Monday, March 15, 2010

december 17 : last day in paris

Last day in Paris: a matter of time

Well dear All, the last day in Paris was hectic as ever and the Christmas photo theme from the Bon Marche,
this year, says it all !

If we could move these arrows of time as the lovely lady below:

So my plane was at 11:45 am, United, and Dear Old Friend had reserved a taxi the day before, for 8 am, ample time to get to the airport....

but at 8:10 am the taxi had not showed up, and yet I had seen two free taxis drive by but hey, you have to be respectful of
the reserved taxi...

I called Taxis Bleus but... there was no answer as around 8:05 it had started to... SNOW !!!

DearOld Friend, upstairs was trying to reach any taxis, and evidently everyone in Paris was getting taxis except the special envoy !!!

So.... I walked under the snow, with my cute boots and red socks, all up la Rue de Babylone, to get to the bus stop to take me to
l'Etoile to get an Air France bus to Charles de Gaulle. I know, there is the subway, but then the RER which takes you to the airport,
had been on strike for two days .... so the Air France bus looked like very appealing !!!!!!!

The 92 bus was mighty slow, and I got to the Air France bus stop by 9:15.
They were two buses waiting but... they were dark and empty, it was breakfast time for the drivers.
Then on very tired bus arrived from the airport, dropped its load of excited and tired travellers and we got on board,
lining while shivering in the cold snow.
A group of Russians had climbed aboard and long conversation went on, on what types of fares they would get as a group,
then all of us, wet and snowed shoulders climbed in pretty happily.

We went down to the Porte Maillot for the second and last stop before embarking on the long drive to the airport,
this is the pic below, I am sitting in front and the time is looking straight at me, it is 09:19

it was pretty white and romantic

now as below we are on the freeway, and it's 09:52, the freeway is heavy and everyone is driving slow

and then, it's 10:56 and .... we are still not there yet, the problem is once we get to the airport...
we stop first at terminal 2 A and B, terminal 2 C and D, and terminal 2 E and F, and then we travel ten more minutes
and get to the old terminal 1 and you guessed it... United is terminal 1 !!!

I arrived at Terminal 1 at 11:10... So I was in fact since I had boarded the bus pretty placid as there was little I could do
to the whole trip, I have to say, not everyone on board was placid and zen..

So I get there, rather curious as to what United is going to do with me and...
just as I get to the line of passengers checking in and eyeing the customer counter for rebooking, a harried United young woman asks me
where I am bound for, I say Washington. She screams to another woman who looks like she has a KGB whip 'and ruling beyond the security guy what is
going on at all the counters, "Caroline, I have another Washington " and Caroline says : "It's all right bring her in, and we're closing"

So I stepped gingerly to the nice security officer who asked me if I had packed any grenades and stuff and I said no.

Then I checked in with a very young United lady who looked like she was 14 and she said, well dear, let's bring you in,
you will probably wait at the gate for another 40 minutes anyway.

So I did wait with other placid looking travellers and I took the pic below of what we were looking at through blue glass...

Then they let us in but we waited another forty minutes in the plane as they said that further on, on the tarmac there was a line for de-icing base,
and the captain was very humorous about it, though in quite a distinguished voice...

So I took a pic while waiting, of our neighbor plane at the gate...

and then we went for the really exciting part !!!
Though it was close to the runway, so we were not allowed to use any elcetronics,

I stealthily took a quick pic with my little i phone of the de-icing process which is awesome, worth itself the whole trip
to Paris if you ask me.

And that's all Folks, and believe me, de-icing a plane nearly beats the Eiffel Tower !!!

With love to all for all your patience,
and so many Christmas wishes,

your little special envoy

december 16th : a matter of pastries

Paris day 16 : a matter of pastries

Well boys and girls,

we are tackling today a very serious subject, and as you will see, the French do not make it any simpler.

First this Monday was born with a resplendent blue sky as the pics from the flat can show :

So armed with her fur hat and mittens the envoy went on her way and first, as a tribute to Tall and her brother,
she glimpsed at ... the other Laduree ( which opened much later than the original one, so the Parisians scorn at it a little )

The sky was still blue, it was not snowing at all, it's only the pastry shop's Christmas decorations, but I'll tell you it was freeeeezing.

So I took a few pics of the ubiquitous macarons : ( check the gold leaf ones, you go first )

then I checked out the charming little Rue Visconti next to it, and some photos from Man Ray, one of Tall's favorite men

then I had to cross the Seine, to go on the very bourgeois Right Bank,

and here starts the french complex thing about "patisseries", pastries.

"Patisseries" are of course standard pastries like apple tart, "tarte aux pommes " or "chou a la creme, " cream puff.

If you ask me, cream puffs are tremendously overrated, but I know you are not asking me.

Then of course for elitists like Tall, and some other m.b.a. grad students, there are " les macarons" of which I have to say,
it's not bad to have a little one at home once in a while.

But then, in the middle of the 19th century, just before the Brits were reaching their nice Puritan age, the French who never do things like everybody else, went through a period of great architectural ornament. And when I say great, I mean they really went :" 1,2, 3, let's dive."

So the inside of hip homes and hotels went into a delirium of moldings. Boy was it good to be then a joiner and carpenter.
So after that wild wave went on, for like fifty years, it died.

And then the French, who know how to be critical, started to really ditch the molding fury and I often heard as a child " ah quelle horreur ces maisons pleines de patisseries " which you could roughly translate as " Ah what a horror, these houses full of pastries ! " Which of course doesn't mean that living rooms and sitting rooms and bars were splattered with apple tarts, cream puffs and macarons, but that their walls and ceilings looked like that :

and because the French are very "equilibres" or balanced, and very " raffines" or refined, or so they think,
the walls and ceilings with "patisseries " were shunned for a while.

Then the new generation in the sixties started to paint all these moldings in eccentric colors like glossy plum or glossy orange
or glossy chartreuse, so then it changed again, it became very fashionable to have an apartment with patisserie.

I am just doing this little lecture for free, so that if you are invited at some Parisian hip place, and the person tells your her
apartment has lots of patisserie, don't go on a fast before getting there, thinking cream puffs and apple tarts,
because there might be nothing to eat, just a thing sur le pouce.

Now all this talk of sugar has made us a little queasy so we shall stop and have a little glass of wine to clean this out,
at Le Repaire de Bacchus : ( The Den of Bacchus )

then because drinking white wine makes you cold, you might stop for a little sweater there :

and then we shall head for food for the mind, back on the Left Bank, thank God, at the Bon Marche, in the basement,
at their book store, as you see it's all for the head, and nothing for the body : ( except a leg perhaps )

So following on that pastry quest for Tall and her friends, I checked out different things which I am sure will have her swooning when she
browses this e-mail. First my favorite, "marrons glaces " chestnuts in iced sugar ( it's very light )

and even, OH marvels of marvels, a book on that over sweet stuff written by a french woman,
and titled " Cupcakes, mes petits gateaux de fee "
Cupcakes... my little fairy cakes ! That tells a lot about franco-american relationship.

then I don't know if you are like me, but after these little desserts, it was time to have something sustaining, so I turned to Tall's other demi-god :

and now we were talking some serious food, "Little Cocottes" or little casseroles, but you have to know also that in 1900 a "cocotte" was also
one of these delightful women who performs lots of delightful things for those poor gentlemen lost in the parisian streets.

but then on the next table something caught my sight :

and I thought that this was the sign to tackle a little fashion for Tall. So I checked one of Avedon's book, a lovely Jackie, and the lovely Jean Shrimpton with the photographer Jean Loup Sieff ( I still remember this series of pics he did for the American Vogue. I was about 16 or 17 and I was dying to get that white swim suit. It was 30 dollars. I told my dad, and at mentioning the price, he thought I was mad. The photos were shot on a greek island and I have to say, there is a lot going for the Greek. )

then I went to the kids department and checked out some favorites, the Little Prince
and the Fireman from Liliputia

there was some evidence of avid readers of Twilight too, here in french, and you will notice how elegant the boot from the envoy looks next to the vampires :

and then to finish the day, a trip to Nostalgia, and a look at the little Bonpoint clothing that once covered the very small body of Tall :

And that's all Folks !!!!


the envoy

december 16th : snow !!!

Paris Day 15 : SNOW !!!

Yes my dear friends,

this morning it was silently SNOWING over Paris. Alas, alas, it stopped by 11 am, but such as it was, it was pretty charming, so a little later Pierre took a shot ( camera wise ) at your special envoywith boots, coat, hat and all the amenities of a rigorous cold.

( Note the elegance of the background, whose moldings are coordinated with her mittens ) :

but it was way, way cold and I wished I had got for Tall or for Dylan the package of the Cocottes ( mini casseroles) and Soupes ( soup recipes ) at Le Bon Marche :

then it was back to La Madeleine, with a wonderful view of the Place de la Concorde in the background, ( The Laduree macarons are on the left side )

then on to the rue Boissy d'Anglas through the little pedestrian alley, and its little cafes

and quaint little stores

and then on to the less quaint, but pic redone, for Tall's love of Alber Elbaz / god :

and Lanvin Homme ( men ) with dear Alber's TIE < sigh of adoration >

and to crown it all, one more pic of Tall's little store where you find cheap saddles : ( by the way dearest Tall, we went in, and check the price of your future saddle, and frankly, it would be great if you took to needlepoint for a change )

( but there was a fainting couch nearby, in fact made of suede, and dad is doing all right )

To morrow : a matter of pastries

with love, from your special envoy

december 15th : redeeming at St Sulpice.

Paris day 14 : redeeming at St Sulpice.

Not being especially catholic at all, your special envoy after so much materialism, decided to try some redeeming by visiting the square at St Sulpice.

On the way she stopped in the little garden in front of Tall's fav haunt :

then stopped at the delightful little Theatre du Vieux Colombier, the Theater of the Old Dovecot,which is now a small branch of the wonderful classical theater la Comedie Francaise,

where they play... Les Joyeuses Commeres de Windsor, The Merry Wives of Windsor, because Shakespeare was probably french of course,

then on to St Sulpice where they had set little white log cabins with merchants,

one of them being a set of a Creche, the Manger made with little provencal figurines, les Santons:

but you must not touch them :

then I tried to have a look at the church, but it was still under restoration, which started about in 1979 but is way, way, away from being over,

anyway the St Sulpice church was built on the site of a destroyed roman church from the 13th century which, itself must have been beautiful, the one we have now was finished in 1768, and considered as way too new and pretty ugly and heavy, people will even say le style St Sulpice, the St Suplice style, and believe me, that doesn't sound pretty when they say it.

So,with a heavy heart, I decided not to redeem myself at all, and check out the little streets around it which are much older and specially charming, liked the rue Palatine :

which as you can see was named in honor of Anne de Baviere, 1643-1723, who was Princesse Palatine.
Le Mont Palatin is in a area near Rome, and Anne de Baviere,

was said to be a very pious, kind woman who lived nearby in the Luxembourg gardens.
From other sources I heard she might have had a little fun too, and frankly when you look at the Eglise St Suplice, you really hope so.

In the lovely next crossing street, rue Servandoni, is a delightful little bistrot ( Tall, make a note of it )

and then you take Rue Canivet and arrive at the lovely Rue Ferou,
which has two signs as the pic below shows,

the lowest one is already at about 12 feet high, and the upper one is at about... 18 feet.
Which brings about the next question ;

who was the really really tall french guy who needed to read the rue Ferou at about 18 feet of height ??

Which is a good lesson for my Tall daughter when she moans and faints about her vertical length.

Because I missed suddenly my little girl, I went back to the St Suplice square and its merchants,
to get a Vin Chaud, Mulled wine and Gauffres, Waffles :

then I stopped at the Poilane bakery, and checked the surrounding delicate stores, before getting back home.

To morrow : Snow !!!!!!!

your special envoy