Back in Paris after a month’s cycling holiday in Germany, we’re having lovely weather so I’ve been catching up with friends especially in my neighbourhood, the first arrondissement, so I have some new photos of Paris.
You may remember another photo I published of the front of the Bourse du Commerce (commodities market) after renovation. If you go past, just drop in. It’s now the Chamber of Commerce. The dome has a wonderful series of murals and if you stand right in the centre of the room, your voice will be heard everywhere. Note the semi-circular building on the right, which has also been refurbished.
Now that the area in front of Sainte Eustache has been renovated, its beauty is much more apparent.
Only 3 more months before we move to Blois and lose this view forever! On Saturday, to our great delight, we were able to have dinner on the balcony – the sun is usually too strong in the evening.
A meeting with some Australian friends on a sunny day took me to my favourite café in the Tuileries – Chez Diane. On the way back, I went to see my favourite rose in the Palais Royal gardens. I don’t know what it’s called but it has the most amazing fragrance. We’re going to have another try at growing it from a cutting in August.
It’s turning out to be a very rainy autumn. We don’t often seem to get much sun these days, but when we do, the Palais Royal garden is a good place to soak it up! I spent a couple of hours there last week with three new American blogger friends, all of whom have photo blogs. I’m sure you’ll love their different visions of Paris.
This photo owes its existence to Australian photographer Wendy Smith who is currently living in France. We were walking along chatting in the Palais Royal after a sudden shower chased us off the terrace of the Café Nemours. Suddenly, Wendy said, “the light – it’s really amazing! look over there!”. I rushed to the fence and slipped my iPhone through. It was not until I saw the photo on Instagram that I realised there were TWO rainbows!
Regular readers will know that I have the great fortune to actually live in the Palais Royal overlooking the fountain. I shall never tire of taking photos. Here are some taken on a sunny afternoon at the beginning of September. This time next year, we will be in the throes of moving permanently to Blois to live in our beautiful Renaissance home, Closerie Falaiseau which is currently a holiday rental.
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When I woke up and saw the snow yesterday, I was not happy. I was already in spring mode and the idea of temperatures below zero AGAIN was not appealing in the least. As it was, we were very lucky to have got home from Blois without being trapped for hours like many weekenders from Normandy.
It snowed ALL DAY and I was not tempted to go outside. However, I had signed up for a Tweet-up organised by Tom and Monique Reeves from Discover Paris and since it was being held in Caveau Montpensier just across the Palais Royal gardens, I donned my warmest clothes and set out in the falling snow.
Not surprisingly, there weren’t many of us there but small numbers have their advantages because I was able to talk to most of the people present. Afterwards, Adrian Leeds who runs a real estate agency for expats, Lisa from Flavors of Paris who runs walking/tasting tours in Paris, Donna Morris from Best Friend in Paris, who gives localised tours of the city, and Mary Kay from Out and About in Paris, whose very interesting posts I’ve often featured in my Wednesday’s Blogger Round-Up, walked down the road to have Japanese food at Higuma.
As we left at about 9 pm, despite the wind and sleet, Mary Kay said she was going to the Louvre to take photos. I couldn’t resist and shall be eternally grateful. Otherwise, I would NEVER have taken this photo! Our hands were excessively cold by the time we left but it was certainly worth it.
Mary Kay then suggested that I come back again early next morning because the pyramids would be looking great with the snow and ice in the sun. When I fell out of bed at 8 am (I am not an early bird by any manner of means), I must say that the view outside my window was very tempting despite the fact that it was zero degrees.
So after a quick breakfast I put on my heavy-soled walking shoes and set out, walking gingerly over the icy patches like everyone else. I felt sorry for the smart executives with their high heels and leather soles but I didn’t see anyone actually fall. There were some young Japanese tourists sliding across Rue de Rivoli but I wasn’t taking any chances.
The sun over the icy pyramids really was wonderful but I had to keep putting my hands back in my pockets after each photo to stop the frost bite.
When I got back to the appartment, I drank a whole pot of hot tea!
Au mois d’avril ne te découvre pas d’un fil,
En mai fais ce qu’il te plaît.
(In April, don’t remove a stitch,
In May, do as you please.)
It’s 19°C today with bright sun and blue sky and I just powerwalked up to Concorde and back. And there they were, the poor little kids, all rugged up in their thick coats and boots and even hats. The luckier ones were bareheaded and some had even taken off their coats – but they were probably foreigners anyway!
I’ve heard this saying many times since I arrived in France in 1975 and not just in the north. It seems that the slightest little breeze will bring on immediate coughs and colds. In the metro, the kids must be so hot in the winter. I can’t bear keeping my coat on for any length of time and I certainly wouldn’t be able to put up with wearing a balaclava or a hood with a thick scarf around my neck in a train.
Our flat is totally overheated even though we turn the radiators off but if the heating is adjusted so that we have the regulatory 19°C on the fourth floor, the people on the ground floor will only have 16°C. It’s the hot water going through the pipes that heats our place. The trouble is, you get used to having 23°C all the time. When we move to Blois, I suspect that I’ll have to invest in some warmer clothes!
But spring is well on its way, with daffodils and hyacinths and magnolias out in the Palais Royal Gardens. I swear I can see my bulbs growing in the window boxes. Yesterday, there was only one crocus out and today there’s a whole crowd of them. Not easy to take a photo though. Our balcony is actually just a gutter but it’s just wide enough to fit a small table and two chairs if one person sits down first and pulls the table forward to let the other squeeze in.
The people are milling around the fountain soaking up the sun. I must say that Parisians are real sun lovers. I guess if you’re starved for it the rest of the time it’s understandable. It’s actually surprising weather for March when you’re supposed to be getting “giboulées” which means a sudden burst of rain, sometimes accompanied by wind, hail or even snow, and often followed by bright sunshine. Not my scene!