Sunday, December 26, 2010

Promenade parisienne

Le Husband, hard at work on a cold day...

On Sunday afternoons, Parisians indulge in the French art of la promenade. Popular spots include gardens such as les Tuileries or le Luxembourg, the elegant boulevards around le Palais Garnier (Opera house), and les Champs-Elysées.

Why mess with a good thing? Le Husband and I decided to stay on the Right Bank, and we strolled around the neighborhoods located between the Louvre museum and the Opera. 

Our first stop, the Tuilerie gardens, never fail to impress, and they were quite a sight on this cold but sunny day! 

Les Tuileries and the Louvre

Touristes aux Tuileries...

A unusual scene in the Tuilerie gardens: Sliding on ice!

We left the Louvre and walked a couple of blocks to the heart of the 1st arrondissement, and our second stop, the elegant and peaceful Palais Royal. A former royal residence built in the 17th century, this beautiful building houses the French Ministry of culture and the Constitutional Council, boutiques, restaurants, and even a theater! 

Palais Royal - the courtyard
and the controversial "Buren Columns"

Palais Royal on a cold winter day

Palais Royal

A few streets away, a very special place awaits, la Galerie Vivienne. It is my favorite Parisian shopping "arcade" (covered passageways built in the 1820s-1830s). It features an original mosaic floor, gorgeous arches, and quaint boutiques-- La Galerie is particularly quiet on Sundays, when all shops are closed. 

Galerie Vivienne

Galerie Vivienne

Bookstore - The sign on the door says the shop opened in 1826!

Making friends with Charlie the French Bulldog...

A trip to the Palais Royal/Louvre neighborhood would not be complete without a visit to a famous restaurant, Le Grand Colbert. As my friends know, I am a big movie fan. In fact, it has been said my epitaph will likely read: "I have seen too many movies" (probably because I have the annoying habit of remembering and quoting movie scenes to illustrate real life situations...) So, here we go... Who remembers the entertaining Diane Keaton/Jack Nicholson flick "Something's Got to give"? This will help you...

Stay with me here. Do you remember that scene, at the end of the movie, when Diane Keaton is courted by Jack Nicholson and a handsome Keanu Reeves in a Parisian restaurant where she claims one can find "the best roasted chicken in Paris" ? No? Check it out...

Diane, Jack and Keanu meet at Le Grand Colbert

Voilà, you've got it! I knew you'd remember le Grand Colbert! Guess where Le Husband took me today for a very late lunch? Food was delicious, of course. I had a favorite dish of mine, le boudin aux pommes, (note to French students: a homework pass will be awarded to the first person who sends me an accurate translation of that dish). We even got the quintessential Parisian waiter: professional, knowledgeable, and with a great sense of humor. This visit will remain a highlight of this trip!

Le Grand Colbert
The building dates back to 1825 

Mon Dieu!
Le Husband and Keanu are wearing the same sweater!

Inside le Grand Colbert

We left le Grand Colbert at 3:00pm and resumed our promenade parisienne all the way to the old Opera house, le Palais Garnier, where we caught a late afternoon movie, a rather disappointing new French comedy with Audrey Tautou. You know what they say: win some, lose some...

A bientôt!

Le Palais Garnier


  1. Loved your post today, I was right there at Le Grand Colbert with you two, sigh, wonderful restaurant. Le boudin aux pommes - apple pudding? If so, it sounds delicious. Your winter day walking around Paris brought back such fond memories. We must explore Palais Royal on our next trip to Paris. A bientot - Cherie

  2. Hmmmm sausage with apples? I loved that movie btw and when you get back we will have to play Scene It en française to see who can beat whom in I know that actor/movie/line!! I hold the title in my house!! ;-) Love the blog!!

  3. Very close Kim. Boudin aux pommes is blood sausage served with roasted apples, a delicacy in France! I guess you earned your homework pass ;-)


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