Brrrrr "Can someone turn the heater on?"
24.12.2010 30 °F
Merry Christmas from Paris France!
It has been quite a while since my last blog entry. We were VERY ready to unpack by the time we arrived and just resume a more normal mode of living after being on the road for over 6 weeks. Shortly thereafter we found that almost all of our time was consumed with learning how to live here. There is a lot to figure out from transportation to where to buy the things you need. Shops are much more specialized here. The good part of that is you can learn which shop has the REALLY good cheese or whatever you are looking for. The down side is that you end up spending a LOT of time gathering what you need to buy. It seemed like just when we were getting that figured out we both came down with sore throats and finally decided to try our hand with the French medical system. I’m not sure our experience was typical but it was great. We called the outpatient doctor listed in the information notebook that came with the apartment. Within 20 minutes a doctor arrived at our apartment. He examined us both, wrote us each a prescription and charged us 120 Euros. We walked one block to the pharmacy and paid 40 Euros for the antibiotics. Within one hour of my phone call I had been seen by a doctor and had my medicine.
We are both over our illness and have been spending the past few weeks getting ready for the holidays and, of course, taking in more of the city and more excellent food. We have found some pretty good places for several different types of food. The best place for dinner is turning out to be here at the apartment. Susan has really begun to find out where to get the things she needs and we have been having some wonderful meals. We attended a cheese lunch last week at a women’s home where she presented a few of the dizzying number of cheese varieties available here and some suggested wine parings. Had fun and learned a tiny bit about cheese. Unfortunately the Camembert cheese we really like smells so badly you must keep in about 3 layers of Ziploc bags and Tupperware to keep it from knocking you over when you open the refrigerator.
I Know………….I’m rambling again! Let’s get to the pictures and show you some of the things going on over here.
Thought I would show you a bit of the apartment we are staying in here. We are living in the 9th arrondisement which is on the right bank about 2 miles North of the Louvre and just South of Montmartre. Here is a picture in the living room with our tiny Christmas tree.
Above is a picture of the bedroom.
Here is my home entertainment center (ha ha). I have connected external speakers and a SVGA micro projector to my laptop. I bought a cheap screen from the local Office Depot. With the Slingbox at home and the Internet I can watch and record programs from my satellite dish in San Diego. SWEET!
For those who may not know I am kind of hooked on Radio Controlled models so I bought a tiny indoor helicopter to fly while we are here and the weather outside is bad.
A snapshot of the kitchen counter the other night during dinner preparations’. Lamb Chops! Yum!
We arrived here during white truffle season and after enjoying them so much in Venice Italy Susan wanted to experiment cooking with them. I wanted to encourage her so we found a shop that had some fresh ones. We enjoyed them with some Risotto the first night followed by Pasta the next evening and with scrambled eggs the next day…YUM!
This is a “T” intersection of one-way streets right outside the apartment. We have witnessed several incidents at this intersection which have proven an interesting social examination of the French driver. Whenever anyone gets stuck at this intersection it backs up quickly up the one-way street and the horns begin to blow. The horn seems almost as integral to operating a car here as the steering wheel and the longer you have to wait the longer you hold down the horn button….Sigh
These next three pictures are from St. Eustache church taken during an impromptu visit as we were walking by.
Now for some other pictures we have taken around the city so far……..
A local Creperie in the 5th near where we have stayed on previous trips here.
Here we are on the Champs-Elysées with all the Christmas lights and the open market that was really fun to see.
This is one of the local large department stores in full decoration for the holidays.
The local Boucher (Butcher) with his new Christmas goose that he was very proud of.
My funny street scene entry. This picture was taken on the Rue de Rivoli. I’m not sure what’s going on here for sure. There seems to be a sign about a Psychoanalysis Congress but if you notice it was written over another sign so….hmmm
Above is a picture taken at the Place de la Concorde of the Egyptian Obelisk of Luxor which is the oldest monument in Paris at 3300 years old. There remains today some difference of opinion between France and Egypt about how it got here. This is also the area where the executions of more than 1300 people including King Louie XVI and Marie Antoinette were carried out during the French revolution.
Galerie Vivienne a small indoor area of shops first established in 1823
This picture is a great example of the Baron Haussmann architecture from the late 19th century that is frequent in the city.
Hard to imagine but people here are more crazy about their dogs than in the US. They bring them with them everywhere here (subway, stores, restaurants, bathroom). This was a dog we encountered in a restaurant. While his owners were occupied chatting we fed him bread & cheese. Later we noticed he was eating the cheese off the bread as there was a pile of bread under their table when they left.
We have had a lot more snow than usual here in Paris (or so we have been told). This picture was taken out the window of our apartment on one day last week.
This is a picture of the Tuileries one morning after two days of snow had frozen into a solid sheet of ice.
Well I guess that’s it for now. I will try to do better in keeping in touch in the future. We are starting to plan for our trip to Spain and Italy as well as the South of France in February. Should be a blast.
From our family here in France to yours wherever your travels may take you we want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a most Happy and Healthy New Year.
Tom & Susan