Tuesday, November 08, 2011


We arrived back in Paris after dropping the car off in Saint Cloud on the Periphery - not an easy task after getting lost several times and passing the drop-off point maybe two or three times. Tommy our GPS was totally useless, he must have been having a bad hair day.
Finally after finding the right location after several frantic phone calls, the depot guided us in like a plane in a fog. After dropping off the car we packed all our gear into a taxi for our trip to our apartment in Saint Andre des Arts which runs off Rue Danton intersecting with Saint Michel Boulevard. On the junction of these two was the Fontaine Saint Michel which we were familiar with. I discovered Gilbert Jeune with its great choice of books, a restaurant in the Place Saint Andre des Arts called Chez Clement. We ate there once or twice during our time - it was OK and close.
The Metro Station was at the end of the street. Everything was within walking distance - Notre Dame, the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, St Severin, Musee de Cluny. Although the centre of tourism, we enjoyed the atmosphere at that point in time - with subsequent visits to France, we have found our tastes have changed.

Looking down from our apartment to Rue Saint Andre des Arts. The view actually added to our amusement on many occasions.
 We enjoyed the Left Bank on our first trip to Paris in 2006 and decided to return, this time for a whole week. The apartment was small (cosy) on the top floor with the bedroom located on a mezzanine. It had what we imagined as a real bohemian Paris feel about it. Being in the hub of the Left Bank and I guess very touristy, it was noisy with lots happening at night but very exciting. A late night walk put you in company with many other like minded people. You felt entirely safe.

Down the street to Place Saint Andre de Arts.
The view directly across from our window. I wonder who lives there and what their life is like. Are they locals or tourists like us?
 Yes, it was at times extremely noisy unless you closed the double glazed windows but somehow we enjoyed the sound of Paris drifting into our apartment. A certain noise would send us to the window to look down into the street to be part of the atmosphere. One night the Irish bar no more than 30 metres down the street was packed the night of the Football Finals.

The Kitchen.

The stairway to our mezzanine bedroom.

Our bedroom and Internet access - very comfy.

Looking down on our living area - just enough space for two.
 We unloaded our taxi and transported our bags and my bike to the top floor of our apartment and started unpacking - then horror, the reality that I couldn't find my mobile phone hit me. Where could I have misplaced it and then I realised it could only be in one place, the side pocket of our leased Citroen. A quick phone call confirmed my suspicion. We arranged to pick it up the following day which in itself was a very pleasant adventure. Its amazing how a moment of panic can bring a wonderful experience and memory, but I'll let Sue tell you.

SUE TELLS THE STORY of meeting lady with shopping trolley. (remember - she talks in green)
Not the following day at all, but immediately, while we felt we had some hope of getting it back. Also in the car was the change we had amassed to pay tolls on the way. All our coins were chucked in the centre console compartment. Oh well, easy come, easy go. Leon pay attention! Oh OK, me too.
We were fairly new to Paris, but managed to find our way to the correct train to get to St Cloud and puzzle our way to the place we had left the car and eventually retrieve the phone. It was easier than it had been to find the spot in the car a few hours earlier.
We found a nearby cafe and began to relax over coffee prior to getting back to the 6eme.
I quickly noticed a few older ladies walking past us, all in the same direction with trolleys! As  I informed Leon, this could only mean one thing...MARKET!  Sorry, but I was very excited. I picked my mark carefully. A lady with a trolley. Lurking quietly until she passed me I stuck out my foot and tripped her up. Nah...I didn't really. I did ask her, in appalling French where the market was. She happily grabbed me by the arm and we began what was to be first of several forced marches in Paris as a consequence of asking directions.
It was a large street market, and while I tried to remain aware that all we bought had to be carried the length of Paris...well you get the drift.
At the fruit market I decided I needed a lettuce, but I couldn't for the life of me think of the word. I tried salad, which I figured had to be close, but the guy serving was playing dumb. Please note the word "playing"
In the end he invited me to play charades and I indicated a nice group of frisee lettuces. At which he said,"frisee"  Duh...called the same here. I said as much, and he replied in perfect English that yes, he knew that. I laughed said that I hope he had enjoyed himself, and he said, yes, he had and proceeded to not charge me for the lettuce and threw in some herbs as well. Made me wish we were staying way out there. I was happy to later discover that market stall holders were as friendly and often as funny all over Paris.
Pink bikes - Why I wonder? Can anyone tell me?
Our Metro station took us on our many travels during our week in Paris.

Our stay in Saint Andre des Arts allowed us to see many of the most extraordinary museums on the left bank. OOPS, she's back again - sorry folks.
As well as getting used to being rained on in the kitchen as the upstairs shower leaked into the kitchen. Also was fun climbing on a chair in order to reach the oven which was right under the roof.

In the following weeks we'll take you strolling through the Museums that we visited - hope you can join us.


  1. Diane - I posted 10 mins ago - you are always first - where are you.

  2. We are in France and because I am feeling so rotten I am unpacking very slowly! Sitting at the computer is more relaxing!!! Trouble is I cannot concentrate!

    Pink Bikes are a great idea in a crowd, you will never loose them!
    Love the little apartment, last time we went to Paris we went on the Eurostar which also arranged our 3 night stay. Very interesting, right close to the famous red Windmill!! Diane

  3. Ah! I love the left bank - so much ambiance in that area and as you say the street noise just adds to the experience - your petit studio looks nice and cosy and clean - that's all you want when in Paris. So pleased you got your phone back!

  4. Dianne,
    Hope we can keep your France Fix going until you return.

  5. Great photos - love the one looking straight down from your apartment.

    The apartment was so big!! The last time we stayed in Paris the hotel room was so small you could only just squeeze round the bed and the suitcase had to be stored standing up - and then it was in the way !!

    I think a lot of shopkeepers and market stall owners have a good laugh at foreigners trying their hand at French, especially with the English speakers. I sometimes wonder if it's their way of getting their own back for something in the dim and distant past in our histories, or if they're just politely letting us have a go at doing our best !!

  6. Hi Jean,
    Sue just loves the markets and the interaction with the store keepers.

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  8. James,
    Thanks for your comment - come back on Wednesday's in France again soon.

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