Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Walk on the Promenade Plantée

We were feeling ambitious this morning, so walked to the Marais area for lunch.  On the way we came across a band playing New Orleans style Dixieland music, accompanied by a woman dancing animatedly - great entertainment!

Then we saw a man riding an incredibly decked out bicycle.

We went to a Corsican restaurant where I had leg of lamb and Bill had wild boar stew.  Both were delicious.

I love the parks in Paris, and one of my favorites is the Promenade Plantée, built on an abandoned railroad line.  It stretches from Place de la Bastille for 4.7 kilometers to the Bois de Vincennes.  Some of it runs above street level and some of it is below street level.  It has tunnels, a small waterfall inside a tunnel, and beautiful gardens.  It also has a separate pathway for bicyclists, so everyone is safer and more comfortable.  The weather was very nice today, so there were lots of people in the park.

This will be my last blog post for this trip since we return home tomorrow.  Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Day Trip to Rouen

My French teacher suggested that a trip to Rouen would be fun, and she was right.  It takes just a few minutes over an hour to get there by train.  All I knew about Rouen was that Monet had done a series of paintings of the cathedral and that Joan of Arc was put to death there.

The cathedral is very impressive, both inside and out.

There's also a beautifully restored clock tower, which looked a little too steep for us, so we didn't take the tour.

We had lunch at Pascaline, a place recommended by our son.  It was a great meal.  I had oysters for an appetizer and scallops with rice for my main dish.  Bill had marinated scallops for his appetizer and pot au feu (a boiled dinner served in a cast iron pot) for his main dish.  We both liked our meals a lot.

We saw the spot where Joan of Arc was put to death, but it's marked only by a garden in the old market.  This neighborhood also has the oldest auberge (inn) in France.  There are lots of half-timbered buildings in Rouen, some of which are probably authentic.  It's a very picturesque town.

We did climb the tower (124 steps) of the old chateau where Joan of Arc was held and tried by the British.

I was a little disappointed that we didn't have time to see the Flaubert museum because I think Flaubert is among the best novelists of all time.

Oh, and to top it off, Bill bought a very nice piece of Camembert at the market in Rouen, and when we stopped at the boulangerie on the way home from the Métro, the bread was still warm!

All in all, a very pleasant day.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

More Public Art

There were two more murals on my list of public art and today we managed to see both of them.  The first one is by Shepard Fairey, the artist who did the Obama Hope poster.

The second one is near the Pompidou Centre and is by Jef Aerosol.  It stands across from the gothic Church of St. Merri.  Interesting contrast, isn't it?

Several years ago our son recommended La Tartine, a wine bar near the Marais district.  We liked it as much as he does and we usually eat there at least once each time we come to Paris.  Ordinarily we get charcuterie or a cheese plate and today Bill got a mixed plate with both charcuterie and cheese.  We were early enough that the lunch specials were still available, so I had steak frites, which was one of the specials.  It was a delicious lunch.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Salon du Chocolat

Today is the final seasonal event for this trip - the Salon du Chocolat, a huge trade show with hundreds of vendors.  As always, there was chocolate fashion.

This year there was a huge bear (maybe 12 feet tall?) carved out of chocolate.

The Tokyo Chocolate booth was making bears out of what looked like pancake batter and then decorating them with chocolate.

My favorite display had to be the  chocolate Venus flytrap.  We had lots of samples and really enjoyed the spectacle.

On the way home we changed trains at the Concorde Métro stop.  It is covered with tiles spelling out the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wall Advertisements and Street Art

We devoted today to finding some of the remaining wall advertisements from the early 20th century as well as finding some street art.  These types of projects can be frustrating because the advertising can have been painted over or be so faded as to be unreadable.  We were fairly lucky today.  We found the street art we looked for and of the three advertisements we looked for only one had been eradicated.

The Chocolats Rozan ad is in reasonably good shape.  This brand of chocolate used to be made in the Pyrenees until it was acquired by the Swiss chocolate company Lindt.

I think the Kub ad is for an upholstery company.  Originally done in the 19th century, it was refreshed in 1990 and is in excellent condition.

The street art project Cyklop is by Olivier d'Hondt.  He has taken street furniture and added animal fur patterns and one eye to each of the poles.

Today was probably our last visit to Le Petit Canard for this trip.  I had slices of duck breast while Bill had an entire duck breast.  I realize it looks very similar to what we had the last two times we were there, because it is.  They have a very small menu of things that they do very well - exactly the type of restaurant I like.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Day at the Opera

After we bought our train ticket for a Friday day trip to Rouen, we took a tour of the old opera house.  It's over the top ornate, both inside and out.  It was built during the reign of Napoleon III and apparently the budget was unlimited.  My favorite part though, was the Chagall ceiling which was installed in 1964.

We had another splurge lunch, at le Comptoir du Relais, a very tiny but popular restaurant.  I had roast pork served with lentils while Bill had tuna with chestnuts.  We were both very happy with our meals.  We shared a dessert of baba au rum, which had a little too much rum for my taste.

We finished off the day with a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens, a beautiful park not far from the Latin Quarter.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Gardens of L'École du Breuil

Apparently the French call potstickers "ravioli."  Today we wanted a quick inexpensive lunch so we went to a small restaurant in Belleville that specializes in potstickers.  Bill got black mushrooms in addition to his potstickers, and I got sautéed eggplant.  Not exactly low calorie, but it was quick and relatively inexpensive.

For today's project, we decided to go see the gardens of the Breuil School.  This school was established in the 1800's to train gardeners for the city of Paris.  The school has water gardens, wooded gardens, a huge arboretum, a rose garden, and much more.  I had been tempted to visit these gardens on Heritage Days week-end, but they're located out in the suburbs, and the directions for finding them were not as straightforward as I would have liked.  However, once we actually made the attempt, we located the gardens with relative ease.

A bug-infested tree.  Hope we didn't bring any home with us.