This particular blog is a work in progress. I have been racing after people and their dogs in the metro today (see rear end shot of beagle in a crowd below). I haven't yet seen a poodle, but many other types of dog abound. Photos below are from Marche aux Puce and the right bank of Paris.
We exited Les Halles metro by the wrong exit (of course) loking for Eglise Saint-Eustache. There is never a simple way to find the correct exit, especially when exiting the Les Halles - Chatelet section of the Paris Metro.
We found overselves walking around the currently unattractive re-development of Les Halles, heading towards Saint-Eustache. This is a lovely 16th cent. gothic church tucked behind the modern shopping centre of Les Halles.
Musee des Art Decoratifs contained a very sweet exhibition of the french children's comic character Babar the elephant, along with georgous art nouveau and art deco exhibits (including rooms from parfumist Jeanne Lanvin's apartment).
We stopped off in the Tuleries gardens, to enjoy a bit of people watching as well as admire the view of the garden beds leading to the facade of the Louvre close to the Seine.
The sky had started to grey over and rain was soon to start pouring down. So for lunch my sister located this fabulous little biodynamic cafe, Boco, close to Opera. We ducked in to discover a self-serve style cafe. It was our first meal whose main focus wasn't steak frites! We headed off to the Passage du Grand Cerf near Etienne Marcel for a bit of gift shopping, as well as another opportunity to get out of the rain.
I then departed Paris that evening from Charles de Gaulle airport at 10.05pm, heading home to Sydney.
The sun finally arrived today, and we went out to the burbs to enjoy it! We visited Musee Nissim de Camondo, an incredibly lavish belle epoque style house left to the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, and then wandered over to Musee Jacquemart-Andre for morning tea in decadent surroundings.
We then headed over to the other side of town to visit Musee Rodin, had a late lunch at one of the food market areas of Paris, Rue Cler, then did a quick saunter around Palais Royale, before heading back to the apartment for a res. We then headed out to Montparnasse, to be a true tourist again, and look the lift to level 56 of the Tour Montparnasse.
I gave my neck a rest on this day, so my camera wasn't with me. Photos below of the cafe at Jacquemart and photos from Tour Montparnasse of smoggy Paris!
Rather a boring start to the day, putting the washing through the machine, and then off to metro stop Charles de Gaulle Etoile, via a confusing labyrinthian underground space that is the Auber-Opera & Havre Caumartin metro stops combined, to meet a friend to catch the Hop on Hop off Bus. Phew, what a long sentence!
Side visits on this day were a visit to le Petit Palais for morning tea in their lovely cafe and lots of photographs, a walk along the left bank of the Seine past the book and poster seller stalls, through the Latin quarter and then a quick look through St Severin, before heading back to climb aboard the bus again at Notre Dame.
Le Petit Palais
Le Grand Palais (closed on Tues, so interior shots to come - if I have time!)
Back to the Hop on Hop off Bus
There was a huge thunderstorm last night/early morning in Paris. We had a bit of leak in our ceiling (there are at least 3 storeys above us!) due to the severity. The day arrived rather cooler than yesterday, and I headed out to have an early morning wander and visit a boulangerie.
Having breakfasted on a lovely Parisian croissant and black coffee, I braved the nine to fivers by catching the metro to Madeleine. I had an enjoyable wander around the area visiting Fauchon to buy some macarons and have a quick look at their lovely displays of food, and I then headed to Mache aux Puces with friends.
We had a lovely time meandering the lanes of the antique markets. Items I was interested in were out of my price range.( My idea was to recoup the initial cost of items by revamping and selling them back home.) I fancied some lovely 1940's light fittings but they were 50 euros too much.
We dined at restaurant Paul Bert, where the meals were more than substantial and we very much recommend this as a place to visit when visiting the Marche aux Puces. (images below.)
After taking quite a few photos, and being rather overwhelmed by all the gorgeous items available (with a few purchases) we then moved on to the Pompidou Centre to see a few paintings from the permanent exhibit 1905 to 1960 as well as visit the Studio of Brancusi.
From Pompidou we made our way over to the left bank and visited St Chapelle, which is an entirely desirable church to visit. The gendarmes flirted with the young american girls, as we went through the security check in the Palais de Justice, before entering La Chapelle. I now realise I am definitely over the hill, as no one flirted with me! C'est la vie! It happens to us all, except those of us who turn to (not to be mentioned) methods of altering the ageing process.
I left London on the 2.01pm Eurostar from London to Paris. After arriving in Paris, I went down to catch the metro from Gare du Nord and,was meet with a crowded platform waiting for the next train! I got onto the third train than came along and headed to the Bourse metro stop where, after many steps up to the top (not a fav. when I have a suitcase full of gifts) I was greeted on exiting the metro by a lovely cafe. Perhaps a breakfast stop off point one morning.
Our first night in Paris, 5 girls, was spent at Restaurant Chartier, which was lovely, packed to the rafters, and only125 euros in total. This included 5 Kir Royale, 4 entrees, 5 mains, 4 desserts, sparkling water and a bottle of wine. Definitely not bad! A nice start to the first day
Got up this morning and set off to the Pimlico Road Markets. Being of a positive frame of mind this morning, I left the puffa jacket at home (the sun was out after all!) and headed out. I found that it was still cold, but just bearable, so continued on to Pimlico Road.
The market is lovely, set up at a junction in Pimlico Road, with lots of organic food stuffs available. People were out and about. Some were sitting at Daylesford Organic Farm (actually a cafe) having their brekkie, enjoying the small amount of sunshine that can be found in London at the moment, others were sourcing items at the market.
As I headed back to the apartment, I was lucky to have timed it perfectly to ensure I was accompanied there by the Royal Horseguards! Absolutely perfect. I imagined that everyone was stopping to watch me go by, rather than the horses....well I am a bit of a dreamer. No photographs of the horses walking down London streets with the mounted guards I am afraid, as I didn't take my camera with me this time.
Yesterday was an early start. Up at 5.30am, to have a look around Bermondsey Antique Market. Unfortunately the stock being sold by the vendors was mostly sterling silver, and not that interesting! If nothing else it was nice to be able to catch the Tube when there are few travellers.
In the afternoon I visited Liberty's and Fortnum & Mason, as well as enjoying the bus trips there and back again. (137 to Oxford Circus then the 22 back from Piccadilly.) Then I went rather crazy, buying up lots of fabric offcuts from the Designers Guild, on Kings Road.
I am a converted Virgin! Sorry, I mean I am a Virgin convert, well, you know what I mean. I love travelling first class on the Virgin trains in the UK! And, if you book ahead, good prices on tickets are available - free wi-fi and a snack and drink are also included in the cost. What luxury! That would never happen if travelling between Sydney and Katoomba - which is a comparable travel time to the London to Birmingham trip.
I live in a Federation Arts & Craft house with my sister, and I was keen to visit a few Arts & Crafts houses whilst in the UK. After all, it is the country where the movement began!
The Birmingham region has two significant Arts & Crafts style houses. The first is the National Trust managed Wightwick Manor, a Victorian house where the influence of William Morris is strongly displayed in the interior design and fittings. The other A&C house is Winterbourne House, part of the University of Birmingham. Winterbourne showcases the skills of local craftsmen in the physical structure and interior design of the house, as well as the layout, design and planting of the garden.
Having now visited both of the houses, Winterbourne House wins hands down. Visitors are only able to view the ground floor and kitchen area of the house, but the gardens are beautifully laid out and retain their original design, along with containing over 6,000 plant varieties from all over the world.
Wightwick Manor on the other hand is rather a hotch-potch of architectural and interior design styles. The house, built in Victorian times, is Jacobean in design, all wooden beams, with well lit rooms leading off a heavy(think timber coming at you from all angles), unlit entry hall. The house contains a large collection of William Morris textiles, carpets and furnishings as well as Pre-Raphaelite paintings & De Morgan tiles. But it is so crammed full of knick-knacks that it is rather like visiting an Arts & Crafts kleptomaniac's house. The original owner of the house, being part of the Temperance Movement, paid the manager of the pub - that had to remain on his land - extra money for every non-alcoholic drink he sold!
Dining in Birmingham
They say that Birmingham is one of the major culinary cities of Britain, and we did have some nice meals there. The Pub breakfasts weren't much to rave about, although I rather enjoyed having baked beans on toast for our last brekkie in Birmingham.
While in Edinburgh we dined at Restaurant Opus. They use as much sustainable product as they can purchase, and buy locally. They have a well priced set "market menu" as well as the usual a-la-carte option.
Prawn cocktail was my entree, lovely baby prawns wrapped in fresh mayo on a bed of shredded lettuce. My main was Shepherd's Pie/Cottage Pie. Got to love visiting the past! The beef was tender, melting in the mouth, combined with a full flavoured demi-glaze sauce ensuring the beef married with the peas. On top of the pie was that fab 70's style piped mashed potato. A very drinkable & affordable Bordeaux Chateau Tour de Biot accompanied our meal. We luckily finished up just as a big, rowdy group came in, so good timing!
I have to admit that coming to London and having the advantage of staying in the family apartment in London is rather like coming home. Having taken a BA flight from Istanbul to London luckily meant going through Customs very quickly at Heathrow, and being guided by very helpful Customs Staff who pointed us in the direction of the shortest and quickest queue.
The first night in London was spent checking out the new vanity cabinet in the bathroom (yay! - lots of storage space!), washing clothes and relaxing in front of the tv. (Naughty I know, but we arrived in cold rainy weather in London, after leaving warm sunny Istanbul. The last thing I wanted to do was go out and wander London's streets in the cold and rain. I could have done that in Sydney!)
My first full day in London started with a wander down Kings Road, popping into the old fav. Peter Jones and shopping at Marks and Sparks. How can you not purchase too much food there, as there is so much choice! Who ever heard of ready peeled and cut carrots. All you have to do is put some water in a saucepan and put them on to cook!
I then went out to see Pulse London at Earls Court. A design-led gift show. Lots of lovely designs put together by creative talent in the UK. A couple of designers I spoke to are: www.molly-mac.co.uk, www.helenacarrington.co.uk, www.cecilyvessey.com, www.arthousemeath.com and www.lauraolivia.com.
The afternoon was spent visiting the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour where I found a lovely fabric from Colefax & Fowler, Emperor Butterfly, which will definitely suit the chaise lounge in the front room back at home in Sydney.
Bull dog guarding the staff area of the Turkish & Islamic Art Museum.
This blog is dedicated to my friend LouLou, who, hopefully in July, will be submitting some blogs on locations she will visit in Poland.
The images below are some of the doors I chanced upon. Sorry LouLou! I had to include a dog image!
Lover of travel, design, food, culture (and our two toy poodles).