The Eiffel Tower - Photo Taken September 2010

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 14 - Musee Carnavalet and Le Marais

My first thoughts this morning were about getting organized to get packed up as this will be my last day in the apartment.  I need to be out by 10 am tomorrow.

After breakfast I rode the bus down to the Carnavalet Museum.  It is a former mansion that now houses the museum of the history of Paris.  Most of the history is told in paintings contemporary for the era they depict.  I found the section on the French Revolution to be the most interesting.  There is a recreation of Marie Antoinette's chamber while she was imprisoned - it didn't look too uncomfortable.  Of course all of the signage was in french, so it was a little hard to tell what everything was all about. The museum has a lot of steps, but it is free.

It was actually sunny today, but I wore my raincoat and carried my umbrella for insurance.  It was too warm for the coat, though.  I walked down to the Place Vosges, which looks very different in the sunshine than it did the first time I saw it in the rain.  People were sitting on the grass and enjoying the sun.  I had my most expensive cup of coffee yet at a cafe under the arcade - 5.80 euros for a double cafe noisette.  It was worth it.

My plan was to walk back to the apartment through the Marais and do some shopping along the way.  I passed a little creperie by the church of St. Paul and wished I was hungry.  I walked a little further up the street, and back-tracked, thinking "I'll be hungry soon."  I had the Galette du Jour at La Cidrerie du Marais.  A buckwheat crepe (galette in Brittany) filled with bleu cheese, ham, pears, and walnuts.  If was very good, especially washed down with a cup of cider.  Just like in Brittany.  Lunch = 10 euros.  Continuing my walk after lunch, I found a bead shop.  A very nice one, too. It seemed to have all the necessary supplies and lots and lots of beads.

I thought I might get a flat-rate box at La Poste to send some stuff back home, especially my guidebooks which are heavy.  A 2 kg box (the smallest they had) would cost about 60 euros to ship.  I decided I could leave these books behind and buy new ones for less than that.  So bagged that idea.

I walked along Rue des Rosiers and Rue Ste. Croix de la Bretonnaire, doing some serious window shopping.  I went into a few shops, but nothing really reached out and grabbed me.  I haven't found anything special to take home for myself.  The problem is that I have developed a mindset of "no more stuff!"  I guess I'll just have to take home my experiences and memories of all the good food I've had.

The shops are very nice with high quality goods.  Pretty expensive.  Lots of leather goods, clothing, and jewelry.  Some very unique shops with quirky stuff, too.

I got back to the apartment a little before 3pm and headed for the laundromat.  It is so much easier to pack clean clothes.  Then I started to sort out everything for packing.  I feel so settled in this apartment, the task is almost daunting.  Could it be that I don't want to go home?

As small as it is, this apartment has worked well for me.  I wouldn't  recommend it for more than one person.  There is nothing special about the building, no charming courtyard or lobby, just a narrow hallway and a winding staircase.  It's old and creaky, but there is an elevator, which isn't found in a lot of these old buildings. The location is great.  Close to 3 bus lines that have gotten me wherever I've wanted to go; also close to 3 Metro stations and an RER station.  A 10 minute walk to the Seine.  Lots of shops and cafes close at hand, including a supermarket.  Lots of activity on the street.  Maybe a little noisy, but that really hasn't been a problem for me.  Fortunately, it has been cool enough that I haven't needed the window open at night.  I've really enjoyed my home in Paris.

Tonight I met my TA friend for dinner at Ambassade d'Auvergne, which is just a block or so from the apartment, and turns out to be one of her favorite restaurants.  It is a very charming place, specializing in dishes from he Auvergne region of France.  One of their specialities is "aligot," which is potato, cheese, and garlic, beaten until it is a gooey consistency.  They bring the pot out to the table to show you.  It is delicious.  For a starter I had blood sausage on a bed of white beans with vinaigrette, and for the main course roasted magret de canard (duck breast) with the aligot.  The duck was perfectly cooked.  For dessert I had another of their specialities, chocolate mousse, which they serve in a large serving bowl, allowing you to have as much as you want. It was dark chocolate, and heavenly.  Unfortunately, more than half of the bowl (both of us shared it), went back to the kitchen.  We shared a bottle of red wine and had a very delightful evening.

My suitcase is partially packed. Want to pack some more tonight, but will still have a lot to do in the morning. 

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