Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day Three Paris

Wow, day three was a long day.  We left the apartment a little before 1 PM and got home about 12:40 AM.  Here's how a long and very satisfying day in Paris goes.

First, we are headed to the Montmartre area and we hear loud chanting near the Opera.  Oh good, a demonstration!  It's almost fun to watch, once you know demonstrations are common in Paris and they are not scary.  The police and demonstration people probably plan ahead the length of the demonstration; what will happen; and when it will shut down.  This one was small, but loud, and as we watched, the police came out of the van, the demonstrators stopped chanting and that was that.

Next, we continue our wanderings up the hill to Montmartre and I had to take a picture of this Chocolate Shop window.  Really?  We Americans apparently have no clue what size real chocolate Easter eggs should be.  We could learn from this window.  These were over a foot high.

Next, I find a row of bikes to take a picture of for you.  These bikes are for anyone to use.  You can pay to use them for a day or more, or just 1/2 hour.  Your choice.  You take them and leave them parked anywhere else.  I'm too chicken to ride a bike in Paris.  But I see many people riding bikes.  If they are Parisian women they are doing it in high heels, so I know it's a fine method of transport.  Please note, I have not seen these bikes anywhere other than being ridden or safely parked in their stalls.  In Green River, WY we tried providing free bikes for people to ride on the Green Belt and they ended up wrecked, in the river, or stolen.  Here, people pay for their bike, ride it, and return it - not a hard concept.

One gets hungry quickly when you are walking by all the cafes with people sitting and eating.  At this point, we were in Montmarte, so it was time for lunch.  We used a book I bought, Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris to choose this restaurant, Coquelicot. It was packed and we were very happy with our lunch. They made their own breads of all kinds.  I had the pizza of the day and a green salad and Kim had the quiche of the day with salad.  It came with another basket of bread and une carafe of water for only 8.80 euros.  Pretty awesome for a well made lunch.  And for those that think $11 is too much for two lunches remember, that includes tax and tip.  When you look at a french menu the price includes tax and tip so you know exactly what you are spending when you order!

When we came out of lunch it was raining, so we opened the umbrella's and finished the climb up to Sacre-Coeur.

Work began to build Sacre-Coeur in 1875, but it was not finished until 1919 after World War I.  This is a church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Christ.  No pictures were allowed of the inside.

Montmartre is known for its artist community and we enjoyed the streets of the area.

There was much wandering in the rain that afternoon, in and out of artist shops, past the Moulin Rouge, the Montmartre Cimetiere (Cemetery), and more.

Finally we were hungry again.  We headed back to a cute restaurant we took note of earlier, Le Basilic Restaurant.  It is so quaint inside, there must be some history, but since google is only allowing me to search in french right now, I'm clueless.

In Paris, they don't eat dinner until later, usually after 8 PM, so it benefited us to be the first in the restaurant around 7 PM and watch it fill up.  Which it did!  Every table was full when we left after a lovely 23 euro menu that included a first course, main course, and dessert. 

I enjoyed the below Salmon Tagine for a first course and every course was lovely.

But our day wasn't done yet!  At that point we headed to Au Lapin Agile, having no clue what we were getting ourselves into.  After another good walk, which included more hills, lots of stairs, and beautiful early evening views of Sacre-Coeur, we reached"The Frisky Rabbit" as it translates, to find a line.  I had read a description of this as "Paris's oldest and strangest night spot" and ""the hangout of painters like Picasso, Vlaminck, and Maurise Utrillo".  We made it into the show even though we didn't have a reservation to find a log of people packed solid into a very small room with cabaret music.  Live singers mostly singing what I would describe as French folk songs for 2 1/2 hours.  We were served a small glass of brandy and brandy soaked cherries as we sat and took it in.  The night was indescribable, so I won't even try.

At the end of this show, about 11:30 PM, we walked home.  Montmartre is pretty far from where we were, so it was still an hour walk home, and we were tuckered out when we arrived but very happy with our day.

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