Thursday, February 18, 2010

Parisian Diversions


We are back in Paris and happy to be; Paris is making us welcome as well.  We arrived to a bright sunny day, thrilled to see the city shining in the light.  So what if the hot water in the apartment had been accidentally turned off and we had to wait 'til the next morning for that bath I had been promising myself.  

And the next morning, although damp and drizzly to start, began to alternate that with sun breaking through the clouds, encouraging us to get out and walk, walk, walk.  Jet lag however encouraged us to sleep, sleep, sleep.  We split the difference and slept until 11:00 a.m. and walked around all afternoon.

Today we started out for the American Library to return some books and got sidetracked passing the Institut de France's Bibliothèque Mazarine, just around the corner.  We've never been inside, assuming it wasn't open to the public, but our friends A. and J. have permission to work there daily and we thought it might be a good chance to peek in and look around, while claiming to be looking for them.  

As it turns out, anyone can go into the impressive reading room and wander around; they'll even give you a plasticized sheet in the language of your choice explaining what you're seeing.  So although we didn't need A. and J., we found them anyway and shocked the hell out of them.  

Starting out once again for our original destination, we got no farther than across the forecourt of the Institut, where we saw the poster for an exhibit about how the idea of the "Mysterious Orient" had functioned as a lure for consumers over the last two centuries.  It lured us in.

After that very extensive exhibition, hunger set in, so a stop at a café for an open-faced sandwich was next. Toasted Poilane bread topped with warm cabecou goat cheese and thin slices of smoked duck breast, and garnished with walnuts, accompanied by a small green salad.  (That's for those of you who have been asking me for more food descriptions!) A glass of wine and a coffee and now it was too late to walk all the way to the American Library, so we took a bus, which was diverted, appropriately enough given the theme of the day, by a manifestation (demonstration).  We eventually arrived, did our stuff and hopped on a bus to the Theatre du Chatelet, where we hoped to get discount tickets to "A Little Night Music", the Stephen Sondheim musical playing there.  Sold out.

Diverted once more, we took the photo above of the Conciergerie backlit at dusk, and decided to walk over to take a look at the neighborhood of an apartment we're considering renting next fall.  On the way we found ourselves passing Spring épicerie, where we just had to drop in and chat, leaving with a couple of bottles of wine recommended highly by Joshua, the wine maven.

We finally got where we were headed, discovered we liked the area, and wandered on home, stopping to read some intriguing restaurant menus along the way.  What, you thought we could just go straight home? 

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