Category Archives: Paris outings

Something New

The sun finally came out in Paris this morning, although the temperature dropped ten degrees from the preceding balmy days of rain. The girls took advantage of the blue skies and headed out early to Montmartre, the perfect place to go on a bright Sunday morning. Mark and I decided to go somewhere we had never been before, which turned out to be the neighborhood of Bercy, tucked away south of the Gare de Lyon in the twelfth.

In order to get there, we changed from our local line 9 just a few stops from our house and got on the 14 at Gare Saint Lazare, which was a metro segment we had never traveled. Somewhere along the way we saw this amazing mosaic at the end of a connecting tunnel in the metro.

smack!

smack!

Surfacing from the metro, we were surprised at how different the neighborhood looked from those in the city. It was spare and modern, with lots of metal and glass, and wide open spaces. It felt really cold and quiet and almost deserted.

Soon enough, however, we reached the Parc de Bercy and at its edge, the interesting Cinématheque Francaise. This building, designed by Gehry, is home to four cinema screens and a cinema library and museum.

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The park was pretty and a haven for runners and people subjecting themselves to all kinds of physical torture on this sunny morning.

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who is that masked man?

who is that masked man?

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Why hello there, Notre Dame!

Why hello there, Notre Dame!

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Another part of the park was home to some gardens that hinted of loveliness in the spring.

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These modern apartments overlooked the park.

 

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A charming collection of small, old warehouses has been transformed into “Bercy Village”, a lane of small shops and restaurants. The warehouses once stored wine imported from the provinces, and you can still see the old train tracks running in between the rows of shops. There was also a huge movie theater at one end of the complex.

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No doubt this little area is lively in the warmer months.

We knew that there a very large march was planned (as in a million people or more) this afternoon from Place de la République to Nation. When we got back on the 9 line toward home, we saw metro cars jammed packed with people bundled up and going to République, which is also on the 9. This platform of people were left after a previous train was too full to allow them to get on.

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I am now going to turn on the news and watch the coverage of what I pray is a very peaceful and safe march of solidarity and pluralism.

bus stop by my apartment

bus stop by my apartment

Vive la France.

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Filed under Bercy, Paris outings

Day Trippin’

My mother and her sister had both been to Paris several times before their trip to see me in September. Because they had the luxury of staying almost two weeks, we decided to spend one day in Bruges, Belgium. I found this tour on-line, and thought it would be a fun day trip for us. And that is how we came to be out and about at the Tuileries very early one morning. We caught a large tour bus and settled in for a comfortable three-hour ride with occasional commentary by our tour guide. When we arrived in Bruges, our guide walked us around the city for a couple of hours and then gave us a few hours to explore the place on our own. Bruges is a charming little canal town with some beautiful churches and several small museums. I highly recommend it for a day trip. You can also get there from Paris by train, but I think it requires a change.

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We said no merci to the boat ride

 

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lunch! a bowl of mussels!

love the mermaid!

love the mermaid

I so wanted to purchase this little nun in the window, but the shop was fermé.

I so wanted to purchase this little nun in the window, but the shop was fermé.

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Our bus pulled back into Paris by 9:00 that evening, and we went to bed tired and happy.

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Filed under Bruges, Paris, Paris outings, travel, Uncategorized

A Few Hours in the Marais

Bonjour mes amis.  I have been home from Paris almost a week, and already it seems like a distant dream.  The harder parts of Real Life have descended like an ugly, dark cloud since I have returned, and I am so glad to have photos and memories of a lovely week in Paris with my precious daughter and devoted husband.

One afternoon we decided to spend time in one of our favorite neighborhoods in Paris- the Marais.  The rain was on and off, and the temperature dropped while we were out, but neither detracted from the charm of that delightfully historic district.

The Marais is one of the few remaining examples of what medieval Paris looked like before Napoleon and Haussmann razed and modernized most other parts of the city.  The narrow, winding streets beg to be explored and offer abundant  rewards to the curious.

The Jewish district of Paris is contained within the Marais.  When I walk around the neighborhood I am completely charmed by the synagogues, Jewish bakeries, delis, and Eastern European Jewish restaurants.

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The only place we ever eat in the Marais is L’As du Falafel, a very popular spot where people line up at the take-out window and eat the delicious but messy pita sandwiches with veggies, falafel, and special sauce.  Because of the rain, Martha and I opted to eat inside the smallish restaurant, and we were there late enough in the afternoon that we got seats right away.

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the tables remind you of where you are- as if you could forget

the tables remind you of where you are- as if you could forget

yum

yum

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Even though we were so full of falafel, we couldn’t resist our favorite gelato from Amarino.  If you order a cone, they wedge the slices of gelato into the cone so that the result is a flower.  We can’t be trusted with cones, so we stuck with cups.

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It was a lovely rainy afternoon in Paris.  I am so happy to have spent it with my fille, and to be able to share it here with you.

Life isn’t always sweetness and light and Paris.  But sometimes it is.  And that’s what makes the other times bearable, n’est-ce pas?

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Filed under Marais, Paris, Paris outings

Evening stroll from Notre Dame

Mark is in Houston, and I find myself wanting to take long walks during the time I am ordinarily in the kitchen fixing our dinner.  The other night I rode the metro to Chatelet,  walked to Notre Dame, and then home.  It wasn’t a particularly pretty night, but Paris was winsome, nonetheless.  So put on your walking shoes, and let’s go!

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And then I was home again.  And happy.

Now don’t you feel better, after that long walk?

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Filed under Notre Dame, Paris, Paris outings, Paris photos, Seine, Uncategorized

Paris Plages 2013

My last day in Paris was finally cool enough that I was excited about exploring the city’s temporary beach along the Seine, or “Paris Plages”.  I experienced it when I first arrived in Paris two Augusts ago, but last summer I arrived too late, so I was pleased to see that my short summer visit would overlap with the beach scene in Paris.

Each summer, the city does a spectacular job of bringing the beach to Parisians who are not fortunate enough to flee the city, and for the delighted tourists who never thought they would be on a Paris beach.  The beach is constructed along two large stretches of the Seine, and includes sand (obviously), umbrellas, beach chairs, play areas for kids, misters, chaise lounges, palm trees, restaurants, snacks, water fountains, and bath rooms.  There are also many concerts scheduled during the time the beach is open, which is July 20-August 18 this year.  I think it’s an amazing feat for the City of Paris (and its sponsors), and the best part is that, other than the food and drink for sale, it’s all free!

I was there late this morning and had no problem finding chairs in the shade, where I sat back and watched all the activity along the beach.  I took a lot of pictures, so go grab your sunscreen and your floaties, and enjoy the Paris Plages!

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The Paris Plages website has more photos, if you just can’t get enough of the beach.

Hang ten, mes amis!

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Filed under Paris, Paris outings, Seine, Uncategorized

Saint- Germain- des -Pres

On my last visit to Paris I met a friend for lunch in St.- Germain- des -Pres.  I had some time to kill before she arrived, so I wandered around taking pictures.  I made a special effort to see the neighborhood through the eyes of a tourist, and to notice the beauty that sometimes fades to the background when I see it every day.

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I love the little sign on the top left, advertising that this modern hotel had the convenience of gas on every floor!

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If you think this bakery is cute, check out their delivery bike!

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Mark and I  ate at this restaurant, Fish La Boissonnerie, on the trendy Rue de Seine, and loved it.  Check it out if you are in the hood.

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Such a fun morning in one of my very favorite neighborhoods in Paris.

My friend and I decided we would lunch at the Cafe de Flore.  Because we could.  And we did.

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Bonjour Paris!

Mark and I left a gorgeous, sunny day in Houston Friday and arrived to a grey, cold day in Paris Saturday. But there’s nothing unusual about that, is there? We weren’t able to sit together on our flight, and while we waited for our luggage I overheard the guy I sat next to telling someone about how much the lady next to him (moi) slept. He was amazed and more than a little envious. Yep, I’m telling you, three Simply Sleep + one airplane bottle of red wine=Happy Landing cocktail. Works every time.

After a three-hour power nap at our apartment, we hit the streets of Saint-Germain.

Gorgeous hat shop

Gorgeous hat shop

flower shop

flower shop

street shot

street shot

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Mark standing by happy red door of nice hotel

Mark standing by happy red door of nice hotel

After a nice walk we were ready to put our feet up and enjoy some cafe wine. We scored a perfect corner table with this prime view of the street.IMG_2911

Lots of folks were out enjoying the cold Saturday.

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No, I did not intentionally pick out the scaffolding and plastic- I swear it’s everywhere.

This morning I went to my favorite flea market, Porte de Vanves, and poked around in all the stuff. It was sunny but a tad chilly 34 degrees.

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Afterwards I went home and picked up Mark, and we went to explore Hotel des Invalides.

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Although very close to our apartment, we had never before wandered through this gorgeous complex, which used to house disabled veterans. One famous Frenchman is still housed there- Napoleon’s tomb is located in the beautiful Eglise du Dome. His body is in one of six nested coffins within this sarcophagus of red quartzite.

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If he were able to see out the top, this would be his view.

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seal in the floor upon entering the dome

seal in the floor upon entering the dome

The Hotel des Invalides also contains the wonderful Musee de l’Armee, which includes many of Napoleon’s uniforms, as well as some of his campaign furniture.

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Through the entrance, a peek of the Grand Palais and my favorite bridge, Pont Alexandre.

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From here we walked to the charming Rue Cler for lunch at a busy cafe.

Notice the Poilane bread on top of the shelf!

Notice the Poilane bread on top of the shelf!

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Needing to walk off our lunch, we ambled over to the Montparnasse Tower, the tallest building in Paris.

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That doesn’t look like Paris, does it? Once there, we decided to save the view from the top for a less hazy day (or night), so you will just have to wait for those pics!

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And that is how I have spent my time since landing here on Saturday morning. Thanks for stopping by!

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Filed under flea market, Paris, Paris outings, Uncategorized