Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Little Hat

After a rainy and wet Paris last week, the sun shines ever so cheerfully this week :) The little hat we found.

We found two hats today at Le Petit Pont, actually three but we left the last one since it was too worn out. Someone has apparently just left them there, I was sure that the owner must be someone leaving the city in a rush and wanted a good Samaritan to take his/her hat (judging by the content of the bag, it has to be a she) and the clearly visible location easily spotted by two very elegant young ladies like ourselves. Today we found two bags left on the street of Paris. One was filled with classic French novels, the kinds that you see on the banks of Paris Quays. The second was the hat and some strange smelling clothes in a bag, which we decided to leave at the Metro for the poor paysanne. C'est bizarre, we found two free stuff today, a french friend actually says it's c'est normal.

R.D.V (Rendez-vous) a 19.15 ce soir, we had crepes for dinner at a place called Crêperie Saint André des Arts, Latin Quartier, at the back of Metro Saint Michel. There two very popular and famous creperies there at Rue Saint Andres des Arts, one was closed so we easily picked the other one. Very cheap considering the area and the place, but as most crepes are, but indeed tres tres tres bon! Had the galette and the sweet crepe apres.

I introduced two of my friends, Berthillon glaces today, the best ice cream in Paris. After another serious study in the library, our minds were boggling for some sweet, actually it was me, they were just the victims of my unsatisfied hunger. Hahaha. Can't get enough of French food.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Le Pain Quotidien

I have a new favourite spot now besides the always-crowded PAUL at Rue de Seine, off Rue de Buci.

LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN at Rue de Varenne, basically an eight minute walk from where I live. Serene, homey, reminds me a lot of Casa in Jakarta but without the over-dizzying smell of cigarette smoke. Furnished inside with panels of wood and a communion table, the place is very country-feel, unlike most Parisian salon de the that feels intimidating for a newcomer like moi. Le Pain Quotidien was born out of the idea of having a simple natural back-to-the-old-days bread for sharing with the family and friends. Everything is made of organic ingredients and the brunch is very popular for its quality and value for money, a friend of mine in Paris actually recommends it!

Big communal table in every Le Pain Quotidien is the centrepiece.

The array of homemade confiture neatly staked on every wooden shelves.

My table is right at the window, enjoying the end of a Sunday afternoon.

That afternoon, after a weekend of doing ce cet cette ces un une de...all those articles of French grammars, I escaped to Le Pain Q. at about 6pm just two hours before it closes on a Sunday. I had of course...Chocolat Chaud et Le Granola Bio with milk.


Nothing exciting really happen today, other than I studied and did my French homework and some other exercises for four hours in the library with a friend apres la classe. On my way home I stopped at Monoprix at Rue de Rennes and shopped for a few daily food items, such as

Milk, Orange juice, Riz au lait Nature, and fiber biscuit with Fig and bran called Figue et Son. After reaching home and eating my biscuit with my yaourt, I had a thorough read at the back of the box. Apparently one in three French women suffers from intestinal problems...well that is 75% of women. Ahem*...if you know what I mean, the product called it la paresse intestinale, lazy intestinal. Ha-ha-ha. I am definitely not one in three French women suffering from 'lazy in and out'...I have a very smooth le transit every morning thank you very much from eating those fiber stuff two weeks in a row now!

Apologize for some of you eating while reading my blog. But this* has always been a fascinating topic for me. *healthy food, diet, vegetarian, etc etc...

I find most biscuit shelves in French supermarche are packed with these sort of products yet they don't have all the big labels on the box saying "Fibre-Diet-Healthy-Fat Free" unlike the products in Australia or in America. Everything seem to be very discreet, not obvious to the amateur eyes and presented in the most appealing ways so you are not embarrass when you get to the crowded counter at peak hour. I find the French here are very serious people, very reserved, they don't show the slightest....how do I say it...la gêné..My virtual dictionary described it as: uncomfortable, shy, akward, ashamed, ill at ease...you get my point?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

:) Sunday at Marche rue Cler

A clock merchant selling what he claimed to be 'an artisan handmade clocks' at marche rue Cler.

Today the clock moves an hour faster in Paris, which meant I was late for the 11am Church service! I forgot about changing my watch the night before (silly me, I got too excited about my new books)

The American Church in Paris is in a very beautiful old church, with a high pointy dome at the top of its building visible from many hundred of metres especially when you are running late. Located on the strip of Quai d'Orsay, it faces the Seine and is covered with many Autumnal trees and grand buildings that don't seem too intimidating being on the seventh arr.

this image is from http://www.acparis.com/ the architecture of the building is very beautiful. Very well-taken care of.

After church finished at about 1pm, I went ahead as planned to visit Marche rue Cler on the 7th basically a very near walking distance from the church. One of the only few open food markets on a Sunday, I thought it would be a nice stroll while grabbing a local sandwich for lunch.

Upon entering the market, I could feel the lively ambiance from the sounds of the street musician playing freely on his ancient instrument to the sounds of merchants selling last-minute bargains of 3.95euro per huge box of strawberries.

He tilted his head and smiled for the camera, thank you! I'll put some coins in your hat now...

The length of the market itself is actually very short, there were some cafes, two florists and speciality merchants selling cheese, charcuterie and small bakeries. When you exit from rue Cler everything else is closed and looks like a dead town (Paris is a dead city on Sundays) which is why families who live closeby gather up in markets like this.

Famille Mary Miel et Nature Family grown honey? since 1921. When I have enough money I will buy your expensive miel. For now I'll just take a photo and put it in my blog, who knows people who read this might visit you someday.

Bon Appetit everyone! Food-to-go in smaller stalls crowded the lane.

Funny, seventh is where most American expats live in Paris, especially young families and older tourists alike. So I kept hearing their slangs as I strolled the market. I love visiting food markets in different arrondissements in Paris, that way you really absorb their culture and day-to-day activities...well I hope so :)

Back a third time, I could not resist their breads, I got un sandwich d'omelette. The bread is amazingly crunchy and melty at the same time! yum...now I'm suffering from post-crunchy-french-bread irritating my gum.

Le Petit Cler has Berthillon ice-cream! yes the place is tres petit!

Ah yes the humble crepe stalls, what would we poor students do without you? a half opened nutella jar sits on the counter. A market in Paris is not complete without les crepes!

On my way back as I was walking on rue Bellechaise, I spotted this home decor shop with a very luxurious homey window display. Would you not want to lie down and end the Sunday on one of those...
Have a relaxing Sunday! and I hope my dad and brother who are in Singapore at the moment will have a good Sunday too...and I especially hope my dad is well.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rainy Saturday

Paris without rain is like a cake complete with its icing, Paris with a lot of rain is like finding a needle in a sack...if you know what I mean? Well let me illustrate it for you.

This morning I started the day visiting my favourite bookshop, Shakespeare & Co. at rue de la bucherie to get a new book for the week. The rain started to pour in and people made excuses to stay inside longer, I didn't mind the crowd, it feels warmer.

Opened in 1951 at this new address. So it's been half a century...too bad the old address never re-opened...I would love to have felt what Hemingway would be feeling at that time stading infront of S & Co, a struggling writer, poor, an foreign living in Paris...yet he loved to read and spends his time reading. A good opening quote which I think deserves to be written here from Peter Mayle's Toujours Provence "Writing is a dog's life, but the only life worth living" Gustave Flaubert, a french writer.

A stroll in the second-hand dept, I found two books, Maynard & Jennica by Rudolph Delson (purely because I liked the cover of red and blue, reminds me of my brother: art-deco, vintage-eclectic and he seems to always use both colours in his works... and lastly after a second look after reaching home, it is very Potato Head)

The second book I picked is Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle, about an English guy who lived in Provence and tells about his sometimes funny and unexpected life in France. A brief read at the intro about his experience at the french pharmacy sealed the deal.

New books are actually very expensive in Paris, no matter how old the bookshop is. So I always try to find an old second hand version usually stacked at the very end of the list of books by the same author. Anyway I was glad I got some books for the weeks ahead.

The interior inside Shakespeare & Co., transport you to a different timezone, although it has become a tourist destination, it is still the literary hang-out in Paris. Although it was not the original bookshop (used to be at rue de l'Odeon), Sylvia Bleach's daughter now runs the bookshop.

Books as old as who knows what, stacked up to the ceilings, stacked down to the floor, cased in glass cabinets, books coming out of your a*&s wherever you go :) i love it.

After the rain stops, I walked across the left bank to check out the 12th arrondissement. Then the rain started to pour in again, this time without hesitation. Now this is where it gets interesting, I thought I was having a really bad day, raining and all. So I turned a corner to rue Saint Louis en l'Ile cursing and all,

then I spotted Berhillon!
it is voted as the best ice-cream in the Paris or probably in Europe by well... french people, Hah! they're handmade, their cocoa specially ordered from Cote d'Ivoire and vanilla from Madagascar. Then I realized I am in the area where a lot of cafes and places sells Berthillon or the area to get their famous glaces! I was so happy. I got a single scoop of Caramel and even though the weather was cold and wet, I felt that was truly an experience of Paris. The city is so abundant with hidden jems.

The many flavours of Berthillon. The Almond flavour is best so far. You have to go to Ile Saint Louis to try Berthillon when in Paris.

Walking back to the left bank, the Sun was out again, this time it was so sunny that I had to propped my sunnies, passing the Notre-Dame, I was amazed at the huge crowd lining up to go inside. The beautiful Hotel de Ville where Le Petit Nicolas exhibition is showing at the moment. Next time!

I had a very...uum...my mum would call it "cats and dogs rain kinda-day"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Some shops are funny

There are only a number of speciality shops in Paris selling just one or two specific items. Artisan shops that are century old or even older, just waiting for their owners to retire and closed. I hope this is not one of them. Just selling umbrellas with gloves and crochet-like cluches, it offers the most exquisite looking umbrellas with wooden animal heads, and lavish gloves made of soft rich leather in the most striking colours. Since I passed it everyday, I thought, why not take some photos, I am running out of stories at the moment. French class is taking most of my time and I hardly do my tour around Paris! ah time to re-organise my dear!

I was right, the shop was opened in 1834, meaning it is more than a century old! Good gracious! Previous president, Francois Mitterand used to buy his umbrella there! at 218 Blvd Saint-Germain.

Imagine wearing everything black, top to bottom, sleek, pointy boots with a hint of those gloves and those clutch! ah tres chic!

The pere-lachaise tour

So today after class, my newly friends from french class decided to tour pere-lachaise cemetery in the 20th arrondissement. The biggest cemetery in Paris, it is also where many many many famous French and popular figures from the world over rest their souls, from Edith Piaf to Jim Morrison. Unfortunately I did not seek to find their graves as the weather was not supportive. Alas, I managed to spot Balzar, the philosophic writer in a blue-paint cast staring at moi. It was an experience, especially when the weather is freezing cold and the sky is grey. I would probably come back in Summer, but for now, I would leave the dead to rest.

hello my geeky face...brrrrr it was cold!
Stop fooling around you guys, I think it's time we leave...ahem*