My summer in Paris

Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 06:17 AM
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Fully enjoying your reports, kovsie -- they are a pleasure. (And I had no idea that the Marquis was still with us, let alone selling pizza slices!)

----

French shopkeeper do enjoy joking with their customers. My Former Beloved, a Belgian, was staying in Paris and went to the local boulangerie and asked for "un pain français, s'il vous plaît." The shopkeeper smiled and answered in a sing-song voice, "ils sont tous français, madame."
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 07:08 AM
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SMILE. I meant the Galleries ... Galeries Lafayette, Don Topaz! Have not yet met any pizza touting Marquis - although in this intriguing city nothing is impossible.

Thanks everybody, for such positive comments!

TDudette: our exchange partners have sent an ecstatic mail from our home, they love the place, the location, being there. I am relieved.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 10:07 AM
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Oh, I just love your reporting, your comments, your "moments"...they just make me smile! And to think we have a weeks more of this! THANK YOU!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 10:53 AM
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Thanks Paris! My only problem with this precious month is that it goes by so very quickly. Only 12 days to go.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 10:54 AM
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I'm just hoping that your exchange family was able to work the coffeemaker in your home.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 11:01 AM
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THE DAY I WENT TO THE CEMETERY

Ever since I first saw the film of the Phantom of the Opera, I wanted to experience a cemetery such as the one shown when Christine so beautifully sings ‘wishing you were here again’.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74S7EMUAKFs

Visiting Pere Lachaise one sunny day in July is not the same, but it is the nearest I will get on this trip. From the metro stop it is an easy walk to the huge gates. Entrance is free.

The place is big, and was not planned for easy navigation … you get the idea that the growth was kind of organic, with graves spilling to fill every empty space available. Narrow paths meander from the main arteries; stone steps lead you to new sections. Some graves are simple; some families felt the need to add huge weeping angels.

I enter with a vague idea of trying to find Edith Piaf, but soon give up and just wander. It is beautiful and peaceful, with ancient sorrow and here and there works of real art under the big old trees. I try to imagine the same place in autumn with leaves falling, in winter with snow and black branches. But today the sun shines and the sky is a lovely blue. The cemetery really is a special place for taking a long and interesting walk.

I explore for about an hour; then leave the gates and start looking for coffee. A block or two away, I find a small place where a man with a cap is sitting at an outside table. He is working on a crossword puzzle, his espresso cup beside the newspaper. Looks like the right place. I enter, remember to greet, ask for a menu. The owner says that he does not have a menu. No? Do they have coffee? Yes? What coffee do they have? He calls me over to the small counter, picks up two cups. They have small coffee, he says, showing the espresso cup, and they have big coffee, emphatically lifting the bigger cup. I ask for a big coffee and choose one of three outside tables. The coffee is great, and I linger for a while, watching a small group of Paris Police chatting on the sidewalk.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 11:09 AM
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Hi again kerouac - I hope so too! I have left the booklet that you receive with each appliance for them, so they should be OK. My coffee machine is of a simpler sort!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 11:10 AM
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Oh, not finding Edith Piaf is not a big deal. She is in the new part of the cemetery with a totally ordinary tomb.

This might help you imagine the cemetery in autumn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6Dive7Le2U
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 11:23 AM
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If you would like more/different cemetery experience, consider the pet cemetery in Asnieres-sur-Seine, reachable on metro. IIRC, kerouac dedicated one of his outstanding photo documentaries to this place a couple years ago. The directions at the bottom of the page at http://www.coolstuffinparis.com/ceme...tery-paris.php are helpful.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 12:50 PM
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The pet cemetery is indeed delightful and first I made this report about it:

http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com...8/dog-cemetery

But then I returned last month and made a new report to look at if from a different angle:

http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com...ians-dead-pets
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 01:33 PM
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Continued Bravas, kovsie. I'm still chuckling about the stressed coffee guy!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 06:48 PM
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SHOPPING FOR FOOD
Near our home are a few small stores where I love to shop. They all take a long siesta, 1pm – 3.30pm, then open until 8pm or later. It took me a while to figure this out, every time I passed they were closed!

I have now learned when to take the peaceful walk down the street to buy dinner. First the boucherie: he is always busy, having long discussions with customers … all in French of course. So nice not to be in a hurry, to watch and observe. When my turn comes, he looks up, and says something like … Ah L'anglais! Then I present my cell phone, on which I had carefully typed the translation of (for example) ‘rump steak please’. The rest of the conversation (how thick, how many) … we solve through gestures and the few words that I can use. When DD comes with me, things change. She knows a little French, so they joke with her until she also wants to resort to typing. Our meat is expertly cut, wrapped in paper, then put in plastic.

One thing that I am not used to, is the white-scrubbed claws of the chickens. Where I come from, chickens are sold without their feet. Oh my goodness, I do not know why, but when I see the neatly packed row of chickens with the extended talons it gives me a little shiver!

Having bought our meat, we move next door to the seller of veggies and ‘all other stuff’ (as per the owner). We choose our greens for the day, perhaps add a bottle of wine, which he sells according to his tastes. He has lots of red wine, because ‘that is the best’. No dry white ... do not even mention Chardonny, he looks seriously pained. When I tell him we are having rump steak tonight, he has very particular opinion on which wine I should buy. In the beginning I compared prices, but I have now learned that he never recommends the more expensive bottles.

Lastly – next door – the Boulangerie. Here important decisions are to be made regarding pastries and baguettes.

I walk home, the baguette sticking out of the bag - as it should.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 09:25 PM
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I'm so enjoying your trip report, what a joy to delight in all you are seeing and doing. I really enjoyed the time I spent with the Paris Greeter I met. We like each other so much we met up three times!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 10:59 PM
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Thanks WTBrit! I think Paris Greeters are doing a great job.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 12:43 AM
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A lovely read kovsie.

Your chicken story reminded me of the chickens out in the open the market in Sapa, Vietnam...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/132774...7655146407109/
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Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 03:33 AM
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kovsie - you are beginning to sound like a 'local' in very short time! Di
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Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 07:35 AM
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Not really Di! We are just privileged to live amongst locals for a little while.

I have to say that we have not yet encountered the unhelpful or unkind French people that we have read about. People are patient with our language struggles, going out of their way to answer our badly formulated questions, full of humour, mostly just NICE. Reading Stokebailey's TR I know it can still happen, but up to now we have been remarkable well treated.

kerouac and seamus: thanks for telling us about the pet cemetery, and for the links. How intriguing that such a place can continue to exist!

kerouac: thanks also for the link to autumn leaves in Pere Lachaise. Such a totally different feeling from the sunny summer's day when I was there. How
fortunate you are to be able to visit and revisit these places!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 07:48 AM
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I'm really enjoying this. It's been 7 years since I was last in Paris and I am planning on going next year, so am coming back to the boards again.

Love the pet cemetery pics. As an animal lover and pet owner it makes me smile and yet get a little choked up at the same time.

Thanks so much for "blogging" your trip kovsie, it's a treat.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 08:22 AM
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Enjoy the planning and reading and dreaming about Paris crefloors!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 08:49 AM
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I like your report Kosvie, they are alive.

DonTopaz, you sure your beloved was not my father ?
He tells the same story...
In Belgium 'un pain français' is 'une baguette'.

We don't prepare bread the same way, and baguettes are not so good in Belgium, and for us 'un pain' is more what the french called 'pain de mie' or whatever, I've never understood how to order my bread in France (true !), so I end up pointing and saying 'however you call this one'.

Keep posting Kosvie !
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