Buttresses, Boots and Bars, Oh My!

February 12, 2013
Observation 10:  A restauranteur we met told is that the French don’t really recycle. They collect recyclables but all the trash goes into the same landfill. The only reason they have recycle containers is to gauge how much the French would recycle if such a program were instigated.
Observation 11:  France should hire a surgeon-general, or borrow ours for a while. Someone needs to help them get the word out that smoking is bad for your health. Easily 80 percent of the youth smoke.
Friday night we stayed in because I could feel a cold coming on. Saturday morning, my bed looked like a crime scene involving the Velveteen Rabbit–his tissue insides were everywhere. Joan stumbled out of bed around noon, sick as well. Sick or not, I went shopping because it was the final weekend of “les Soldes”. Thank God. Four pairs of boots later, I think I’ve got shopping out of my system.
My new boots. This represents 25% of my "new inventory".
My new boots. This represents 25% of my “new inventory”.
Sunday, Joan was still feeling poorly, so I went to church without her…well, more accurately, I visited Saint-Chappelle and took a stroll past Notre Dame. Construction began on Saint-Chappelle in 1248 on order of the king to house Christ’s the crown of thorns and pieces of the cross. They have been undergoing a renovation of this nearly 800 year old architectural masterpiece since 2008.  The stained glass is stunning.  There was something cool mentioned about the buttresses here, too, but I didn’t quite catch it. The crowd at Notre Dame (construction began on it in 1148) was enormous so I passed on waiting in line to go inside. Everyone knows about the flying buttresses at Notre Dame. I’ve seen this Gothic wonder many times before and I still stand in awe.
Notre Dame.
Notre Dame.
I was waiting to buy a ticket for entry at Saint-Chappelle and enormous snow flakes started to fall. It was prettier than the picture.
I was waiting to buy a ticket for entry at Saint-Chappelle and enormous snow flakes started to fall. It was prettier than the picture.
A rainy Sunday at Notre Dame.
A rainy Sunday at Notre Dame.
Beautifully restored stained glass at Saint-Chappelle.
Beautifully restored stained glass at Saint-Chappelle.
It was snowing lightly which I loved.  I crossed over a bridge near and noticed locks on the side walls with names scribbled on the locks. Joan Googled it later. Apparently, there are two bridges in Paris like this. One is for eternal lovers who place the lock on the bridge and toss the key into the river Seine to insure they will meet again in the after world. The other is for secret lovers whose long term plans are a little more…fluid…lets say.
Lovers locks on a bridge over the Seine.
Lovers locks on a bridge over the Seine.
Monday, we ate at a brasserie on rue Daguerre (my favorite street in our neighborhood). The waiter was really nice to us but when he offered us wine and we opted instead for Coca Lite (Diet Coke), he acted as though he was going to have a heart attack. When we were leaving he said we really must order wine with lunch from now on if we ever hope to vastly improve our French.
We met Bob and Linda (friends from Maine–Linda is studying art in Paris and Bob, her husband, is here for the week) for drinks at Verjus. But before that Joan and I split a bottle of wine at a nearby bar. We called it a pub crawl though I don’t think it technically qualifies. Verjus is a restaurant/bar owned by two Americans located on the periphery of the Jardins du Palais Royal.  Laura, one of the co-owners, is a 20 something gal from Minnesota who’s living the dream!  We have to go back for a meal. She promised Joan they would make her a gluten-free meal on request.
These remote controls work the living room entertainment system. Pretty obvious that a man owns this apartment.
These remote controls work the living room entertainment system. Pretty obvious that a man owns this apartment.

This week we began our second to last week of school. Joan is ecstatic. I, on the other hand, am already getting nostalgic about my time here in school. After all, who gets to say they studied French in Paris!  Pinch me!

It was impossible to capture in a photo but these buildings are not exactly upright. They are leaning to and for. What do you expect after a few hundred years, right?
It was impossible to capture in a photo but these buildings are not exactly upright. They are leaning to and for. What do you expect after a few hundred years, right?
Mexican food restaurant in Paris. The definition of a hole in the wall. Yum!
Mexican food restaurant in Paris. The definition of a hole in the wall. Yum!
Cluny metro on the left bank.  One of the few remaining with outdoor urinals. Yes, they get used. It's for a good reason this is one of the more popular "homeless shelters" in Paris.
Cluny metro on the left bank. One of the few remaining with outdoor urinals. Yes, they get used. It’s for a good reason this is one of the more popular “homeless shelters” in Paris.
With Bob and Linda at Verjus
With Bob and Linda at Verjus
Laura is a 20 something American girl who, with a partner, opened this little bar and restaurant right by the Jardins de Palais Roual. It is tiny and well hidden. A little jewel. We drank there. Will have to go back with dinner reservations soon.
Laura is a 20 something American girl who, with a partner, opened this little bar and restaurant right by the Jardins de Palais Royal. It is tiny and well hidden. A little jewel. We drank there. Will have to go back with dinner reservations soon.
Joan, doing a pub crawl.
Joan, doing a pub crawl.
On rue de Richelieu after our late night out with Bob and Linda.
On rue de Richelieu after our late night out with Bob and Linda.
So, my French is not great but I think this means "passage to hell".
So, my French is not great but I think this means “passage to hell”.

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