Monthly Archives: July 2012

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Haussmann created this park over what was once a garbage dump! It’s a lovely, quiet park with trees, hilly paths and rocks to climb. There is a gorgeous and unexpected waterfall, a small lake and a re-creation of a Roman temple.

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La Droguerie

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This is one of my favorite stores in Paris. I’ve never bought anything though because I can never make up my mind what to buy – I want it ALL!

I found it accidentally a few years who when I got lost looking for a Naturalia store near Les Halles. Who wouldn’t want to go check out that colourful sign?!? It sells wools, threads, notions, fabrics and so much more.

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Some of my favourite things are the walls of jars (which I already have an affinity towards) full of beads and buttons of every size color and shape imaginable. I have actually considered buying a huge box of “beautiful stuff” and shipping it back!

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I have taken pictures of this store before, but they’re all back with my laptop. I asked, as I always do, and the proprietor was happy to allow it. However, this time, it was a Saturday and the place was packed. I couldn’t find an employee, so remembering they were congenial to photos, I took a few as I wandered about. I spotted the proprietor coming out of a back room and asked if it was okay if I took a few pictures. She grumpily replied, ‘No, not today.’ and waved me away. Oops. I’m assuming the large crowds and busyness of the day was the reason she declined. Oh, well. I got a few in anyway!

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Petite marche des puces

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I went to the Aligre flea market the other day. There’s a big one in St. Ouen that’s enormous (it’s where Shmo and I went in our first date). I’ll post in that one later. This one is much smaller but very “Paris”. I was actually looking for a pot but no luck.

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There’s fruit and vegetable stands to one side, down for at least a block. The vendors are not shy, shouting out ‘Madame’ and trying to catch your eye. They shout out that their produce is the best and their prices too. Many have small samples of their fruit, freshly cut, on a knife for you to sample. They wave them at you, hoping you will visit their stall.

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Then there’s the other side! It’s full of everything from books to vases to clothes to jewelry. Some may not be legally procured, I’m guessing, but no one seems to mind. There is a stall draped with fabrics, some richly jewel-toned and some laces, so delicate, it’s like spider webs across your hands as you stroke it.

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There is a myriad of items to be haggled over. Vendors keep a close eye on their wares, while simultaneously chatting with their competitors. If you linger over a piece, they will quickly cut short their conversation, and come to start to bargain with you. It’s difficult to resist pulling out your wallet at that point!

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You find some, you lose some

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While out shopping the other day, I came across these fantastic ateliers on the rue de Rivoli. It’s full if installation pieces that are unique and interesting. No pictures allowed inside unfortunately. A very cool and unexpected find!

On the other hand, I managed to lose a beautiful blouse I just bought (j’aime les soldes). Sigh.

Check out the funky door, doesn’t it make you discover what’s beside?!?

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Le métro

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To those who’ve been to Paris, this map is familiar. I love the métro. Truly, I do. It’s easily accessible, good signage and fast. So it can be stinky and sweaty, nothing’s perfect! But all in all, I love it. You can’t get lost in Paris. Wait. I take that back. You can get lost in Paris. But not problematically lost. You can always get home If you know you know your station. When I get lost, I just find he nearest métro station, and they are everywhere, check out the map and go back. It’s fabulous. And if a directionally-dysfunctional person like me can get around easily, anyone can. Seriously, I can barely find my way out of a paper bag but the métro is damn near fool proof. The only tricky part is figuring out the exits – some stations like Châtelet have at least a dozen, stretching over many blocks. The underground labyrinth of these stations are incroyable.

Then yesterday happens. So,last summer they closed the St. Michel station for a month. This is very inconvenient for me. I’m out in the ‘burbs and take the RER train into the city centre every day. It’s fifteen minutes from our place to Notre Dame. Seriously, it’s fast. But, when they close that station, which is central and AWESOME ( connects to ligne 4, which connects to everything) I have to get off at Gare d’Austerlitz. Hate it, bloody connects to ligne 10 & 5. Which connect to nada, so I’m always taking three trains at least. Sigh.

I saw the signs. I read them but this is what happens when the written language isn’t your first language. You misread stuff. I thought they were closing Austerlitz for a month, cool, whatever, no skin off my nose. However, as I discovered yesterday, nope, it’s St. Michel. Again. For a month.

ARGH!

I know, I know. This is the biggest thing to mess up my day, it’s pretty minor and I’m damned lucky and fortunate. It’s true. But seriously, this is such a pain in the ass. Adds at least 15 minutes each way to every trip.

C’est Paris!

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Reason 798 why I love Paris

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After an afternoon of drinking wine in a small brasserie avec mon amour, now chilling in a park, people watching, listening to free music (and it’s good) and enjoying the views. Do Sunday afternoons get much better?

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C’est froid.

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Well, not really. But the French are freezing. It has basically looked like this since I got here and the temperatures ranging from 16-22 degrees. There’s been some sunny days but not much. I, of course, couldn’t be happier! Perfect weather for me – aside from the hair issues. Yesterday, I saw people wearing, not just coats, but winter coats a few toques and a few people with gloves too. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. They think I’m crazy.
On another note….my hair. It has become three times it’s normal size (not compact to begin with). Due to its becoming it’s own entity, I am considering naming it. Suggestions are welcome…

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