Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paris is still Paris... Summer 2012 Travelogue (2)

Bonjour les amis,

We arrived in Paris a few days ago. Most of our time has been spent catching up with relatives. Fortunately for us, some live in areas where photo opportunities abound. Take my brother for example. He is based in Rueil Malmaison, a green suburb West of Paris where I used to work before I moved to the United States. Rueil, located just 6 miles away from downtown Paris, has a charming downtown, recently renovated. It feels like a village, with specialty shops, Belle Epoque villas tucked at the back of private gardens; gourmet restaurants; and two châteaux surrounded by expansive grounds. Take a look...

Château de Rueil Malmaison, once a gift from Napoleon I
to his first wife,  Josephine de Beauharnais

When the family gets together, we talk, we indulge in lazy promenades (an easy thing to do in such lavish surroundings,) and we eat. And les amis, do we eat... 

Salted caramel crêpe with Normandy apple cider

Fraisier, a delicious pastry, and strong black coffee
 at my mother in law's

From the looks of it, I am happy to report Paris has not changed much in a year. Spring weather is still wildly unpredictable. Coming from Seattle, we are used to dressing in layers and came prepared. Besides, if we miss anything, boutiques - some trendy, some more traditional; with eye-catching window displays, always - abound. 

A pâtisserie, really?

Take a walk, and the show is still everywhere you look. In Paris, people watching and building watching are still the cheapest - and best - forms of entertainment.


Hotel de Sully,  Le Marais

Place des Vosges, Le Marais
Madame is enjoying a good book Place des Vosges

Ah, the French art of scarf (bun?) tying!

If culture is what you are looking for, don't fret, Paris has still got it! Like in the old days, I looked at the ultimate Parisian guide for all things leisure and entertainment, le Pariscope, (a weekly publication, and the Parisian's "Bible,") yesterday. I found page after page of exhibits, catering to all tastes and interests. 

Because our whole family is now dabbling in photography, we elected to visit the wonderful Carnavalet museum (the museum of the history of Paris.) It is offering a rare exhibit of Eugene Atget's works until late July. The photographers among you know that Atget (1857-1927) is credited as one of the founders of modern photography. As we walked through the exhibit this afternoon, we traveled back in time and watched over 200 black and white shots of pre-WWI Paris: Atget excelled at documenting les petits métiers (small trades,) many of which would ultimately disappear in the 20th century. Street peddlers, (selling toys, lampshades, umbrellas;) fish mongers; basket makers; wine sellers all looked at the man and his bulky equipment, and through the years, at us too. We saw sections of Paris that have all but vanished; old streets; courtyards; bistros, shops and fairgrounds. It was captivating, and a must-see for all Paris - and street photography - fans!

Bien sûr, getting to stop by the prestigious Carnavalet hotel once again, was... la cerise sur le gâteau (icing on the cake.) 

Many Parisians were at the exhibit,
chatting as they recognized a street, a neighborhood...

Today's exhibit was just an apéritif, intended to whet my appetite before I head down to Nice at the end of the week. I have my eyes on at least one more before I board the T.G.V. 

For now, it is time to wrap up this story after a fun day spent à Paris with my mom and Junior. Tomorrow, we will be meeting Mutti, my mother-in-law, for new adventures.

A bientôt.

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  1. Lovely! Thanks for the tour. The exhibit sounds fascinating. Whenever I hear the history of this or that chateau originally built for a wife or mistress, I have to wonder what it must feel like to be able to give gifts like that.

  2. I never tire of looking at Paris photos!

  3. Beautiful photos and stories as always, Veronique...I cannot wait to hear of your continued adventures in Paris, a city I love, and your future adventures in Nice, a city I am dying to visit! Glad you are having such a lovely time!

  4. I was in Paris 3 weeks ago, it was wonderful! I would give my right arm to have relatives in Paris to visit! I didn't notice it so much the first time, but this time I really missed having someone to meet there. Eventually the gorgeous sights get old without a happy face to link them to.

    But, we still had a great time!

    The Carnavalet Museum was closed the day I wanted to visit, it looks very interesting!

    Have a wonderful visit!

  5. Une très jolie promenade en votre compagnie... Des photos magnifiques... et de très jolis mots pour traduire vos pensées...
    Je suis certaine que vous allez trouver le soleil en fin de semaine à Nice...

    Gros bisous

  6. Ah, the Carnavalet is one of my favorite museums. And what an exhibit that one must have been...so sorry we missed it!

  7. OMG, ma chère Véronique, you have hit some of my favorite spots: I absolutely ADORE Malmaison, and a trip to Paris is never complete for us without a visit to the Carnavalet. I am positively green with envy.

    Keep us up to date!!

  8. It is beautiful seeing Paris through your passionate home grown eyes. There is nothing like a local to know the nooks and crannies of a city.The coffee and desert looks so delicious and that crepe is so beautiful. Now I am hungry and it is past bedtime and the fridge is low in supplies.
    Continued joy as you travel onward to Nice.

    I will be anxiously looking for your next post

    My best

    Helen xx

  9. Lovely. Your photos are perfect...everything is so green. And would LOVE to see that photography show. What a fabulous time. Thanks for taking us along!

  10. Happy to hear you made it safely to and are enjoying time with family. It looks beautiful, in spite of the "unpredictable" weather. I was sorry to miss the Atget exhibit when we were there last month, so am glad you got to see it. Safe travels and enjoy your Paris time! XO

  11. Bienvenue pour ton retour en France, Véronique! Peut-être pourrons-nous nous voir à Antibes, si tu veux bien faire une excursion vers cette vieille ville entourée de remparts, 1er port de la Méditerranée, et célèbre pour son musée Picasso!...
    Gros bisous.

  12. I'm so very happy for you to be back in Paris! Sounds like you are embracing the opportunity to the fullest... Enjoy your time, the macarons and the petite promenades!

  13. You are certainly making the most of your time back in paris

  14. Looks like you are having a great time back in Paris. Thanks for sharing some of the highlights of your visit. Enjoy yourself.

  15. WOW Veronique! How could you even find the time to blog while being in Paris on vocation surrounded by family and friends? Thank you so much. I'm in the middle of making reservations for the end of July and Atget's exhibition is already on my list.
    Have a great time in Nice and enjoy to the fullest.

  16. OMG - I can't believe we didn't bump into you except we went to Entrée des Fournisseurs on Monday! http://growingberries.blogspot.fr/2012/06/goodies-and-giveaways.html If you're back in Rueil you're welcome to pop over for a cup of tea ;)
    Have a great time in Nice. Hope it will be wall to wall sunshine there.

  17. it sounds WONDERFUL so far and i am sure that same feeling of excitement will remain throughout-thank you once again for taking the time to share all this "gloriousness" with us-it is great seeing it through a native's eye-enjoy looking forward to installment number 3 ..... ENJOY

  18. Que país lindo e encantador. Esses doces que delicia. A melhor coisa da vida é visitar os parentes ficar ao lados das pessoas importantes pra nós. Parabéns pelo Bom gosto. I am teacher.
    Tenha um ótimo dia.
    Anajá Schmitz

  19. Looks like someone is having entirely too much fun !

    Happy travels, it should be warmer in Nice than here in the Paris area... downright chilly today, even for the first day of summer... Thanks for the info on the expo at the Carnavalet. Will you be getting across into Italy from Nice at all ? We had a lovely afternoon in Ventimiglia the other day. And Genoa has all sorts of attractions...

  20. Oh so gorgeous! I am going back to read your other post now! I want that crepe! Yum!!

  21. I weep at the sight of these photos. How I miss Paris! Thank you for the opportunity to be in different corners of it at least virtually - even to eat some crepes :)

  22. I love the art of scarf bun in europe...they are so good at it! I wish I had more hair for a hair bun myself.lol =) Wonderful post!

  23. I also worked in Rueil once upon the time, probably well before you! :-)

    ... and I recognised some nice Marais shop windows, before I got the confirmation that you had really been there (Carnavalet, Place des Vosges..)! Hope you also enjoyed some music yesterday! :-)

  24. Accckkk, I can't find the chat noir but do recognize the Marais shops as does Peter I see. Maybe that's because I've drug him all over the Marais in search of photos a zillion times. The ribbon shop.........know it well. Got fussed at for taking photos there. I never forget that!

  25. It is now official: France is on my top five places to visit. :) I'm falling in love with your homeland through these mesmerizing posts.

    Did I mention there is a crepe shop about 20 minutes from my apartment? I know it's probably nothing compared to the real deal, but I'm anxious to go try it now. I have never had a crepe before.

    And that second dessert you posted (fraisire?) looks almost too pretty to eat. :)

  26. Dearest Véronique,

    Glad you both arrived safe and that you enjoy Paris as much as you do. Typical those façades, indeed. Your photos always bring back great memories.
    Enjoy your time in la France.

  27. Just back from a weekend in Munich so I'm catching up on your travels now with a cup of tea! Your brother lives in a lovely area which I would love to wander around someday - and stop for a fraisier of course! The exhibition sounds wonderful too.

  28. OMG, ma chère, you were in some of my favorite haunts today. Joséphine's beautiful home is a must-see pilgrimage for me. When I am there I can feel her walking the halls thinking about the man she once dismissed so casually, then loved, then lost. I don't think he ever really fell out of love with her.

    And the Carnavalet is my husband's absolutely favorite museum -- again, a must-see every time we come to Paris. And the photos of the food....!!!! Maurice Chevalier was right...."Paris sera toujours Paris."


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