we don’t have anything like them! perhaps the odd farmers market in season and of course yard sales when the weather is fine, but here in paris and in towns all over france there are regular market days, sometimes twice a week.
i discovered the market at bastille a couple of weeks back and was curious to go again and explore it all. this market is massive, it pops up in the early morning hours on sundays and has every type of food, all of it fresh: meats, veggies, pastries, breads, spices, exotic (middle east) and local dishes ready to eat or take home to cook, kitchen wares, wines and about anything else you care to add…how about a mask from africa? we bought four shirts for 16 euros (about 25 Cdn$). i also bought lunch: a baguette, some small quiches, fresh figs and a bottle of wine from southern france. we spent about two hours working our way through the massive crowd stopping often to check the goods or take a photo.
after shopping we hopped on the metro to paris centre, near the louvre where we found a handy bench by the seine and ate our lunch and watched the joggers and tour boats pass by.
rick had a left bank walk planned (using another rick — rick steves –as a guide) that will take us past some of the history we have not visited before. we started off crossing the seine on pont des arts directly in front of l’académie française (the institute for the french language). we then wended our way through a series of small streets mostly of the medieval era, where artists have lived, dined, debated and died for many centuries. i took a few shots of oscar wilde’s last address (« either that wallpaper goes, or i do, » his last words before he died.) richard wagner’s residence here when he wrote « the flying dutchman », george sands’ apartment and the several restaurants where hemingway wrote, voltaire debated and drank coffee and where most of the intellectuals hung out for the last few centuries.
the streets are full of art shops, boutiques and small alleys with old cobbled paving and tons of charm.
we stopped briefly at the very quiet saint germain des pres church, one of the oldest in paris:
« it bears the name of germanus (germain), a bishop of paris who was canonized in 754. as early as the sixth century there was a church here, in the meadows (prés) bordering the seine, containing the tombs of the merovingian kings childéric I, clotaire II and childéric II, which were plundered during the revolution. destroyed several times by the Norsemen, the church was rebuilt around the year 1000 in late romanesque (the nave) and early gothic style (choir, completed 1163) »
outside a brass band made up of students in bright clothing played music from piaf and added vocals here and there, obviously having a great time entertaining the passersby.
we then wandered on through a few other streets before heading back to the subway and home.
out for dinner in the marais – our old fave restaurant seems to have changed hands and was only serving drinks. after a short search down a few of the old streets we found a very quaint and popular spot « equinox » where we enjoyed our last full course french meal before we leave paris and france. it had the perfect ambiance and was owned by a quebecois. we had…think nouveau cuisine:
rick ——– stan
peppers with goat cheese ——– smoked salmon with blinis
steak, sauce & assorted veggies ——– duck in sauce with assorted veggies
tarte tartin with (real) french vanilla ice cream