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Sunny last day

Today was our last day in Paris. We set out for Place d’Aligre after breakfast. This is a combination of food and flea markets in the 12th. The particularly nice thing about it is that it is open on weekdays, not just weekends like the others. And, it’s not out as far so the neighborhood was a bit more pleasant. Shana found some nice stuff for her antique business, and she has become a good bargainer en Francais. I enjoyed being her assistant and occasional interpreter (though I mean that very loosely). It was a nice marche aux puces to end on.

We hopped on a couple of metro lines to Musee d’Orsay and had a delightful time. We share a similar level of knowledge of and appreciation for art, so we are a good pair in the museums. We spent a couple of hours before departing for a stroll down the Seine. We checked out the booksellers in their dark green stalls. Then we found a great Italian restaurant tucked down a small, quiet side street among the hustle and bustle of the city. For 15,90€ each, we had a three course delicious lunch. We have done fairly well with our food prices and are glad of that for sure…calories are another story.

Okay…I have written two additional paragraphs two times, but Word Press keeps deleting them when I hit save! So, I am just going to try to add photos and you can figure out what else we did. Au revoir!

 

A full day in Paris

We slept well, enjoyed breakfast at the hotel (great coffee), and headed to Île de la Cité. We had a preview of the flower and bird market (Reed’s nightmare) before heading to Notre Dame. We walked around the massive cathedral before going inside. We then entered, checked out the outer perimeter, and settled in for an hour long service, a Gregorian mass, which was special for Lent. We thoroughly enjoyed worshipping in this way.

Next we went to Sainte Chapelle…if you’ve been there, you know what an amazing experience we were in for. Thankfully, the rose window that was behind the scaffolding when we visited in August was visible, though still a bit obscured. We returned to the flower and bird market after soaking in the majesty of the colored glass. Shana got some perfume, I got some soap, and we really enjoyed the beautiful flowers and chirping birds.

We traveled to the Vanves Marche aux Puces (flea market) in the 14th arrondissement. We enjoyed browsing the many stalls of brocantes. I got a napkin and Shana got a lot of handkerchiefs for a good price. It was fun to take in a market that was a bit more manageable in size than Clignancourt. :) 

We were quite cold and hungry by this point, so we went to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area. We ate at Les Deux Magots, which I had wanted to do. I think I sat at Jean-Paul Sartre’s table as we enjoyed our quiche and coffee. And, even more, Ric Ocasek, Paulina Poritzkova, and their son sat right next to us! We respected their privacy and left them alone, but it was pretty cool nonetheless. If you don’t know who these people are, search up The Cars or 1980s models. :)

We sojourned on to Saint Sulpice, another pretty cathedral. We went for the Lenten organ recital, which was okay though too much talking. Still, I was happy to visit as I had never been. Next we took the metro to the Pantheon to tour the crypts…we saw Paulina and her son again, though no Ric is time. We even had time to visit Arc de Triomphe before heading back to the hotel! We lucked out with our timing and saw the eternal flame ceremony, complete with bugle and snare drum. 

We took provisions (baguette, cheese, wine) to our room to enjoy for dinner. We are content with everything we did and saw today and should sleep well tonight! 





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Angers on foot

We spent Friday discovering more of Angers on foot. It is a very accessible city and easy to navigate. At the same time, we always seem to stumble upon a new side street with cute shops and creperies. The River Maine and the cathedral help orient you when needed. It is very well designed and full of things to do, as you will see below (hopefully, if the pictures load this morning).

After croissants and coffee, we set out for Galerie David d’Angers, a museum full of beautiful statues in a lovely setting. It is a small gallery of various types and sizes of statues in an old cathedral that now has a ceiling of sky lights. It was terrific and well worth the admission fee. We each purchased our two museum pass for only 6€ as we planned to also visit the “new” tapestry museum in the afternoon. 

Next we went back inside the cathedral to see it in the daylight. As it was cloudy and a bit rainy, it wasn’t much brighter but still well worth a stroll through the beautiful sanctuary. We imagined Christmas Eve mass full of hundreds of people and candlelight. I did some souvenir shopping at the House of Adam, which is inside a half-timbered structure, the oldest house in Angers, built around 1500. Then we went to a more standard souvenir shop recommended by Sue (there aren’t many here, which is kind of nice). Then it was the wine shop, complete with tastings (the shopkeeper participates too!).

We picked up lunch at our favorite boulangerie one last time and ate it in our room (with our newly acquired wine). (I will do a food post at some point as I have many photos of beautiful food…so good here.) We set out again after lunch, this time across the river to make our way to the tapestry museum. First we went to the Penitent House, a beautiful old building full of turrets and poets (it is a venue for gatherings, this month being a poetry conference). Next we visited Hôpital Saint-Jean, the Musée Jean-Lurçat et de la tapisserie contemporaine with tapestries dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. They were a much more modern version of the tapestries of the apocalypse we had visited earlier in the week at the chateau. 

Emmaus, the French equivalent of Good Will, was next on our walk. Not much had been added to their stock since Shana’s solo visit earlier in the week. Then the antique shops we had walked by several times were FINALLY open. One was a cluttered store watched over by an old man. It was hard to maneuver but Shana looked through his linens and post cards, buying some of the latter. A few doors down was the “brocantes” store we had been eagerly anticipating. It was fun to explore, and Shana found some linens and postcards to buy this time. I even got a little dish. I’m so pleased she has been able to find some items for her antiques business back home as that was part of her reason for coming.

We relaxed and repacked at the hotel prior to dinner at our favorite pizza shop next door. It was a lively night there, full of friends and families. We were still the first ones in the place, even though we didn’t arrive until just after 8:00! It’s a different way of life here…we are enjoying it for sure. This morning we take the train to Paris, so we will say goodbye to Angers…for now.

 

 

Geography lesson

Just a quick update on this Friday afternoon before I leave GHS’ wifi…I was successful in finding both a South Africa flag and map! Even better, the flag guy remembered me…I liked that so I didn’t even bother bargaining with him on the price (& it was only $6). And, I was sure to select a map that has “Mhlosheni” on it. That is the rural community in Swaziland that our church partners with (via World Vision), and where I was prior to my teaching gig in Cape Town (& where I’ll return later this month with my family).

Mhlosheni isn’t on most maps, so I was quite pleased to purchase one that has it. If you’re not aware of the geography of southern Africa, two small nations -Swaziland and Lesotho (say “Luh-soo-too”) – are on the same map with South Africa as they are nearly surrounded by it (actually, Lesotho is surrounded by SA, but Swaziland also shares a border with Mozambique). End of geography lesson…& my Friday afternoon report. Happy weekend everyone!