Observation 7: I love my Navigo pass. It works on ALL metros, buses, trams, RERs and even those cute Pee-Wee Herman bikes. You pay 5e to purchase the card at a Tabac store or from a Metro station with a service desk. You pay another 5e for a set of 4 (always fabulous) photo booth/passport type photos. The pass for one month was around 65e.
Observation 8: The French still hate McDonald’s and Starbuck’s (which are everywhere) but the intoxicating pull of free WiFi draws them in by the thousands. It’s hard to find an empty seat in either place.
Observation 9: Those who live in the apartment just over the first floor of 6 Charles d’Ivry should try a short separation to give their partnership a break. And to give those that live below them a break as well.
Observation 10: French WiFi should be called WTFi.
January 31, 2013
This being “Mexican Food Thursday”, we set out to go to our place on rue Dauphine only to be greeted with a paper sign with a penciled note that it was unexpectedly closed today. Instead we ate on the Left Bank at a little cafe that served pizzas, spaghetti and steak. We could see the tips of both the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame (opposite directions). We had been there for about 20 minutes before either of us realized that we had this special view. That would explain the high prices and the mediocre meal.
February 3, 2013
I miss David. The apartment on Charles d’Ivry is wonderful except for computer and other technology challenges. Yes, these two statements are interrelated. But I do miss him terribly. I have been sleeping with Invisible David on my left, as Real David does at home. Invisible David sometimes takes on the profile and form of two pillows. I have had to start climbing over invisible David when I have to get up at night because an ongoing battle I have been having with my bed. So far it’s Bed:2, Alison:0. I had a rather nasty bump on my head when last week I climbed into bed in pitch dark, took a wrong turn, and–I am in no way exaggerating here–I was hurled out of bed and my head banged hard against a century old wall. Climbing over Invisible David does not seem to bother him and this way I am less likely to wake up Joan and Invisible Tom.
We have been without WiFi for 3 days. I have been plugging and unplugging random things into other random things with Joan watching me. Today something I did finally worked. Joan said “What did you do to fix it in case you are gone next time it goes out”. Really!??
Yesterday we went to 3 wonderful and lesser known Paris museums:
First, we went to the Parc Monceau metro stop and walked through the park to get to the first museum, the Nissim de Camando. The home was built to house a collection of exquisite French antiques. But the museum is also is a story of the Camondo family, their rise to wealth, and their final, distressing end as Jews in World War II. I insisted on getting the French audio guide because I really am trying to immerse. I will need to go back another day and get the English guide so that I can see it all again and hear it again in better detail.
After leaving the Nissim, I wanted to walk around the Parc Manceau a little more. It is a fabulous place. Since it is a “park” and not a “garden”, one can actually sit or walk on grassy areas here. I bet we saw 50-60 joggers. We got to a gate and saw another museum just outside the park. This was was free admission. It was called the Musee Cernuschi and is one of the oldest museums in Paris dating back to 1898. It houses a renowned collection of Asian arts, including the imposing 18th-century bronze Buddha de Meduro, acquired by Henri Cernuschi during his travels to Japan.
I used my jazzy little “Around Me” app and saw there was one more museum nearby, the Musee Jacquemart-Andre. Here is what Trip Advisor said about this place: “Built by Edouard André and his wife Nélie Jacquemart, both avid art collectors, in the new Paris being laid out by Baron Haussmann towards the end of the 19th century, this private mansion offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore a wealthy 19th century home. The museum presents a wonderful collection of masterpieces: Fragonard, Rembrant, Botticelli… This is the only museum open seven days a week in Paris.” Besides being a cool museum, it was a tender love story.
After museuming all day we decided to try to find a shoe store near the Opera building that was suggested in a book I just finished reading. But first we had to get there. We took a wrong turn and saw the Arc de Triomphe in the distance so we kept walking toward it to take a picture for Joan’s grandson, Zane, who has a fascination about it. We snapped a picture then took the bus to the Opera. We had to find a WiFi spot to map the location so we headed to Starbucks. Once there we decided to eat at a tiny brasserie next door because it had a picture of a “tortiflette” in its window. Tortiflette is a gluten free option for Joan. However, they did not, in fact, offer tortiflette but we ate there anyway. By now it was raining and I had lost my umbrella the day before so we stopped in at Galleries Layfayette (because we hadn’t been punished enough last time). Needless to say that we never made it to the shoe store. But Joan bought a cute light jacket (because the 6 she brought weren’t enough) and I bought a new umbrella that I hope will be less enthusiastic about turning inside out than my last one.
Today we left our apartment around 10:30am to visit the Porte de Vanves flea market. It was a couple of hundred vendors hocking books, art, loads of silverware odd dolls and other collectibles. I have read there is a large furniture trade at this market but didn’t see it (Again. I came here once with David and we didn’t find it then either). So, if anyone reading knows where the furniture at Vanves is, let us know. I did get a scrumptious 5.50e pizza/drink/brownie combo when we were leaving the market but neither of us bought anything else.