Category Archives: 2021 France

20211210 Seattle-Paris

Tried very hard not to get either blown up by or mistaken for a terrorist.  Apparently successful.  Yay, me.  We can continue not dying together.

Charles de Gaulle is a mess.  So is Boston.

In Boston we had to disembark the domestic flight and leave the airport to get to the International gates.  I am told the remodel is coming to enable direct connection transfers.  Two TSA scans are better than one.  Never mind that I walked between the two most disparate parts of the airport.  I made my flight.

And Charles de Gaulle can kiss my rosy red ass.  That guy can’t design an airport for shit!

I have thought I play with concerning airports.  They all exist in this dimension called the Airport Dimension.  It has some weird rules.  The physics and geometry do unexpected invisible dance moves.  They are all interwoven accessible only by the tenacious connections with our reality.  They are labyrinthine.  The TSA should be hiring minotaurs.  Maybe they are.

Then rinse and repeat that epic walk from the far side of CdG to the train terminal to get downtown.  Switch to the metro for another train stint.  The Paris plane disembarked about six in the morning.  I wouldn’t check in at this first AirBnB until three in the afternoon.

Once I arrived at Cadet (Metro stop on the 7 line) I began an epic promenade.  I put in nearly 30k steps for 10 Dec.  And did I mention most of this was done toting my backpack and my suitcase?  (I never check anymore so the suitcase is small, but that’s a lot of mass.)

The domestic flights aren’t offering meal service because they are cheap or maybe they can excuse it thanks to the zombie apocalypse.  Either way, whatever.  The French flight had chicken and mashed potatoes in a pepper sauce, a phenomenal quinoa salad, a role, and a brownie.  Plus a personal mini-bottle of red wine.   But, yeah, thanks for the domestic cookies.

Where was I?  Right.  Walkies.

My first host, Coco, had suggested that I could lock my bags at the Nord (train station) and I did go there at a couple points during my meanderings just never noticed lockers.  Admittedly never asked.  Wanted to use the toilets but they were on strike.  Vive la France!

I’ll be in this part of town for a few days so I wanted to get some bearings.  Spent about ninety minutes at a nearby bar called Le Multiplex Bar (super friendly staff and patrons, combination tobac, bar, cafe) and then finally walked to meet Coco and get sorted.

True to her description, there are a lot of stairs to get to this floor six apartment.  One hundred one up and two down.  This is their configuration for those interested:


Quick face wash and head to take some real pictures (I didn’t feel liking digging out my rig on the street so only shot a couple shots (packing it back away each time).

Then I walked over to Bouillon Chartier for a classic meal in three courses.  Simple, delicious, no errors.  I arrived before the rush.  The only person in front of me was a pair of ladies trying to talk the patient person into allowing them to be seated as a partial party.  This is not something restaurants do.  When I left after finishing my meal the line was probably a hundred souls longing.  I am told the line does go quickly by; probably because they seat only full parties.

Some more walking since I won’t sleep until at least ten.  And it’s twenty-four after ten so that’s a thing.


20211211 Paris

Day two here.  I’m back at chez (owned by) Coco dropping and resting before venturing out to try to find some food.

Hit the Rodin today.  Man, that guy could scrape some rock; am I right?  They have a comparative gallery for Rodin and Picasso currently.  Two great masters that go great together.  Spent an inordinate amount of time strolling through the grounds of the garden, soaking in the sculptures.  I could do this regularly.

Then I ventured over to see Nappy’s tomb.  Turns out that is part of a large complex including… a lot, including an enormous variety of armaments.  The thing to look for on a map is L’Hôtel national des Invalides.  On the grounds is the Musée de l’Armée which has the aforementioned ass-load of armaments.  Swords, pikes, spikes, canons (hand and cart), and all points in between.  If you are a history buff or military is of any interest there is a lot to see here.

Took some pictures of models which I know RL will want to see, being that he plays military campaign games.  Could be a new line of work for him!

I’ll add more later…

Ok.  Belly full.  Eyelids failing.  Another fine day.

I wanted to eat at Le Petit Canard but they were fully booked.  Instead I ate at Classico Argentino Pigalle.  Excellent empanadas, baked in a style presumably influenced by the French.  Little baked beauties.  Some of the best I’ve seen or eaten.  Quite a nice wine selection of Argentinian wines, including a Malbec rosé by Finca el Origen that’s working fine on its own.  Their dulce de leche has inspired me to improve upon my own.

Wanted to visit another bar to try talking with more people but I was just too beat.

Stopped and made a reservation at LPC for Tuesday at noon.  Can’t let that duck get away so easily.

Cleaned myself up and struggled not to pass out until I get this all typed ou…


20211212 Paris

Up and gone early enough, trying to get a Musée d’Orsay avant 10.  Mission accomplished?  Close enough.

Is spending five hours looking at modern masters too much?  My feet hate me.  It’s all that shuffle waking and standing:  brutal on the footsies and not elongated enough to satisfy the musculature.  Very fatiguing.  And I lost the tip of one of my earbuds.  The law of something-something:  Between you and paradise lies a vast bureaucracy.

I entered the museum and proceeded to the x-ray scanners.  They ask that all electronic devices be sent through the scanner, and you are to walk through the detector.  And by they ask I mean there are signs with pictures on them and the humans shake their heads when you get it wrong.  They have no trays so you have to place your personal music player, your telephone, your camera, your keys, and all those other bits directly on the conveyor belt, which is surrounded by Plexiglas back to the rollers.  Just strip naked and dump it in a heap using your rain-gear to catch all the little bits.  If only I’d known this one simple trick I’d still have two earbud tips.

Then into the ticket line.  Then scan the ticket and inside the museum proper.  Walk over and get an audio guide because, I don’t know, listening to British voice actors read historical copy is entertaining?  At least I can use my own headphones.  “Where is your coat check?”  “Due to the zombie apocalypse the coat check has been cancelled.”  So I take the coats off and start rearranging all the stuff for museum wandering.  Stuff one coat into the pocket of another.  Everything back inside where they can fit, briefly wishing i had not decided to leave my pack behind.  Grab that old music player and pull off the headphones to discover the aforementioned missing tip.  Scan the floor on the off chance but no.  Well, one can listen to the Brits with one ear and not miss anything.  Descend into the sculpture gallery at the bottom.  Notice the sign displaying a backpack with a red line through it and realized the backpack wouldn’t have helped.

Keep in mind I wandered though this place for four or five hours.  It’s filled with a lot of my favorite modernists:  Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, Renoir, so many more.  It gets progressively more crowded as time flows by and my strategy of saving the least interesting (popular) stuff for last (by accident because the map is pretty useless) turns out to be a grace in disguise.  Furniture and architectural items.  Peace and open spaces.  And, in spite of dozens of chairs, no place to sit.  Oh, the irony!

Decided to try for the lost and found before departing just in case.  Asked one of the ticket scanners if they had a lost and found.  He asked what I’d lost.  I showed him my earbud situation.  He showed a sad face and I said “I know; it’s impossible”.  He pointed me toward the lost and found and I walked that way.

Oddly, all I saw was this fully operational coat check!  Asked another guy where was the lost and found and he said they didn’t have one.  I asked one of the cashiers in the shop and she walked me toward the coat check.  Turns out the coat check, where I would have loved to have checked my coats, also acts as a lost and found.  Such a treasure trove of information!  Five stars for this article.

When I showed him my headphones situation, the guy in the coat check showed me the same sad face.  They understand:  they have ears, like music.  It’s impossible but we have to look.  Nada.  C’est la vie.  Have to buy some new ones.  Surely there’s a fancy headphone store in Paris?

Rolled out of there sometime between half-past two and four.  Not sure.  Hoofed back toward my adopted neighborhood and this noodle joint I heard was good (Neko Ramen).  Noodles and broth are decent.  Living in Seattle has perhaps spoiled me a bit.  Also that noodle joint RL and I visited in Sydney.  I digress.

The egg had prefect doneness.

Met an American (Edgar from HI) nurse doing residency (ten years) so he can work in 27 countries (and working at a noodle house to pump up his French).  He has a friend from Louisiana.  We’ll get drinks tomorrow.

Also ate next to a guy from Munich (Simon) and we talked for a long time and then wandered over to a different bar (Faubourg 34) and had a cocktail before splitting for the night.  What was it?  Two cordials in some bubbles.  One was limoncello but can’t remember the other.

Gotta sleep.  Somehow it’s nearly one again.


20211213 Paris

Another day of strolling as one would.

Remember that headphones issue.  Well, on the list for today is get a replacement tip.

Knowing I wanted to see La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre I started meandering northward, taking pictures all the way.  Distracted by a little indoor outdoor seating area in a pizza bar called Bar Le Paradis, the owner (David) called me in to shoot from the interior.  He’s from Spain (Tortosa).  I took some pictures of him in and around the bar.  I’ll send those later.

We discussed my headphones issue (any sympathetic ear, you understand) and he suggested the trio of phone stores visible from out front of the bar.  I popped in to the first one and they had none.  The second one the guy looked for a bit in the bins of junk that accumulate under the counters (since in places like this folks buy things and leave the bits and bobs behind) and he found a sleeve containing six tips.  Bam!  Freebie.  I also bought an external phone battery for 20e.  Took that back to Paradis to discover it came with a free fisheye attachment for a phone camera. What?!  Ok.  The clip is the wrong size for my phone but I can still use it.  So odd and funny.  Ok.  Fisheye!

Finally back wandering toward the Basilique.  And many pictures on the streets.

Took some pics of a place that was split in two across the street.  They design clothing in one shop and sell it across the street in the other.  I wouldn’t have noticed except a gentleman noticed my taking pictures of the manufacturing side and suggested it might be appropriate to shoot it all.  So I did.

Be nice if my phone would specify which of my steps over the day were stepped on steps.

To enter the grounds there’s a bag check. I presented my bag to the person who asked me to put on my mask (outdoors).  I said “ok, we can do that first” and set down the bag and put on my mask.  He looked at the bag and apologized realizing how silly he’d just been and I again presented my bag.  Surprisingly, I was not a terrorist or smuggling meat on a Friday.

The difficulty in shooting inside these ancient cathedrals is the lack of light.  The look is good but I don’t have a tripod.  It’s a real struggle to get a crisp shot of certain items.  I take a lot of probably blurry pictures.

It was seven Euros to take an elevator to the top to see a panoramic (only five if you’re party is twenty or more!).  And by elevator I mean more stairs.  I talked with an Italian couple and we agreed it wasn’t seven Euros important.

I left the grounds and explored the surrounding streets of Montmartre.  Nearly as many artists selling sketches and caricatures as there were tourists.  All seem talented but I have to look at myself in the mirror so getting a drawing of my face seems superfluous.

I was approached by a mother and daughter from Brazil.  They were looking for a famous cafe and wondered if I could help.  I have Google.  It’s French Google so not quite as good and a little rich, but it can do the job.  Turns out they were looking for the cafe from Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (sadly the English title is shorted to simply Amélie) which is called Café des deux moulins and which was a nine minute walk from there.

I was pointing them on how to find the cafe and gave up saying “I’m not doing anything at the moment and it’s a nine minute walk; come on”.  So I walked with them down to the cafe.  I took some pictures of them in front of the cafe and will also send those pictures once i pull them off the camera.

I left them to try for Café des deux moulins for lunch.  Looks like a fantastic modern French restaurant.  Notice that across the street is a Chinese place that makes fresh pasta.  Note made.  Continue walking.

Again they are closed.  This is my third attempt.  I talk to a Spaniard who lives above.  He says he thinks they look and smell fantastic but in three years he’s never eaten there and guesses they keep irregular hours.  He will send me a text if he sees them open within the next seven days before he returns to Spain for the holidays.

Fine.  Noodles it is.  I walk back to Délices Lepic for a bowl of duck and noodle soup with a side of something like sweet and sour pork which is not bright pink and has no pineapple.  I notice they also make their own dumplings so I might try for getting a batch at some point.

Walk across the street to have a closer look at the famous cafe.  it looks like it looked except for some posters relating to the film.  Order a hot chocolate at the bar.  Talked with a group of Italians from Torino who came into the cafe.  The shy daughter was fascinated with me but was very shy.  I showed here how to push the camera button and she took pictures of her dad much to her delight.  I took some pictures of her.  Now I have another person to send pictures.  He paid for my hot chocolate.

After some time a drunk flamboyant arrived, ordered white wine, and talked loudly on the phone in something slurringly northern (Finish?  Swedish?  Bad French?).  He proceeded to hit on me, which I politely sidestepped.  Repeatedly.  Until my patience expired.  In the end he did back off but being that his style was creepy (think dysfunctional and abusive) and he was still next to me at the bar I decided to hit the streets again.

(And to all the ladies thinking “yeah, been there”, I get it.)

As if to lift my spirits two separate female prostitutes wanted to chat me up on the street.  Thanks and also no thank you.

More pictures of found curiosities.  Eventually stopping at Le corail.  It’s a pretty typical restaurant and bar at the corner.  They had bavette steak, which is a French cut similar in qualities to the flank or hanger steaks.  And, true to it’s descriptions, it’s quite similar to the flank steak:  grill it quickly and cut it on a bias.  It came with a shallot sauce, garlic green beans, and a simple salad.

Maybe I should have tried one of the tartars but I’d been trying to find bavette in the states for some time.  It’s a French cut (sometimes called flap meat or flap steak) and I don’t recall how it gets distributed in the American butchering.

Walked back toward Neko Ramen to meet Edgar after work at half-past eleven.  Sat at Faubourgs 34 drinking Ricard.  Chatted up two German ladies from Köln.  One is a student of German law. She says the German law students have it much harder than the Americans.  Maybe she’s right.  She described the requirements for becoming an attorney and it does have a lot of detailed steps.

The said they were disappointed with the Christmas villages in Paris insisting the Christmas villages in Germany were much better.  They talked a lot about the mulled wine.  I’ve never had mulled wine but maybe mulled wine at a Christmas village in Köln is a grand experience.

They did recommend the village at City Hall, the French name of which escapes me now.

Edgar arrived immediately after the Germans departed.  We talked about this and that.  Eventually a trio of Frenchmen arrived next to us.  We chatted with them until the bar closed.  They were from Breton.  One was drinking a Parisian Porter.  I took a picture of the label to find some.  He said it was just ok.  I can at least look up the brewery.

They Edgar and I departed apart and I walked the five or six minutes back here to sleep again.  Although it’s almost four and I’m still awake.  I did nap briefly with this lappy prone on my belly and propt  on a pillow.  But, you know, suffer for your art or something… you can fill in the details.


20211214 Paris

Sleep is for the weak.  Up at eight to pack and prepare to move house.  The plan is lunch at Le Petit Canard (with my baggage) and then make my way across town to the next AirBnB.  Plus I suppose some other stuff.  We’ll see how much time I have to complete this post or what else I do after moving anyway.  I’m sure it’ll be fine…

Writing the next morning after setting up my charging station here at the second AirBnB.  This place is Fred’s actual apartment.  He is sleeping in the other room.  His cat is sleeping on a chair in here.  Another small Parisian apartment but palatial compared to the last one.  No complaints; just statements of fact.  I’m just a guy with a suitcase; my space requirements are minimal.

So, I packed up in the morning yesterday and arranged all of my things so I was ready to vacate AirBnB One.  Then I went for another photo walk.  I ended up back over at Bar le Paradis talking with David over another hot chocolate.  I asked and he said no problem for me to leave my bags there while I went to lunch.  Even though this probably meant a little more walking with the bags, I figured I’d rather not have them with my while in the restaurant.

I quickly went back to the AirBnB and gathered my baggage and trekked back to Bar le Paradis.  Stuck them into a small closet housing the spiral staircase leading up.  Then off to lunch.

I arrived right on time.

I hope to visit this restaurant again.  It’s a farm-to-table centered around the humble duck.  The place is packed full of duck tchotchke.  More importantly the food is to die for.  They have a couple of different fixed price options and you can also order from the various menu items.  I took the large option so I could really dig into the duck they offered.

I started with some foie gras, which came with toasted wheat, baguette slices, and both date and onion jams.

Second course was sliced duck breast with a mushroom sauce, served with green beans and mashed potatoes with chestnuts and nutmeg.  I have never had more tender duck breast.  The mashed potatoes were amazing and have inspired me to try some new things in that area.

For desert was crème brûlée.  The crème was soft and creamy and the brûlée was as thin as you can imagine (maybe a bit thinner).  Delicate and perfect.

There were three wines.  I’ll have to pull the name of each (of two) wines from my photographs.  The proprietor also gave me a small glass of plum liqueur.  I can pull the name for that as well.

Then I made my way back over to Bar le Paradis to fetch my baggage.

While there I pulled the photos I’d taken of David and the bar and sent them to him.

Next I made for the Metro station Barbès–Rochechouart to catch the four to Strasbourg Saint-Denis to catch the eight to Ledru-Rolin and up to the street again.  A quick walk and I’m at AirBnB Two.  Fred is great.  We smoke copious amounts of quality imported weed and talk about all the things.

He has a meeting to manage at 17:00 so I prepare myself for a taking a walk.  I bring my recorder to capture street sounds.

I wander a while using my usual style which might be called Ooh, Shiny.  I just pick a direction and when I see something I adjust accordingly.  Pretty sure I’ve walked in a lot of circles due at least in part to the erratic street structure (compare to a grid) but that’s ok.  There’s still a lot to see.

Eventually I come to a place called La Fontaine and drop in for a Ricard.  Talk with a journalist working in global politics.  He is very polite talking with me in my meager French (I’m greatly limited by a small vocabulary).  He is with two friends and they all live nearby.  I bid my adieu and walk for a while again.

I come to another place called B B O Bar.  And drop in their for another Ricard.  I sit next to two women speaking maybe German or Swedish.  I never figure it out.  But they are deep in their conversation so I move to a table near some folks speaking English.  One is from NZ and the other is Italian.  A Spanish couple they know arrives and joins them. We talk for a time.

During this time Fred has finished his meeting and we have texted about what to do next.  He says he is cooking if I can bring a bottle.  So I make my farewell from these fine companions and head back to see Fred and fetch a bottle in the way.

Fred and I eat cauliflower he has prepared with butter and pepper and a bit of fine ham.  This and that bottle of rosé.  Fine simple meal with a fine companion.  Up too late to write last night.  So here I am writing and charging all the batteries this morning.


20211215 Paris

Bit of a lazy morning since night before last was a short sleep.  Up late last night after moving house and up at eight this morning after a good night’s sleep.  Spent time writing up yesterday’s adventure and setting up all the charging and clothing and bathroom things so they are easily accessible again.

Ok.  Took a seven hour walk today.  Just got back to rest my bones before I venture forth again in search of dinner.

Walked toward the Bastille along the Promenade Richard Lenoir.  From there you can duck down into a small canal and through a tunnel to walk along the Seine.  Followed the river path up to Point Louis Philip and Point Saint Louis to cross the river and have a look at Notre Dam.  Completely cordoned off of course.  Still much work to do there.

Continued on crisscrossing the Seine at least at Point d’Arcole and Petit Point Cardinal Lustiger.  Wandered South past Saint-Étienne-du-Mont then over to meander within the Jardin des Plantes.

Leaving le Jardin I snatched a quick sandwich from  Délice Jussieu, which is near Fontaine George Cuvier, and then skirted Sorbonne Université Campus Pierre et Marie Curie intending to cross at Point de Sully.  However, when I passed Institut du monde arabe I saw that the walk on this side of the river had more to offer.

Instead I walked down through Jardin Tino Rossi which includes Musée de la sculpture en plein air.  Captured a recording of a lone blackbird singing against the backdrop of the orchestra of the city with sirens and motorcycles and passing conversations.

Crossing instead at Pont d’Austerlitz I made my jagged way back into the Eleventh and my newly adopted home.  Disburdening myself of my camera gear, I prepared for a dinner trip.  Said preparations consisting essentially of not carrying a bunch of heavy glass.

We walked all of two minutes across the street to a place called Fréquence.  Probably be considered a hipster bar back home:  a wall of vinyl and a pair of turntables are the only music source, mono-directionally frozen clear ice cubes (cut from blocks), and a dedication to precise technique at the bar and in the kitchen.  The music centers around reggae and maybe seventies-era soul.

We had Old Fashions, one of the best I’ve had.  Confident in their solid position in the community, they don’t project much from the street.  With the blinds pulled it’s difficult to tell whether they are open from the street.  No flashy signage.  Maybe that’s just the Wednesday personage?  The music, the food, and the drinks are all worth your time.  And the people are charming, friendly and knowledgeable.

We ate a plate of gyoza and something resembling popcorn chicken in appearance.  Both were exceptional preparations accompanied by exquisite sauces.  The fried chicken bits, or the sauce, were even a bit spicy (the French using cayenne outside Louisiana?!).

Seriously fun to have a perfectly clear ice cube.  Is it worth it to order blocks of specially frozen ice and cut them into drink-sized cubes, to shave them and rinse them in particular for each cocktail?  I’m happy to pay someone for such a simple pleasure.

Back across the street to crash.


20211216 Paris

New neighborhood, new direction for walking.  Stopped at the Italian themed Pizza Pino for steak and fries.  Though the french do have the word rare, you’ll want to use saignant for meat doneness.  They will be pleased both with your knowledge of this word as well is your appreciation of properly prepared meats.  It came with a pepper sauce and a gorgonzola sauce.

I did a bit of writing and relaxing and chatted with the waiter.  We talked about the different French accents and how some people were much easier for me to understand than others (not necessarily according to regional accents).

Then why not some dessert?  They have a special dessert item which combines la crème caramel, la mousse chocolat, et une glace with une tasse de thé.  I chose Earl Gray and stracciatella.

Eventually I made my way back to chez Fred but immediately turned toward La Musée Carnavalet.  This is a free museum of the history of Paris.  You’ll want to give yourself at least a couple of hours to see this one.  I arrived at 16:30 (half an hour before my ticket time) and they booted me at 17:30 (half an hour before closing, and this was not enough time to see but one and a half floors.  On the plus side, returning another time would still be free.

Back again to chez Fred for a bit of chit chat and a puff and some boxed pizza (seriously good bake yourself pizza).  Then out for another walk.  Even though this has been a very casual day I still managed to put in 15k steps.

I decided to revisit La Fontaine and ordered the a combination plate they offer with cheeses and cured meats and pâté.  In spite of being 12.90e it was impressive in size.  And of course it was amazing.  Also put down a couple of glasses of an amazing rosé Corse.

Then back again for more discussion with Fred before crashing.


20211217 Paris

Woke early today and was gone before eight.  Had a bit of trouble locating the Metro entrance at Bréguet–Sabin, and once I did find it there was no ticket machine.  So I walked to the next Metro stop at Place de la Bastille and ducked underground to get the five heading South.

Leaving the Metro at Place d’Italie, I walked toward the area of Butte-aux-Cailles.  This area has a reputation for street art.  First though I hit a little bakery and picked up a brioche with marrons (chestnut cream).  Think of it like a cream filled pastry injected with something like marzipan but with a texture similar to apple-butter.

Then I meandered and shot and meandered and shot for better than an hour and a half.  I also spent some time sitting in Square de la Montgolfière, recording bird and city sounds.  A bit later than hoped, I then made my way to the Catacombs.  But first I nabbed a ham and cheese sandwich at that same bakery, Lorette Gourmet Bakery, again.

Ate half the sandwich on my way to the catacombs.  They require advanced ticketing, so I bought a ticket on-line after sneaking away to use a public toilet.  Met three travelers from North Beacon Hill standing in line.

Once in the building we descended more than 100 steps down a spiral staircase.  Seriously, one of the weirdest things you’ll ever do.  You do the same up at the end.  Just a long spiral without landings or passages, just steps.

Took about two hours to get through the whole thing.  I was not in a hurry.  I stopped at one point to record some dripping sounds where water is seeping through the limestone above the catacombs.  You can see tiny stalactites forming on the ceilings.

Exiting the catacombs I made my way to a train station to grab the B back North to find Chez Georges.  When I arrived I asked for a table if that were possible as it was quite close to closing (14:00).  They seated me at first in a small lone table, but rethinking things he then asked if I’d prefer something I didn’t catch and then he brought me into the larger dining area and squeezed me in between two couples at a long line of tables.  He didn’t want me to eat alone.

Chez Georges serves pretty classic French fare with an extensive wine list.  I was tempted to get a carafe from Pomerol for $140 but opted instead for a chardonnay as that would pair better with the escargot and the sole meunière.

I chatted up the couples on each side.  Each had something to say that might help my dining experience.  Each also appeared to have spent many previous engagements at Chez Georges.  Experts, yes, but also familiar.

The food was amazing, of course.  The escargot was surprisingly well balanced and the waiter said it was best with the bread.  She was absolutely correct.  She also recommended the chardonnay.  Sole meunière is essentially flour dredged sole poached in butter (they say pan fried but…).

After dinner I was offered the dessert menu.  I was already talking about the dessert that both couples had already ordered and received:  baba au rhum.  Basically a yeast sweet bread of some sort soaked in rum and eaten with crème fraîche.  The couple to my left (young and successful, apparently, or just posh) had ordered two but only she would eat the baba, so she insisted I try the other as it was her favorite dessert.  So no dessert menu ever arrived.  The couple on my left agreed it was their favorite dessert as well.  I have to admit it was pretty amazing.  I’m sure I tasted cinnamon but was repeatedly assured none was added (probably a flavor coming from the rum instead).

Finish that meal with a bit of eau de vie de poire.  About as good as it gets.  The woman to my left, a radio journalist who was now committed to a tipsy broadcast, and I talked for a bit before I departed.

From there it was off to la musée des Arts et Métiers.  This is a museum for industry and technology I suppose.  They have a great collection of machines and inventions.  There are also a handful of automatons and the like (all the way down to music boxes).

Back here to chez Fred to type all this.  Maybe I’ll find a bar shortly but it’s Friday so it will be different.

Fred arrived before I left and also wanted a drink.  We walked around a corner to a place that had grown during his tenure in this area from a small bar taking over the two adjacent storefronts to be pretty sizable today (Pause Café).  We had some Ricard and pommes frites, then returned and to crash.


20211218 Paris

Busy morning with a late start.  Well, not that late.  And I suppose not that busy.

I got up and got myself cleaned up and went out the door before Fred was up.  Just me and the cat walking into the morning courtyard.

First I went to la Musée National Picasso-Paris.  Long been a fan.  Pained a version of Tete d’homme au chapeau and a favorite of his called Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (not knowing at the time he admired it), so this was a delightful morning in a museum.  Surprisingly sparsely attended for a Saturday.  Good choice.

From there I took a short walk to the former home of Victor Hugo to see his apartments, some of his art collection, and lean of his life and style.

I walked back out into Place des Vosges and into the bright sunny day.  Shot some pictures of the fountains earlier but wanted to get some with this sun.  So I made a quick trip back to grab my big lens and returned to the park and shot many pictures of the fountains and grounds.

After that I walked back over to Passage du Chantier to take pictures.  I had found this passage last night but was without my camera.  Then back here to type this out before thinking about food.  How generous I am!

Knocked out a shower and washed my hair.  Fresh clothes make the man fresh!

Only one more full day in Paris.  Decisions to make for the remaining time.  I can relax when I get to Orléans.

Fred is doing laundry (or at least he has ventured out to retrieve the load from the laundromat).  He wants to come with me to Chez Paul for dinner (another of his recommendations).  I’m looking forward to it, not least of all because I’m famished at the moment.

And oh yes Chez Paul was worth the time.

I started with rillettes de lapin au romarin, spécialité after an aperitif of sweet white whose name I have forgotten (reminded me of ice wine actually).  Followed that with steak au poivre flambé Cognac, monté au beurre, gratin dauphinois and a Côtes du Rhône.  Finishing with l’indétrônable tarte tatin, crème fraîche and an Armagnac.

Such an interesting space.  There are four different dining areas over two floors.  Probably a bit of a servers nightmare.  When we arrived it was essentially empty.  When Fred left (he ate dinner essentially before I was done with my rillettes) it was just starting to gain a population.  When I left before ten it was in full swing.

Returned here to find Young Fred passed out on the couch, smoked completely.


20211219 Paris

One night my feet will murder me in my sleep.

Up and out early again.  This time I have a detailed walking tour arranged in maps.  First stop le Monument aux morts de la Grande Guerre then into the grounds of la Cimetière du Père Lachaise.  For Americans this cemetery is most famous for Jim Morrison but there are a lot of important folks here.  But even without all the famous folks this place is pretty amazing all on its own.

I wandered for all of half an hour when my camera card was full.  Damn.  Back to chez Fred to unload the card.  So there vanishes an hour.

Back at the cemetery, wandering again, I meet a couple of ladies who appear to be holding a map of said cemetery.  Turns out these charming Germans are merely holding a map of France.  We talk for a bit and they tell me which direction for the revolutionaries and for Jim Morrison.  They return to Frankfurt tomorrow.  We part.  I head off ostensibly toward the revolutionaries.

Before long a gentleman asks me for help.  He is looking for Morrison.  He’s from Toulouse.  There’s an application called CityMapper which knows where certain tombs are located.  I install the application and he and I go off in search of JM’s tomb.  The application gets a bit of taking used to but once managed works like a charm.  We find Morrison, then we locate (in no particular order) Chopin, Proust, Gramme (guy invented the dynamo, c’mon), Piaf, maybe some others.  On the way Patrick points out other important French historical figures.

Finally we part.  He’s going back to Toulouse tomorrow.  At this rate Paris will be empty by Tuesday.  We exchange contact information for when I return to Toulouse (it can happen).

Then I head back to chez Fred.  Mostly to use the toilet since it’s on my way.  Then I trek toward Le Centre Pompidou.  There is a really long line to buy tickets so I buy one on-line and zoom past all that.  The gallery arrangement is not very clear.  With admission you get up to floor four.  On the first floor (above the ground floor) there is a small temporary exhibit (actually two next to each other).  Then you go back down to the ground floor to ascend to the first floor on the other side so you can get stopped at the entrance to go back to the ground floor to check your pack at the opposite wall of the entrance to the building.  Then you can go back up to floor one on that other side and then take the outdoor escalator you entered beneath to go all the way to six.  But that’s a mistake because that’s a special exhibit and you don’t really want to go see that anyway.  What you want is on four.  Didn’t I already mention that?  Pay attention.

On hour you get to see many different modernists.  This is right where I want to be.  Lots of good stuff on this floor.  This is where most of my time was spent.

From there staying inside the museum you can descend to three.  This is the contemporary art.  Most of this is not very compelling.  Even the interesting installations are just making statements and have failed to deliver a narrative or an emotional impact.  In time some of this will rise past the critics (probably stuff that has struggled to get museum time if history guesses correctly) and make an impact, but very little of what I’ve witnessed of this new lot seems particularly worthy.  Don’t make statements; make art.  The statements will make themselves.

Back out into the cool fresh night air with my pack once again in tow.

I get over to 59 Rivoli but they are just closing.  Damned card.

Absolutely famished.

One last sight to see.  I make my way to the narrowest street in Paris:  Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche.  It’s located adjacent to a group of streets with a boatload of restaurants.  I check the G and don’t like the nearby choices and instead select a pizza place some distance off, Pee and Bee, and head there.

Glass of Montepulciano to start.  Then a ham and mushroom pizza.  They are having trouble with the outdoor heaters so after the pizza I go inside and crash on this broad couch.  I have today’s special dessert, which is some sort of honey cake with a poached pear and a glass of too-sweet limoncello.  Kinda wanna just curl up on this couch for a nap.

Anyway, I do leave and head back to see old Fred one last night.  And that’s me here writing.