Sunday, 29 June 2014

Paris 2014, days 1-3

Day 1 Friday June 27
The trip in from Epernay detoured via the American memorial to the Marne Salient, which was quite grandiose, overlooking the countryside like a huge Greek temple.

a memorial2 a memorial
Then in through Paris suburbs to Porte Pantin and a straight run to Gare du Nord where we dived under the station and down to level -6 to return the car. On return we asked the woman to actually check and sign off the car, which she did, but it was not going to happen without our asking. Then to the official taxi queue, which was about 10 minutes long, then a 10 minute trip to the apartment.We had booked the apartment, Fontaine Moderne, through Frenchy Rentals.
Located in the 9th and a few blocks from Blanche or Pigalle Metro stations, it was a reasonable situation though far removed from the tourist scene in ambiance. A few theatres on the streets and the local “yoof” at the various cafes celebrating World Cup matches. A few young beggars who slept somewhere else at night, returning with clean clothes and sitting on their suitcases. The young man was helpful to us on several occasions. No sign, however, of drunks or threatening people that others had said were prevalent in the area.
The apartment was wonderful; spacious, clean, secure, a tiny balcony off the bedroom looking over nothing much, huge kitchen, washer and dryer and very quiet with double glazing. No a/c and that might be a problem in high summer, though there were two fans. Paula from Frenchy Rentals, met us as agreed and suggested local restaurants. She was always very professional and responsive in our planning stages as well.
p living room
Dinner that night at Les Canailles, was on Paula’s recommendation. While we were the first to arrive at 7.30pm we were the last admitted without a reservation and those coming in seemed to be locals and regulars. So if you want to go, book this one. It is well worth the visit. The first two courses were so good we went for dessert as well, which we probably shouldn’t have done. Those waistlines are still expanding.
p dinner les canailles 1 p dinner les c dessert 1 p dinner les c 3
Day 2 Saturday June 28
Saturday was our day for the Street Art walking tour.
First we negotiated buying a carnet of tickets at the Metro station using cash and a machine. Very few stations have a staffed ticket booth these days. The machine was easy to use and gave change from notes.
Lots of people were waiting at the café at Café Place Verte in rather damp and dreary weather. The huge wall next to the café was being painted, as it is each two weeks, by an invited artist, Miss Van this time, so it was rather fun to watch that in progress. Demien then led us on a tour that wandered through Belleville with history and artists explained and an amazing array of different street art styles, from paper, to tile to chisel to stencil to spray can. We had to opt out of the part that went up many stairs in a park but we re-met the group later and returned to the starting point. At the time I was vaguely dissatisfied with the tour, but looking back we actually saw and learned a lot.

w missvan miss van w missvan2
w denoz layers
Rue Denoyez
w hatchwork
Detail, hatched drawing
w spraycan
All done with spraycans
w chisel
Chisel art
w beware of words
“Beware of words”
w pacman
Space invader
Lunch nearby at Gigi’s Pizza provided surprisingly good veal and pasta putanesca while it poured rain outside. Home via Rue des Martyrs to ogle the food shops. By this time it is becoming obvious that my right foot is not faring well with 15,000 steps a day and that my plantar fasciitis is returning. This may well hinder what we can do. Dinner in our own flat, finishing with raspberries which were so good.
Day 3 Sunday June 29
Sunday just had to be Bastille Markets. The rain continued and bucketed down several times while we visited, but the awnings helped shelter us and we had a great time. First we walked through in one direction, checking out what was good, then we walked back, buying. So we got salmon, a pretty little pintade roast, a slice of a country terrine for lunch with a baguette, little ratte potatoes, raspberries and strawberries and of course, a bottle of wine. No paeonies in the market this time, just bunches of hydrangeas and others of pretty pink pea flowers. I bought a bunch for €3. Home for lunch.

m seafood m radish m produce
That afternoon we headed for Quai Branley where I wanted to see the vertical garden façade. It was lush and green but smaller than I expected. The offerings at the museum didn’t really appeal so we wandered on to the Eiffel Tower which was sprouting strange scaffolding. This appears to be for some sort of glass floored walk being constructed. However, we had no need to record this.
m verticalwall1
Quai Branley vertical garden
m verticalwall2
Detail, Eiffel Tower
More rain and no real shelter, plus foot hurting dreadfully, so we dived into the Metro for home.
Dinner at Astier that night which we had visited before, also on a Sunday. It was very busy but the food was very good. My foie de veau was cooked as a thick piece and was delicious but quite sinewy which was a bit off-putting. The marvellous cheese tray of course for madame followed by a fresh red fruits and orange sorbet dessert that was perfect. A few noisy and rather rude fellow Australians made us cringe a bit.

r astier r astier cheese r astier dessert
Days 4-6 next time.

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