Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Yes, I could have used a little more time here. Because Paris still can put some deft little surprises out there for even a weary returning traveler. But, the older I get, the more I want my family and my farmette guy, so that I have cut back from the three or even four week trips when Ed was still traveling, to somewhere around two weeks. (I wont hide the fact that, too, I simply run out of money faster now that I am no longer working.) So on Tuesday, I'm returning home and Paris has to fit snugly into this one day -- Monday.

But here's the surprise -- Paris throws me an enormous favor by defying the weather forecasters and throwing before me a morning with plenty of wind, but also plenty of sunshine.

I am in no hurry. I linger over breakfast, over my writing...

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But when I do set out -- just after 11, I really set out! I do not finish my walk around town (exclusively Left Bank today) until after 5.

I don't sit down once, not even for a minute. If I put Paris at the end of a trip where I have hiked quite the number of hours, the city benefits from my heightened stamina.

 But it suffers from my tired eye. Four times I chide myself for not being quick enough with my camera to capture something special. Four times! And so my Parisian offerings here aren't nearly as full at they should be. I am just not paying enough attention today. Perhaps I'm day dreaming. Or perhaps Paris has engaged me so much in other ways, that I let the camera dangle.

Still, I'm not totally photographically idle. Here's my walk, as seen through my Sony:

Because I know the sunshine wont last, I head first for the park: Luxembourg Gardens.

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("Oh, I'm glad it's spring! It's cold standing like this all winter long!")

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(these two take to the chairs. Most of us find it a little too cold to sit still.)

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(reindeer? or maybe moose, like the one I use for Snowdrop games?)

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(what's blooming now in the gardens... Primrose, reminding me of England...)

I use a kitty corner exit from the park and rejoin the spike in pedestrian traffic: it's lunch hour. But I don't pause. I've been consistent: one meal out per day. (Except for Nice. Raw artichokes deserved a break from self imposed directives.)

This is the neighborhood of many children's clothing shops. Snowdrop benefits from this, of course. But honestly, the benefit is mostly mine: shopping for my granddaughter brings her closer to me. Keeping images in my head of what she is doing now and what she will be doing this summer keeps me busy for a good part of my walk.

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(finally! a French child with a helmet! )

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(a typical multi-street Paris intersection; nothing special -- except for the beautiful and surprisingly blue sky!)

Eventually, I am at the department store, Bon Marche. I look, but I do not buy. Or at least not until I go to the food emporium. Here's a woman having an iPhone (in French -- also "iPhone," pronounced the same way) conversation while selecting some prepared foods.

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And then I turn in, along the rue du Bac. If I were to eat lunch, it would be here, at Cafe Varenne. But no, not today...

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Eventually, all roads lead to the Eiffel Tower. Well, for me at least. It's usually the point where I turn back on my Left Bank walk. How to photograph the Tower today... How about with forsythia in the foreground?

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Spring in the grocery stores: white asparagus! And lots of beautifully arranged strawberries.

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I notice sales in some stores. This is new. France used to regulate when stores could hold sales and, too, whether a store could open its doors on Sundays. The latter still holds, but I see the sales have now entered the year round shopping scene.  Snowdrop benefits!

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And finally, something for me: if I love a good macaron, shouldn't I occasionally make them back home? You need a special baking mat...

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A few photos now of Easter displays in chocolate stores. These eggs are quite expensive. They're actually hollowed shells that are then filled with chocolate. Put one in your eggcup and chip away at the shell and you'll get your fix of heavenly dark chocolate.

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These very large hens remind me of the brood back home: yep, three hens and a rooster. (See the frog peeking from behind the log?)

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Finally, another image of a Parisian classic.

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And now I am at the hotel again, putting my feet up and drinking a reviving cup of tea.

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Dinner -- tonight it's easy. I have a reservation at Pouic Pouic. I end Paris and indeed, my travels in this way. I am thrilled that as of this year they are open seven days a week and so I don't have to worry about a Monday closure. That means, too, that the second chef in command has a chance to take over the kitchen occasionally. I am close to the open kitchen and I watch him work. This is what I love -- the detail, the care he takes with every dish. When someone puts all their skill and effort into their work, we benefit. I have always admired people who try hard in life -- in whatever domain they choose for themselves. At Pouic Pouic, the chef tries hard.

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I wouldn't normally choose cod for a special last meal, but I am so glad I took a chance on it -- a heavenly presentation over a bed of braised endives! Memorable.

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After, I walk home, along familiar blocks that are predictably crowded now.

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I realize that passing through a city is different than settling in. You treat it as a gift, a little bonus. You relish every hour. And at the end of the quick trip, you think about all the things you'll do next time, during a longer stay.

Between a few evening hours and a few morning hours, I manage to write this post. I'll be on track now, reverting to posting in the evenings (US central time). Next post, therefore, will be late Wednesday. Thank you so much for patiently reading and those who comment -- for adding your words to this story!