February in Paris

We began our adventure in Paris, each of us trickling in one by one. Me, midday Friday, with the French TGV from Ulm to Gar d’Est, on a fast but not particularly well-kept train. Cassie two hours later with the Eurostar from London to Gar d’Nord, a difference in stations I didn’t realize until after my arrival. And Lydia, the next day, via plane and a phone call, with the two of us trying to sort out where she was, despite neither knowing the city.

While Friday evening may have involved some wandering about and a rather large plate of cheese, the fun began on Saturday with the Louvre. Despite it being a blustery, nondescript February weekend, the museum had no shortage of visitors and so we took a deep breath and plunged in. Between lunch and a much needed coffee break, we spent the afternoon marveling at both the paintings and the people photographing the paintings. I would like to believe the photographs were intended to provide reminders of famous artists. Realistically, I imagine that they will either clutter up someone’s Facebook page (“Me with the Mona Lisa!!”) or languish forgotten on a hard drive. However, there was one view worth photographing:

An early bedtime for my lovely, yet exhausted travel mates meant I was up early Sunday. I began the day on the snazziest metro I have seen, enroute to the Richard Lenoir market, near the Bastille. The bright colors were an adequate replacement for coffee.

Early morning markets are one of my favorite things. The aisles are wide and uncrowded and the vendors friendly and welcome, as the last bits and pieces are set up for the day. I wasn’t shopping for anything in particular but I did take the time to marvel at the fresh oysters and whole fillets, as well as the pastries and fresh baguettes. Since moving to Germany, shopping at outdoor markets has become almost second nature and thus, I never feel quite right photographing the deliciousness. I’m not sure if it’s because a market feels more like a functional place to me, similar to a supermarket, or if I just prefer to try and blend in, shopping and eating, rather than taking photos.

Either way, I did my best to act as the locals do, and purchased one or two things, purely for the sake of research. Turns out these little nuggets on the left are quite delicious, despite being less than photogenic. Caramelized sugar on the outside and soft, sweet dough inside. A block of salted butter from Brittany wasn’t too bad either.

At this point, the ladies were up and about and we continued the day up at Montmartre and the Sacré Cœur. Oddly enough I managed not to take any pictures of the church itself, but the view looking down wasn’t too shabby.

Behind the church is a fun area full of vendors, restaurants and artists doing portraits. The range of talent was impressive, with everything from caricatures to quite accurate likenesses. I have no idea of the average price, but it would be a fun souvenir to bring home.

We continued our wandering, paused for a delicious lunch here (and my first experience with foie gras) and managed to catch Notre Dame at sunset. The inside of the church is too busy and dark for me, but the outside really is quite gorgeous, especially on a sunny winter’s day. The company was pretty fabulous, as well.

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