We slept very well last night. We are on the busy corner with lots of Paris traffic noise but the windows are double paned and block out 98% of the noise.
We need groceries! There is a covered market within 2 blocks of us. It’s in the midst of renovation but we peeked in last night and there appear to be a good number of purveyors. We have a long grocery list so we may need to find an actual grocery store.
But first we need dinner tonight! The butcher is very helpful. Howard sees a nice saddle of rabbit. He thinks it’s so beautiful he buys 2! We also buy some nice looking country-style duck pate. As we tell the butcher “C’est tout” (that’s all) he asks if we would like to purchase some bacon too…for the rabbit. We almost say No but then we realize what a great suggestion that is!
We buy some nice potatoes and haricot verte from the green grocer. He also has nice looking melons. I ask for a melon that we can eat at breakfast tomorrow and he finds one for me. That is another great service the green grocers offer–you tell them when you want to eat the fruit and they will choose it for you. And they are NEVER wrong!
Next to the cheese stand. We get some beautiful artisan-made French butter–there is nothing like it! And ask for some Camembert cheese. The cheese man asks when we would like to eat the Camembert. We say “Tonight.” He shakes his head–the Camembert is not ready to eat. So he chooses a nice Brie cheese for us.
Those three experiences illustrate how precious good food is to the French. They want us to have the best food experience possible. God bless them!!! One more stop in the covered market: we need wine for our feast (and lunch). And we get excellent recommendations from the wine purveyor.
Off to the bakery. We buy croissants to freeze so that we can have them each morning without going out to buy them with bed-hair. The bakery also has “baguette tradition”–baguettes made in the traditional method. They are nicely chewy (not airy and squishy) with a crispy crust. I love bread that way! And we buy a couple of sweets, Canelés De Bordeaux, which are tiny French rum and vanilla cakes for after dinner.
We have a quick lunch of bread, pate, cheese and a little wine. Then we are off to the Pantheon! We have decided, since this is about the 7th time (or so) we’ve been to Paris, that we will experience only new sites and new things to do–and we have quite a long list prepared. We have never been to the Pantheon and it’s not far from the apartment.
The Pantheon was originally built in the late 1700s (completed in 1791) by King Louis XV as a tribute to St. Genevieve, the patron saint of France. It is in the architectural tradition of what we would recognize as a state-capital; it hardly looks like a church. But by the time it was completed, the secular-minded revolution was in full swing and the church was converted into a non-religious mausoleum honoring the “Champions of a French Liberty” like Voltaire, Rousseau, Descartes, to name a few. The edifice switched back and forth between religious and secular a few times but now it is a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens.
The upper floor contains huge murals of both St. Genevieve’s life and France’s historical achievements. There is also Foucault’s pendulum in action. It illustrates the rotation of the earth as described and proven by French physicist Léon Foucault.
The lower floor, the crypt, houses the remains of many famous French people including Marie Curie and her husband, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Louis Braille (who invented script for the blind) and the other afore mentioned great French philosophers among many more.
We are happy that we made the visit here. We have a coffee (in France a coffee is an espresso) at the nearby cafe and people watch for a while. As we were walking to the Pantheon, I crossed the street just as the walk light turned red and, as the cars started moving, I ran to the nearest curb. In the process I pulled a muscle in my derrière–we are in France after all so I must use the local technical term. I tell you it hurts like you can’t believe! I hope the spasms settle down; it’s bad enough that I have to hobble around with my rheumatoid arthritis but the butt ache (pardon! The derrière ache) is too much!!
We take a walk to one of our favorite places: Rue Buci. It is a fairly short street with every shop you would ever want: flowers, chocolate, prepared sandwiches, roasted chicken, bread and pastries, fruit, oysters, olive oil and wine. And then there are several cafés including one of our favorites, Au Chai de l’Abbaye. I am looking for the flower shop–you CANNOT be in Paris without lovely flowers. I have never seen such a presentation of flowers that are available at this shop. The flowers are arranged in water in a cellophane holder tied with raffia. It is so beautiful and practical. You buy the bouquet (29€) and take it home and put it on the table–no vases required. I should start this in the US and make a fortune. (Or YOU should start this in the US and make a fortune. I have enough to do in retirement!)
We also find a grocery store. We need a few things we could not find at the covered market. We find our FAVORITE yogurt: Mamie Nova. Whenever we are in France we search out this yogurt–it has the very best flavors. We buy coconut for me and cherry for Howard. There’s another money making endeavor: bring Mamie Nova to the US! (But an even better money maker would be to bring window screens and shower curtains to France–HA!) In France, when you buy vegetables and fruit, you must weigh them and put the weight and price sticker on the bag. We almost forgot that! It’s embarrassing to be at the checkout and you’ve forgotten to weigh your items. (We’ve been there more than once!) The touch-screen on the scale was giving us grief and just as I called over the produce man to help, Howard got it to work.
Since we have been here so many times, it’s nice to feel comfortable enough to ask someone to help you or complain about something or tell someone in line “I was ahead of you!” The last time we were in Paris I argued with a Veterinarian’s receptionist that we arrived for our appointment at exactly the right time! Only to discover later that day that it was the day that the country changed over from day-light-savings time. My bad…
Dinner was WONDERFUL! How did I deserve such a wonderful husband who cooks so deliciously?! I have to confess that Howard’s good cooking certainly stoked the fires of love more than 35 years ago!
Howard did decide to freeze one of the saddles of rabbit so we have another great dinner to look forward to.
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