Sunday, March 25, 2007

one less hour in paris

sunday morning, 8:30 am local time, if it was yesterday it would be 7:30; I'm on my 2nd 'spring ahead' for 2007 - a weird thought. alas, this means one less hour on my last full day in paris. yesterday I wrote that the morning started out with blue and promising skies - well those ended by the time we started the day's explorations. yesterday's rains have carried over and now when I look out the window I see showers and grey skies. but I know this means nothing, in fact, I'm optimistic about today as I actually had the foresight to check out a forecast! geez, why didn't I think about that all this past week - would have saved me alot of improper planning consequences. anyway the forecast for today is for a showery morning with relatively warm temperatures giving way to a sunny and warm afternoon! I consider the predicted high for the day of 57 as warm compared to the weather the 40s we've had all week.

my sister and my beau-frere (I just had to get that french word in as I love it and it does so describe my feelings for this guy - he's been a beautiful addition to our family for the 17 years he been in it) anyway, they returned home from their little vacation in good shape and much earlier than any of us expected! they were back at the apartment by 10:30 in the morning. the kids, em and I were all in the lazy saturday morning zone - still unwashed and in our pjs. but I'm happy to say at least the beds were all made and the kitchen was tidied up!

yesterday's showery weather didn't deter us from another day of explorations. in fact, showers were an appropriate atmospheric contribution to a couple of our activities. my sister joined em and I - which was wonderful as that is what is the nice thing missing from this trip to paris - hanging out with my sister! even though my sister is not really a david lynch aficionado, she had the grace and fortitude to join us in making the trek to the foundation cartier to attend the "david lynch: the air is on fire" exhibition. as expected it was pretty strange but strangely wonderful and as expected some of it was pretty disturbing even repulsive; but all of it downright fascinating. what was compelling to me is that david lynch would put together such an extensive show he REALLY puts out the contents of his inner-psyche (yes, he does that in his films, but not to the extent and personal level that one's notebooks, doodles, sketching and paintings do!). I remarked that it was like seeing david in his underwear - but maybe given david's fondness for nudity, it was well more like seeing him naked.

since we were in the montparnasse neighborhood, after the show we wandered to the cemetery. this is where jean-paul and simone are buried along with countless other important cultural individuals. however, it is the grave of sartre and de beauvoir that I make a pilgrimage to; together in life, they are still together in repose. this year their grave site was adorned by many more flowers than the single red rose that marked it the first time I visited. french cemeteries are fascinating places to wander; many french carefully tend to the grave sites of their deceased loved ones and make an art of this respect to their dead. cemeteries are often home to cats which is another reason I enjoy visiting french cemeteries, but alas yesterday's rain kept them in their hidey holes.

after the cemetery excursion we took the 94 bus to the neighborhood around la madeleine. we wanted to visit maille mustard store and see the new concoctions, and there were plenty of unique combinations. we did sample of few and even purchased a couple flavors one would never find in the united states - like sundried tomato, chili mustard and a thai curry mustard (with mango!). for the next hour or so we were just part of the throngs of parisians and tourists peopling this bustling shopping area. for some amazing food eye candy we went into the fauchon stores, since we hadn't eaten anything since our morning croissant we couldn't resist picking up a couple little snacks to eat at when we got home. we cut them three and four ways, and all the adults had a taste - yes, they were incredible.

great food was the theme and wrap up for saturday, my sister and beau-frere took us to Bistro 17, their favorite place to dine and really one of the best deals in paris for traditional bistro fare. for a fixed price you receive a entree (which to americans is an appetizer) the main course (a meat or fish accompanied by a veggie) a dessert, coffee, and a half a bottle of wine each - so last night we had 2 bottles with dinner. I finally got my escargot - a few years ago I couldn't imagine eating snails, but strengthen by peer pressure during my last visit I tried one and discovered I love these little guys. okay, so they are kind of cute, but I liken them to clams and mussels - somehow my cute food prohibition doesn't extend to things that live in water (well, of course I'd never eat a water mammal but in terms of fish and other critters - cute is kosher). on my niece's recommendation I went with the steak and pomme-frites her favorite dish at bistro 17 - and it was done to perfection. for dessert I considered their wonderful creme brulee or another sweet offering, but instead I choose the petit salad avec deux fromage - how I love cheese! we were all a tired party when we returned home at 11 - I proceeded right to bed.

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