12 December 2010

PARIS: Day 2

No 5:00am alarm this morning. No alarm at all. And, it took awhile this morning for us to figure out that our windows are covered with curtains, insulated like a featherbed, that absolutely shut out all light and sound. When we creep from bed, it’s already 9:00am.

We’re developing a pattern of spending Sundays at the market in Levallois. We stumbled across this market on the first day of our first trip to Paris in December 1998, and this is the third Sunday we’ll spend there. Actually, in 1998 we left the Marriott Courtyard in Neuilly to explore our surrounds, saw a guy carrying a baguette and tried to retrace his steps. Then, we saw people carrying market bags and figured we were onto something. We eventually found the market street and the rest is history—this is our fourth visit to Paris and we’ve been on the market street of Levallois 6 or 7 times.

We take the Metro to Anatole France and walk 5 or 6 blocks just beyond the Levallois Hôtel de Ville. We’re remembering the pastries we bought in the covered market in 2008… Markets change, of course, and we can’t locate that vendor. No matter, we walk to Trebois for café crèmes and some serious people watching.

The reason we love Levallois is that we’re this close to Paris and yet there’s a community or village feel to these streets. This is definitely off the tourist-track. We pretend for just a bit that we’re part of this community.

 Shopi - a favorite small grocery store in Levallois
This is where I got my spices.

We can’t resist a stop at Shopi—a small supermarché—before meandering through the market. CA buys some cheese from the same gentleman we’ve encountered on previous visits at Libert Fromager, while I stand on line at Eric Kaiser’s for a baguette. [The cheeses are superb! Crottin de Touraine (goat's milk) and Sainte Nectaire (cow's milk)]

We head away from the market to Place de Verdun where we have fond memories of LG climbing and playing, and riding the small Ferris wheel in February 2007. There’s a small, child-centered Christmas market—fewer huts than we remember from 2008. We’re about to leave the area then decide to double back to the market streets to find a café for lunch. It takes awhile for us to decide on just the “right” café, but in the end it’s the perfect choice—La Piazzetta. CA orders spaghetti bolognese and I decide on a chorizo pizza—pepperoni and onions, with a fried egg on top. We again share a 250dcl of wine—this time rouge. Great ambience, delicious food, and super people watching.

After café we wander slowly back to Anatole France for the Metro back to Tuilleries (via Opéra and Concorde). I dig in—why stay in a luxury hotel with high thread-count sheets if you don’t take time to snuggle in with a good book? CA is a bit more restless and goes out after dark to capture photos of some of what we experienced during last night’s marathon walk. I’m resting up for the next three days.

Place Concorde ferris wheel

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