italian restaurant, we found the FNAC, and I had a very helpful sales assistant that showed me a cheaper (universal) charger than the Canon version. Magnifique!!! We then took the Metro to Zara, another shopping delight and the kids were the winners here. The return trip via the Metro proved challenging, but Melissa was on it. We had to walk pastn the Mouffetard market to get to the apartment so we did some grocery shopping, had a glass of wine, did some people watching and finally made our way home. No wonder the French are so slim and fit. Is it possible for me to stay long enough to join them? ( I'm sure I walked 10 miles today!)

Many thanks to Petanque America for posting one of my photos on his blog !

Since we are so fortunate to have 3 weeks in Paris, every day will not be a huge 'photo op day'. Not to worry, I will feature photos from previous days!

"Red Chairs on the Balcony"

The French equivalent to a Shop a Snack!

A Mighty Fine Triumph Parked Outside !

At the Patisserie

Lost in Paris - Part I ( of a series)

Le Mouffetard Café and Brasserie
We enjoyed a glass of wine and Cokes here today

Eglise Saint- Médard

Davis makes a friend at the Eglise Saint-Médard playground

Better than eating out

Peonies for the apartment

Number 5 - 100 French Strangers Challenge ( I got a big hug from this nice gentleman before I took his photo. Why doesn't this happen at home????)

Number 6 -100 French Strangers Challenge
The Roasted Chicken Guy

Oh you knew it was bound to happen, but probably not this soon. This morning we set off in the rain ( but cooler temps) to shop at the rue Mouffetard street market. We were feeling a little cocky because we'd been there before. No problem finding it and the shopping experience was grand. As we were almost finished, we decided that Melissa would walk back to the apartment with the children and I would finish up with a few items. Long story short, I thought I'd cut across to the main street near our apartment and got L.O.S.T.! I asked some nice strangers but since I didn't have the good sense to know the name of the main street , there were unable to help. FINALLY, I stumbled on a police sub station. Well now that was some fun. There must have been 7-8 police men and women in there. They were so very helpful and I was getting them together for a group "strangers" photo when one asked if they were going on the internet.
I said yes and that was that ( against the rules) . One of the officers , who they referred to as the "human map" knew right where our apartment street was and you won't believe this..... it was one block away. Meanwhile back at the Pantheon, Melissa and her chicks were wandering as well. She had a map and they arrived at the apartment about 15 minutes before I did( So much for being worried sick about Mumsie's whereabouts). I'd like to think this was our first "Lost in Paris" episode, but you and I both know it won't be.

Tonight we had our best meal in Paris, cooked by Chef Melissa. Magnifique!!! The menu: Roasted chicken and potatoes from the market, haricot verts with butter and shallots, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese with lime olive oil and basil, and a baguette of course. We've lost count of how many baguettes and bottles of wine we've bought. We going through them like Grant through Richmond!

Tomorrow we have to buy Metro passes and navigate the Metro to FNAC, the big electronics store. Guess who left their extra battery AND the charger at home?? Have mercy!

1. French Boomerang & Cartoon Network
2. Shopping the street market
3. Riding on the carrousel
4. French baguettes et vin blanc
5. Making unexpected friends
6. The French classical radio station

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Les Pétanque Players- A Mini Series

# 1,2,3,4 of my 100 French Strangers Challenge

A Coatrack Provided For Players

A Discussion Ensued

Very Close

The Ball

The Spectators

The Stance

Today we spent the afternoon at Luxembourg Gardens. We would have gone earlier but we slept till almost noon! I wandered up on the pétanque games and it was fascinating. I pulled up a chair and followed a team of four delightful gentlemen. A very diverse group, they hailed from Martinque, Spain, Portugal and France. As best they could, they took the time to explain the rules and keep me abreast of their score! At one point they even sent me over to an English speaking player for help. Don't be surprised if I return and have more pictures to share.

These are Numbers 1-4 of my 100 French Strangers Challenge

( Remember, in order for them to qualify, I must have some interaction with the subject. This is a real challenge since my French is limited. I'm up for it!.)

Scroll down for today's regular post!