Sunday, September 27, 2009

Just when we thought we'd seen it all...

Today marks the beginning of the end. With only 6.5 days left, we know it will be all business from here on out. Souvenirs have to be shopped for, last stops to museums have to be scheduled, and of course, each meal will be a last supper of sorts.

This morning we decided to start with the beautiful market road of Rue Montorgueil near Les Halles. Most of Paris shuts down pretty hard on Sundays. Most retailers, including grocers, are closed on this day of worship except in the very high traffic shopping areas. Rue Montorgueil is one of the few areas in town that is in full swing on Sundays. This particular day at the end of September was beautifully sunny and warm. We came to this area of town because momma needed to do some recon work in regards to what souvenirs she was bringing home. No t-shirts or sweatshirts for me. It was cooking equipment all the way! So I wanted to take a swing by stores like Mora and E. Dehillerin on the off chance they were open today. We took the metro from Malesherbes to Reaumur Sebastopol and then walked through the Les Halles pedestrian district to Rue Montorgeuil where we decided to have lunch at one of its bustling cafes. We found one that suited us because it was not terribly expensive and its outdoor tables were well enough in the shade to allow us to be comfortable. The kids and SJ had a burger while I enjoyed some wine and a small salad. The food was delicious but it was the atmosphere that made the meal. The quiet banter of the French couples around was a sound I was desperately trying to etch into my memory. Most of them were here having a brunch of sorts and there was a mix of couples, guys clearly having been out late last night and women enjoying a birthday celebration. We ate our lunch and lingered over wine while we watched Paris stroll by. There was a man across the street selling saucission sec and fromage while playing a game of chess with anyone who would play. Each time I looked up he seemed lost in concentration on his next move and his opponent was different from the last time I glanced in their direction. It seemed that people would stop to play for a few moves and then move on themselves. It was probably how this gentleman passed his sundays each week and perhaps his opponents were regulars.

This is the sweet cafe where we had lunch. During lunch I asked the waiter where I might find the carafe bottles he used to serve water. He thought for a minute and told me there was a restaurant supply store nearby named Simon and I should try there.

Since the end of the French vacance which lasts from about August 1 - August 31, Paris has seemed to throw out one celebratory event after another. First there were all sorts of things going on to mark La Rentree which technically means the start of school but I like to joke that it really means the reentering of life after a month of vacation. Then we had the weekend of La Patrimoine which was a gold mine for anyone wanting back stage access to all of Paris' landmarks. This weekend is a two-day garden festival where all of the Jardins in Paris are holding events. We decided it would be a good weekend to head to Les Jardins des Plants so we crossed the park that sits between Les Halles and Chatelet to get to the bus stop we needed to head to Les Jardins des Plants. When possible, I like to travel above ground. Half way across the park we noticed a crazy looking section with steep concrete paths, grottos, and wooden bridges. We decided to check it out and it turned out to be a crazy kids maze/playground that was for children 7 and up. It was open just for the Festival des Jardins this weekend. The kids gave us that pleading look of Can I? Can I? So we said have at it and they bolted in yelling follow us! Well easier said then done. I was in high heals trying to negotiate steep, narrow concrete paths and follow the children through open mouths of alligators and into tunnels.

Take a peek at our little mid-afternoon adventure. Looks like fun, doesn't it!?!

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