Well as you can see from our first photo today, Mitch and I are almost French!!!! We officially are in the French system (of sorts) with both Gym memberships and Metro cards. It has only taken us 10 years, but it was worth the wait. The day began with an early morning visit to the gym around 9am. Because it was Sunday, and most of the gyms are closed, the one that was open was very crowded.
After that we made our way back to the apartment stopping at the local street market to get lunch. Unlike the US where weeks of food can be stored in our large refrigerators and pantries, the French plan meals on a more day to day basis making visits to the local street markets a part of daily life. Again because it was Sunday many of the markets were closed, so the open one was teaming with people getting supplies for the day before they closed down to enjoy their day of rest as well. The meat market was the first stop where we purchased some freshly roasted pork. Then the fruit market for some cherries and a nectarine. The fruit vendor will ask what you want and when you are looking to eat it. He will then select the fruit for you – one never touches the fruit as Mitch found out the hard way a few years ago when he was reprimanded for pinching a peach. The final stop was the boulangerie for a nice baguette (pix). After cleaning up we set the table to enjoy our freshly purchased lunch (pix).
Exhausted from the busy morning we considered just staying home to recover but instead decided to press on. The Bibliothèque was our destination in the 14th. Situated in what was once an open air horse slaughterhouse, it is now occupied by dozens of vendors selling books and magazines that range from the recent to the ancient. As is our custom, we first stopped at Max Poilane for a little something to sustain us while shopping. Famous for having what is considered the best bread in the world (prior to his untimely death just a few years ago), we were after something a little sweeter (pix). Thus nourished we made our way into the world of ancient books. Since our love is of books from the 18th century it is easy for us to bypass the sellers of comics and other publications that are what we consider new. The trick to purchasing ancient books is to never, NEVER, let on that you are really interested in a particular book. A casual approach to any book is best. ‘Perhaps I would be willing to take this off your hands if the price is right’ sort of thing always opens the door to a little haggling. The book dealers know this as well so it is a fun and subtle (sometime not so subtle) dance of who wants what and how badly. We found three books today. The first was an Almanac Royal from 1722. During the time of Kings in France, every year an Almanac was published that contained all the important information for le Roi and the Royal family members. From birthdays, to moon cycles to each and every member of the Royal court and those who attended to them be they clergy, butlers, teachers, etc. It was a very exciting find and we were thrilled to add it to our collection. As amazing as that was, the second find was a two volume set of Voltaire’s work. We were stunned to find something like this, not only in such great condition, but for such an amazing price. We were convinced that the vendor didn’t quite know what he had. With our game faces on, we asked the price, paid him and then ran like hell out of there. It wasn’t until we got home and Mitch looked at the books again that we realized why they were so cheap. They were not Voltaire, they were Voiture. While a noted poet from the 17th century who was commissioned by Louis XIII, he was no Voltaire. We still love the books and now have a funny story of how they came into our possession.
We relaxed for a while and created a list of all the things we want to do this trip and were sad to discover we just don’t have enough time. We will have to come longer next time. LOL. For dinner we tried a restaurant in our building called La Compagnie. Thinking we were really swinging out by not going to dinner until 7pm we were shocked to find the place still empty. 7pm is still lunch time for the French. The decor is really fun and very eclectic with a hodge podge of furniture from the sixties and seventies. Mitch had the Milanaise and I had the Fish and Chips. Both were very good. We finished with Mille Feuille which was delicious (pix).
There are some additional pictures of the entry portico to the apartment, the entrance to our building and the foyer. It is so beautiful, making every time we come home a very pleasant experience.Au Revoir,Mitch & Pericles