Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Eiffel Tower and wandering

There "she" is!
We walked to the Eiffel Tower, it’s about half an hour each way, there is a bus, but the walk was enjoyable. A bit about it, you can walk from bottom to top, there are two elevators to two viewing levels, look it up if interested, we just stared, and stared, at it. Even a wedding, well the photos anyway, with the tower as a backdrop, romantic and memorable.

Walked through the Champ de Mars park in front of it, and it had a few children’s play areas, ping pong tables, basketball court, much of the grassy areas were under construction.

Close up, I could stare at it all day, so beautiful!
I took many more pictures but these two will do. People with selfie sticks again, loads of tour buses, all to be expected at the most viewed monument in the world. 

It didn’t take long to walk back into the neighbourhood where we had lunch at Le Pavillon on Av de la Motte Piquet. This part of the 15th has tree lined boulevards and is a lovely part in my book.

I found the Post Office by accident actually, line up was long and building hot so I left. Back the next day and was told I have to buy stamps at a machine anyway, glad I left yesterday. Bruce helped me read the machine and the postage I bought has a tracking number for it, wasn’t cheap as postage goes, for two envelopes but the tracking feature is nice to have.

Stately door, look to the right of the balcony, statue of David.
Strolled along Rue Convention where there was a street market happening, usual knock off purses, cheap clothing, but a couple of fresh fish and meat stalls too. Stopped at Le Cafe du Marche for probably the most delicious quiche lorraine I’ve ever had. The crust was made with filo pastry so light and flaky, baked to perfection. A local fellow in a wheel chair talked to us for a while, this was obviously a locals bar, mostly men coming in for a quick coffee and leaving again, everyone seemed to know everyone else. Interesting people watching from that bar, all sorts walking by. Large flower market across the street made a nice view. Walked the back streets coming home. 

I liked this part of the building
We did another shop at the markets and are starting to get recognized. The young fellow at the wine store is particularly charming, his name is Paul. 

Japanese for lunch and oops, Bruce spilt the soy sauce, lucky we’d finished, ran all over the table and off to the ground. Sitting outside so no wrecked floors, table plastic and no cloth, he said, could have been wine, much worse.

You may remember about the water in the streets, from last year. Architect Haussmann used the water from the Seine to clean the streets, it goes back to the Seine, I’m sure much dirtier but there you go. The water is now turned and off by specific metres around the outflows. We didn’t know who or why this happened last year, a little mystery solved.

Haussmann style buildings
Bruce spilled water onto his computer and it won’t turn on now. Well that seems to happen about once a year so I found an Apple dealer, the closest one is a 40 minute walk one way so we took the bus. Driver pushes a button and the ramp comes out on it’s own, same as in Brussels, so easy for everyone! Driver waived Bruce’s fee (we guessed that might happen), took my 2 Euros but we had the same driver coming back and she waived my fee also, nice driver. The fee for people needing the ramp would be difficult to collect by the driver, everyone else gets on at the front door and pays there, handicapped seats are in the middle of the bus, makes sense.

Anyway, we got to the Apple store in the Marche Saint Germain which is basically a big modern mall. Years ago it was a farmer’s market, now that would be more interesting to me. They directed us to an Apple support shop close by. Poor Bruce is bereft without his “entertainment” of trolling the web where ever something interests him.

Detail above a door
I was reading about the neighbourhood of Saint Germain in the 6th and it used to be quite bohemian with writers and artists living and working there. Gradually it’s been changed to upmarket stores and one writer/blogger figured it had lost a lot of it’s character. Anyway, good to explore another part of Paris and since we’ve now found it is easy, and cheap, we’ll do it again, well, we have to go back and get Bruce’s computer if they can fix it. Must look up what a new one costs these days. Thinking of it and he’s had this one for over two years now so that’s good.

Bruce wanted onion soup and wow! did he luck out at Les Artisans, my caesar salad was good as well. Many diners around us were eating steak tartare, (spiced, minced, raw beef) it is common here but I just can’t get my head around it. There is also a shop that sells horse meat, I won’t be going there either. The bathroom was “interesting”, big steel washtub, water flow by using a foot pad. Another common thing there are two stalls, men’s no door, woman’s has a door, common washing up area, and usually the woman’s toilet has no lid on it, guess that’s so the guys can use it too.

You may have read or know that Paris is considered to be a chic city where people dress up, even to go to the shops. Well they do and don’t, like everywhere, but I saw an exception the other day. She floated past, grey/silver hair, knee length loose, sleeveless dress in white with red flowers, shoes were spike heeled red pumps, tres chic! As I watched her go by a lady sitting next to me gave me a nod to agree.

Pig out! Onion soup (French, although there is no need to say that here) at Les Artisans which is becoming my favourite place to go, the servers are very friendly, speak some English but appreciate our attempts at usually butchering French. The soup is beef based for the broth but we can’t identify the other flavours they meld together so well, anyway we’ll be back again. Sometimes a place just captivates you in a new city, it’s a combination of service, friendliness and of course the food and drink, and outlook for people watching. 

Had, just had to buy a baguette from the next door boulangerie/bakery line ups in there and everyone walking by had one in hand. I’ve read no “real” French person will buy one from a department store, you go directly to the bakery. I’m in agreement there, the brown one I bought was still warm, maybe they have warming tables, but who cares, yum. Back to the pig-out, suffice to say, bread, cheese, salmon. canned, for Bruce, olives and stilton cheese, which a friend said, English cheese in France? and he’s undoubtably right, there are over 200 varieties of cheese here. It would be fun to take a cheese tour, but the local shop could probably guide us through, must ask.

All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat who can now open a patio door for a stroll outside, not good!

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