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.