Sunday, November 21, 2010

The last time I saw Paris....

   ...was actually only ten days ago but, slaps on the wrist, I didn't get around to posting anything while we were there (and if you think this is somewhat after the fact, just you wait, "Enry 'Iggins, just you wait).
    So what would you rather have, a post of Proust-ian length, or a number of shorter stories? Tell you what, I'll begin at the beginning, plough on, and take a break when my fingers are tired or I need more coffee whichever comes first.
        Here goes... we'd planned to take the train on November 3, but the SNCF being on occasional strike, we thought it more sensible to go to Toulouse the night before so we wouldn't miss our TGV connection. TGV (train de grand vitesse, i.e. very fast train). And it really does travel at great vitesse, so fast in fact that  most of France passes in a blur, except when you pull into, and out of, Bordeaux, the only stop on the line. We'd provisioned ourselves with ham and cheese baguette sandwiches, bananas and biscuits so we didn't have to halt the food and drink trolley that occasionally trundles down the aisle.
    Early afternoon, we arrived in Paris at Gare Montparnasse, towed our bags to the metro station, and got off at St. Michel with its immediate view of Notre Dame and the Seine, surely one of the best ways to arrive in the city. 
   The apartment we'd rented on Ile St. Louis was tiny, alarmingly chic and had an incredibly stylish, but unfortunately plug-less, glass wash-basin. It also had an espresso maker but no chopping board. What it did have was peace and quiet, being at the rear of a courtyard, and an intoxicating aroma of butter as you crossed said courtyard thanks to the boulangerie right next door. 
     As well as croissants and other breakfast necessities, it sold excellent baguettes, little quiches and delectable pastries.

    Right across the street is a small supermarket. There is also a superb fromages store, a wine shop, a butcher's and several branches of Berthillon, the name in ice cream, all within half a minute's walk, as well as a truly lovely florist's. The florist apart, all are very expensive, as befits a neighbourhood where even a teeny-weeny apartment will set you back a half million euros. 
     Which brings us to food, and a couple of places to add to your list next time you're here.

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