Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Paris 2011-2

24 Juin (Vendredi) - Between the jet lag, the room temperature (Robb thought it was too hot and I was freezing) and my leg cramps, it was close to 07h00 before we fell into a fitful sleep.  When I awoke, it was about 15h00 (3 PM).  Robb was already up and had made coffee.  Again, this apartment doesn't have an electric coffee pot but a French Press.  We had forgotten to get bread when we went to the Franprix yesterday, so Robb had to go out on his own.  He made it there and back with no mishaps.  Maybe the gingo biloba is actually doing something.

I just looked at the clock and it's 19h45!!  I've spent the entire day writing about the last two days.

Ce soir, we walked down to Chez Clément which is only a block from Place de la Bastille.  We had a great waiter; a young guy who spoke very good English.  When we asked how he learned, he replied that he picked it up from talking to English speaking people.  Most of the time he spoke to us in French, but we noticed that he spoke exclusively English with the Japanese couple at the next table.  My dinner was the Pavé de daurade avec pommes (white fish with potatoes).  Robb had the Pavé de lieu avec legumes de jardin (Fish with vegetables).  They were both excellent.  Pour au boire (to drink) we had une bouteille de Petit Chablis (a bottle of chablis).  I can't remember the last time I had chablis, but it only took one sip to realize it shouldn't be that long until I have it again.  For desert, we both had créme brulée.

After dinner, we walked down to Place de la Bastille and hung out for a few minutes.  It was too cold to stay longer and we started the eight block walk back to the apartment.

It's supposed to be quite warm demain (tomorrow).

25 Juin (Samedi) - Paris Gay Pride Day.

Although I managed to get out of bed around noon, after another horrible, non-sleep night,  it took several hours to do my morning stuff, drink a cup of coffee and eat a couple pieces of toast.  The gay pride parade started at 14h00 in front of la Tour Montparnass at Place du 18 Juin 1940,  which is in the 6e (6th arrondissement).  The participants will walk and drive across the city, crossing the Seine by way of the Pont de Sully, then make their way by way of Boulevard Henri IV, to the Place de la Bastille, where (hopefully) we will be waiting to see it.

The problem was that I was so tired from the last couple of busy, sleepless days, we didn't even start walking to the Place until after 15h00.  It wasn't really a problem though because I knew it would take the parade at least two to three hours to arrive at the Place.  And I was correct, the first float didn't appear until a couple minutes after five.  I tried to make a video to capture some of the feeling but it didn't turn out.

There was a huge crowd when we got there (around 16h00) and it grew by the minute.  Where once I could see across the street, by the time the first float arrived, I could barely see a few feet in front of me.  Luckily, we had a good spot and while we couldn't see everything, we could easily see the floats.

As in years past, there was a large bandstand set up by one of the local rock stations (HotMixOne - I think) and they were blasting sound.  When they cranked up the bass, the whole area bounced.  It always surprises me that some windows aren't broken.

After a couple hours, I was very tired from standing, and found a place where I could sit down.  There was a young guy nearby who, according to his female friend, had already drunk a couple pitchers of beer and was drinking from a bottle of wine.  He was very drunk, but he was a happy drunk.  I called him "the dancer" because he was dancing to all the music, both from the bandstand and the floats, not to mention the stuff he was singing.  He really was quite a good dancer.

I found a few videos on the internet.  The first one includes the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (I simply LOVE that name) doing a circle dance and singing.  The second one is rather short.  The third one is about three minutes.  The main theme of this year's parade was gay equality as can be seen in this France 24 article with video en Anglais (in English).
There was an ice cream truck, Snoopy Glace, near us so Robb bought us a couple of cones.  The ice cream was good, the cones not so much. The final float rolled by around 19h30 (7:30 PM) and we started the very long trek back to the apartment.  I was so tired, I didn't even want to go out for dinner, but around 21h45 we walked down to the place on the corner which indicated on its awning, that it is a cafe and a brasserie (both eating places).  However, the waiter said they were serving nothing but drinks, though we had seen people eating there when we passed a day or two ago.  So it was back to the apartment where we had toast, pâté and wine.

You can see all the Pride pictures at Paris Pride 2011.

26 Juin (Dimanche) - Another sleepless night.  I may have to resort to some kind of sleeping pill.  I think part of the problem is the teensy-weensy little pillows they have in France.  At least, today is Dimanche (Sunday) and most things are closed, so I'll have a chance to recoup some energy and catch up on yesterday's events.  Robb walked up to the Franprix to get some more stuff around noon (Midi).

To find out what happened when I tried to make a video yesterday, I made a short video of the apartment. Of course, that turned out great.  But you can get a sense of the large size the place.  There is a strange situation with this apartment.  It is at least twenty degrees cooler in here than outside.  I also took pictures out the front door and the back door.

Dinner tonight a 'le bar à huîtres' on Boulevard Beaumarchais.  The waiter brought out a huge lobster.  It must have weighed close to ten pounds.  I would have said "no way", but Robb wanted to go with it.  I don't even like lobster, but what the hey.  My dessert was three kinds of sorbet, and that was excellent.  Robb had rhum cake (and again, the waiter left the entire bottle of rum, thankfully Robb didn't drink as much as last time).  The thing that blew me away was the menu.  It was on what I think was an iPad (I've never actually seen one, but Apple is very popular over here, so it could be).  After the main course, but before dessert, I went out and took a video (with my phone) of the fish market just at the corner, because of the waterfall windows.  If you don't mind being REALLY ripped-off, you might like to eat at this place.

You can see all the Paris pictures at Paris 2011

À la prochaine, mes amis.


Ken Broadhurst said...

Is your apartment on a low floor? If it is, that would explain the cool temperature inside. Most people would be glad not to be baking.

I see pillows on the sofa that you could use to supplement the little ones on the bed.

The heat wave is over for the time being.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Love reading of your adventures and I am taking notes for my next trip. Keep them coming!


Megan said...

sounds like the parade was fun. I've never seen one. Hope you can sleep. Buy a new pillow!