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April 2001 Archives

April 2, 2001

It's definitely spring in Paris

It's definitely spring in Paris and here are the flowers and flood to prove it.

The flowers are in the park in front of St. Eustache facing towards Shakespeare and Co.

The flood is right at the end of rue de Pontoise, along the path on the Seine where I always used to go running. What a grand excuse for just walking.

April 3, 2001

Though today wasn't as nice

Though today wasn't as nice as yesterday, I went walking around the neighborhood anyway, since it's part of my Paris fitness plan. Within just a few blocks of the apartment, I stopped to check out Notre Dame, with all the scaffolding that covered its front on my last visits now removed and repairs made.

Then heading for the flower market on the Ile de la Cite, I discovered this interesting face on the side of the bridge at Pont Notre Dame.

Being able to share these pictures is really fun, but what I'm really looking foward to is sharing the walks and sites in person. I can't wait for my visitors to start arriving.

April 4, 2001

Now for today's lesson. Did

Now for today's lesson.

Did you know that when the metric system was first established, sixteen marble meters were fabricated as examples of the standard size of one meter. This meter rule, in a wall across rue Vaugirard from the Palais du Luxembourg, was put in place between 1796 and 1797 and is one of ten remaining examples. And this is my translation of what the bronze plaque next to it says, so I hope it's right.

Today began with heavy rain, sounding almost like hail on the skylight just a few feet above my head. And just to prove that New England's changeable weather has nothing on Paris, the rain alternated with sunshine for several hours. It finally cleared mid-afternoon but stayed cold and breezy.

This is what the clouds looked like out my bedroom window at about 8 pm.

April 5, 2001

Today was cold and rainy,

Today was cold and rainy, not Marcia's 'cloudy with a chance of meatballs', but enough to prompt me to stay inside and work on my paper for a class I took just before coming to Paris. I did get out mid-day though, heading for the warmth of department stores and a little shopping. Along my way on rue Rivoli, 'electron libre' caught my attention.

Unfortunately there was no plaque nearby to help me identify what it was all about.

April 6, 2001

Ah, if only I had

Ah, if only I had truly heeded my own words of advice to Mom and Aunt Doris, I wouldn't be looking longingly into the windows of this shoe store.

Emergency Dr. Scholl gel inserts will be arriving with Trudy but until then I must suffer for the sake of exploration and fitness.

April 7, 2001

Special wishes go out today

Special wishes go out today for some family birthdays. Fortunately I had time to do a little window shopping for presents.
Happy Birthday Marcia! - perhaps something to wear for your next garden party?
Happy Birthday Billy! - wouldn't these be great for floating on at Miacomet? You may remember seeing them spinning around the fountain by the Pompidou Center.
And belated Happy Birthday Ruthi! - forget about the calories and try as many as you want!

April 8, 2001

Well it's the end

Well it's the end of my first week in Paris and I'm truly in love with it all over again. Other than the day after I arrived when the temperature went up into the 60's, the weather has been uncooperative, though usually there are a few bursts of sunshine every day. Mostly though it's cloudy and gray, if not actually raining. In the apartment I bundle up in my black fleece and, the last couple of days, have even resorted to turning on the space heaters.

I've come to realize I could never be a struggling writer in a garret apartment in Paris. It's just too cold for me. Besides, I much prefer to be a doer. All these days when I've stayed inside working on my paper, I've only really wanted to get out and be seeing things, as if every minute inside I was missing something important. And that seems to be true of everyone in Paris, especially on a Sunday when you can hardly move through the throngs along the quai heading toward the Louvre or the Tuileries.

One of the special things here is the way everything seems to line up, so that you can catch a perfectly framed view of something in the distance. Sometimes they're far away and sometimes not, like this view of the Louvre pyramid from the outer court.

April 9, 2001

Aagh, the weather is getting

Aagh, the weather is getting to be a bit of an annoyance. I'm going to be quite ready for some sun and warm weather when the next real Spring day finally arrives. No pictures today. I just took my book, found a secluded corner table in a cafe around the corner, and spent several hours reading 'Revere Beach Boulevard'. What an odd combination it was to look up and see the park across the street surrounded by ancient gray buildings, and to look down and let my reading transport me back to the familiar scenes of Kelly's Roast Beef and the North End. The book, which was a great gift, makes me want to explore more of Revere, beyond the beach, and maybe check out Suffolk Downs when I get back.

April 10, 2001

Hooray! I emailed the

Hooray! I emailed the paper this morning so now it's just me and my sabbatical. I'm a free woman, an 'electron libre' even, if you saw that earlier post. And what a lovely day it was, just letting my initial errand to pick up an adaptateur at BHV lead me wherever. When the light rain turned into quite a downpour I ducked into a place that advertised cafe latte and something called a San Franciso steamer. The steamer had those Italian syrups added so I don't know why they gave it that name. I went for a latte instead. A left-behind magazine turned out to be an English guide to things to do in Paris, and that led me up the street to the Issey Miyake shop called A.POC, which stands for A Piece of Cloth. And that's not just any piece of cloth. He's invented (patent pending) some sort of amazing knit material which doesn't run at all. Arm holes and a neck opening can just be cut out, with no stitching around them, all in great colors, not just the usual Japanese black and gray. Of course, the price reflects their uniqueness so fortunately I came to my senses before making an unwarranted purchase. I kept wandering and eventually ended up at the Palais Royal, amazed by the length and regularity of this covered walkway that surrounds the gardens. How envious I am of those for whom this is just a part of their daily walk.

April 11, 2001

This is what I

This is what I love about France. You wouldn't see this in the window of a CVS now would you?

And for Meg ...of course I remember when the Silver Rabbit got hit. I can see us both at the kichen sink that day, surrounded by the White Tidewater cabinets that weren't plain white like I thought, and when I tried to send them back they wouldn't take them. The sudden huge crash, dripping hands and the car mashed into the light pole and the curb. It's funny though, I don't have the same clear picture of the other cars, only of our poor little Rabbit. And remember how it never really drove right again after that? If you watched it from behind, you could see three tires instead of just two, kind of like a crab going a little sideways down the road.

April 13, 2001

I like the looks

I like the looks of this place and its possibilities. Le Coeur Fou, foolish heart I think, but the dictionary says fou means mad or crazy. I like my translation though and picture myself thirty years younger, having just arrived on the bike parked out front. And you know who was driving it? Peter of course because even after more than thirty years I still have le coeur fou for him.

Seems to be some sort of technical difficulties here with this post overlapping the earlier one. So I'll just add a few lines to see if that clears it up.

Trudy arrived this morning, not at 6:15am as originally scheduled but at a much more civilized 9:45am. Apparently there was bad weather all along the East Coast, but Paris is unexpectedly bright and sunny. And our adventures are about to begin.

April 14, 2001

After a most luxurious

After a most luxurious late start and a little grocery shopping a la Nantucket, but minus the coupons, Trudy and I were off for the day. We headed for the Jeu de Paume, stopping along the way to get information on concerts at Saint Chapelle and to admire the tulips in the Tuileries. The unusual Picasso exhibit gave us a whole new appreciation for poisson. Check with us later for the full story.

And then it was on to the Palais Royale where this shot of Trudy and pigeon was taken. We circled back around towards the apartment and found that the tents we'd seen yesterday on Pont de Archeveche, were the site of a wonderful antique market. Many bargains but nothing for us.

And we finished the evening at a vegetarian and smoke-free restaurant just around the corner from the apartment, Le Grenier de Notre Dame, where we can highly recommend the meatless lasagna and moussaka with lentils. The apple tart did not however, measure up to Bob's tarte tatin.

April 15, 2001

After missing Easter morning

After missing Easter morning church services by sleeping too late and then missing the Musee D'Orsay because the wait in line was about four hours, we walked instead. And at some point during the walk, Trudy recognized the neighborhood and realized it was the neighborhood of the small, Maillol museum recommended by Joni Kahn. Paris Pratique to the rescue, and we traced our steps back a few blocks to the museum and this gargoyle fountain right outside. There was no line whatsoever and inside was an interesting special show, complementary to the Picasso exhibit we saw yesterday.

On the walk back home we discovered a series of fabulous shoe stores on the Rue de Grenelle, including the shop of Christian Louboutin, who is to shoes what Picasso was to painting. Stay tuned for my Paris Shoe Special yet to come on heyjud.

April 16, 2001

The sky above the

The sky above the Opera Garnier was a prelude to our day. We began at the Galerie Lafayette, which unfortunately was closed for Easter Monday, even though the guidebook said not. Instead we opted for the Opera which was just across the street and a tour of opulence and excess. From there we headed back towards the apartment via the Pompidou, looking for a place to sit out in the sun for coffee and some lunch. What we found, as the skies got darker and the weather colder, was a cafe with heat lamps and an awning. Fortunate occurrences, since shortly after we sat and ordered, the rain came followed by hail (April in Paris with hail?!). Everyone else was scurrying for cover but there we sat, enjoying our croque vegetarians, on the downwind side and perfectly protected, tres parisienne. Note to next week's visitors, Trudy recommends bringing your silk long underwear.

April 17, 2001

We haven't tried them

We haven't tried them yet but these white asparagus will be on the menu soon at Chez Judy, per Marcia's suggestion. But do you cook them the same as green asparagus? And which are best? The teensy ones or the gigantic ones? We need advice from the French cooking and eating experts.

These were just a small part of the fruits and vegetables displayed at the Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marche, along with huge long counters of bread, cheese and charcuterie. And then there was a spectacular patisserie counter for dessert. Will I ever be happy shopping at Johnny's in Charlestown again?

April 18, 2001

No more dallying in

No more dallying in bed until late today. For Trudy's final day we were up and out to the Pompidou Center, arriving before it even opened. Once inside we headed right up to L'Annee du Pop, forgetting completely about our cold and rainy wait to get in. And there we were back in the 60's, listening to the Monkees and looking at blowup furniture in a large, very comprehensive show. We were well-trained by Albright openings and recognized many of the pieces (Rauschenberg, Oldenburg, Lichtenstein, Dine, Warhol, Johns, and Indiana) without even needing to read the credits. As we rode the escalator down to exit, an added treat was this view of Sacre Coeur, which stood out so brightly, almost in sunshine.

It was a grand week that went all too fast, but we've got stories and memories for many years to come.

April 19, 2001

Today was a day

Today was a day of visits to old and new places. I started out along what had been my usual running path by the Seine, walking around the parts where it was flooded, and went all the way down to the Jardin des Plantes. The gardens were full of spring flowers though I missed my favorite dahlias from the Fall. It was sunny for the whole time I was there but so chilly I was glad I had my gloves with me. Then across the bridge to the Viaduc des Arts, an old train line along avenue Daumesnil, which is now a series of shops and ateliers with a park above for strolling. I mostly window-shopped and kept under cover while the weather alternated between sun and rain just about every ten minutes.

Towards the end of the day I stopped for cafe creme at Brasserie Balzar and then explored the streets above, towards the Pantheon. When I started home from there, this was the view back down towards Notre Dame.

April 20, 2001

So what else do

So what else do I do in Paris besides walking around and being a flaneur all the time? Well I think about eating and I think about drinking, and then I eat and I drink.

My local bakery is Maison Kayser where I love the baguette Paline, a wholewheat loaf that just might replace my previous favorite, pain Poilane. I've become addicted to salads made of mache, a dark small-leafed salad green known as lamb's lettuce per Patricia Wells, so I'm hoping that will be growing this summer in Vermont or in Orange. And I found an article about the various crus of Beaujolais to prepare me for a visit to le Rubis, the wine bar pictured here. This was taken on a Sunday trip to check out the location and I'll take another when it's opened up and busy and I have some good wine drinking buddies to go along with me. Meantime though I've tried a Morgon from my local wine shop to get ready.

April 21, 2001

Instead of vistas, today

Instead of vistas, today I decided to look at details. And all within a couple of blocks I saw these examples of Paris graffiti. Certainly less hard-edged and more appropos of the City of Love.

Also today seemed to be the start of impromptu street entertainment by motley looking bands, mostly made up of students I'm guessing. The music was nothing special, but was enticing when you heard it from a distance and had to go around a couple of corners to find it.

And then I came across a wedding at St. Germain des Pres. Without any deep discussion in response to Meg's April 12 post about marriage, I must say Parisians know how to dress for a wedding and make it an event to remember. Sorry I couldn't actually get a shot of the bride getting into that fabulous green roadster but I left that for friends and family.

April 22, 2001

To my favorite vieux

To my favorite vieux campeur, Bob. Trudy and I thought of you a lot last week but especially whenever we passed by this logo and the shop called Au Vieux Campeur. That was when we really missed you because it was your kind of shop (I know there aren't many), with all sorts of camping gear and even an indoor climbing wall. I just hope next time you're off hiking you'll don a beret, stick a daisy in the corner of your mouth and remember my thanks for giving Trudy the chance to join me in Paris.

April 23, 2001

Today was a day

Today was a day of anticipation and preparation for my important guests arriving tomorrow
morning - Mom and Aunt Doris. No Joy of Cleaning women to help me out though, so it was vacuum the rooms, change the sheets and clean the bathroom on my own. Then off to refresh the flowers on the glass table, to pick up a few groceries and to choose some nice wine, passing the gallery right across from my apartment where I always notice this wonderful man's face hanging.

April 24, 2001

Anyone recognize these twins

Anyone recognize these twins out and about in Paris? You'll notice the weather has held up its foul reputation, calling for umbrellas and including the blur on this shot of an actual raindrop. However, that didn't stop us in our first walk around the neighborhood. We toured Notre Dame and the Ile St. Louis and then stopped in for cafe and luscious pastries at a tea salon near the apartment. This picture was taken just next to it, in the park in front of St. Julien.

April 26, 2001

Oops! This post was

Oops! This post was delayed due to technical difficulties, mainly caused by a fierce game of Scrabble and a bottle of Saumur Blanc.

Just a short walk from the apartment, we spent the day at the Cluny Museum, amazed by the immense and intricate Unicorn tapestries, wondering how many people were involved and how they were actually made. More research is required since our guidebooks didn't explain. Besides the famous tapestry collection, the museum also had displays of the excavation of the original Roman baths beneath it, including the 'frigidarium' which was just as cold as its name implies, and the excavated sculptures of the Kings of Judah in the photo. After the museum, the ladies lunched at Brasserie Balzar and if we hadn't stopped so long to admire the re-creation of medieval gardens in the park next to the museum, we would have been home before the rain and hailstorm. As it was, we were saying again, 'April in Paris with hail?!'

End of the day photos

End of the day photos taken atop the Samaritaine viewing deck on our way back from the Louvre.

Our day started with a cab ride to the Musee D'Orsay where there were absolutely no lines to get in. And how pleased we were until we noticed the sign, museum closed due to a staff strike. Undeterred, we walked across the Pont Royal to the Louvre where we discovered our favorite thing, a true bargain. The Louvre staff was also on strike, but instead of being closed, it was open and free for the day. Most of our time was spent admiring the roomful of Rubens paintings in the Richelieu wing, followed by a leisurely lunch in the Cafe Richelieu. From there we walked home, surveying all the garden shops along the way and even purchasing some mache seeds for French lettuce memories when we get back.

April 27, 2001

Hooray, hooray - today

Hooray, hooray - today we made it to the Musee D'Orsay. Though the wait threatened to be long, the line moved quickly and we were inside within half an hour. Besides admiring my favorite Monets, the series of Cathedrals at Rouen, we also discovered a whole gallery of decorative arts including an extensive collection of Thonet furniture, chairs and a complete bedroom set by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and even a door from Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House in Buffalo. Do you suppose Tam knew where it had disappeared to?

Of course, by now you know who are standing and admiring the view through the museum's clock face toward the Louvre.

April 28, 2001

Preparing for the next day's

Preparing for the next day's adventures...

On Jay's recommendation, the high point of our day was a wonderful meal at Willi's Wine Bar, near the Palais Royal, where the ragout d'agneau (lamb) and poitrine de caille (quail) were especially tasty. After some lovely desserts and coffee, we walked and shopped our way back, passing through the glassed-over Galerie Vero-Dodat, along the edge of Les Halles, past the Pompidou Center and Hotel de Ville, all the way to the apartment. We trust all that walking balanced out any excess calories, though the meal was well worth it regardless.

April 29, 2001

A bright and sunny

A bright and sunny morning sent us straight to Sainte Chapelle to admire the famous stained glass windows at their best. And tonight we'll be heading back there again for a concert of Bach cello suites.

In between we enjoyed lunch at a nearby tea room, specializing in strudels, called le Fourmi Ailee. We've been noticing things everywhere, especially jewelry, decorated with various kinds of bugs, so we weren't surprised to see a picture of an insect on the restaurant's card. However, I was glad I didn't look up the meaning of the name until I got home and discovered it translated to the Flying Ant. Altogether lacking that French je ne sais quoi, don't you think?

April 30, 2001

On Nantucket we always

On Nantucket we always take the goodbye pictures on the porch, but in Paris we sit on the couch and use the mantel as tripod.

So here we are, at the end of the last day of the Mom's visit, full of good food, a little wine and all just wishing that it hadn't come to an end so soon. We've retold all the old family stories and learned a few new ones, accused and kibitzed over the Scrabble board, and walked more and farther than anyone would have thought possible. And now it's au revoir and time for everyone in the family to get ready to hear yet another story about 'when we were visting in Paris'.

About April 2001

This page contains all entries posted to hey jud in April 2001. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2001 is the previous archive.

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