By mid-afternoon yesterday I decided that some fresh air would be nice, not a long outing, just a perambulation around the local area.
In the back of my mind was the thought that I would get some good photos of the specialist chocolate shops. However, I had to pass several other places on the way. As soon as I was out of the door I saw, in the long line-up of scooters (which is THE way to get around), this mechanized pasture with wild flowers!
Side view of rear and container:
Top view of container:
What an imaginative and artistic nation!
First up was the shop selling antique musical instruments:
with an eerily scary figure in the window. I always find these creatures unsettling!
Violins by the yard:
And any other kind of instrument you may fancy: I really do not dare go in for fear of what may tempt me!
Then past the patisserie, you have seen that one already, to cross the road and walk past the Russian shop selling all kinds of decorative items, absolutely beautiful, including Ikons, angels, painted eggs, laqueur boxes etc.
but specialising in the Russian dolls, you know the kind that fit inside each other.
Next up is a little Italian Bistro and a dress shop and the infamous shop about which I shall blog tomorrow! Cross the road again and into the local butcher’s shop.
This is a family run, local shop, not much frequented by tourists since most are not self-catering. There is always a queue of people waiting to be served and the product is well-sourced and of good quality.
Incidentally, the things hanging over our heads are not sausages or meat of any description, but orange plastic decorations.
I do not usually eat much meat but the whole transaction in this shop is such fun that is makes me want to extend the experience! You place your order with Mr. Le Patron, who does the expert stuff, then over to the other side to pay Madame as your package magically appears all neatly wrapped in wax paper. So the same hands never touch meat and cash. I bought some pork to make a little casserole for the weekend, a roast chicken to have in salads and a stuffed tomato for supper.
As is usual in this type of shop one greets the shop staff and all the other customers both on entry and on exit. As does everyone else of course. Shops more frequented by people on holiday tend to have relaxed this rule of etiquette somewhat, although locals and older people still keep up the tradition. It is very pleasant. Even so, you always say hello and goodbye to the person serving you, where-ever you shop.
So with a bulging bag, Madame told me to take care not to let the plastic bag handle pinch my palms. Having used a fair amount of cash I proceeded on down Beaumarchais to the ATM: I aim to keep up my stock of ready cash being without my credit card now! Back across Beaumarchais and along past Bofinger: this is a famous restaurant.
The premises are Bel Epoque and absolutely fabulous:
the food is meant to be good but the only time I ate there it was mediocre, expensive and the service rude and curt. This has never happened to me anywhere else in France. But others have had fabulous experiences here, so it might be worth another try!
I took this a couple of years ago when it was full at Christmas time: fantastic atmosphere.
Then left down onto St. Antoine to look in the windows of Le Notre. This is another famous shop, a specialist serving wonderful confections both savoury, meat and fish,
and sweet, cakes and chocolates.
They have just put their Christmas decorations up outside the shop.
Back through the darkness of the Place des Vosges, the cafes under the arches getting full, the windows shining, across the north side where a woman was walking her three magnificent dogs: I’m accosting people in the street now, but she seemed most pleased with my compliments and grinned like mad. On to the best cake shop I know to buy a Millefeuille and an Opera. Actually an excuse to take photos of their shop ceiling which is lovely:
when I explained what I was doing they welcomed me in, chatted about its conservation and when I compared it favourably to that of the real Opera they seemed chuffed.
Home, warm from the friendly exchanges and the beauty of the shops, to a cup of tea and then supper. By the way, the stuffed tomato was delicious:)