Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Returning to France Day 8

Song - Vivaldi a la Sainte Chapelle by Les Solistes Francais

We woke up early on Sunday to go to the big Paris Flea Market - Les Puces de Saint-Ouen which is only open Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  It's in kind of a dicey area just outside of Paris proper so I was glad we took and Uber there instead of the Metro. Once you are inside the market you're OK except to watch your purse and wallet (and I mean that in more ways than one ;-) )

A good idea that Sydney suggested for all of our outings was to take an iPhone photo of the map or directory so if you part ways you will have the information at your fingertips to regroup!

After the first stall that we stopped at (ribbons, trim & buttons), we did all go our separate ways as each one of us had different things that we were excited to look for.

 Some of the stalls were a collection of unrelated objects like the one above.

And others were carefully collected objects like the silver collection above. I personally enjoy finding unique pieces of silver for my own collection but I had never seen the spoon below. Do you know what it is?

I finally had to ask the shopkeeper.....and it's a fat-separator.  You put broth in the spoon & allow the fat to rise to the top, then you press down on the upper lever and the broth pours out of the bottom of the spoon but the fat stays inside.....supposedly!

And a portion of a linen collection.......but I couldn't find my exact initials on any of them!

Perhaps you could find portraits of your great-great grandparents?

Do you think I will have any trouble getting this alligator on the airplane?


I am sure packing this chandelier in my suitcase will be a cinch! 

We all came home with our little treasures.  I bought two bone handled knives and an antique white wild boar terrine.  Jackie & Sydney found paintings, etchings, 12 fruit knives, ribbons, fabric, pillow covers and loads of other fun things!

We headed home about 3pm as we had tickets for a Vivaldi concert later that evening inside Sainte Chapelle!

Dinner was across the street from Sainte Chapelle at Les Deux Palais - just salad and a Croque-Madame.

As it got dark we headed across the street to get in line for the concert.

It was magical.....the setting and the music!  The group that night was Les Solistes Francais with Paul Rouger playing the main violin and directing. If you are ever in Paris, I highly recommend you find out what concerts are at Sainte Chapelle and get your tickets early as it is usually a sell out!

Afterwards we ended up in the lobby of our hotel for a glass of wine & Sydney had a whiskey.....I tell you this because it ended up being so funny.  I kept smelling something and it wasn't good! And you know how you don't want to say anything in polite company? We were staying in a very clean hotel and what was that off odor?  Then Jackie began to smell it as well and it was getting worse.  Well, Sydney finally got the giggles and confessed that she was drinking a very "peaty" whiskey.  It was her drink and breath that we were smelling!

"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite
 and furthermore always carry a small snake."

-- W. C. Fields

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Returning to France Day 7

Song - These Are the Days by Van Morrison

Jackie, Sydney and I got up early and headed to Pierre Herme's bakery near Saint-Sulpice.  We stood in line, in the rain to get a fresh croissant.  They are popular and go very quickly!

It was so hard to choose once I saw all of that goodness in front of me!

.....but it was just breakfast time!

 So I stuck with my original decision and got a croissant....but it was a Passion Fruit crossiant!

 Oh my graciousness was it wonderful! Every last crumb!

 With our souls having been filled by that yummy croissant we ventured around the corner to Odorantes - a tiny flower shop filled with sweet peas, peonies, ranunculus, freesias etc.  They were not quite open for business yet so we headed over to some other local shops.

Cire Trudon a candlemakers shop.....

Souleiado a Provencal fabric & clothing shop.......

 A few posies were around the corner in Le Marche Saint Germain and begged to be photographed....

 After dropping off our purchases at the hotel we Ubered over to E. Dehillerin in the 1st Arr. for our copper fix!

 I have been known to bring home copper pots for Mr. B in my suitcase - large ones too! This time I spotted a small pan with a very beautiful shape but figured that I would wait to buy it until Mr. B and I return to Paris in a few weeks. No sense lugging it around France for all of that time.

And guess what time it is?   Yup.  Lunchtime!  We wanted to eat at Cinq-Mars near the Musee d'Orsay but there was a 30 minute wait as we did not have any reservations. So we walked around the block and did some window shopping.....well maybe stepped inside a few places.  Like this cheese shop - just for a quick sniff!

By then it was time to be seated at the cafe and eat.........something yummy!

Sydney and I each ordered the Morel mushroom omelette...... 

And Jackie had the asparagus and terrine......

Once again our souls were happy!

Sydney took off to explore while Jackie & I headed back to our hotel to wash our hair.  No dinner tonight as we were all too full!

"In France, cooking is a serious art form
 and a national sport." 

 -- Julia Child

Monday, May 21, 2018

Returning to France Day 6

Song - "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" by Nina Simone

Beautiful day today so we headed to the Luxembourg Gardens which is only a few blocks from our hotel.

The tulips were in full bloom.

Sydney and I were trying so hard to get photos of the pollarded apple trees.

Finally one of the gardeners spotted us and let us inside!!!

Naturalized narcissus with dappled light

After about a thousand photos, we walked over to Les Deux Magot for lunch and so I could take some waiter photos. Sydney and Jackie decided to go shopping and I headed over to Saint-Sulpice.

 This Roman Catholic church was used in the film "The Da Vinci Code" with Tom Hanks.

 The building was founded in 1646 and in 1727 a gnomon was added.

A meridian line of brass was inlaid across the floor and ascending a white marble obelisk.
In the south transept window a small opening with a lens was set up, so that a ray of sunlight shines onto the brass line. At noon on the winter solstice (21 December), the ray of light touches the brass line on the obelisk. At noon on the equinoxes (21 March and 21 September), the ray touches an oval plate of copper in the floor near the altar.

The great organ from 1862. 

I returned to our hotel to rest my tired feet.  Words of advice - Never travel with new shoes. Always bring comfortable shoes at the risk of not being stylish.  
Mr. B had to ship my shoes to me.  Lesson learned!

That night for dinner we went to one of our favorite spots....Le Recamier.  
It has the best souffle's in Paris - both savory and sweet.

   For my dessert I had the Grand Marnier souffle.  Tres Bon!

You probably noticed that it comes with a full bottle of Grand Marnier for you to pour over the top of your souffle according to your taste.  Well.....since the last time we dined here, they have put a teeny-tiny spout on top so it just drizzles out ever so slowly.  I guess someone (insert wink here) may have taken advantage of that lovely bottle!

"The only thing that will make a souffle fall
 is if it knows you are afraid of it."  

--James Beard

Returning to France Day 5

Song - "The Conversation" by Pearl Django

A favorite shop of Jackie's is La Tuile a Loup in the 5th Arr.  It's filled with hand crafted specialty items for the home. Jackie "discovered" it many years ago and now it is very popular with people like Ina Garten.

Jackie pondering which items she might like for her home

After making my purchase, I enjoyed the flower shop next door.  It was early April so they were just putting out herbs and some small veggies.

Then the three of us met at the Petite Palais to see the Dutch Painters in Paris special exhibition " Les Hollandais a Paris 1789 - 1914"

Painting by Anton Mauvre

Painting by George Hendrik Breitner

Self Portrait by Vincent Van Gogh

We had lunch in the charming enclosed garden and then headed back to our hotel as it began to rain.

For dinner that night we had reservations at Restaurant Josephine Chez Dumonet. It had been recommended to both Jackie and myself so it was definitely on our "to do" list!

 It's an old school Parisian restaurant with large portions and excellent food. We got there right when they opened at 7:30 so there were not very many people there yet but they were filled by the time we left.

Jackie and Sydney both ordered the Pigeon with potatoes.

 I ordered the Beef Bourguignon and they brought it to our table in this little cast iron pot with a side of pasta.  It was rich and delicious!  Trust me.....

 For dessert we all ordered something different.....

 Apple tart.....for Jackie.

 Neapolitan for was massive!

And a fresh Berry Tartlette for moi with Pistachio cream inside and nuts on top!

Yes we were full but boy we were happy!!!

"A walk about Paris will provide lessons in 
history, beauty, and in the point of Life."

 --Thomas Jefferson

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