Thursday, June 16, 2011

Paris, Paris, Ahh! Paris; 1

The trip to Paris was necessarily rather direct, to be in on time for the apartment rental, though we did get some odd directions from the GPS that had us heading south for a while. Nick had mapped a course into the Gare du Nord to return the car and despite heavy traffic and a few further odd directions from the GPS, we eventually got the car returned and signed off, contacted the greeter for the apartment and took a taxi to the Rue des Martyrs in Montmartre and our “Rooftop Vista” Vista.html . On the sixth floor and with a fairly reliable looking lift, it has views over the rooftops and chimney pots of Paris and of Sacre Coeur. It is an exceedingly odd shape but has a good bed, a reasonable living room and kitchen  and good security. It is also blessedly clean and with decent linen and household items. Our welcome was warm and included a great book of instructions and recommendations and a bottle of wine. Fantastic!

windowView from the window sacrecoeurnight
And by night

So that afternoon we wandered Montmartre, doing a bit of shopping, poking into the pretty shops and buying a bunch of peonies which look gorgeous on the coffee table. We sat in a cafe and had an expensive beer and ate at a local restaurant.

One of my peonies
Roses in a rose shop in Montmartre. Love the ice cream colours.

Next morning looked fine so we headed for the markets near Bastille. They were gorgeous with lots of fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, cheese, flowers, clothes and wine.

Plants for sale
Baskets of red and black currants
All sorts of bread
Piled langoustines

As we intended to walk later we didn’t buy any supplies but set off, past the Opera Bastille, to the Promenade Plantee, an old elevated railway line with a garden replacing the lines up above and artists shops in the arches below. Lots of people running as it is a straight length of several kilometres but for us, walking some distance above and then dropping down to street level and walking back was a good move.


Promenade Plantee

It was Sunday, so many of the artists’ shops were closed, but we window shopped. One place had sheets of printed, embossed leather, like wall paper, amazing stuff. We had a drink at a cafe, before moving on to Place des Vosges which I have always wanted to visit. A very pretty square surrounded by apartments, all alike of course, (this IS Paris and one must make a visual statement). The square had a gorgeous garden in the centre where people sat (or lay and kissed), ate picnics and let the children play while we wandered around under the arched loggias looking for a cafe for lunch. Very French and lovely.

Entry gate, Place des Vosges
The pretty lawn of the Place with people enjoying their Sunday

We thoroughly enjoyed some of the art galleries under the arches, including one showing  an amazing exhibition by this couple. The batty man was hard to photograph through glass. He had big wings and was just delightful. He was also already sold!

batty2_edited-1 batty

After returning to the markets we bought enough supplies for dinner in our apartment (maybe every second night) and headed home.

Wow! We are really in Paris.

More to come folks.

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