Thursday, July 30, 2009

Arts and Tarts

Joe and I went on a self-guided walking tour of Montmartre yesterday. Our guide book called it the 'Arts and Tarts' walk. Montmartre is the little village up behind the Sacre Coeur Basilica where brothels, bohemians, Picasso, Renoir, Moliere, and Utrillo all played their part in making the area famous. We spent a pleasant day strolling down leafy lanes, learning some history, and seeing a part of Paris we hadn't visited before.

Later that evening, we took the metro out to Belleville (another interesting district of Paris) to eat some Thai food. It is always a challenge for us to order Asian food from an all-French menu. Talk about confusing! But the kind people at the next table quickly came to our aid and helped us translate a few terms we weren't familiar with.

I hear it is terribly hot at home. I'd hate to rub salt in anyone's wound, but
the temperature here in Paris is perfect! It ranges from 23 - 28 C and every day is a nice mix of sun and clouds. I hope the heat wave has run its course by the time we get back in mid-August!

We talked to 2 of our 3 kids last night. They sound great and Will is doing a good job of keeping home and hearth going.

Joe and I haven't yet planned what we're going to do today. It is such a TREAT to not have a care in the world and the only decision we have to make is which art museum to go to, or which arrondissment to explore. Heaven......I'm in heaven.

Le Jardin du Luxembourg

After dinner last night Joe and I went for a stroll to check out our new neighbourhood. Well, guess where we ended up? Luxembourg Gardens! It has got to be one of my favourite places to sit and enjoy the flowers. And people watch. But that goes without saying.

As the sun was setting, Joe and I hunkered down in a couple of the green metal chairs that are scattered throughout the park, when all of a sudden 'les gendarmes' were all over the place blowing on their whistles. I thought it was some sort of emergency. Nope. The park closes at 9:00pm and the police were clearing people out.

We left the gardens begrudgingly and began the long walk home. To cheer ourselves up we stopped for a beer at the cafe 'Les Deux Magots'. Albert Camus and Ernest Hemingway used to hang out here back in the day. Now we do.

A Little Housekeeping

Just a little housekeeping folks.....

I am not loving the way the photos and the text look together on this blog. JOE can't even figure out how to make it look like I want it to. The blog looks one way in my draft copy, another way when I view it, and then a third way when I publish it! AGH! It's making me crazy! I am also working from a laptop computer which makes it waaaay more complicated for me.

So what I am going to do from now is just post one photo per blog entry. And maybe I'll put up shorter posts more often.

If you are interested in seeing lots of my photos, I'll be posting many of them on facebook.

Our Apartment

We are now in our apartment on Rue du Bac. We are in a fantastic neighbourhood, just 2 blocks from the Seine River. The apartment is very small, but we face the courtyard so it is nice and quiet. (Except for last night when someone's open window kept banging in the wind!) Joe is not digging the black and white decorating theme though. He finds it stark and it leaves him cold. Oh well! It's not like we're going to be hanging around inside all that much. We have so much on our 'to do' list, it's ridiculous!

Poor Joe is struggling with jet lag. He's awake from 3:00am onwards, so he has to have a few naps throughout the day just to feel halfway normal. The good news for me is that I can check my e-mail and write this blog while he sleeps!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Birthday Dinner

Lest anyone think that my birthday dinner was ruined because of rampant kidney compression due to uber-constricting underwear...they'd be wrong. I had a LOVELY birthday supper. Squamish friends had recommended 'Le Comptoir du Relais'; a gastro bistro in the 6th arrondissment. The food was incredible. Joe said he ate the best foie gras of his life.

Halfway through our meal, we were deciding whether or not to order more food. I looked up and saw lots of people standing on the sidewalk waiting for a table. I thought maybe we should clear out to give others a turn. I mentioned this to the waiter and he said, "Let them wait. You came to France to eat." Amen to that, mon frere! Burn the Spanx and passez-moi le beurre!


The topic of today's blog is going to be underwear. Yes, you read that right. Underwear. We all know that one of the secrets to a Frenchwoman's beauty is worn under her fashionable clothes. Well....before we left for France I went shopping in Vancouver. I decided that I, too, wanted to look good in my clothes. So I bought myself a pair of Spanx. (For the uninitiated, Spanx are today's version of a girdle.) I chose the high-waisted kind. The kind that are like underwear but also go up and over your ribs. Wearing a pair promises that you will look like you have lost 10 pounds in 10 minutes. Well who doesn't want that? And besides, I wanted to have a waist again.

Yesterday was my birthday and Joe was taking me out for a special dinner to celebrate turning 51. I thought, "Perfect! Here is my chance to wear my Spanx and have a flat stomach!" First of all, getting into a pair is almost impossible. Joe was wondering what all the grunting and groaning in the bathroom was all about. I WAS STRUGGLING WITH MY SPANX, OKAY?

At first things went swimmingly. I felt so svelte on the metro. But by the time we got to the restaurant, my ribs felt as if they were being broken. I could barely breathe and I swear that by the end of the meal my liver was irreparably damaged. Honestly. A year of hard drinking would have done less harm to my organs than wearing a pair of Spanx.

Lesson learned...ditch the girdle! And let the flabulation breathe!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We Are Here!

Hello everyone! We are here in Paris! YAHOO!!!!!

We left Vancouver at midnight on July 26th. We were seated in the middle of the plane near the emergency exits which gave us lots of leg room and the chance to be out of the aircraft first in case of a disaster. That is ALWAYS a good thing. They even gave us mini- bottles of champagne to drink! Yay!

We tried to sleep for most of the flight. Joe can sleep most anywhere...but me? I find it a bit harder. I mean who can sleep while sitting straight up in a chair? And even though I had lots of legroom, my legs and ankles were suffering from either deep vein thrombosis or severe lactic acid build-up. You've heard of Oprah's 'Ugly Cry'? Well let me be the first to discuss the 'Ugly Sleeper'. That was me. Every time I woke up, my mouth was hanging WIDE OPEN and was as dry as dust! If our seats had been tucked away somewhere in a corner, I wouldn't have been so concerned. But we were sitting front and centre in a very public space! I wanted a ribbon to tie under my chin because I knew the second I fell asleep it would happen again. And don't did.

We are staying at the Hotel de Londres Eiffel for a couple of nights until our apartment is ready. It is cute and quaint and small. Just how I like it. Immediately after checking in last night, we headed out to Cafe du Marche on Rue Cler for dinner. I love the sights and sounds of the busy restaurants full of diners.

We've now had a great night's sleep and are now about to head out to see what the day will bring.