Chelsea, Eric and Little Brett take over Paris

To begin our second week, our good friend Little Brett, came to stay and visit Paris for about a week. If you remember, Little Brett is our friend who was working at a hostel in Venice (and so generously hooked us up with a beautiful room there). Since that time, he has jumped in the Grand Canal three times (to be fair, it was all in one night) and gone to Copenhagen and Sweden.

We started Brett’s week off right with something small, a gentle introduction to Paris if you will, with a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Hello ma belle

We spent the day eating baguettes, brie, grapes, wine and Schweppes Agrum. Eric and I drew while Brett caught up with two friends he had made in Venice.

Eric and I drawing at the picnic

Picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower, bit of stormy weather on the horizon

We decided to stroll all the way home from the Eiffel Tower and see the sights along the Seine. We ended up coming upon a peaceful demonstration for freedom for Tibet.

Brett and his friends in front of one of the many, many merry-go-rounds in Paris.

Eiffel Tower from Trocadero. You can see the storm clouds moving away.

Peaceful protest for the freedom of Tibet

Fall Colors along the Seine, photo by Eric

Chelsea and Little Brett

Walking along the quai of the Seine, caught the tail end of a Bateau Mouche bearing the French flag!

Can't resist just one more. The sky was so beautiful that day.

We stopped in at the Petit Palais, a free museum in Paris, to warm up and take a breather. Unwittingly, we got into a special preview of the new exhibition happening there-basically, we were at the museum after hours. We poked around the museum, and the new exhibition, Elles changent l’Inde (Women who change India), and got warm again.

Entrance to the Petit Palais

The Grand Palais from the Petit Palais, in purple

Beautiful railing detail in the Petit Palais

The Eiffel Tower and the Elephant by Jules Ernest Renoux, from the Petit Palais

After we had had our fill, we kept on towards home. The walk was a lot longer than I had anticipated (and sold the rest of the group on), so we rewarded ourselves with a big spaghetti dinner upon returning home.

The next day, Brett met me at Bastille and we walked back through the Marais district and Place des Vosges.

Place des Vosges

That night, we went out to a wonderful jazz club called L’Atelier Charonne. An amazing spot that specializes in gypsy jazz or jazz manouche.  We knew we wanted to visit this spot that night, but when we looked up who was playing that night we were shocked to discover that it was David Reinhardt, grandson of Django Reinhardt-King and Father of gypsy jazz! We spent a wonderful evening listening to him play (literally, like it was nothing, he played with the guitar as if it was a toy, effortlessly). After we visited a few bars in the Bastille area before heading home for the night.

The next day, my good friend Joy (who is nothing but sweetness and light), invited us to join her at attending the FIAC!. I wasn’t familiar with the FIAC! (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) before this but it turns out the be a very special event, every year in Paris, where gallery owners from all over the city converge in the Grand Palais (across the street from the Petit Palais) and put forth the most promising artists that they know. All the gallery owners have, essentially, market stalls (but very fancy of course) and are introducing the public to new artists and are selling their works as well. We found out that this is a very, very popular event in Paris and we were really lucky to get to go with Joy. As it was modern art, we had a fun time discovering the surprising works throughout the beautiful space.

The Grand Palais is one of my very favorite buildings in Paris because of this amazing glass roof.

Organization Balloons at the FIAC!

Brett is French.

Darth Vader slays all the Harry Potter books

And then there was this thing....yikes!!!

We walked home from the FIAC and grabbed crepes at my favorite spot, La Boulangerie de Papa in the 4eme. Brett adored his first real crepe.

Brett and his crêpe

I've lost my boyfriend to a crêpe.....

....it's ok because I love this crêpe more than him anyway! So there!

Then we walked from the 4eme home, passing in front of the Notre Dame. Time for some more photos! Naturellement!

Brett and Chelsea in front of the Notre Dame

Night Café, photo by Eric

Notre Dame at night, photo by Eric

Night boat on the Seine

And then we saw this thing....

Poetry anti-war machine and it's maker....

oh yes, and it was a fountain. So a mobile-poetry-anti-war-fountain.

Hôtel de Ville colors, photo by Eric

Photo ghosts in front of Hôtel de Ville, photo by Eric

The next day, I took Brett to my old neighborhood, Montmarte, to introduce him. First he wanted to see the infamous Moulin Rouge and so I obliged by getting off the metro at Blanche, so he could see. As I anticipated he was a bit underwhelmed by what he found. In fact, he told me he didn’t even know that was it until I pointed it out to him.

Moulin Rouge

Upon arrival, we found that there was an Festival d’Automne (Autumn Fair) happening. Lots of artisan food sellers were out in stalls all along Rue d’Abbesses and in the main square, Place d’Abbesses, there was a Ferme Vivante {more on that in a minute}.

Le Deux Moulins café, where Amélie worked

Abbesses Metro station in Montmarte

We bought some organic Macarons from this vendor at the festival

And then I bought a doughnut because....well....because!!

A Ferme Vivante, means living farm, and seeing this fulfilled all of Brett and my cute meters for the rest of time. I would compare it to a mobile petting zoo, and the “Farmer” also puts on a little show with kids, teaching them about the animals (how to milk a goat, etc.). They absolutely loved it and we spent what could easily have been 45 minutes watching. Basically, Brett and I (and let me say, mostly Brett) spent the whole time squealing at how cute the animals (and kids) were and trying to pet the baby lamb.

The Farmer and his farm hands

The Farmer and his farm hands

Hello Goose.

Wheeeee!!!

I tried to steal this baby lamb. I'm not ashamed!

The baby lamb and his best friend, Pig.

Un petit veau

Un petit Brett

Les petits lapins

Les petits canards! Am happy to say I've successfully smuggled one of these in my bag! Pierre, you're coming to America!!!

Having finally pet the baby lamb, we felt that we could leave and see the rest of Montmarte. We strolled around and drank in the big white teapot, the Sacré Coeur.

On Brett’s second to last day, we braved the Sunday crowds in the Marais (the only district that’s open) and started off with a Falafal at the king of Falafal’s, L’as du Falafal.

True. Spotted this in line at Falafal.

Happy Camper with his falafal

We walked a few blocks away to sit and eat our falafals, when all of a sudden we heard a loud thumping beat. That morning had been the final game in the Rugby cup between France and New Zealand. I assumed that France had won and some group had gotten together to celebrate. The beat got steadily louder and then we heard a piano with it….huh?

We were perched on a circle cement in the middle of a very small roundabout. In the middle of the roundabout was a tree. Out of the street in front of us, all of a sudden, poured out a mass of people. Wait, people? No they were definitely zombies!!!! Ahhhhhhhh!!! The zombie invasion was underway!!!!

 

Unnervingly real life zombies came spilling through the streets in front of us, all around us and nearly through us! The were climbing trees and walls and pulling down helpless victims from the windows!

Beginning of the Zombie Walk...

Zombies pushing a zombie keyboard player

Cerveauxxxxx...Cerveauxxxx.....

Zombie signs

It was amazing because some of these people had very professional looking makeup-really life like and vivid! If we had to guess, we would say there were 1,000 people in the parade. Everyone was completely in character and ready to scare you. This whole thing was so amazing because it was obviously totally coordinated but still had a very subversive feeling about it. And, in my opinion, Paris is a pretty reserved place. Yes, it is an artists city. Yes, Paris sets the trends for a lot of fashion. But, in my experience living there most people pretty much fall in line with the Parisian norm. I got A LOT of weird looks when I wore my retro dresses out in town. How come you’re not wearing all grey and skinny jeans?!?!?! One day, when it was about 34 degrees out (about 93 Farenheit) I wore a short skirt because, well, it was REALLY REALLY HOT. Oh the glares I got! Nobody wore short skirts in Paris then and it was a shock to everyone. One time, my friend wore shorts out to a restaurant at night, one hot humid summer night and someone asked if she was going to the pool! It’s hot people! Sometimes we dress accordingly! We’re from California!

So flash forward 5 years later, and a bunch of Parisians are marching down the street as zombies-which is admittedly actually weird! Look how far they’ve come! To me, this was a huge indicator that Paris had changed. In my opinion, for the better. If people feel free enough to get dressed up as real life zombies, and march down the street in the name of zombie pride, chasing people around and growling “Mangeeeeezzzzz, Mangeeeeezzz. Cerveauxxxxxx, Cerveauxxxxxx” {Eaaaat, Eaaat. Braaaiinnss, Braaaaiins.} then Paris has come become much more accepting by leaps and bounds. Well done Paris.

Zombies pulling down victims from windows! Ahhhhhh!!!

After all the zombie excitement, we zipped over to the Eiffel Tower to take a Bateau Mouche-one of the long, many windowed boats that trawl the Seine on a sightseeing tour {so named because the windows looks like the eyes of flies, and mouche means fly}. As my Mom always says, seeing a city from the water is one of the best ways to see a city. We sailed along, drinking in Paris from the rivers point of view; watching the city slide from day to dusk.

The National Assembly

River Tour by Bauteau Mouche

More Bateaux Mouches in front of the Musee d'Orsay on the Seine

Notre Dame via the Bateau Mouche

Backside of Notre Dame, my favorite side from the Bateau Mouche

Pont de Bir-Hakeim

Eiffel Tower at dusk via the Bateau Mouche

Just as Eric and I got up to take a photo, the Eiffel Tower lit up!

Bonsoir Paris!

Since we were already there we visited the Eiffel Tower again!

Who are those nerds in front of the Eiffel Tower?

On Brett’s last day he woke up at an ungodly hour to climb up the Eiffel Tower. Upon his return, we zoomed over to the Louvre, to make sure he saw some of the classics before he left Paris.

Venus de Milo at the Louvre

Cupid and Psyche

Winged Victory

Secret backstock room at the Louvre, piles of treasures just heaped on top of each other!

Doorknob in the King's former apartments

My preferred method of transport: Tortoise.

Although it was a brief trip, we did see the biggies and saw some lesser visited wings that held some breathtaking treasures. Eric and I planned to come back, which ended up not working out but as those who have visited the Louvre know, you can go back a million times and still find more to visit. Next time Paris!

Back at the apartment we toasted Brett’s departure with a “see you soon” drink. We were going to be in London at the same time and promised to see him there. Leaving is easier when you know you’ll see friends soon, but it was still hard to see him leave after having such a good friend around constantly for a week. The toughest thing about extended travel is missing your loved ones, so this small comfort was a true pleasure and relief during Brett’s week with us. Luckily, we had a few more friends to visit and a few more things to see during our next and final week. The full report on that soon to come!

<3 Chelsea

Nerds.

3 responses to “Chelsea, Eric and Little Brett take over Paris

  1. I am now officially going to make it mandatory for my students to read your blog! nothing will motivate them more than to see this!
    I loved, LOVED this post! and I love you even more ma petite cherie!
    (Can I get Pierre for just a few days when you get back? I need a petit canard badly at the moment) btw do you know that French kids get a petit sucre half dipped in coffee (called a canard) to coerce them into shuttting up when their parents get their “petit noir” (coffee). I’ve had many myself growing up…

  2. It is really a nice and useful piece of information.
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