Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Nanny Brigade

The Nanny Brigade. Everyday like clockwork, they start popping up from all directions. Kids of all ages come together to play, but that's not what it's all about. This is Nanny Gossip Hour. Even with my limited French language skills I can hear them talking about the moms, kids, and gossip. I just wish they'd stop chatting and start paying better attention to the kids.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Scenes from St. Germain

One rainy Sunday afternoon I strolled the streets of St. Germain, snapping a few photos. Enjoy.







Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Picnic in Père-Lachaise

Set high up on a hill in the 20th Arrondissment of Paris is the Père-Lachaise Cemetery. This cemetery is one of the most visited in the world, and is the largest one in Paris. What makes this the most visited in the world? Because it has some famous residents. These residents include:



Oscar Wilde
The Irish novelist and playwright, whose famous works include "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "The Importance of Being Earnest" lies in an Art Deco tomb. It's tradition to kiss the statue with lipstick, although I find it awful and disrespectful.



Edith Piaf
France's own songbird "Sparrow" lies here. Her famous tunes include "La Vie En Rose", "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" (that song they use as the kick in Inception), and "Hymne a L'Amour". Her life is chronicled in the movie "La Vie En Rose" and is a great movie if you get a chance to check it out.



Jim Morrison
Lead singer of The Doors, he was almost not allowed to be buried here. His people plead and said that he was a poet and writer as well as a singer, so he was given the okay. His grave has been vandalized in many ways throughout the years, by people stealing parts of the grave marker, the statue that once topped the headstone, etc.

Other famous residents include:
  • Gertrude Stein, American author
  • Balzac, French novelist
  • Frédéric Chopin, Polish composer
  • Sarah Bernhardt, French actress

I took a tip out of my guidebook, saying that it was also a very nice place to enjoy a picnic lunch. So I went to the nearby market and grabbed a fresh baguette, some parma ham, cherry tomatoes, a plum, and mozzarella. So here's a snap of my wonderful lunch.


If you're in Paris and ever want to visit Père-Lachaise, you have 3 options for a Metro stop.
Line 2 : Phillipe Auguste
Line 3: Pere Lachaise
(best option) Line 3 : Gambetta

If you take the Gambetta station, it allows you to enter near Oscar Wilde's grave and walk downhill to visit the remainder of the graves.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Le Marché aux Puces... St. Ouen Flea Market in Paris

I decided to continuing exploring in my second weekend in Paris, I wanted to visit a place I had never been on my 3 previous trips to Paris... the St. Ouen Flea Market. Covering 7 hectacres, it's often regarded as one of the places you can get high quality antiques and furniture from well qualified professionals.

Getting there was an adventure. It's on the outskirts of Paris, and you can reach it by taking the number 4 line to the last stop, the Porte-de-Clignancourt, which happens to be where Amy and I stayed at in 2006. You have to navigate through a semi-scary crowd of scammers trying to sell you fake purses and watches, they can get aggressive at times. I had to put on my best "touch me and I'll break your fingers" look. Also, make sure you protect your wallets and personal items. There are many pickpockets in the area, don't flash your wads of cash for everyone to see. You'll want to head there early in the morning, it's estimated that over 120,000 people visit the market every weekend, and the afternoons tend to get busy.

Once I made it through the shady areas, I was finally inside the market area. The market is organized by grouping different specialties in alleys..... furniture, art, comic books, cooking supplies, dolls and children's toys. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, so I just wandered around and looked at everything.


These beautiful copper cooking pots caught my eye. I immediately thought of Julia Child's collection of copper pots that I saw on display at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. I like to imagine what kind of dishes that someone previously prepared in them. Did someone make Coq au Vin in the big pot? Did they make a cassoulet in the medium one? What kind of sauces did they make in the sauce pans? After checking the prices on each pot, I quickly realized that they're not for someone living on an Au Pair budget! A girl can dream, right? Maybe one day when I'm rich and famous I can go back to Paris and buy my own set of vintage copper pots for my kitchen.

One of the other things I spotted that caught my eye were all the pieces of vintage luggage I saw. One booth specialized in nothing but vintage luggage from airlines... lots of Air France, Pan Am, TWA. It set my heart a flutter. Again, it gets you thinking... where have those bags traveled with people? What kind of stories could they tell? But sadly, they were also out of my price range. 90 Euros for a small carry on? Even with haggling (which is encouraged!) I don't think I could've gotten it.

I spent a few hours just wandering around, taking it all in. I kept my eye open for some trinkets by request from my friend Ashley (who is a fantastically creative lady, her blog can be found here). Alas, I left the market empty handed. If you're in the Paris area, and looking for an activity that isn't a monument or museum, you should check out the St. Ouen flea market. It's open Saturday thru Monday, and if you go on a Sunday or Monday you may be able to score a better price, many sellers are willing to haggle for a lower price. Not many sellers are open on Mondays, or by appointment only. Note that many booths will shut down for an hour to an hour and a half at lunchtime so they can enjoy their lunch.

Saturday - 9:0o-18:00
Sunday - 10:00- 18:00
Monday- 11:00- 15:00
Metro Stop: Line 4, Porte de Clignancourt


Friday, September 16, 2011

One for the Memory Books

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

After the afternoon rainstorm, the skies opened up with fluffy white clouds and blue skies. I sit back in my reclining chair. The air is perfumed with the scent of the nearby lavender gardens in the Jardin des
Tuileries. I look to my right and I see the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

It's a moment like this I wish I could push a pause button in my life. It's perfection.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tea at Ladurée Harrods


One of the most renowned French patisseries in Paris is Ladurée. Their name is always associated with luxury goods and detectible treats. They have a few locations in other countries, I was lucky enough to have been able to visit the one inside Harrod's when I was in London.

Sitting down, I almost felt like Eloise at the Plaza Hotel. I felt like a little girl playing dress up, with fancy goods surrounding me. The folks with me were all hungry, so we wanted to sit down and have a proper breakfast.


Each of my party ordered a pot of tea, I went for a pot of fragrant vanilla tea. I love that they set out any color cup with plates, they're all pastels. The tea came served in an individual silver pot that was just beautiful.


Our breakfasts started arriving, in this order :

Le Ispahan


Le Saint-Honoré de Ladurée, Rosé Framboise flavoured


Assortment of mini pastries including croissant, pain chocolat, and brioche


For a little over $10 I got to feel like a princess for a morning, I think that's a fair price!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Swedish Summer Homes

One thing I've noticed that a lot of Swedish people have is a summer home. You can't really blame them, they go from an endless darkness winter 8 months of the year to a beautiful, perfect 70 degree summer with endless sunshine. They want to have a place to escape to!

When it's sunny and warm, you can find Swedes outside, doing all kinds of activities. They love to bike, swim, exercise, go boating.... you name it, they're doing it.

I was lucky enough to be able to visit two lovely Summer homes, both perfectly enchanting and set into the wilderness of the South of Sweden. You can find these summer homes dotted all across the landscape. Many families or close friends buy them together so that they're still connected and have a built in social network for dinner parties, beach outings, etc.