Saturday, May 23, 2015

Day 14: The last full day in Paris

Day 14: May 23, Paris

Weather: Overcast in morning, a bit warmer than the norm, growing to sunny and high 60s in mid-afternoon

Breakfast run to 134’s sister around the corner from the main spot (which is closed on weekends).  THB has got over a very high bar: the owner gives THB a freebie, small sugar puff that is used to surround cream filling (called a profiterole?). And THB shows his bakery ordering skills by getting a hunk off a huge, still warm, brioche. Oh, and a baguette, two croissants and a snail.

WWII Memorial site

THB has been taking photos of unusual graffiti this week, and finally noticed a bouquet of dried (or similar) flowers just above head high on a building a couple of blocks from our apartment, to/from the bakeries. Turns out to be a memorial to children shipped off to Nazi death camps late in WWII. That took some of the zeal for breakfast away. It’s a big thing going on here in Europe: more and more small memorials in spots where Nazi atrocities took place (and not just in Germany). Very moving, and very understated.

That and there’s no doubt last night’s great late-night dinner had a negative impact on THB’s sleep patterns. THB didn’t really wake up until around 3pm today.

Today is day 2 of a 2 day plan, and we roll out of 20 Turenne at 9am, walk to our fave metro stop, Saint Paul, by four tickets (8E, we used up the last of our first 20 yesterday) and head towards the Ceramics museum in Sevres, the last stop of the metro line. Not our line, we have to transfer to another at Franklin Roosevelt. THB can’t figure it out: it’s Saturday, and the metro train to Sevres is totally packed. They have rush hour going out of town on Saturday morning? If only the crowd on the train looked like they had partied all night. Very strange…and equally strange: about the same number of people got off at every stop.

It’s a total fluke we are heading to this museum: we were trying to figure out how to get to one of those galleries in an inner courtyard (we finally figured out the upscale galleries were in these spots) when some guy put in the code and pushed open the door. Then we could see the gallery was in transition between shows and the gallery person started to wave us away when another young woman told us to come in. This was Elsa Sahal, the featured artist of the next show. She chatted us for quite a while and really encouraged to go to see the National Ceramics museum, even if it was way out of town (an hour on the metro means you’re aways out).

GOOD MOVE!!! This was a great museum: they mixed new stuff in among the old work, had a very interesting exhibit of two Korean artists, a great sculpture garden, and work by “residents” on display, again mixed in with the older pieces. A stroke of luck to get to talk to Elsa, she set us off on this adventure!


Really old: 1507

From the 1930's or 40's

Ceramics chair (minus cushions)

Metro back on the same line the whole way. One oddity: there is some shouting in the front of our car, and people are getting up and craning to see. As best THB can tell, one guy is talking very loudly and another person is responding in a much more normal voice. It ends when the shouter gets off the train. A bit disconcerting when everyone around you is disconcerted and you don't understand a word.

We exit near 134, to lunch at Les Chouettes, our first “bistro” meal (with a real menu). We share a veggie plate (all cooked: carrots, zucchini, fennel, peas, fava beans, etc.), filet de canette et gambas (duck breast with two shrimp) and cod with a sauce of mashed petite peas and fava beans, a draft brewski, all excellent 63E. When we arrive, around 12:30, it’s pretty empty (it’s a big place, multiple rooms and outdoor seating) and by the time we leave it’s pretty full, with lots of French people.

Art right next to our table

After lunch, we stroll the area looking for art. We find lots of it (this is the gallery area near the Picasso Museum), some of it pretty decent.

And, this is near the area of the food tour, so we take advantage of our insider knowledge to visit Fromagerie for comte, Maison Romela for thin slices of special ham and a veggie quiche, and 134’s adjunct (how many times can THB visit a bakery…sorry, numbers getting very high here) for dessert tarts of chocolate and nuts and some goodies for tomorrow’s breakfast.
Flower girl at Armenian wedding

The bride doesn't look happy right at this moment

Dinner at 20 Rue de Turenne: above stuff plus apple, pistachios, sliced baguettes, drinks. For most part, all good: THB did not like the veggie quiche, donated it to DB.

We’re partially packed and waiting for our 7:30am ride to CDGaulle and an 11 hour daylight flight to SFO.