View from Montparnasse Tower (2013)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Day 8

We enjoyed a lazy morning and didn't actually leave the apartment until about 10:30.  We decided to explore the market street Rue Mouffetard in the 5th Arrondissiment.  We took the #47 bus and got off at Place Monge where they were having an outdoor market.  We browsed the market for quite a while, making a few non-food purchases.  It is much smaller than the one at Bastille on Sundays, but also a lot less crowded.  We had some fun interchanges with a few of the vendors.

It was about noon when we walked up the hill to Rue Mouffetard, which is arguably the best market street in Paris. While we weren't quite ready for lunch, we were ready for a sit down and refreshment, so we stopped at a cafe.  I had a "grand noisette" - espresso with milk - and Kathy ordered a bottle of water.  We were at the high point of Rue Mouffetard, with the street dropping down hill both directions from where we were. We needed to make a decision on which way to go as this part of the street had several cafes, but not a lot of shops. We decided go down to our left from the cafe, heading back toward the river, and unfortunately missed all the good parts of the market street.  Oh, well, the very nice market street Rue Montergueil is just a couple of blocks from the apartment.

We walked through a very quiet neighborhood with no tourists and very little traffic.  We dropped down to Place Maubert where I had met up with the cooking class with La Cuisine Paris in 2013. We walked down Rue Lagrange and had lunch at Bistro Lagrange.  I had eaten there before and had the best croque monsieur ever there -- it was made with rustic bread and had pesto as well as the ham and cheese.  In fact, I've been making them this way at home.  Well, they must be under new ownership because the croque monsieur was made with just plain white bread and no pesto.  But, with "une biere" to wash it down, it was a good lunch.

When we got down to the river, we crossed over and browsed a few of the bouquanistes - the green book stalls that have been a fixture along the Seine for generations.  We crossed over to Ile de la Cite on the Pont l'Archeveche, which is still loaded down with "love locks."  I thought the City was doing away with these, but it seems people continue to put them up as fast as the City can take them down.  I noticed that several of the bouquanistes were selling padlocks.  The weight of the locks has caused the bridge railings to fall into the river and some panels have been replaced with glass or plexiglass, but people still manage to attach locks. This is some misguided declaration of love, but is basically vandalism.  We didn't see anyone attaching locks, but there was a lot of interest in them.

We walked about two-thirds the length of Ile St. Louis and back, stopping at Amorino for dessert, and having a nice conversation with the young fellow working the counter.  His English was excellent. He's a student who did an internship in New York.  Having these sorts of conversations with locals really adds to the pleasure of the trip.

We walked along the north side of Notre Dame where there was still quite a long line of people waiting to climb the tower.  The square in front of the cathedral was full of people and there was a huge tent where they were apparently having a "fete au pain" -- celebrating bread.  I know that they have a contest every year to determine which boulangerie makes the best baguette, so perhaps that is what it was all about.  (Found out later that indeed, this was where they hold the annual baguette competion.) We went through part of the Flower Market, then headed for the bus and home.

There are 20 steps up to our apartment - one flight of a circular stairway.  It isn't too bad, but after a day of wandering around Paris, it's a lot of steps!  We keep wondering how we're going to get our luggage down...

We finished off our roasted chicken, had some of the potatoes (the fellow said he was giving me two portions, but we got enough to feed six or seven people), fresh asparagus and cauliflower.

Weather today was very nice -- rain in tomorrow's forecast...

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