Thursday, November 22, 2007

Le Thanksgiving

Two years ago today I gave thanks for my friend "Sally's" boss's frequent flier miles because they enabled us to fly to Paris. Sally is my favorite person to travel with - I've been on more trips with her than with family or all boyfriends combined. Our trips began when we both worked for the same European GDS/ Web portal , where for a blissful couple of years we were able to fly as Continental employees, often in first class. This was either our third or fourth trip to Paris. Our intinerary is to wake up, have breakfast, and then spend the usually two or three days we're there just walking around and discovering new neighborhoods. Usually we have a couple destinations for the day, a specific art exhibit, or Dehillerin, the famous cooking supply shop, or some obscure architectural monument, but mostly we wander around and let our intuition lead the way.

We usually allow a full day for the Marche aux Puces St. de St. Ouen - the Flea Market ! Located a subway ride away outside the XVIII quartier on the fringes of the city proper it's the largest flea market in the world. There's an incredible variety of stuff spread out among the 13 individual markets. Some booths looks like someone has upended a chateau scattering piles of King Louis chairs and glittery chandeliers; and some sell schlocky crap. There's a reliable selection of silverware, ephemera, textiles, and jewelry which is nice since it's not exactly practical to take a piece of furniture home. Here's a little photo essay in honor of the Marche aux Puces.

We arrived shortly after the market opened, but apparently the snow and cold kept the crowds away:

Jumbly warren of booths:

Tacky painting:

It was too early for lunch so we got a warm steamy crepe. How French. We both got ours with lemon juice and granulated sugar:

Stony bum clenching his fists because book prices have gone up way too much:

Mr. trenchcoat almost looks like he escaped the painting:

Creepy dolls and doll body parts:

Books (duh):

Rolypoly ephemera. I wish I had bought this and hung it in my bathroom:

We went to the Cafe Louisette, tucked away in the corner of one of the larger markets for lunch. This place is amazing - every inch was decorated with Christmas decorations. We whiled away about 5 hours in this foily smoky haze. We had aperatifs; and then lunch (I had lentils cooked with a ham hock and Sally had a stew of some sort); we listened to mul stiple sets of two bands; we chatted with the singer; we drank coffees; we socialized with some local antique dealers who later escorted us out of the labyrinthine, now completely shuttered, locked, cold and abandoned market :

Keyboard player for Band #1:

The remainder of the photos are from various spots aound Paris proper.

One thing that I was really excited to see was the Viaduc des Arts. In the 90's this ancient viaduct was transformed into a set of shops for artisans. We were there on a Sunday morning when just about everything was closed, but we were able to look in the windows:

Art in progress:

There's a garden lined walking path on the top of the Viaduc, one of the few places where you will see French people jogging:

View from the top of the Viaduc - what are these boys doing?

My apartment, from the Viaduc path - it was nice to be able to run down to that little store when I ran out of Nutella:

Dehillerin, the famous cooking supply store:

Notebook store - Sally knows me well and wouldn't let me go in, so I had to drool through the window:

Green "SMEG" fridge:

I liked the decorative metalwork on the outside of this building:

This is one of the oldest houses in Paris, now it's a Men's club. Our hotel was right around the corner in the Marais:

Pretty bookstore:

Sparkley toes:

Many of the main boulevards were strung with these funny candle lights:

1 comment:

What I Think said...

The French do love their stationary. I was constantly amazed at the French students, who seemed to travel with a complete set of desk accoutrements that far exceeded anything I actually have in any stationary desk. I think they spent more time getting their handwriting to fit in the little grids on their notebook paper than they did listening or, oh, learning.

I love the French for many things, but I love to diss them too.