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Bikerscott & Jamikins in Paris Christmas 2009

Bikerscott & Jamikins in Paris Christmas 2009

Old Dec 28th, 2009, 07:03 PM
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I'm loving your report. We stayed in your neighborhood two years ago and discovered some good restaurants: Astier, 44 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud if you want to splurge on a wonderful meal, you won't be disappointed. Much less expensive but very good is Au Trou Normand, 9 rue JPT and Chez Imogene, 25 rue JPT. Au Coin de Malte, 21 rue Oberkampf, is very inexpensive and good. Enjoy!
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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And some pics from 27 - 29 Dec:
http://picasaweb.google.com/jamie.a....eat=directlink
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 10:11 AM
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Fabulous eclectic selection. I particularly like the reflections in puddles and the 'stolen' photos of people doing what people do best.
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 10:12 AM
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jamkins, wonderful report. I had dinner at David and Aryalyn's flat (and also two young ladies that were staying in your garret). Like us, David is a jazz buff, Billy Holiday was playing when I arrived.
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Great pix!
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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where was that staircase? Refreshing to not see the same monuments over again
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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I like the one of Scott's nosetip. The others are fun, too. Thanks, j and s.
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 11:24 AM
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Thanks everyone...link updated with Scott pix as well.

The staircase is the weird black and white that looks like fennel...if you see the tiny patch of light at the top that is our flat.

More report to come shortly for today!
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Now I am <i>really</i> jonesing for Paris big time! Agree with kerouac, those puddle reflections are great.
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 11:51 AM
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For those that can get Spotify, here's the soundtrack to our trip:
http://open.spotify.com/user/scottt/...LGYIF6nGIae3Rw
and
http://open.spotify.com/user/scottt/...hPUqOaWkn8OlOd
(vocal and instramental jazz from the 50's and 60's)
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 11:52 AM
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Nice pics and nice report. Your garret looks very similar to the VacationinParis #176 in the 2nd, also on the 6th floor. The ViP flat costs more but has an elevator, AC and a good sized bathroom. It also has a Monoprix in the same building.
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 12:32 PM
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Paris Christmas 2009
December 27th 2009 - January 3rd 2010

Day Three – Photo Ops, Anyone?

We started the day with an alarm at the ungodly hour of 9am – a full lie-in for some people, however we’re on vacation with a large supply of wine and scotch, it seemed early enough for us. We did our usual morning routine, featuring me sucking down large amounts of fresh coffee and water trying to work out why I had an upset stomach, extreme sensitivity to light, and a pounding headache – I blame something I ate, as is so often the case.

After a quick stop at the cash machine up the road, we finally met Dave, owner of the garret room we’re staying in. Dave is a quiet-spoken, extremely friendly American ex-pat who’s made his living in Paris with his wife Aralynn for the last 23 years. We sat at the little cafe over the road (L’Autre Cafe) and enjoyed a good chat and a cup of espresso (Jamie even had one, despite what it does to her – she gets the jitters for HOURS).

Next was a wander through the market on Blvd Richard Lenoir – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, even in winter the French markets make the British ones look sad and pathetic (no offense to any Brits out there, but it’s true – the fruit and veg on offer at the market today in the middle of winter is amazing, and we’re firm British farm market shoppers!). We picked up a half a roast chicken and a little bit of rabbit terrine for me and headed back to the flat, ready for all 101 steps.

We dropped off the food, had some more water, and headed for the Metro at Republic – not the closest we could have gone for, but it wasn’t raining much yet and we wanted to enjoy as much dryness as possible – we didn’t quite make it before the skies opened up. Fortunately we’d both brought umbrellas and managed to stay somewhat dry, although I’m not sure my shoes will ever be the same.

We got off the metro at Chatelet and managed to find exactly the wrong exit for what we were looking for – we were on a mission for soupe a l’onion, Au Pied de Couchon was the location (yes, for those trying to translate, that’s the foot of the pig....mmm...pig feet...). After far too long of wandering around aimlessly (when will Jamie learn that I’m ALWAYS right?!?) we found the restaurant and were led to the 2nd floor for our lunch (3rd floor for our North American friends) – I can tell you the stairs seemed a really long way for some reason.

Lunch was excellent – onion soup with a good half inch of melted cheese never fails to hit exactly the spot, wherever that spot happens to be. The good half bottle of wine we had with it seemed to take the edge off the headache as well, which is surprising considering I was positive it was due to a mild case of food poisoning.

We were doing really well until the table beside us all ordered the andouillette sausage plate. I had a brief yet memorable run-in with andouillette in Rennes a few years ago, and while I agree that it tastes fantastic, there is just something about the odour that turns my stomach (for those uninitiated in the glory that is andouillette – it’s basically sausage made out of the lower intestine of a pig. I don’t care how much you wash it, there’s an odour. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination).

Post lunch we embarked on a photo contest to see who could take the best “people” shot. I firmly believe that I won, however Jamie may dispute that as she took some fantastic photos. We started by walking down Rue Montorgeuil, on which we entertained ourselves trying to work out how to pronounce, as well as trying to take a photo of a French-looking person walking out of a boulangerie holding a baguette – harder than you’d expect.

The photo contest took most of the rest of the afternoon and took us from Les Halles all the way over to the Left Bank and a little wine bar we’ve been to in the past (Bistrot des Augustins) where we enjoyed a Kir for Jamie and a well-deserved Ricard for me (apparently my accent is appalling to the French, and they can never understand when I say Ricard, even though when they say it, it sounds the same. And I’m pretty much bilingual!).

We’d had enough walking for the day, so decided to take the trusty number 96 bus home – conveniently departing from Rue St Michel and dropping us off a few blocks from the Marche Franprix where we stocked up on chicken stock, couscous, gavottes (the most glorious of the French biscuits, you must try them if you ever see them), and of course, more wine.

We made our way back to our little garret and it’s 101 steps and settled in for a night of photo editing, roast chicken and couscous eating, and jazz-listening-while-beveraging. A more Parisian evening I couldn’t imagine.
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 01:56 PM
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Great photos from both of you. I am enjoying your report immensely. Almost (<i>almost</i as good as being there.
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 02:30 PM
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Au pied DOES have the best onion soup. I was seated on the first floor and enjoyed people watching
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Old Dec 29th, 2009, 05:32 PM
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I think I have a new dream....Paris at Christmas! Thank you both this great post and the fantastic pictures, especially the people pics.

--Annie
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 03:45 AM
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I love the almost monochrome photo of the white bulldog with baker in white and woman in black.
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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Paris Christmas 2009
December 27th 2009 - January 3rd 2010

Day Four – Madness in Montmartre (not really though)

(photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/jamie.a....eat=directlink)

Jamie rudely awakened me at 10:30am this morning. Apparently the small child somewhere downstairs woke her up, but how that is my problem, I’m not quite sure. Either way, we got up and got ready, the acrobatics required to have a shower in the smallish shower stall a good way to limber up in preparation for the day.

First mission (after the initial coffee mission of course) was to find the Metro station up the street – Couronnes. It was an interesting walk – the further up Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud we walked the more Islamic it seemed to get – someone recently pointed out that the upper part of JPT is one of the hotbeds of Islamic fundamentalism in Paris and I can see it...

We took the metro to Chateau Rouge in the hopes of having a quiet lunch at a restaurant that Jamie had read about in the Green Guide for Paris – Aux Negociants. Unfortunately Aux Negociants no longer seemed to be there – only the second time the Green Guide had ever led us astray (the first was a rather disappointing dinner in St Remy in Provence – food was dubious, super-tight t-shirt and jeans on the waiter was even worse...). The only option was to walk up the hill to Sacre Coeur to continue our tour. Why they insist on putting interesting things on the top of bloody steep hills is beyond me.

So we had to stop for a bit when we reached the top for me to stop sweating – no one wants to see that. Feeling fully prepared for what was about to befall us, we headed towards the thronging crowds around the church and main square at Sacre Coeur. Maybe it’s because most of the non-touristy stores in Paris are closed between Christmas and New Years, but Montmartre was more crowded that we’ve ever seen it before.

We rather quickly ducked into La Mere Catherine just off Place Du Tertre for a slightly overpriced lunch, made up for in a small degree by the entertainment provided by the table next to us. We spent almost the entire lunch trying to work them out – two older extremely posh German ladies, an older either French or German gentleman dressed to the nines, complete with designer sunglasses indoors (think Vegas lounge act from the 70’s), and a slightly younger EXTREMELY loud American gentleman wearing far too much gold in the form of massive bracelets, rings, and necklaces (think New York Mafioso from gangster films from the 70’s), all speaking English and German interchangeably. Very odd.

Having come to no firm conclusions, we paid our bill and loaded up our cameras. We spent a good hour or so wandering around the top of Montmartre taking photos and being generally entertained by the antics of tourists and touts trying to part those tourists from their money. Somewhat uncharacteristically, even I was accosted by an overly enthusiastic and aggressive twit trying to convince me that what my life was missing was a shitty bracelet which he was prepared to make for me on the spot.

We made our way down the precipitous steps in front of Sacre Coeur and towards the Abbesses metro station, being briefly waylaid in a convenient and most agreeable wine bar/bistro just down the street (La Sancerre). A pichet of quite tasty wine and several dozen sneaky photos by Jamie later, we stumbled back to the metro station and took the short trip to Jules Joffrin metro station, at which Jamie had heard of a market street – Rue Du Poteau, and specifically a shop that specialized in rotisserie meats (meat on a stick, the ultimate delivery system for food).

The street, as market streets go, was a bit disappointing. There were a few shops, including the rotisserie shop...a couple of bakeries, a few fruit and veg shops, some cheese shops...nothing to go out of your way for really. On the other hand, the people in the Charcouterie where we bought some roasted potatoes and carrot salad were incredibly friendly, and the selection of rotisserie meats at the rotisserie place was impressive – we picked up two rabbit legs and two chicken skewers, all for €12. For comparison sake – yesterday we got ½ a roasted chicken for €6, whereas a whole chicken at this place was €6.

It was only 5:00 and we weren’t ready to head back to our place for dinner, so we ducked into Cafe De la Place just across the road and had an unbelievably good bottle of Lussac St Emilion in a very nice cafe, with a friendly waiter to boot. We spent an enjoyable while sipping wine, chatting, and watching the people of the 18th walk past (and stand in a hugely long and slow moving queue over the road in the bank).

As we were sitting, the heavens opened and it began to pour. We ran across the road to the metro, managing to stay slightly dry. By the time we got back to Couronnes metro station it was raining even harder. We ran for the Marche Franprix just opposite to stock up on essential supplies for dinner (okay, just wine, but still essential), then back to our garret. We both got absolutely drenched from the knees down, despite the umbrellas – I’m not sure my shoes are ever going to dry out. Into every vacation a little rain must fall I suppose...
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Sorry about the rain - you'll have to try some dry wines to compensate!

Please keep up this marvelous travelogue!
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 06:33 PM
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Wonderful report and your pictures are fantastic! Now I'm thinking Christmas in Paris would be great!
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 07:59 PM
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Enjoying your report and the photos are beautiful. You both have a good eye for composition.
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