Showing posts from 2007

Happy Holidays!

December is always a busy month for me. I like to decorate the house, so that gets done first, then we always host a party for my husband's colleagues, so that's next. We had the party last Friday and now I have some time to bake, shop, wrap gifts and write cards and notes. Because it's important to get things mailed early, I have some packages ready to mail first thing Monday morning. This is the table in the family room set for 8. It's a narrow table, so with the chargers there wasn't room for a centerpiece. This is the table in the dining room. I have used the gold chargers in here before, but decided to change things around this year. We had 10 in this room. The table expands to seat up to 14, but 10 was enough. I always use cloth napkins when I have company. I enjoy finding new ways to fold them. These are some that I believe belonged to my grandmother or great aunt. I don't think they were used much, though before I acquired them. I use them and wash and

Back Home in Duluth

We arrived home late Friday night Nov. 30th. I heard from the woman sitting next to me that they were predicting 6-12 inches of snow for Saturday. At this time of year we hardly ever get as much as they predict, but I thought some snow would be nice. Sure enough, the next morning after we got one car started and got some groceries the snow started and continued all afternoon. On Sunday we shoveled ourselves out. We have a walkway to the front of the house and another one going back to the alley, where the cars are, so we really have to shovel both front and back, but a wonderful neighbor was having fun with a new snow-blower and did the sidewalk out by the street. That's a big part of the job, so we really appreciated that. Now, I've been tagged . I appreciate the honor and am going to try to follow the rules, which say that I have to list random facts about myslef beginning with each letter of my middle name. My middle name is MARGARET , so this is a challenge for me. I M arri

Climbing in Paris with Patrick and James

When the boys were little they loved to climb steps, so we climbed the tallest towers in all the cities we visited. We have climbed St. Paul's in London, the Dom tower in Utrecht, Sacre Coeur in Paris, and lesser known towers and hills in England and other parts of Europe. I guess I thought we'd done all the towers, but Jim decided while the boys were here again that we should climb some towers, so we did. First we climbed the 387 (or 402 if you believe a different web site) steps to the top of the south tower of Notre Dame cathedral . Here is a picture of some of the chimera up there. If they don't act as downspouts they are called chimera instead of gargoyles. Notre Dame has both. The next day we climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe . (about 287 steps-I counted) This is the spiral stairway in the Arc de Triomphe. That's my boot in the bottom of the photo and some strangers climbing up behind us. Here is a picture looking toward the Bois de Boulogne west of Pari

Walking in Paris with Alice

My sister-in-law has been here for most of this week and we've done a lot of walking. We followed 3 different guided walks, which were interesting. I have enjoyed the walks by Paris Walks. But this week things have been made more difficult by the transport strike here. This is one of the old metro entrances that were designed and built in 1900 to entice people to use the underground system. This was quite innovative and different in those days. We were lucky enough to get a train on the first morning of the strike that took us to the Mont Martre area of Paris up on top of the hill. We walked around the area before the walk started because we arrived early. This is the basilica on top of the hill called Sacre Coeur or "Sacred Heart." It was built in 1875. We were there on a cold, sunny day. There are lots and lots of fabric stores in the Mont Martre area. We went into this one and found all these cute little mannequins. They are about 3 feet tall dressed in tailored outfit

le Château Vaux-le-Vicomte

As I promised yesterday here is the page of pictures from Vaux-le-Vicomte. It's a wonderful château in the style of Versailles, but in a more manageable size. I suppose Louis IX would have a fit if he heard anyone say they prefer this one to his. The other thing I liked about it was that it was not at all crowded--no lines anywhere. So it is a recommended spot to visit if you can get there. I think you need a car. Vaux-le-Vicomte I took more pictures of educational street signs today, which I would like to add here. Maybe I'll get that done soon too. I have walked past some of these without noticing them until today.

Would we be smarter if our street signs were more educational?

Here's a street sign that I passed yesterday in the Marais. The sign tells me that I am in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. (Paris is divided up into 20 smaller districts, each of which has it's own mayor.) It tells me the name of this street (King of Sicily) and that this king lived from 1220 to 1297, was the brother of King Lois IX and was proclaimed king of Sicily in 1266. Do your street signs give that much information? I'm starting a collection of photos of Paris street signs. I have a page of pictures of the castle we visited called Vaux-le-Vicomte almost ready to link. I just need about half an hour to finish it up. Maybe tomorrow. I have to go out now to get some bread for lunch, then walk to an area near here that I want to visit today, then get back here because I have an apointment to get my hair cut this afternoon at 3:00. So you see I can't do it today. I will try to get to it tonight.

Walking the streets of Paris - It's all good

My favorite activity here is just walking the streets. :-) I overheard an American ask a guard for directions. The place he asked for was far enough away that the guard couldn't give him complete directions, just pointed in the general direction he should go. The man was pulling a suitcase, but the woman with him wasn't. I wondered where they were going with just one suitcase. No one travels that light these days. I asked him if he wanted to look at a map. I always have a map with me. But he responded "Oh we have a map. We're just too lazy to look at it." Then he added "It really doesn't matter. It's all good." I thought that was a good observation, but he was pulling a suitcase. If I were pulling a suitcase I would want to get rid of it and get out walking without it as soon as possible. But it's true that here in Paris It's all good. I haven't found an area yet that I didn't feel comfortable in. Sometimes I choose not to go dow

Antiques market

We arrived home from our trip back to Philadelphia in the middle (literally) of this antiques fair. We had no idea this would be going on. We came up out of the metro and here we were. We took our luggage home and rested a bit then came back out to explore some more. There were many booths on both sides of the street for two blocks. This is right in the main street nearest us. Many vendors were selling antiques, and I think nice ones, though I'm no expert. There were also things like glass, books, Items from Africa, and the Orient, But mostly from Europe. Look at this huge crystal egg! Porcelaine, china, silver, linens and lots and lots of other materials. I wish I'd had more time and free shipping. By the way, I didn't shrink these pictures, so if you click on them you can see all the tiny little details.

A brief note explaining my absence

I just want to let my loyal visitors know that I will be away for a few more days. We've had company here, which kept me busy for a few days and now we are heading back to Philadelphia for Jim's mother's funeral on Thursday. We will be back here on Saturday. So I haven't given up on this blog, just am taking a break from it. I'll get back when I can.

Ile de la Cité

The very center of Paris is on an island in the Seine. If you've been to Paris, you no doubt have been on this island. Notre Dame is on the island as well as La Sainte Chapelle, two of Paris' most well-known and well-loved landmarks. My mother wanted to see la Sainte Chapelle again, so I waited until she got here to go there this time. You have to wait in line to go through security to get in. We rode the metro to the island and began our visit with the old prison called the Conciergerie . My pictures of this part of the island are here . After visiting the Conciergerie and La Sainte Chapellle , we walked the short distance to Notre Dame Cathedral . Notre Dame was completed 80 years earlier than La Sainte Chapelle in the mid-1200's. My mother is back home in Indiana now. It was great having her here and being able to show her a little bit of my life here in Paris this fall. I doubt that she misses all the steps she climbed in Paris.

We tried again to do the canal boat trip

And this time we were sucessful. We got seats right in front of the boat and enjoyed the trip. The rest of the pictures are here. Canauxrama boat trip on Canal St. Martin .

What's this wet stuff?

Rain you say? Rain in Paris? Oh well I guess it was bound to happen. I've been in Paris for 26 days and one of them was rainy. Here are some pictures of the rainy day we had last week. We took my mother into the city and then into the Jardins des Tuileries . Naturally I took some pictures of the gardens and flowers and trees. And I know you were dying for a better picture of Jim and my mom, so there it is. How's that?

The Carnavalet Museum

I'd heard of The Carnavalet Museum , which sounded interesting, so on the first day of my mother's visit here that's where I decided to go. It was chilly yesterday, so it seemed a good day to do a museum. We rode the 76 bus to the rue du faubourg St. Antoine just past the Place de la Bastille and walked from there the 3 blocks to the museum. This museum tells the history of Paris in paintings, interiors, and sculpture. After spending a couple hours in the museum, we walked a couple blocks from there to the Place des Vosges , where we had lunch before heading back here in the afternoon. This photo is taken from the courtyard inside the museum. The museum is in two old houses in Paris. This one was lived in by Mme de Sévigné in the 18th century I think. She is best known for her many letters written to her daughter and others. I just ordered a book containing some of her letters, which I think will be interesting to read. You can see more of my pictures here .

Les Jardins du Luxembourg

I finally got to visit the Luxembourg gardens this weekend. Actually I spent time there on both Saturday and Sunday. The weather was wonderful and the gardens were full of people, but they are so big that there was still plenty of open space. I put some more pictures here . We did have a little rain today around noon, but it really didn't last long. I was out shopping and got caught in it, but I had a rain hat and rain coat, so I was fine and I only had two blocks to walk anyway. I was almost home before the rain started. I'm looking forward to Jim getting home Wednesday.

Journées Européennes du patrimoine II

Day two- Sunday. As I mentioned before, I went to see a few of the ministry buildings in Paris 7th arrondissement. This photo is of the "salle de bains du roi." The king in question is actually the King of England--George VI. Check this page for the rest of these pictures. Paris Ministries

Journées Européennes du patrimoine

Many European countries celebrated their heritage on September 15th and 16th. Here in Paris many museums were free and other public buildings that are not normally open to the public were open for part of all of the weekend. At the chateau de Vincennes they were having a special two-day medieval festival. There was to be a dinner and ball in the evening at which medieval costumes were required. They gave a phone number to call to rent costumes. Since Jim is out of town, I didn't think I wanted to go to a dinner or ball without him, so passed on the costume. But I did want to go and see the costumes, so I went for the parade Saturday. My pictures are here. On Sunday I went into Paris and got inside the prime minister's residence, the ministry of agriculture, the ministy of education, the town hall of the VIIème (each of Paris's 20 arrondissements has its own mayor and town hall) and the ministry of foreign affairs. That last one was spectacular. Again I took lots of pictur

Le Canal St. Martin

On Friday I decided to go visit the Canal St. Martin. I knew of it first from the movie Amelie, then from Google maps, then I found these boat tours on the canal and thought that sounded like fun, so I decided to take one. I wrote about it on this page .

Le Marché

There are still public markets all over France. There is one 2 blocks from here on Wednesdays and Fridays. We arrived here on a Tuesday and I visited the market Wednesday, Saturday and again on Wednesday, so 3 times in the first 8 days here. I took the picture above on my first visit. Then I took some more pictures this week, which I have put on another page. Market photos. I can buy most types of food at the market - produce, meat, prepared foods, cheese, but not canned or frozen or packaged foods. Also you can buy clothes, underwear, lingerie, toys, scarves, trinkets, and other things there. I need to go to a store today for kleenex, paper towels, plastic bags and milk, but I've got food in the house to last me for a while.

Famous Monuments in Paris

It has occurred to me that my readers may be expecting pictures of the Eifel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, etc. Well, this isn't my first visit to Paris and I've seen all those things on previous visits. I have been visiting areas of the city that are new to me and doing things I have not done before, so no photos yet of the big monuments. I will visit those and take pictures some time. I have been to the Place de la Bastille and photographed the tower there. We haven't felt any rain since we have been here, but some days are sunnier than others. The temperatures have been in the 60's to low 70's every day, so just about perfect. Most days I've gone out without a sweater or jacket and usually with short or 3/4 length sleeves. Here is the Tour Eiffel taken from the top of the Montparnasse tower. It was a little hazy the day we were there. I set my camera to take high resolution pictures and then cropped the photo when I got home. And here is a photo of Sacre Co

A visit to Louis Pasteur Museum

We decided to try to visit the Louis Pasteur museum, which we thought was on the campus of the Louis Pasteur Institute , a bio-medical research institution in Paris. We passed this church, which was called St. John the Baptist de la Salle. I hadn't heard of this saint before, but I liked the statue of him with the children. Then we passed a building on our right with lots of people walking around it carrying notebooks. They looked like students. We still weren't sure where the museum was, but through a gate on our left we saw this statue, which Jim recognised from some papers he'd read. We went into the reception area at the guard house and asked for the museum and were told it was here. The girl asked us for ID's and made us name badges right on the spot. We clipped them onto our clothes and walked into the museum. Inside we saw signs directing us upstairs. The desk for the museum was empty, but a sign said it would be open at 2:00. It was 1:55, so we waited. Pretty

Paris Apartment

Here are some pictures of our apartment here. We've been here about 48 hours and have already gotten to know the neighborhood a bit, but these pictures are ones I took within the first few minutes of our arrival. Here you see our 4 suitcases in the bedroom. The apartment has 4 rooms and a bath in a row all facing the street. The master bedroom is at one end, then the bathroom. This is a compact room, with a shower at the far end and a washer/dryer just inside the door under a cupboard. I'm standing in front of the shower taking a picture toward the corner, where two mirrors come together. I don't know if I always hold my left pinkie in the air when I take a picture. Everything in the bathroom is new. The next room is the kitchen. This is directly across from the entrance to the apartment. There was some mail here when we arrived, so the marble table is covered with mail. I'll have to get a better picture some other time. The kitchen is also compact. You can see every