Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday 18 December - Lunch at Le P'tit Canon and concert at La Madeleine

This plaque on the plane tree indicates that it was planted in 1840
 It was a beautiful sunny morning and Le Square des Batignoles was at its best.  We had lunch at Le P'tit Canon with Georgina, who is the Perfectly Paris Greeter, and Colleen who is renting in rue de Saussure.
Georgina's dog sat in her lap all through lunch and was very good, she slept most of the time and never made a sound.
As usual, the meal was excellent (lentils with marinaded salmon, scallops, terrine, veal) we had white and red wines, the red being Cheverny and the white being Quincy. There was a large birthday party in the next table who were having a fine time. Towards the end the birthday boy put on a rugby shirt and held up a rugby ball, then several men tried to scrum down, front row only thank goodness. The entire restaurant sang "bonne anniversaire" and he blew out the candles on a cake that Isabel had prepared. It was a great lunch. 

Afterwards Mary and I walked down to La Madeleine for a concert given by the Chester school choir and brass band. It was quite well done although there was no program so it was not clear what was being performed. The acoustics of the building helped the sopranos and the trumpets.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday 17 December - Rue de Mouffetarde

Sundays are the time to go to Mouffetarde because of the high market activity and the traditional  singing and dancing with the piano accordion at the bottom end.  The weather was good with temperatures around 5 degrees and with a sunny sky.

The Monge market is always busy on Sundays with huge line ups for fruit vegetables, meat., fish and cheese.

Walking down we could hear trumpets and trombones of  band which was attracting a good crowd.
Everyone was swaying to the beat and the young kids were mesmerized.

A bouquet of macarons
At the bottom end of the street the piano accordion was only just getting under way so we went into a restaurant for a pretty good meal.
The confit de canard was very good but filling - love the mustard
I had a pichet of Cahors - the black wine.

After lunch we passed back and found the singing and dancing in full swing.
We walked back to the Jardins de Luxembourg and Saint Sulpice, stopping off for a hot chocolate.

Next to the Pantheon
The Pantheon

This hot chocolate was like a liquid chocolate pudding
The pond in front of the Senate at the Jardins de Luxembourg has been drained. The ducks have left and the seagulls are wandering around looking lost. I suppose the kids will have to go to the Tuileries to sail their boats.

The ponies did not have any takers - Pantheon in the distance


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday 16 December - Buttes Chaumont

Buttes Chaumont parc is one of my favorite Paris parcs and it was pretty busy on a cool Saturday morning.  There were many runners circling the hills and there was an open air fitness exercise going full swing.  One little old lady had a vicious looking sword that she was slashing and poking around.  Everyone steered well clear of her.  Families with small kids and dogs were out in numbers taking advantage of the exercise opportunities.  I have found most Paris parcs to be interesting to walk through.  There are few boring open flat spaces but the paths wind around giving interesting views after the next bush while the trees provide many useful visual breaks.

The viaduct was closed for renovation (known as the pont du suicides) but the suspension bridge, designed by Gustav Eiffel allowed access to the overlook.  It was cloudy so we did not bother to go up to see the usual view across to Sacre Coeur which we have seen every year any way.
This picture shows the parc under construction - Eiffel's suspension bridge looks to be completed but the railway tracks are still in place to move heavy, bulky materials.  The Petit Ceinture line actually runs through the parc.
There were a great number of gulls and ducks on the lake but they all steered clear of this heron which was pretending to preen itself 

These kids were co-operating.  The sticks were used to bring soggy leaves from the stream to make a pile ready for the machines to take over.
Lunch was at the Napoleon III which was alright  with a two course menu.

After lunch we walked back to Jaures and followed the canal a little way until we could break away to the Gare de l'Est.  The Alsace Christmas Market on the forecourt was in full swing - it is the last day today. I found some duck foie gras which will go well on Christmas Day.

New Train

An Exhibition train on platform 28

The Gare de l'Est is a very spacious station, much more comfortable than the others

Christmas decoration

Pedaling like mad to charge their cell phones

The no. 30 bus back to Villiers was surprisingly not full (for a Saturday afternoon). Rue Magenta is always interesting with the large number of formal, mostly tacky, clothes available. 

Back at Villiers Mary finally scored a Brioche Feuitee (honey brioche - on left). Wonder what we will have for supper?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday 15 December - Lunch at Le Fichon

View towards the Pont Cardinet station showing eleven main tracks
I went for a walk first thing this morning and enjoyed the trains coming into and out of Saint Lazare over the eleven track main.
Rue Legendre
We had lunch with Gail at Le Fichon, a fish restaurant with a limited menu but excellent meals.  We solved a lot of the world's problems with the help of a couple of bottles of Alsatian white wine.
The hake (colin) was excellent with a lot of mussels in a wonderful sauce

The toilet was all sparkly - I didn't know whether to sit on it or salute it.
It has been sort of raining this afternoon but it didn't deter us from walking both ways.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday 14 December - Saint Lazare

Ste Trinite church looked good during a short period of sun
The weather was very variable today with light rain and sunny periods. I visited a few model shops in the rues D'Amsterdam and Douai then made my way to the gare Saint Lazare. 

The nez casses from the 1970s are still very much in evidence on the main line trains
The ugly 273xx locomotives work push pull suburban services
The new seven unit Z50000 trains are beginning to take over the older stainless steel trains
It won't be long before the traction motor whine of these stainless steel units will be a thing of the past
It seems that trains on lines J and L were disrupted today as a result of labor action following an attack on a train conductor earlier today. I wondered why there were so many SNCF staff hanging around.

Dinner this evening was at a new pizza place that has opened just down the street. We started with this cheese stuff.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wednesday 13 December - L'Entrecote and Star Wars

Rain was forecast for today and it was spitting as we set out to walk to L'Entrecote near the Porte Maillot.  It is always a pleasant walk especially along the rue des Ternes where we always stop to look in the window of the patisserie.  They even have fougeres (top right) which is not very common in Paris.

We arrived in good time at the restaurant and were able to wait in the covered and heated area.  With no reservations taken it is first come first served and the door is not opened until midday.  The meal is always the same -  a lettuce salad with walnuts and a mustard dressing then steak and frites.  The only decisions one has to make are how the steak is cooked and which of the five red wines to choose.  We both chose seignant because the second helping of steak stands a little while,  The frites are thin and crisp and our plates were piled high.
The vacherin always generates comments from our neighbours.  The tables are placed so close together that almost always we have a conversation with the people around us.

From Porte Maillot we walked past the Etoile and down the Champs Elysees and were in good time for the Star Wars movie which opened today.  

It was raining when we came out and so we took the metro back home.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday 12 December - Champs Elysees

I took this picture because I liked the way the light brought out the texture of the tree just off the Champs Elysees.
We are still sleeping late from jet lag but it was a pleasant bright sunny day and we went for a walk through Parc Monceau to the Etoile then down the Champs Elysees and back along the rue du Faubourg Ste. Honore.  All told about 10.6 km.  There were the usual loud mouthed oriental tourists taking selfies but the wide boulevard was not particularly crowded. There was a large climate change conference in progress with a lot of important people attending.  Half of the Champs Elysee was cordoned off  by police and there was a row of at least 100 limousines waiting to take the Mr. Bigs back to their hotels - I wonder how  many of these burnt gasoline.
On the top of the Hermes building on the rue du Faubourg Ste. Honore.
A very pleasant walk as long as we could avoid the police cordons.