The past two days we’ve taken a bit of a break from the manic sightseeing and it’s been really nice. We’ve still managed to see quite a few things, but at a less frantic pace.
While Scotty was at class, I ran some errands and snapped a couple pictures. Here’s the amazing roaster where we buy our coffee. They roast single source coffees right in the store! And they’re very nice and helpful there – which brings me to the observation that nearly all the people we have encountered here have been so kind. I had a little breakfast outside a cafe this morning and was approached by an elderly French woman, several elderly men, a young woman and they all just wanted to chat. Too bad my French is not better but we managed short conversations full of laughs and shrugs. When people find out I’m not French they usually guess that I’m Italian or Swiss (the Swiss assumption cracks me up because I look nothing like my Swiss friend Yve who is a classically Swiss beauty). But no one guesses North American. It is funny to me because I think that most Americans can pick out European tourists a mile away. It’s the shoes, the clothes, even the facial structure – there’s just something different. And Scotty and I can now pick out Americans over here very easily. But we’re a bit ambiguous – not obviously American or French, people just assume we’re some other variety of European…unless Scotty’s wearing his Cardinal’s hat and then he’s the American with the Italian girlfriend.
Anyway, back to the report of the day. I also stopped by our bakery, Le Boulanger de Monge. These people make AMAZING bread. It’s not every boulangerie that finds itself recommended in the Michelin guide and thanks to our landlord, Clarie, we were introduced here the first day and have made several return trips. For an interesting article on French bread, click here. And, for those of you who are wondering about the nutritional value of French bread, at this bakery they mill their flour in such a way that most of the germ is preserved along with the nutrients! And yet the bread has that iconic crusty and chewy texture that is the holy grail of baking. MmmmmMmmm.
Next I stopped at an adorable cafe of Rue Moufftard where I enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee and got some work done – and had short stilted conversations with the locals who walked by and initiated little conversations. I sat by this window and couldn’t resist taking a picture of this cute little sign advertising the traditional French breakfast:
After Scotty’s class we decided to explore a little more. Guided by the excellent Markets of Paris we wandered through the Carré des Arts Saint-Germain, a collection of over 100 shops and galleries packed into an area of winding streets and alleys. We saw an amazing antique Paris poster that we would both have loved to bring home as a souvenir but at €850.00 it was quite a bit out of our price range! It’s a great area to wander through, window shop and stop for coffee.
I was also on a mission to find a street that I vividly remember from my family’s 1998 trip. It’s this narrow street lined with charming shops and home to the iconic L’Orangerie. For some reason I was thinking it was on l’Île de la Cité but after a long walk through lots of side streets, I realized it was probably on Île Saint-Louis – and there it was! It was so much fun to walk down this street ten years later. It’s still beautiful but it has changed. L’Orangerie is under new ownership and it looks like the new owners have really destroyed it – based on all the reviews I’ve read it’s heartbreaking to those who were once its loyal customers. The street was quieter than I remember but it is still charming and Scotty and I will return.
Wandering around some more we explored a bit of the Latin Quarter, took a rest by the Seine, visited the gorgeous St. Étienne du Mont, and walked into the Panthéon. Dinner was Vietnamese take-away on the Seine and by then it was cold and we were tired. The weather has cooled down significantly from when we first arrived – it’s now in the low 60s and I’m wondering why I didn’t pack more pants!
Here’s the pics from the day – nearly all taken by Scotty. I woke up with a pinched nerve in my neck and holding the camera was just too painful!