Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Another Paris post...

So I promised a few photos and a few words about the trip. Not sure how many you'll get, but I will start and see where things go.

Firstly, if you are going to Paris - or just want a very funny read - I advise The Sweet Life in Paris, written by relocated American pastry chef David Lebovitz. Pretty much all you need to navigate the very unique culture that is Paris, mixed up with great recipes and wicked humour. I read it cover to cover on the flight over, and it was the perfect airplane book (thanks for the suggestion T1!!). And it is a LONG freaking flight, so you'll need something to read, trust me.

Maybe I'll start with a little bit about where we stayed in Montmartre. Montmartre is the highest point in Paris, north of the city centre, and is where much of the wonderfully whimsical Amelie was filmed. We rented an apartment, which is definitely the way to travel if you are staying put for a bit - it's nice to have a home base where you can relax and unwind. I did mention the issues with lack of promised phone/internet/extra bed earlier, but apart from that (which I could shake off a bit more easily after reading Lebovitz' book) it worked out well. The place was large and bright and perfectly located.

We quickly discovered the boulangeries and fromageries in the 'hood - OHMYGOD so good. SO good. Tuesday would skip off in the mornings and come back armed with a fresh baguette wrapped with a twist of brown paper, or with buttery croissants and some truly evil chocolate filled pastries, and late afternoon we would snuffle our way through wine, cheese (oh comté, how I love thee) and slices of baguette after a day of walking (and walking and walking) around the city. The photo of Tuesday is a post-cheese-gorge couch flop. Notice the comté induced smile.

Which brings me to a couple of points - first, wine. You can buy a bottle of wine (tasty, drinkable wine) for considerably less than a cup of coffee. It is seriously the cheapest thing in Paris. We were buying wine for the equivalent of maybe $4 a bottle - and I wasn't picking up the lowest priced bottles, trust me. Crazy. So - if you could survive on wine and wine alone, Paris would be a pretty cheap place to visit.

You also read a lot about the standoffish attitude of Parisians, but that wasn't really what I found. And honestly, if I was Parisian, I'd be standoffish - they just seem to have life worked out in a much more balanced (dare I say superior?) way. Or maybe I'm just getting seduced by their obvious respect for cheese. Anyhow - provided you play by the rules (greeting the store attendants when you enter and exit a store for instance), and make an effort to speak French, generally they take pity on you and do what they can to help and make communication easier. That doesn't mean to say that they weren't getting a few jollies from our stumbling attempts, but that's OK by me. What I did discover that my comprehension of written French is better than I thought it would be, and that Tuesday & I had enough vocabulary between us to get through the basics most of the time, Tui with a much more elegant accent than my own. As for Tui's reading comprehension, she spent a fair bit of time poring through a French book on methods of committing suicide that she found in the apartment bookcase (aka French holiday reading?) - and she seemed to be picking up most of it.

I think that's enough for today...more later.


Anonymous said...

If my derriere looked like Ms Tui's I would have played the thong song too and proudly.


sugarlove said...

I am salivating after reading, looking and longing... it sounds truly, TRULY delicious and amazing. And now I can hardly wait to read David Lebovitz' book. Can't wait for MORE!! Droolingly yours, sugarlove

Seraphina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BunkleLife said...

Urbanita - you removed your comment after realizing the comte is in the upper right corner? ;)

DJ Wongski said...

That black leather couch looks familiar! I'm glad the apartment worked out, despite the missing items. I can just taste the baguettes, the evil chocolate pastries, etc. You're right - they really know how to live in Paris.