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Sunday in Paris

I'll catch up on the Burgundy week at some point with a future post about Autun, and one about the area just north of Tivauche. But we're back in Paris now, so a Paris entry.

After several cloudy, cool, rainy days, it felt almost strange to see blue skies and a bit of sun. Very pretty day. So we went to my favorite market, the Richard Lenoir, just north of Bastille. After that, we were going to the Bois de Vincennes for a picnic and to see the Chateau.

We really didn't need too much, just enough for a picnic and some fruit for breakfasts. But the shopping aspect almost is besides the point, since I don't have to rush to get back home, pick someone up, prepare for work, deal with offspring's homework or social trauma, or have a real life. The people-watching and peering at stands are what we're really here for. This is a great market, crowded; filled with everyone from well-dressed ladies, people of almost every nationality, street kids and bums. And there's a bit of food.

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Actually, a whole lot of food. Produce, breads, fish and seafood, meats, cheeses, roasted chickens, olives, salts, charcuterie, spices, herbs, about anything you would want. There's also several stands with people sellig wines, which people were tasting. It's 9:00 in the morning, but, hey.

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Let's not forget about the underwear stands, clothing, housedresses and aprons, bolts of fabrics, bags, tablecloths, kids toys, scarves from India, and table after table of kitchen gadgets.

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And the people in the 7th may tell you that "everybody" leaves Paris in August, but obviously the folks in the 11th haven't gotten that memo. It was quite crowded, with a hell of a lot more life than we've been seeing in "our" neighborhood. We liked it. For the picnic, we bought a half of a tiny roasted chicken, a loaf of bread with walnuts, some fresh chevre, and some figs. In the little cooler we had some cut up melon, a tomato, and a slice of pate from Semur.

Instead of heading right for the Metro, we decided to walk. We explored the 11th for a while, heading east. The trendy restaurants and bars were closed of course, but we enjoyed walking around poking down streets. This looks like it'd be an interesting neighborhood to rent in for a future trip. We headed south to the 12th, passing under the Viaduc/Promenade where we walked in this area last time in Paris. Finally grabbed the Metro at Gare de Lyon, and headed out to Vincennes.

Vincennes is at the end of the number 1 Metro. It looks like a pleasant neighborhood, from what we can see. Our attention was rather riveted by the Fortress and Chateau, which are just enormous. Truly, I had no idea how huge the Chateau and the park were. There's a dungeon currently under restoration, and a beautiful church, St. Chapelle. The restoration will hopefully be completed by the time we return with the boys next April.

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We walked all the way to the end of the complex to get to the Parc Floral at the other side. We paid the admission fee, which was higher than usual today because of a concert. Such a beautiful place, filled with flower beds, different plant habitats, and pavillions with things like art exhibits and a butterfly garden. All very nicely maintained. I loved seeing peacocks wandering around. The ladies room even had toilets, which I appreciated.

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And you can picnic on the grass, unlike a lot of other Paris parks! The park was filled with all sorts of people picnicing, walking, kids on trikes, people tooling around in little pedal-buggies, just enjoying a pretty Sunday in the Park.

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We ended up deciding to just hang out and read, and stayed for the concert. It was a vocal group doing a mixture of classical and "Manhattan Transfer" style music. Very nice.

For dinner, we went around the corner from the apartment to La Fontaine de Mars, just about the only place open on the street. It was crowded, but we only had to wait a few minutes for a table. We were very amused by a French family of elegently dressed man in his late 40's with two boys of about 10 and 12, and a fashion-model looking woman who barely looked older than the boys. She had a dress on that plunged almost to her navel, and strappy multicolored shoes I would have killed for though could never wear in a million years. After their meal, they got into a chauferred car, with the boys grinning out the windows at their audience.

Yes, we did something besides gawk. Excellent "bistro-type" food, crisp service. An entree of a molded salad of crab, avacado, and vegetables; plats of duck for me and sausage for Larry. A whole bottle of wine for a change, which I am still feeling this morning.

I cannot believe the noise the washer-dryer is making. Either it is going to blow up or that's quite the enthusiastic dry cycle. Sounds like it'll need a cigarette afterward.

Comments (2)

Dorothy:

I was reading your blog, it's nice. I will be in France Oct 6th-21st. Nice the first week and 2nd week we will be staying at a place in Vincennes.
From what you can tell, is Vincennes a nice place and what can one do there (ie tours, parks, etc..) Do you know if it is difficult to get to Paris everyday by train or car? If you have time, i would like some info. Thanks
URL: cheatham.jolly_familyconnection@yahoo.com

Amy:

Dorothy--The Chateau de Vincennes area is in the far eastern point of Paris,
on the number 1 metro line. It probably takes 15 minutes to get from the
Chateau de Vincennes Metro stop to the Hotel de Ville Metro stop. There
are also bus lines into the center of Paris. It's a middle-class area,
lively and off the tourist radar. The Park itself is lovely, and
perfectly safe. If you wish to give me the address of where you'll be
staying, I may be able to give you more precise Metro directions. Here's the
Paris Metro website- http://www.ratp.info/informer/anglais/index.php
(click on Interactive Map to get to bus maps and Metro lines)

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