More garden at the apartment building
Just finished dinner, so while I'm on food....
Down by the Abbesses Metro station, Alix and I discovered these wonderful little beignets - sort of like doughnut holes, only so much better. The dough is richer and they aren't greasy, though they're quite a bit more expensive than doughnut holes - $4 for those six.
Boulangerie with the beignets
Every afternoon/evening, when we'd get out of the Metro, we'd check for beignets. Too often, they were sold out. Yesterday, when I got in line they had some, but by the time it was my turn, they were gone. Today, I was early.
Ceanothus (California Lilac - on right/blue) growing
below Sacre Coeur
I went grocery shopping this morning - which meant hitting the bakery, the cheese shop, the wine shop, the fruit and vegetable market, and whatever they call the place that has all the prepared foods. Got a cheese I've never heard of, those beignets, some peaches (which smell wonderful!) and an avocado, a rose and a red, some celeri remoulade and green beans with garlic, and some aioli (which is no substitute for my homemade).
Place du Tertre - where artists
draw your portrait
It was quite a thrill tonight to have a green vegetable (the beans) - they are so rare on French menus, though plentiful in the markets. And the celery remoulade was wonderfully mustardy, but the aioli was a major disappointment. The red wine, on the other hand! Chateau de Lancyre, La Coste d'Aleyrac, 2011 - "An attractive Pic Saint Loup with red fruit on the nose, gooseberries, black currant and licorice. Long and intense on the palate with the perfect balance to accompany braised ham or a tender veal scallop." A perfect description (though I don't think it would go with veal - which I don't eat anyway). The black currant is really there! I adore black currant (cassis). When I was here with Chuck for three weeks in 1973, I had sorbet de cassis for dessert every single night! The wine is from Languedoc-Roussillion. Bob and I were in that region in 2006 and I didn't get to see enough of it. If anyone is willing to drive the car - I'm not(!) (we just did trains), I'll come back with you to really see the region.
A lot of the streets on the hill
Yesterday, near these stairs, I was stopped by some deaf-mutes (maybe) asking for money. While I was rummaging through my purse for some coins, one of them reached in and grabbed a twenty euro note. Luckily, I was able to grab it back!
This is for Andrew: Here's a picture of the funicular that goes up the hill so that you don't have to climb all those stairs if you don't want to (though I've done it!). We'll ride the funicular when you get here. It takes you up to Sacre Coeur.
Are you sick of pictures of Sacre Coeur yet?
Today started off as a beautiful day, but the weather is very changeable here and, by the end of the day, it was raining - the start of the predicted ten days of rain (though tonight is clear). Most of the time I've been here it has been overcast and - except for one day that went to 70 degrees - it has hovered around 60 every day (of course, it's about the same latitude as Seattle).
Out the window - again
Despite bad weather and despite telling myself not to walk so much and give the knee a rest, I always end up walking a lot each day and still not sure about the effect on my knee. Today I went to the Palais Royale to hang out in the gardens. Colette lived there and thought it was the perfect place to live. Even with a slight drizzle, I could stay dry under the trees. The garden is at an in-between stage - the tulips are spent and the roses are about a week from bursting out.
Peaking through another gate
One thing that is interesting is that people have been letting me speak in French much more than they did when I was with Alix. Can't really explain it, but before, when I'd walk up to someone in a shop or on the street, they would automatically speak to me in English. Now, almost every conversation (and they've been brief and simple) has been in French! I don't think Alix had "American" written all over her - particularly since she is stylish and I am frumpy. What is also interesting is that some people understand me very easily and others have real trouble. I know how to pronounce "haricots verts" quite well, so why did the sales woman have so much trouble understanding me? And then I went to an electronics store to buy a memory stick and we conducted that transaction so easily in French. Hooray!
Statue of a French singer I never heard of - apparently it's lucky to
rub her breasts when you go by - or so they say
Today I stepped out of the front door of the complex and into the middle of a tour group of French tourists - the guide was explaining the building across the street. It's small and round and I can't imagine what purpose it originally served, though now it's an art gallery. Too bad I don't speak better French so I could have found out. Anyway, a woman from the group approached me and asked if I lived in the apartment complex. I told her "only for a month." She thought I was very lucky and I am!
Front door (without the tour group)
Since yesterday was such a nice day, I went off to see the Canal St. Martin, which has become very trendy since I was last here - one of those waterfront places that cities tend to ignore for too long. We're planning to bring Andrew here.
Canal St. Martin
It's really quite lovely and on weekends they close off the streets on either side to traffic. There's even a playground above one section of it.
Boat ride on the canal
It's a true canal and has locks and you can take this boat ride down the locks (like the one I did near Toulouse - I loved that canal). Andrew will enjoy this.
The sticker on the pole says
"This is a good kiss spot."
I wouldn't know.
There are a lot of birds in the "backyard" of the apartment complex. Lots of singing right before dawn. Probably because there are some large undeveloped "wild" gardens. There are huge wood pigeons - I know what they are because I sent Moss Henry a picture - he's my official bird book when I don't have one with me. And instead of lots of little brown birds like at home, there are lots of big brown birds. They seem to grow their birds big here. And today I saw my first magpie - saw lots of them in Istanbul.
One of the "wild" gardens
I still haven't quite gotten used to the notion that I have absolutely no schedule. I keep feeling that there is something I should be doing - well, there is writing, which I haven't done except for this silly blog - and then I realize that, no, there isn't. And I always thought it would take me a little while to settle into the writing. The strangest thing is that I don't know anyone here. That feels really weird. I'm not a big talker, but this little feels really unnatural. When I return I'll either be completely mute or I'll be talking a mile a minute.
The bright pink flag says we're all one!
I told you this would ramble.