A lazy long weekend, Paris style
Last Friday morning I went op shopping in the Le Marais. It was a lovely sunny morning and as I was walking down a cute little alley a man stopped me to tell me I was very pretty. First problem was he said it in French and I misunderstood him slightly, second problem is when I’m not sure what someone is saying I have a tendency to say ‘oui, oui’ (yes, yes) while my brain deciphers what they said at the speed of a snail. So… I assumed he was talking about the weather and I quickly agreed whole-heartedly with him. He looked slightly confused, I realized what was going down and said ‘ohhhh meeee?’ It was pretty awkward – blush, run.
Later that day I and met up with Jono in the park for French practice and dessert (after lunch dessert, of course its ok here). We wandered through the streets of Paris to home and Carmen and Heidi came over for dinner bearing gifts of wine, flowers and strawberry tarts from the patisserie – what wonderful Parisians they make already!
Saturday was Flea Market Day and to get best involved we caught the metro right up to the northern boundary of Paris and visited the biggest flea market Paris has to offer ‘Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt’. We ended up in the most expensive section, the antiques, and had a great morning checking out what you can buy for 5-10000 euro, small change really. There was some really delicious furniture and art that would have been awesome to have around home.
We met up with the girls, which was really just lucky since Jono had set them a very obscure meeting point and then we walked to ‘La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmarte’ for a non existent pillow fight. Saturday was also National Pillow Fight Day and word on the street was that there would be a flash mob pillow fight below the Scare Coeur…word was wrong. We missed it; on the dot of 3pm no one else was holding a pillow but us so everyone just made their own fun. In consultation with the internet later that night it was discovered we were in the wrong location, bummer.
Weary and chilly we found a café somewhat away from the tourists and string-men at the Basilique and had a coffee in Montmarte. Montmarte is awesome and has lots of little alleys and pretty views as it is one of the few hills in Paris.
The annual Paris Marathon was held on Sunday and Jono discovered that the route ran through the street in front of our apartment and the street behind. It would be a pretty great spot for a marathon, you run past all sorts of beautiful Paris monuments including the tower and Louvre and along the river.
We got up and ducked over the road to the 20km mark and watched and cheered the front runners zip past. I say zip because they were practically sprinting even though they were 20kms down and had 22 to go! First white guy didn’t make an appearance till about place 30! Everyone really got behind the participants; there were brass bands, stacks of spectators and even old ladies singing!
I went to Rue Montorgueil later that afternoon and wandered around. It’s a street in the 2nd arrondissement that is full of restaurants, patisseries, cafés, boulangeries, poissonneries, fromageries, wine shops, markets and flower shops. It also is home to La Maison Stohrer which is one of the oldest patisseries in Paris having been open since 1730! It had lots of amazing looking, no good for you, delicious sweets! Coffee and a newspaper sitting in a French café in the sun passed the afternoon nicely.
The guy who owns our apartment, Alejandro, has a Mexican ‘hole-in-the-wall’ restaurant which we’d heard had really good food! We walked the 4km’s and met Heidi there for Burron and Tacos. It was packed; we waited an hour for our food, sitting in the gutter which sucked a little bit. I was failing and didn’t think I’d last much longer but eventually we got it and it was devoured. We had walked around the corner to sit down by Canal Saint Martin and watch the ghetto area go by. As we were sitting there Heidi looks over and goes ‘ah what the hell’, we turn around and the building behind us is on fire. I was like ‘get the children out, run people, use your fire escape plan’ however, no one and I mean no one, especially the occupants of the building cared!
Jono and I went to see the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in full flight that night. It was beautiful of course. They call it the street of diamonds and rubies because when you stand at one end and look down it the headlights and the taillights of the 8 lanes of cars look like diamonds and rubies twinkling in the night.
We were dead on our feet but made it to the Arc de Triumphe where Jono mustered up the energy to play in the lights.
Monday was a great day. We got up early and Jono and I went op shopping together having fun with large fur coats and the like.
For lunch we hit up L’as du Fallafel on Rue de Rosiers, which according to just about every website is the best falafel in Paris and I can now whole-heartedly agree. It was amazzzzzingly good! It’s on Rue de Rosiers (Street of the Rosebushes) which is in this cool Jewish area of Paris.
Down the street we popped into an awesome patisserie that sold huge pieces of delicious baklava. We found a nice park and a patch of sun and ate it all up. We spent the afternoon walking to a massive park just outside the Pèriphérique called Bois de Vincennes. Jono had found this awesome walkway – they’ve converted an old viaduct into a garden area in the middle of the city, its very beautiful and you can walk on it for 3kms.
The park at the end is massive; it has woods, 2 lakes where you can hire rowboats, a zoo, an amusement park and lots of green, green grass. We stopped and practiced our French till the cold made it necessary to start the 5kms home. Next time its warm and sunny day (hopefully very soon) we are coming back here for an all day, all you can eat picnic.