Why this blog?

To understand why this blog was created and where it got its name, start here

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I love open air markets and shopping at the little boutiques that line the rue Mouffetard near my current apartment. Yesterday, however, I needed to buy some household articles that I couldn't find in my neighborhood. When I asked where I could find the goods in question, the answer was unanimous: Monoprix. Monoprix is the French equivalent of Target - or so I thought. I took a bus to a nearby large Monoprix store and was astonished at the range of items sold there. Yes, I was able to find needle nose pliers, a mattress cover, light bulbs, batteries, and toilet paper. But I didn't expect to see truffles and foie gras:

or chilled champagne next to the yogurt:

or twenty varieties of pâté and terrines with a sweet helpful clerk.

Of course they had a large wine selection but can you imagine shopping at Target for a $700 bottle of wine??

Monday, March 29, 2010


I was riding the bus the other day and I saw a three foot chocolate alligator in a shop window. I was on my way somewhere else, but noted the bus stop. I went back to investigate a few days later and here's what I found:

Sculptures of all sizes, shapes, and flavors:

Yes, they also have ordinary Easter baskets:

Here's the outside of the shop so that you can find it when YOU come to Paris.

They were giving out samples of their delicious, fresh, perishable chocolate truffles. Of course I had to buy a box! YUMMMMMMMMM

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Paris by night

The last night of Ruth's visit we took a ride on one of the tourist boats that cruises the Seine. I don't usually like such touristy things, but I must admit I do like taking the cruise after dark. Paris can be quite magical at night, and even the noisy students on our boat didn't spoil the ambiance.

Here are a few of the gargoyles on Notre Dame:

A hazy half moon was peeking over the top of Notre Dame:

And here is Notre Dame from another angle:

The Eiffel Tower seen from the river:

And this is the Conciergie, a former prison where Marie Antoinette (among many others!) was held before going to the guillotine:

I must admit that I'm quite happy with the camera that I bought just before leaving. All of these photos were taken by ME!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bois de Boulogne - Parc de Bagatelle

After spending Tuesday walking the city streets, Ruth and I decided to spend Wednesday in the woods - the bois de Boulogne - a large park (2.5 times larger than New York's Central Park) on the west edge of Paris. I love the Parc de Bagatelle within the bois, there are thousands of spring bulbs in the lawns and the parc contains a rose garden with over 12,000 different species of roses. It's been a cold winter here, so the spring flowers are getting a late start and the roses won't be blooming for another couple of months. But the peacocks think it's spring as you can see from the following photos:


I had a visitor this week. My friend Ruth arrived from Glastonbury, England to spend three days with me in Paris. Even though she lives quite close by, Ruth had never visited Paris before. So I put on my tour guide hat and showed her my favorite sights. On Tuesday we walked for miles - from the Latin Quarter where I am currently staying, past the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, the Tuileries gardens, the Louvre (from the outside) and then a quick look at Notre Dame before returning back "home". Whew! We had tired feet after walking all over the city. I published a few of the photos yesterday - (the dancers) And here are a few more:

Ruth and Elaine taking a siesta in the Tuileries gardens near the Louvre

An unnamed trio taking a siesta nearby:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dancers in Paris

Life is all about balance!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


French pastry shop. Need I say more?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Art appreciation

Paris has hundreds of wonderful museums. No surprise there. Some of my favorites are the smaller museums - especially the ones with gardens. I stopped by the Rodin Museum the other day. I didn't even go inside, preferring to enjoy the gardens and the beautiful day. Here is an example of the art on display outside:

The second graders were visiting the Rodin gardens too:

The fifth graders were drawing the sculpures at the Antoine Bourdelle Museum:

And ninth graders were outside the Beaubourg museum busily studying their class notes for the excursion of the day:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

From the sublime to the ridiculous

OK, the definition of sublime is a very subjective one. In my opinion, I had a sublime lunch yesterday. I LOVE fresh oysters on the half shell. Not everybody does. And it's a curious preference from one who grew up in land-locked Colorado. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered a wonderful tiny restaurant that specializes in fresh oysters direct from the grower in the west coast of France (Arcachon). I am even happier when the oysters come at an affordable price. The lunch special? 14 oysters + foie gras + wine for 18 euros! Delicious!!

Super fresh oysters

Delicate foie gras with a perfectly matched (sweet)wine

"La Cabane a Huitres" near Montparnasse

Oh, and the ridiculous? I stumbled upon the shop below on my way home: une épicerie américaine (American grocery store) where you can buy things you really miss from home.

Yes, they have everything from Jif peanut butter to Oreos, Aunt Jemima syrup and Pace Picante Sauce. Refried beans and Duncan Hines cake mixes. They even have Shake 'N Bake and Hamburger Helper! So the next time I'm in the mood for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of fresh oysters for lunch - I'll know where to go ;-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My old neighborhood

Yesterday I wandered through my old neighborhood. I was curious to see if much had changed since I left there in 1978. The building and apartment where I lived looked exactly the same from the outside. The square in front is also still the same, with school kids playing during recess. The butcher shop and the bakery still occupy the same corner although they have gone considerably upscale and now sell a lot more than the simple meat and bread that I remember.

Finally, I visited the playground where I used to take my son Philippe when he was a toddler. The playground is in exactly the same place although the swings and slides have been upgraded.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunday afternoon

Sundays are family days in Paris. The markets are very busy before 1:00PM when everyone goes home for a big lunch. In the afternoons, people take to the streets for walks, bike rides and roller blading. Last Sunday was no exception, even though the weather was gray and quite cold. Here are a few shots taken on Sunday:

Nice boots! Parisian women really do dress differently than Boulderites.

No need to cook, just pick up a roast chicken to take home . .

Roller blades anyone?

Ah, j'aime Paris!

Monday, March 15, 2010

New phone number

I now have a French phone number. It was a very easy process; I went to a local phone store and purchased a new prepaid sim card for my Blackberry. Voila! Now my friend Odette can call me back without calling the U.S. first.

The phone number is quite a mouthful. In numbers it looks like this: 06 73 80 08 92. But when you say it, it comes out like this: zero six, soixante-treize, quatre-vingts, zero huit, quatre-vingt-douze. That’s because the French have an odd numbering system. The number “sixty” = “soixante”, but “seventy” = “soixante-dix” or sixty plus ten. “Eighty” = “four twenties”, and “ninety” = “four twenties plus ten”. That means that “ninety two” = “four twenties plus twelve”. Get it? Anyway, trust me – it’s a mouthful!

Numbers aside, I am delighted to be back in Paris. I feel so at home here. And while many things have changed since I lived here in the ‘70s, many things have not changed. I am taking lots of photos and will be posting more soon. In the meantime, here are just a few:

Leaving FNAC with brand new books

Fromagerie (cheese shop) near my apartment

Fresh fish anyone?

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep . . . . I awaken on my first night in my Paris apartment to the sound of an alarm. But what is it? There is no bedroom alarm clock. And it’s not a scary “get-out-NOW-the place-is-on-fire!!” kind of sound. I lie in bed contemplating my options, but I know I won’t be able to go back to sleep if this continues.

I get up to and wander through the unfamiliar rooms trying to isolate the source. I follow my ears – it seems to be coming from the kitchen. The cooking timers on the stove and microwave are silent. Then I look up and notice a flashing red indicator on the top of the tall refrigerator. Aha – the freezer door is ajar and the flashing red light and beeping sounds show me that the freezer temperature is too warm. I press the alarm button and the close the freezer door. Silence. And the freezer temperature immediately begins to fall.

Problem solved. And now back to sleep

P.S. Check out the size of this fridge (and the placement of the source of the alarm). I won't be cleaning the top of this anytime soon!