07.08.2010 - 09.08.2010
Good morning everyone! It's a beautiful day here in Paris. I just got back from the Marche Aligre, a huge market that is about three blocks from my apartment. I got some beautiful peaches and a few green peppers. It's amazing how much cheaper produce is at the outdoor markets when compared to the grocery stores. This market is so fun to walk through. I'll have to take some pictures and show you just how massive and lively it is. Even in the middle of a work day, it was packed.
So, I haven't even told you about my weekend yet! Saturday afternoon I went to Le Marais which used to be a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Paris; it still has a large prescence, but it's also become kind of a chic place for young designers to set up boutiques. There are tons of great little shops and such- I bought a cute purse that I am very excited about. However, one of the reasons, in my opinion, to go to the Marais is for the Falafel. On the Rue des Rosiers there are a ton of little take-out windows that sell falafel, but three are in major competition with each other: Chez H'anna, Chez Marianne, and L'As du Fallafel. I am partial to L'As du Fallafel...and when I say partial, I DO NOT eat at the others. So, I woke up Saturday morning with nothing but falafel on my mind. It's all I talked about, it's all I thought about. I was so happy when I reached the street...approached the large green building that houses L'As du Falafel and.....they were closed. No sign, no note, no explanation. I just stood there and stared wondering what I was going to do with myself. I wandered up and down the street for about twenty minutes (secretly hoping the workers had just popped out for a cigarette and would be back tout de suite. Sadly, that was not the case. I resigned myself to the fact that if I was going to satisfy the falafel monster living in my stomach, I was going to have to go to one of the enemies. The line for Chez H'anna was ridiculous, so I opted for Chez Marianne. I placed my order inside, approached the window and...a woman butted in front of me. I said, "Madame, excusez-moi, mais j’étais ici avant vous." ("Excuse me, ma'am, but I was here first.") Her reply? I bet you think she said she was sorry and moved aside...well, you would be wrong. "Mademoiselle, j'ai trop faim d'attendre." ("Miss, I'm too hungry to wait.") And then she hit me with her shopping bag (not like, across the face or anything, but in a "get out of my way little American girl" way). Sigh....what can you do?
After Madame Hungry was served, it was my turn and FINALLY, I got my falafel...and you know what? It was fantastic. I'm not sure if it is as good as L'As du Fallafel, but it was well worth the calories- perfectly tangy vegetable-cole-slaw stuff, roasted eggplant, crispy falafel balls, and garlicky tzatziki...Ok, I'm ready for another.
(Update: Monday I was in the neighborhood again and L'As du Fallafel was open. I didn't have falafel again, but I will return and get it before I leave! Maybe they are just closed on Saturday for Sabbath...that would make sense.)
After lunch, I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Musée Carnavalet, a free museum about the history of Paris. This has got to be the best deal museum wise, because they have an amazing collection and you can easily spend a few hours wandering around inside and outside, because the gardens are incredible as well.
My favorite part of the museum was the entire floor dedicated to the French Revolution. They had locks of Marie Antoinette's hair, and I'm sure you're think "That is kind of gross," and yes, well, it is. But you all know how fascinated I am with this woman, so I spent about 20 minutes just staring at her hair clump. I didn't take a photo though...that would just be creepy.
Saturday night brought the return of my energetic French friend Morgane! We had planned to go up to Parc la Villette, where they have the astronomy center, to see the shooting stars and picnic, but alas- it rained cats and dogs (or as the French say, comme une vache qui pisse (like a cow pees)). So, we moved our dinner indoors to my apartment and then decided to go salsa dancing. There is a huge club called Barrio Latino around the corner from my apartment with five floors of dancing and lounges.
That is a view frm the third floor. The place was packed, you could hardly move, but somehow every was able to dance. It was a lot of fun, although I'm not sure it is worth the price tag...a fun one-time experience, but I'm not sure I'd go back unless someone else was footing the bill. The funniest thing about the night is this woman we met from California. Her name is Lynn, she just turned 50, and for a birthday present she gave herself a three month trip to Europe...without her husband. Lynn was definitely the life of the party. When the club closed, she wanted to know where the next party was and she was very disappointed that I wanted to go home and go to bed...sorry Lynn. You can enjoy your mid-life crisis...I'll enjoy my sleep.
Monday night I convinced Diana to come with me to Montmartre, which is a neighborhood to the north of Paris, up on a hill- a hill that requires climbing a massive amount of stairs or paying over 2 euros to take the tram. We opted for the stairs and Diana climbed them all in high heals...crazy woman.
My favorite church in all of Paris is in Montmartre: the Basilica of Sacre Coeur.
In front of the church, one of the most beautiful views of Paris unfolds, artists perform on the stairs, and people hang out and listen to music.
Diana does not like her picture being taken.
The first time I visited Montmartre in 1999, it was starting to get touristy, but there were still many actual painters working on the street and selling their work. In fact, if you're ever in my home, the painting in my living room was bought here on that trip. Now, it is a bit overrun with people trying to sell you funny caricatures of yourself...and Barack Obama. It is still a lovely part of Paris, once you get off the main drag and onto the side streets. We had dinner at a little cafe, but what sold the meal was the view. We watched the sun set and the lights of Paris all come on and had a great view of the church. It was pretty romantic...so romantic a man asked me if I wanted to buy my wife a rose. Why did he assume I'm the man in the relationship? We had a great night, the weather was perfect and I had Diana home by midnight. I'm a courteous date, I guess.
Happy Belated anniversary to my Mom and Dad who are celebrating 35 years up in Michigan this week! Love you guys!