Thursday, July 30, 2009

Street Scenes and Memories

As my time in Paris was drawing to a close, I reflected on a few street scenes and memories, not mentioned in other posts. First and foremost were the people I met, including Tara and David and Jerry's friends Gail and Benoit (who loaned us their car for our road trips) and Tim and Anne, with whom we dined near the end of my trip. They were delightful, and I'll have fond memories of the dinners we shared.

When I asked those who had been to Paris to weigh in on favorite things, perhaps the most concise recommendation came from Mama K's daughter, Heather. "What did you enjoy most, Heather," I asked. "The bread," she replied.

She was spot on. And the pastries and boulangeries couldn't be beat!

Oh, those macaroons!

(My vote for best boulangerie: Victor's on Rambateau.)

The lovely windows in Jerry's courtyard and elsewhere. I loved walking by this woman's window everyday.

Posters everywhere for classical music concerts!

The recycling sign.

The sweet-faced young man who dipped my delicious sorbet cone that I ordered in French that he complimented me on!

The gorgeous Seine at any time of day.

This cafe on the Ile de la Cite was a favorite. We didn't eat there, but I loved passing by it on several occasions.

I mentioned the Hotel de Ville in my last post. I passed this place every day. That display in the plaza was part of a gardening exhibition.

This is a better look -- it was a little odd.

Hotel de Ville by night was breathtaking.

I've mentioned the classic Metro signs before. They were a favorite. And of course, I'll remember the Metros themselves, living as I do in a city with totally lousy mass transit.

I didn't eat at the famed Cafe de Flore (mentioned by Julia Child, Ina Garten, and Burt Wolf), but I did stop by. I decided not to have a snack when I saw the price on the menu! But I loved seeing it "in person."

I'll never forget these three men, walking ahead of me. Jolly, happy, good friends. The affection and bonhomie was clear.

So many streets were like this. I loved them!

I showed you another view of this little shop before. It was a favorite!

I was wild about the bookstalls on the Seine. Yes, I know -- tourist traps. But I loved them!

And especially loved them when they had art prints, too. They were so colorful!

(A sidebar... does anyone remember the "Lucy" show when the Ricardos and the Mertzes went to Paris and they were taken in by a street artist who had multiples of the same painting on which he'd put wee touches and sell to the next tourist? I thought of him often!)

These were the flowers from our florist who prepared the bouquet for Tara. So festive and colorful!

This poster was everywhere! I finally realized it was for a movie playing when I left Lansing!

Bicycles were everywhere, too.

My favorite department store was BHV, a convenient six blocks from Jerry's apartment. Here you see people lining up for the sales. (See "Things I Learned" below.)

BHV has everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Like a basement filled with lumber, building and electrical supplies; an art department to rival big-box craft stores here; a large book/CD selection; washing machines and other appliances; media and camera equipment and the usual things -- clothes, fragrance, shoes, make-up, accessories. No interior photos, except those of the heart.
Finally, the places and things I didn't photograph at all or as much as I'd like -- the grocery stores (multiple floors in tight city blocks), the cafes (I didn't go to enough of them!), the wonderful people I met everywhere who were so kind to a woman with inadequate French, the flower market on Ile de la Cite (Marches aux Fleurs et Oiseaux, I think -- but I'm doing that from memory!), and so much more!

Things I Learned in Paris:

A (very) little French can go a long way -- meaning if you try, you smile, and you try again, people are very kind and will help you a great deal.

In France, one has store sales only twice a year. The "soldes" are a very big deal, and the bargains are good.

People are openly affectionate -- men, women, children -- and it's very nice.

Don't try to get all your ATM money out on the same day. (Jerry loaned me euros so I wouldn't have to get extra fees. What he didn't realize is that I brought my ATM, not cash, so the money changers had huge fees to withdraw from VISA, as they wouldn't take ATM. Consequently, I was using every machine I could find -- until I realized my daily limit was done!)

Boulangeries rock! (Jerry's friend Gail explained she'll go to one for her apple tart, another for her bread. And since there is one on nearly every block, it's easy enough to do that.


Annie said...

Dear Jeanie,

Of all your posts, I think I like this one the best. The scenes of everyday life, the multi-story grocery store, the interesting garden exhibit, and oh that department store. I loved seeing Jerry's window and the Seine at night in indescribably beautiful.


ols1 said...

I have enjoyed seeing all of your photos and hearing about your finds - I feel like I have been living vicariously. I loved the photo of the Seine and that cute little cafe with the wrought iron furniture outside the best. Oh and I loved the pastries - Oh and I loved the street scape - and so it goes on :)

Journey said...

Your post brought back so many memories. My trip to Paris was in the days of the 35 mm and many of those photos have faded - but the memories are as bright and vivid as if it were yesterday. Paris truly captures your heart! Wonderful post - thank you!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I echo Annie - it's the street scenes that really bring Paris back for me. And I love the Hotel de Ville - I think it's such a beautiful building and I love the exhibits out front.

Quiltmoose - Dagmar said...

Jeanie, thanks for taking us on that journey! Viewing your photos is interesting and a lot of fun. Also your thoughts on your experiences are very interesting as they are different from those a European like me would have.

Thanks for all those wonderful posts!

joyce said...

You've shown us parts of Paris that we... at least I,didn't have in my Parisian imagination. I did thinkof one question though...and you may have mentioned it already, did you do any exploring on your own, and if you did, did you find language a barrier during any of it? Or do most people have some english skills to get by on?

Herzblatt said...

Thanks for all your great and wonderful was a lovely documentary about this city....
I am sure, in my next life I want to live in Paris.....or in...Okay, I need more than one next life...*lol*...
But I am sure, Paris is one of my favourites.
A lot of European cities are marvellous....Rome....London....Berlin
BrĂ¼ssel....And every city has got a different charme, but I think Paris is the city of love and has a lot of charme!!!

BONNIE K said...

I loved this. I first want to acknowledge that maybe Heather does belong to the food-loving Krauss family. I loved the picture of the 3 guys - good friends. And the people lining up at the store. And all the beautiful sites. You were lucky you got to experience this.

Oh said...

sigh. so much to love here. the seine. the flowers. the Cafe de Flore!!!! every bit of it. glad you had your camera working overtime - it's so worth it to see everything, including the shy smile on the sorbet garcon!

paris parfait said...

You've done a great job of describing the wonders of Paris, Jeanie! Lovely photos, too. As for the macaroons, I still think nothing beats Laduree.

Beth said...

No one could have done a better job of describing how truly wonderful Paris is to see and visit. As I have been saying, I hope I can see it myself one day but if not, I am glad I have seen through your eyes and your stories.
Excellent my friend!

Joanne Huffman said...

Such a good selection of photos and memory. And, I think I need to go find myself some bread now.


~*~Magpie's Nest said...

you have done the loveliest job of 'taking us along' on your adventures Jeanie...thank you SO very much...
the photo of the side street that you said looked like so many's immaculate!
Lovely Lovely post once again!

Bree said...

yum I love French pastries.

jet1960 said...

Glad I got to enjoy Paris through your eyes. Don't know that I'll ever get there, but I've a taste what the experience would be like now.

Thankss for taking all the time to put these beautiful posts together.

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