This set covers some more Paris street scenes and the Musee Rodin.

An ordinary street scene, taken during a random morning stroll about town.

Athletes, gardens, the Thinker, and a very fat bird )

I have arranged the photos below the cut to represent my experience walking through the town, entering the gardens, now looking at the entire view, now leaning in to inspect a single flower.

Come walk through the gardens with me. )
rachelmanija: (Autumn: small leaves)
( Aug. 14th, 2011 10:17 am)
I'll post photos from Monet's gardens tomorrow. They deserve a post all of their own.

These are all my photos, by the way. Don't look for great quality - I kept having to photograph in haste during the rare bursts of clear sky, then cram my camera into a ziplock bag and then into my purse, as it began to rain.

Oh yeah - I never got a chance to blog about this, but I saw the Tour de France! Story and photos below cut.

Street scenes, pink skeletons, a terrifying mime, the Thinker, a building made of tubes, the Tour de France, and the beautiful handwriting of Napoleon )
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Aug. 6th, 2011 11:03 am)
I'm getting an internal server error about every other time I try to upload a photo, so this is really laborious. As a result, I'm only pasting a few select shots rather than everything that looks cool.

The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, misc street shots, zombie with machete in his head.

Read more... )
rachelmanija: (Reality of medieval times)
( Aug. 5th, 2011 10:45 am)
Cut for images of pastries, cheese, the Seine by night, and some very unhappy tourists. Most of these were taken by my mom.

Read more... )
Spotted in Latin Quarter, or possibly Hogwarts:

Small raviolis with cream and basilisk.

Today I went to Givery and saw Monet's gardens. Absolutely exquisite. If I lived in Paris I would go every month at different times of day to watch the light and flowers change. The lilies were blooming, white and pink. Tok billions of inadequate photos. It was crowded but didn't seem so; it carried its own serenity.

Little town quite pretty too. Sat on bench by blooming sunflowers and ate baguette with ham and cheese and read bad free Kindle translation of Cyrano de Bergerac. Now even more impressed with Richard Wilbur version. But even clumky translators could not ruin the bit where Christian insults Cyrano with repeated nose references.

Has anyone read that and also Lope de Vega's El Caballero de Olmedo? I thought I saw some similarities in the old school hero and his death by inglorious modernity.

Also reading Les Miseables for first time. Kind of a slog. Possibly bad translation. Briefly came to life with intro of Jean Valjean but now back to endless philosophical musing. At first thought utterly perfect bishop was satire but I guess not.

Posted from Indle. Hope you all appreicate what a pain tht is.
I am posting from a net cafe in what I believe is em-h's old stomping grounds, near the Luxembourg Gardens. Great recommendation! I like this area a lot. On my way there I saw a patisserie about the siwe of a walk-in closet, with people lined up outside and new people walking up to join the line and walking out with little bags. I immediately joined the line, and got a very nice quiche lorraine, and a very light cheesecake gateau with raspberry sauce, garnished with jewel-like red currants. (They are sour and are mostly seeds.)

While I am not a fan of formal French gardens - they are a bit like geometry lessons in grass and flowers - the Luxemberg is a great place for a picnic, packed with benches and chairs, so I set up and ate there in front of a statue of some jolly Greek God and a meticulously pruned ellipsoid of mixed flowers with accents of Swiss chard. I had neevr before seen that as an orrnamental, but it's a pretty one with its red veins and great crinkled leaves.

I passed another patisserie with an extraordinary cake display of a chessboard chocolate and vanilla cake with chocolate chessmen on top. Inside, they had pastries labeled "tendresse de fruit3 and 3insolent fruits de bois." I expect those don't actually translate to "insolent fruits" and "a tenderness of fruits," but I shall keep my picturesque illusions until one of you corrects me. They also had whole candied fruits (confit de fruit) at outrageous prices, but that is how I learned that ananas is not banana, as I had assumed, but pineapple. I didn't buy anything there - way overpriced - but did note the presence of violet and Earl Grey macarons.

Can anyone who speaks French give me an idiomatic way of saying, "Can you please flip the egg over in the pan? I like the white to be cooked more." Or is that too outrageous a request? I like croque madames but I am tired of scraping off totally uncooked egg white. As for omelettes, I will never order one again. I do not understand the appeal of slimy uncooked egg white, but it seems people in Paris appreciate it a great deal. Or else I'm just unlucky.
Not posted from Kindle. Thank goodness. Returned to net cafe mom hauled me out of last time. You are supposed to order a drink, but mine never showed and it has been 20 minutes. Oh well, if I get charged for it anyway I will take that as the internet fee, as there is no way I can say "my cafe creme never came" in French.

By the way, since I have been posting at odd hours, you might want to click the tag to spot entries you might have missed. They should all be tagged now, and I can read comments on the Kindle even though it's too hard to reply from it.

The great pastry shop was La Duree, which it turns out is famous. The food has been generally excellent.

Highlights include a home meal made/put together by the Portuguese housekeeper of mom's friend: bread, mozzarella and tomatoes in olive oil, an intense garlicky gazpacho, ham, and cheese from the corner fromagerie. I especially liked the ball of sweet cream cheese rolled in black and yellow raisins, boulamour. At the fromagerie there was an intriguing looking cheese I might return to try, fontaineble, which was a very white cheese wrapped in cheesecloth and rising up from individual little ramekins like scoops of whipped cream.

I alsohad a fantastic salad of frisee with a poached egg and bacon. I know this is a classic French dish, but have annoyingly so far only seen it the one time.

In the window of a restaurant in Le Marais, I saw the following remarkable menu translations:

Conserve of duck, jumped apples has garlic.

Green salad, poached egg, gizzard, plugs (lardons), goat heat (cheese).

Crusty of poultry to the cheddar.

Melting mouse of lamb to the thyme. (A cut called souris, which is literally mouse, I am told.)

Paving stone of ostrich to bilberries. (Pavè.)
Mom dragged me from cafe. Now posting from Kindle.

Tour bus en espanol. Guide tells us all about Louis Catorce. Do not actually speak Spanish. At Versailles, the deluge. Freezing cold. 55 degrees but extreme windchill. We switch to English tour but v amazing interior like Tokyo subway at rush hour. Obligatory tour then marches us all through garden. We are drenched and freezing. Umbrellas turn inside out. Funereal music plays. Mom says she feels like we are being marched to guillotine.

At mediocre tour lunch I drink several glaases of mediocre wine in hope of warming up.

More walking. Wine not helpful. Should have drunk more. Half of tour bails on seeing Marie Antoinette peasant village and sits in tour bus for hour and a half. Myself included.

Back in Paris we learn that Paul has purchses pricy theatre tickets for us. I am torn between preferring to go to bed and excitement. Moulin Rouge?!

No. He has kindly selected something in English. It is Mama Mia. The ABBA musical. He has also delegated his hadsome son to escort us. I look like a drowned rat.

At theatre we learn as curtian rises that Mama Mia has been translated into French. Songs included.
FINALLY found net cafe. I hqve previously had almost no online access. This post may end suddenly, though, as my mom may return from shoe shopping at any moment. But from now on, as she departs tonight and I stay till Saturday, my time is my own (I hope) so there should be more regular reports.

Despite forecasts predicting sizzling heat, it has been cold and rainy the entire time I've been here. Today was the first time the sun came out for more than about 5 minutes at a time.

We are staying with a friend of mom's, Paul, who scheduled and very kindly paid for a whole bunch of things without consulting us first, so several of them were a bit surprising. This included a tour of Versailles. I normally do not do tours, so this was a novelty;
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Jul. 18th, 2011 08:10 pm)
Forgot to mention that during lunch Paul started going on about how animals shouldn't be kept as pets, but should roam free; halfway through his rant a lady walked in with a mini schnauzer in her handbag, which she proceeded to feed from the table. Every now and then it barked as if to underline one of Paul's points.

Today I set out determinedly to find a Fench cafe to breakfast in, but the one I walked into turned out to be Le Pain Quotidien - a chain we have in LA. Oops. Will try again tomorrow.

Mom and a friend of hers, Judy, went to the Louvre. My favorite things: the Winged Victory of Samothrace, poised as if for take-off atop a flight of stairs and framed in a succession of arches, the gilded jewel-box interior of the Louvre, and a reconstruction of the Assyrian palace of Sargon, with immense stone bulls with wings and human heads. The Mona Lisa, in my philistine opinion, is not one of those works of art which gains a lot from being seen in person rather than in reproduction; that is probably a minority opinion, though, as it was absolutely mobbed.

The Louvre itself is an amazing piece of artchitecture, though the glass pyramid designed by I M Pei, while very nice from inside, is pretty weird from the outside, as if aliens landed for a visit and parked their spaceship.

After that, we went to an amazing pastry shop, where I had a pastry of soft/crisp almond macaron biscuit layered with raspberries and almond cream, and tried mom's chocolate macaron and Judy's pistchio strawberry pastry. Great stuff, worth the high expense.

It's cold and intermittently rainy, overcast; I packed completely wrong and will need to buy a long-sleeved shirt. A chic, Parisian long-sleeved shirt!

Tomorrow: Versailles!
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Super-energized!)
( Jul. 18th, 2011 07:54 pm)
Please forgive typos. This is a parisian keyborard.

I am staying with a friend of my mom`s, in a bequtiful little studio apartment which, to my dismay, is up five winding steep flights of stairs. Paul turns out to be extremely nice and does not actually expect me to speak French (I even wore him out over dinner asking how to say stuff in French), and in fact the OTHER prospective crash space is the one which I will not use - it sounded like I would have reqlly been inconveniencing that person, and also Paul's studio is available for longer than I expected - so I will be there the whole time. There is even only one Baba photo in the studio, though there are tons in the rest of the apartment. Only negative: no net access. I am in a hotel lobby.

I had lunch last night in a lovely little restaurant, price fixe: French onion soup, with a rich oniony broth and a lavish crust of melted cheese, canard (duck) a la orange with what I thought would be lentils but it turns out that legumes means potatoes or vegetables, and the house specilty dessert of sweet Chantilly cream, crisp chunks of crumbled meringue, intense raspberry sorbet, and violet ice cream. I usually like floral desserts, but the latter tipped over from floral into cold perfume; I had to leave it, but the rest was great. No dinner; I was jet-lagged and slept 15 hours.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Jun. 19th, 2011 01:11 pm)
I have been having odd luck with French CDs. My first set turned out, despite being labeled as a beginning, learn in your car course, consisted of long French conversations followed by questions about them in English.

My second set is a normal learn in your car course, with words and phrases spoken in English and then translated into French. Just what I need. However, while the English speaker is a man with a rather flat inflection, the French speaker is a woman who says everything in the tone of horrified inquiry usually represented in print with the punctuation marks "?!"

I have been imagining what could possibly prompt such exclamations as "Madame?!" "Monsieur?!" and "Ou est il?!" I fill them in as I attempt to learn in my car.

"Madame?! Did I say something which implied that I wished you to fondle me there?!"

"Monsieur?! Are you the spy we have been searching for?!"

"The treasure we stole from the royal chambers! Where is it?!"
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Feb. 17th, 2011 10:44 am)
Through a peculiar sequence of events involving my family, it looks like I am going to get to visit Paris in July, first with my mom, and then, after she departs for Argentina (it's a long story) by myself.


I have never been to Paris. Please tell me your favorite Paris stories, recommend things that might be enjoyable to do with my mom, recommend things that I would enjoy, recommend food and where to get it, etc. Note that:

- I am going on a budget, insofar as this is possible.

- I like oddball, offbeat, little-known, local favorite things. I also like beautiful parks and gardens, and every sort of food. Please, rec me food! I like restaurants, I like buying stuff in markets and eating in parks, and love pastries. (I am not a huge cheese or wine fan.)

- Mom likes historical things, museums, and beautiful parks and gardens.

- We both like thrift shops, especially the sort that sell books or used designer clothing.

By the way, I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about the prospect of traveling with a Kindle instead of 50 pounds of books. (Plus, that means I can buy more books in Paris, since I won't be lugging a bunch from home to read on the plane.) I still need to bring a couple paperbacks to read while the plane is taking off/landing and electronics are turned off, right?


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