It's been many years since we've been in the 17th and 18th arrondissements. I wanted to check out the Batignolles area for a future rental, after reading of its pleasant atmosphere. We took the number 68 bus up to Porte de Clichy, and then walked over to rue de Batignolles. The organic market was open, in spite of empty spaces left by vacationing stallholders and the steady drizzle. Nice looking cheeses, meat, produce and baked goods.
We wandered down rue de Batignolles. It has all the good signs of a neighborhood--competing boulangeries and patisseries, a hardware store, people parked at cafe tables with cafe cups and actually talking with each other, parents with strollers, a square that in better weather looks like an attractive place to hang out with drinks or dinner at a cafe.
For purely scientific purposes, we shared a pain au chocolate from a bakery. It was a hardship.
It ends at a lovely little park, where we and a few other people got to watch a mother duck nudge her dozen fluffy ducklings out of the water and across the path.
We turned down rue des Moines, and found a covered market. It wasn't terribly busy, and many spaces were empty except for the "on Vacation" signs. We crossed over to rue Brochant with more nice looking shops and places to eat, and then rue de Clichy. I had read of a gated passageway called rue des Fleurs, and we easily found the private Cite des Fleurs. The gate was open, so we pretended we knew where we were going and ventured in. The brick path is lined with walled gardens filled with flowering plants, and absolutely gorgeous small townhouses. Lots of Art Nouveau details in windows, tilework, and curving lines of rooftops. Like a Secret Garden path in Paris.
We took the Metro to Monceau, since we were close to the Musee Nissim Camondo, which has been on my "list" for a while. We wandered around in search of an open cafe for lunch, and finally found one in front of the Villiers Metro station. Had decent tartines and salads. This area seems firmly closed up for August, although there were a few aggressively well-dressed women and grandchildren wandering back and forth from the park. We had fun watching a pair of grandparents trying to coax their grandchildren into eating something besides frites in the cafe.
We rented the audio guides at the museum, which was well worth doing. The mansion was built by a wealthy Jewish banker to house his enormous collection of 18th century art and furnishngs. He left it to the city, and it stands just as he lived in it. Room after room filled with gilt, tapestry, paintings, furniture. I'm not too fond of this period in art, but loved the inlaid wooden furniture, and just experiencing the house and massive collection is wonderful. You can also see the huge kitchen downstairs.
The family came to a tragic end, with the son killed during WWI and the daughter and her family dying at Auschwitz.http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/gb/04museecamondo/index.html
By now the drizzle was ending. We had arranged to meet J and her husband for a walk through their neighborhood in Montmarte. We had a fantastic walk through the streets. It's been many many years since we were up the hill, and it was teriffic to see the nooks and crannies with people who live there. Tiny streets, artist's studios, market streets, locations from movies; and even better, stories about living and working in Paris.
We didn't get home till close to 7, and so rested and then went to a nearby restaurant for dinner that was recommended by the apartment owner. Nice meal, excellent food. Too bad they're closing for vacation tomorrow, or we'd come again! A bottle of Cahors made me forget my aching feet.