Paris Birthday Walk….in Black and White (2)

 Continued from Paris Birthday Walk (1)

They call it “the building inside-out” – George Pompidou Center in rue Beaubourg

The city of Romance enchants couples of all ages.


Rue de Montmorency, a medieval street where the oldest house in Paris stands.  Which one?  What else but the Auberge Nicolas Flamel where H and I had enjoyed a gastronomic birthday dinner.


Last minute search for souvenirs.  I prefer the Robert Doisneau photo!

The rotating laser light of the Eiffel Tower seen flashing in the evening sky of Paris.


This is the place to find inspiration.


rue St André des Arts


A tourist must-do…..


Pont de l’Archevêché


A mannekin and an old sewing machine for a restaurant facade display.
The owner must be an ex-couturier…

Fontaine Saint-Michel

It’s not really a “library” but a bookshop.  In French, a bookshop translates to “Librairie“.


Poor bicycle – converted into a rubbish bin!

Paris birthday walk…(1)

It’s my birthday and I am in Paris so the best gift I could give myself is an exploratory walk of my favorite city. Forget about the typical tourist spots, I just want to discover more of her off-beaten paths! I have booked my birthday dinner for the night on the internet and with H away on a client call, I have the whole day so I just follow my feet wherever they take me.

So if you are ready, come and walk with me:

First things first, here is the photo of the buildings taken from our 5th floor hotel room terrace along Blvd Magenta.  Very Haussmannian.


A quick visit to the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles opposite George Pompidou Center in the Marais.  Very interesting exhibition going on but this photo of Lisa Carletta is my favorite!

I found one more replica of the statue of Liberty in Paris! (found 4 already). This one at the Musée des Arts et Metiers is the centrepiece of the Museum’s Bartholdi collection bequeathed by his widow after his death. The statue, a model on a scale of 1 to 16, was probably made by Bartholdi himself in 1875.

 


A film shoot going on by the Seine just below Notre Dame Cathedral.  The woman peering next to me said she’s been watching it all day.  It’s a Russian movie featuring French gastronomy .  No wonder there are three fully-uniformed chefs standing nearby.

Around a thousand film shoots take place in the capital every year.  It must be one of the favorite locations for movie producers and Paris is earning a good income from permit fees, by the way!

 


The medieval age rue de Bièvre where ex-French President François Mitterrand used to live.

I wanted to check the location of the restaurant where we are dining that night and it is only a short distance from our hotel so using my little map as a guide, I took shortcut routes and that means walking through apartment courtyards and passages.  This one, a street comprising of stairs is called Passage du Pont aux Biches, taken after  the bridge by that name that used to be there.  The word “Biches” refers to deers.  It must have been an area where deers used to congregate in earlier times.


That passage  above is joined by an almost footpath-sized rue Volta,  named after the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta who invented the battery.   And for its narrowness, I was surprised to stumble upon this Wallace fountain installed right infront of this café!  Very convenient for thirsty customers and passersby.


An outstanding statue of Saint Michel stands on the giant fountain that bears his name, Fontaine Saint-Michel in the Latin Quarter.  The corner square where it is located is a favorite meeting place by everyone.  “Let’s meet by Fontaine Saint-Michel!”, H would say to me everytime we wanted to make a nice evening together, he, after work, and me, after my touristy occupations.


This church, the Cathedrale de Notre Dame,  featured in the film, “Hunchback of Notre Dame” is celebrating its 850th year.. Even if I have photographed it hundreds of times, it’s still calling me to shoot it again and again everytime I walk past! Its beauty is timeless!


A fascinating photo I saw on display at a restaurant window.  It says, “The terrible moustache epidemic of 1890”. I’m curious what actually is the story behind this photo.


A magnificent balcony, Louis XIV style, at rue St André des Arts.


A modernist public bench designed by the students of Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Arts et Metiers, installed on the square of Musée des Arts et Metiers


At this bookshop is where the opening scene of the movie, “Before Sunset” took place”.
Jesse is doing a reading and being interviewed by journalists when, lo and behold, Celine is at the back of the audience, smiling at him.
Shakespeare and Company Bookshop

A Gastronomic birthday treat in the shadow of Harry Potter

What happens when you spend your birthday in your most favorite city, in a building that is listed as a Historic Monument and the previous owner, Nicolas Flamel, was a character in one of the best-sellling books of all time. And to top it all, excellent food, wine and a romantic ambience in a museum setting.

Simply a gastronomic experience with the man of your life, where your heart sings with joy everytime a dish is served and you wish that this exquisite moment lasts forever!

 

 

I did my research and the reviews are fantastic!  Even H thanked me profusely for having found this gem of a place.

This is the  restaurant where Nicolas Flamel and his wife, Pernelle, lived in the 15th century.

Legend goes that he and Pernelle achieved immortality by discovering and drinking the Elixir of Life. He also invented the Philosopher’s Stone, a magical rock that could turn metal into gold.

The character of Nicolas was used by JK Rowlings  in his first Harry Potter novel as the wizard of “Hogwart School of Witchcraft and Wizardry”.  If you have read the novel or watched the film “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (the U.S. title is “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s), then you must be familiar with the name.  That’s him.

 

 

The facade of the restaurant still has this old inscription which says:

We, ploughmen and women living at the porch of this house, built in 1407, are requested to say every day an ‘Our Father’ and an ‘Ave Maria’ praying God that His grace forgive poor and dead sinners.

These ancient engravings on the outside walls are very visible.

At the end of the street, this marker tells the history of Nicolas Flamel’s house.
It’s also listed as a historic monument being the oldest house in Paris.

This is the wooden beam interior where the white tablecloths and candelabra candles ooze with romantic charm.

 

What a better way to start the gastronomic experience than this refinedly presented “Amuse-Bouche” literally means “tickle the mouth”. This is the salmon and potato ball accompanied by a fruity sauce and a savory butter finger. 

It definitely tickled our appetite!

Entrée 2: Divine foie gras that melts in the mouth…

Entrée 1: A bed of young salad greens drizzled with a vinaigrette of coriander and mango. Awesome!


A piece of French bread that accompanied our meal. Even that tastes like it was baked in a magic oven.

 


Main dish 1: Veal cooked rare with a mousse of saffroned celery. The veal was of the highest quality, pink but tender.

Main dish 2: Filet of sea bass with vegetables in season. Equally delicious!

Dessert: Vanilla-bourbon ice cream and orange liqueur chocolate soufflé. Delightful!

Close-up!

Dessert 2: Verrine of citrus-flavored cream, with caramel. Hmmmm…ethereal…


And to accompany our espresso, white chocolate!

but wait, it’s not only pure white chocolate. There’s the concoction of ground almond on the other side.

The serving dish is a slate tile similar to the roof tiles they use in mountain houses. Slates are hewn from mountain rocks.

Parisian café spotting

Yeah, if there are such things as ‘plane spotting’, ‘train spotting’ etc, for me, it’s Café-spotting that I love doing when in Paris.

Truly, the Café is a hub of French society.  It is where the locals meet up, drink, socialize, read a book, do their favorite activity which is “People-Watching” and more important is, to relax.

It is also a place to get a lot of inspiration from – in the decorating department!  I just love oggling at the interior displays, also at the façades.

And since I am in Paris for few days, here are some of the photos I’ve taken so far.  I shall add some more while here.

 

 

This is the café just opposite our hotel.  At 8 in the morning,  the chic-looking waitress (oh, that’s the number one quality in hiring you!) is taking the chairs one by one., ready to welcome the first customer of the day.

 

 

Customers must look cool, if not chic, in order to blend well with the Café crowd..


Seats are arranged “watching-a-movie” style.  Indeed, this is the place to watch the world go by.


If they are sitting there for their ‘people-watching’ activity, then us, the passers-by, are also doing the same!


Sitting in cafés is one of the most relaxing sightseeing activity in Paris..


If you have watched Angelina Jolie’s film, “The Tourist”, this is where she sat sipping coffee, smoking a cigarette, and burned the note on an ashtray..


Ooppsss… this is not a café but it’s possible that at daytime it could be one.


On our way home last night, I took one last shot of a neighbouring café.  Yes, they could stay till late!

Home sweet home….. in Paris

I’ve been looking forward to this since last week.  It’s H’s business trip to Paris and he asked me to come.

Since we moved to England in the beginning of June, we had been living the British way of life – unpalatable food, beer culture, now-it’s-freezing-now-it’s-burning kind of weather- but we’re getting used to it.  And now that the chance to visit Paris has come, I realize I have been missing a lot of the good things in life for the last three months.  Cheaper wine for one thing, good food for another..

This is the hotel where we will be staying for the next three nights.  It’s not far from the Place de la Republique so I will have a ball photoscouting..!


Baguette served before a meal, cold water for free, wine served in dainty glasses…

 

 

 

…..dining al fresco on a mild summer evening without the boisterous laughter nor the clinking of gigantic glasses of beer….aahh, that’s Paris and France for you….I think I should write a book entitled, “A tale of two countries”.  With the many observations I have noted between England and France for the last decade or so, it’s about time I put thoughts into paper!

Even an insignificant corner of the city oozes with romance when you sit next to your loved one.  This is a blurred photo but you can tell the atmosphere of the scene.