Thursday, November 29, 2007

Part III: Les Puces et Le Steak

Our game plan, loose as it was, was to simply do One Day Thing and One Evening Thing each day we were there.

I'm not much of a sight-seer, generally. I tend not to like to go on "tours" or organized-by-third-party escapades. I'm much less interested in looking at buildings than I am at absorbing the atmosphere, being near people, trying to get a sense of what it's like to live somewhere else. So on this trip, I wanted to take the time to soak up everything, rather than rush from Monument to Monument just to say I had.

(Please don't get me wrong, though. Doing and seeing a lot makes sense -- it's just not how I operate. I once drove through Arizona and didn't stop to look at the Grand Canyon. What's that about? Who doesn't stop to look at the Grand Canyon? I don't know. Me.)

Our first day was spent Aux Puces, or at THE Parisian Flea Market. I am not ashamed to say that I was looking forward to it as much as any other site in Paris. It just seems so old-worldly and cool. It's been around for ever, and huge, and on the city outskirts, and just awesome in every respect.

I did hope to find lots of little treasures there, maybe Christmas presents or non-run-of-the-mill souvenirs. "Hey, where'd you get that?" "Oh, this? My sister picked it up for me at a flea market in Paris."

Alas, everything was incredibly expensive. So mostly it was just a lot of wandering around.

Also, if I had any photo skills whatsoever, I would have had to spend an entire week there because the whole place was a sumptuous visual feast.




Pretty bowls and um, a giant plastic piece of fake meat with a cleaver through it.
"Honey, will this fit in our suitcase...?"



I love just how French this man looks.


Random things. This would probably be an awesome photo if Dooce had taken it.


One alleyway of about 3,000.


I do not know who Lou is, but he's got nice knockers.


Here, Ish unsuccessfully haggles over the cost of antique corkscrews.

At one point, Ish said that he thought it would be cool maybe to start collecting antique corkscrews. So when we found a collection of them, he was pretty psyched. Until he discovered how much they cost. And then started realizing that unless the antiques are really special and amazing, they basically look like modern corkscrews that have been left to rust. No one is going to see one of these and ask "Hey, where'd you get this REALLY COOL corkscrew." Instead, they're going to see it and ask, "Hey, why haven't you thrown out this disgusting thing?" And then they'll pray that you didn't use it to open the bottle of wine they're currently having a glass of, silently wondering if their tetanus shots are updated.

Anyway, we left Les Puces and headed back to the hotel to freshen up and figure out where to go to dinner.

That night, we took a cab to the restaurant. The cab driver was female and didn't speak any English. She traveled with an enormous black dog in the passenger seat. I asked her what the dog's name was --

-- NOTE: THE ONLY PHRASE I VOLUNTARILY UTTERED IN FRENCH --

and I believe it was Vestral. Or something close. And Vestral was sweet and shook hands with me (you have to imagine the front passenger seat tilted nearly all they way back so as to allow the dog maximum comfort).

And naturally, it was the only part of the trip I didn't have my camera for.

Dinner Chez Catherine was fantastic, except that I made the mistake of joking with the waiter about my American ways, and how I prefer my meat not quite as rare as Parisians. I then ended up with totally overcooked steak. (TOTALLY my own damn self-deprecating fault.) Everything else about the meal was amazing, though.

Ed. note: Wow. You can really tell when I write a post at the end of the work day.
NOT good writing, even if I manage to get the point across.

8 comments:

  1. Ah, sounds perfectly lovely. I agree with you. I like to soak up the feel of a city as opposed to making I hit all the touristy spots.

    I like the pictures.

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  2. I am relishing these Paris posts. I don't know you, but I'm tickled that you went on this dreamy trip and that you're sharing your tales.

    ~Wendy in Seattle

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  3. Yay! More Paris!

    I hear you on the 'this would be awesome if dooce had taken it' shots. Methinks if we had dooces's fancy camera and photoshop skillz, we too would have awesome photos of old bottles and spigots and whatnot.

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  4. I love the fact that you are apologising for not doing tourist things. As an Irish gal currently on holiday in Kauai, all the Californians also here are getting very confused by the fact that I am doing NOTHING - that's right - not even playing golf or hiking. It must be in the US psyche to constantly be DOING something. Embrace the art of doing nothing - the Italians call it 'il dolce far niente' - and don't apologise at all.

    P.S. usually read by RSS so hadn't seen your new look - I like it. Very clean

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  5. Ha ha ha - hear ya on the rusty corkscrews!

    I spent three weeks altogether in Paris (mumble)years ago and did not go to the Louvre or Eiffel Tower, but I did meander over to the Musee Rodin (very beautiful, relaxing, and not crowded at all) and also (having no idea what I was doing) wandered through Cimitiere La Chaise (sp.?). (Speaking of being clueless, I was in Rome that same trip, walking to city center, kept following signs for San Pietro, San Pietro. I was thinking, San Pietro must be pretty important, maybe I should check it out. Finally, I get to this massive plaza with all these impressive columns and statues, so I think, hey, must be a museum! and go stand in line... where I see these guys in funny jester costumes. The penny dropped -- I'd seen something on PBS about the Vatican guards -- and I realized San Pietro means SAINT PETER'S! D'oh! Hi! I'm an American-educated American! Hi, how are ya, have a nice day!)

    About that self-deprecation thing -- cut it out! Your photos are FINE! Dooce was FIRED! Do you want to be fired, too?

    You know what I'm saying. Quit comparing.

    At least never compare up. Jamais.

    Also, hurray for Paris stories!

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  6. Thank you so much for talking about your trip to Paris. I will never go, but am fascinated by how people like trips they take. If we're allowed to vote, I vote for many more Paris stories.

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  7. That's exactly how I like to travel. No schedule, no rushing.
    I would like to meet the person who buys the big fake piece of meat to use as an accent in their kitchen. I'm sure they would have some stories to tell!

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  8. If Dooce had taken those photos they would have been pretentious.

    Wait. Did I say that outloud?

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