I got a slow start this morning, leaving the apartment around 10:30. I had arranged to meet a woman I connected with via the Tripadvisor.com travel forum at the Marche des Enfants Rouges. This market is in the same arrondissement as my apartment, so I walked about 2.5 km. Along the way, I stopped in at the Quartier de l'Horloge, which is a modern apartment block near my apartment. "Horloge" means clock and they have an interesting clock (see picture). The man "slays the dragon" on the hour. One of the fun things about walking in Paris is looking down the small side streets with the flowers and plants draping from the window ledges.
We were meeting at noon and I was early, so I looked around the neighborhood. There is a lovely little park Parc du Temple with a playground, flowers, and a water feature. The market is on Rue de Bretagne, which is lined with shops and cafes, with quite a few "antique" shops, and there was a flea market of sorts along the sidewalk. Marche des Enfants Rouges is the oldest covered market in Paris, dating back to the early 17th century. Its name comes from an orphanage that used to be next door. The children (Enfants) there wore red coats. I wasn't very impressed by the market; frankly, it is a far cry from the Pike Place Market in Seattle. The Paris street markets are far better. Shelly and I decided to eat a Cafe Charlot nearby and we had an excellent lunch of a grilled veal steak with a nice sauce, compote of onions and mushrooms, and noodles. Shelly is originally from Kansas and currently lives in Charlotte, NC. We had emailed back and forth and spoken by phone, and had no problem keeping a conversation going.
After lunch we went to another cafe where we met another woman we had both connected with via the TA forum. She is an American who has lived in Paris for several years. We had coffee and visited, the three of us hitting it off like old friends. While we were there Mairie de Paris Security men came by to inspect the cafe. Apparently, cafes are allowed to have tables and chairs on the sidewalk, but only out to a certain point. The guy got out his tape measure to be sure that this cafe wasn't taking up more than its proper amount of space. Apparently, the cafe passed inspection.
We then decided to head off to find a bakery that Shelly was interested in. It was another 2-3 km walk, and by the end of it, we all decided to meet for dinner. The one sight we did see on the way, was the Picasso Museum, which has been undergoing renovation for over 4 years. It is a very old building and apparently it has taken so long because there was a lot of asbestos that had to be cleaned out of it. The latest estimate for reopening is April 2014. After sitting awhile in another cafe, we each went back to our respective "homes" to rest up before dinner. I walked back to my apartment, another 2.5 km walk, stopping along the way to get some fruit for breakfast.
We met for dinner at 7:30 at a neighborhood cafe (I've been asked not to reveal the name of this gem of a cafe). We all ordered the pork cooked in garlic. The presentation included several cloves of roasted garlic still in their skins. I peeled it with my fork and ate a piece of garlic with a bite of pork - excellent. The side dish was potatoes dauphaniese (still haven't figured out how to spell it), even better than what I had last night. Two of us also had as our starter escargo nestled in mushroom caps and covered in parsley butter - yummy. There was a couple from Salt Lake City at the table next to us, and the five of us chatted together and had a wonderful time. I asked one of the waiters to call a taxi for me (in French, of course), and it was close to 11pm when I got back to the apartment. Two late nights in a row. I think I need to get back to eating dinner at the apartment.
This day was so much fun. Didn't see any big sights, but made a couple of friends. A wonderful day in Paris!