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Le Marais---History, Falafel, Photography

Le Marais is one of our favorite areas of Paris. It can get overpopulated on a warm evening and louder than I like, but there are still plenty of slow, secret spaces where you can only hear your own footsteps.

We had a late beginning this morning. First, we overslept. Those who know me well know I consider sleeping past six a guilty sin. Fine, this is supposed to be a vacation after all. Larry went running, and explored the Park Montsouris. We did some grocery shopping at the rue Alesia corner, getting a gorgeous roast chicken, sauteed potatoes, and salad greens for dinner. We finally got ourselves out the door and on the #38 bus to the Marais.

We followed a walk from the book Paris Walks, and wound through the Marais. I finally got a photo of Guimard'a 1913 Art Nouveau synagogue, designed to look like an open Torah. It had started spitting rain, and so instead of getting falafel and eating on our favorite park bench, we braved the back room at L'As du Falafel. Tasty as always, but a Special is now 7 euros. Still, a bargain for a Paris lunch since it feels like prices have really climbed this year. And finally, they've finished the repaving on rue des Rosiers. The falafel places and Jewish delis are still competing with the new boutiques.

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Its been many years since we were inside the Musee Carnavelet. Sadly, there is still no audio guide or helpful brochure to assist in explaining the fantastic rooms of historical paintings, rescued interiors from demolished grand houses, or pieces of Paris's history beyond the dry placards in French. The Blue Guide is better than nothing, but I'd really love to have this material fleshed out.
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We walked down the oldest surviving Marias street, rue du Prevot, and then rue de Feguier to the Hotel Sens. There's still a fig tree there; and as you walk around the area, you'll see several more. We also found the cannonball from 1830 in the facade of the Hotel de Sens, and the remains of the old wall surrunding Paris built in 1180, along the basketball court on rue des Jardins St Paul. We wandered through the Village St Paul, and had coffee in a quiet cafe. Following the walk, we found more tiny alleyways through the back of St Paul, and then went into the church and found the faint graffiti from the Revolution--"La Republique Francais ou la mort!" There are more interesting fragments to find in the Mairais in the walk, and we recommend it.

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There was an exhibit at the Maison Europeene de Photography on Annie Liebowitz, so we stood on line with what seemed like half of Paris for a while. I'm glad we hung in there though, since the exhibit was excellent. I had always somewhat dismissed her as a celebrity photographer, which she is--but she finds amazing emotional depth in all her work, and I was really moved by many of the photographs.

We ran over the rue Daguerre for the last baguette and a tarte citron from the bakery. At home, I sauteed some leftover girolle mushrooms, added the potatoes and cut-up chicken to crisp, and we had a nice diner.

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Comments (3)

Kim:

Amy, that falafel looks amazing, outside of Israel, I still think the best. Oh, and we both share a complaint about the Carnavalet. I didn't have my blue guide with me on my first trip, when I visited, but I do hope to return, at least with that in tow.

Shannon:

That is one of the best things about Paris - siteseeing all day and then coming home to a fantastic dinner at home, purchased at a market. Mmmm.... that looks mighty tasty.

Oh, that falafel place is my favorite! I ate there twice on my last visit to Paris. We loved staying the Marais. By the way, all your photos have been wonderful.

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