Life in Paris

On a really bitterly cold day with a wind that felt like it came straight from Siberia, I met a friend, Lisa, for lunch. It was so cold we decided to meet inside the St Germain des Pres church so neither one of us would have to stand outside.

It’s one of the oldest churches in Paris and much of it is still painted as you can see by this column.

One of the bishops of the church was from Poland.

After lunch we headed for the bus stop and passed this restaurant. One of these days I’d like to eat here for something special as it is a bit expensive.

Art Nouveau revolving doors lead you to the interior.

Over the door, the name of the restaurant.

There are really beautiful murals on the exterior.

Another look.

A seafood platter if you want. It was so cold that I’m sure they didn’t need the ice.

Before some friends returned to the States, Crepe day arrived which is on February 2nd and Maurice wanted to make some for them.

The only photo I could get with the crepe in the air as he flipped one.

He made a lot. We had some with ham and cheese and then made them dessert with butter, sugar, orange liquor and some chestnut creme. Not a fancy meal but fun. We had some cider too, another tradition.

The day before we went up to Montmartre just as the sun was starting to set.

Sacre Coeur against the darkening sky.

The square is usually packed with artists but it started raining and it was cold. It will be very different in the summer.

A friend of mine wanted some perfume by Annick Goutal, a famous Parisian perfume. The tiny little shops always smell fabulous as you might imagine and are always pretty.

There are many fragrances to choose from.

The window display was full of butterflies.

Another look at the interior. I looked up Annick Goutal on Google and found out that she once helped her father in his chocolate shop then went on to be a model. A friend asked her to open a perfume shop with her and Annick designed the bottles and packaging and developed most of the fragrances.

We also went into this perfume shop. Here is what Google said about it: Just after the French Revolution, Pierre François Lubin founded his Perfume House, at rue Sainte Anne in Paris. He provided perfumed ribbons, ball masks and rice powders to the “Incroyables” and “Merveilleuses”. His most famous creation however was the “Eau Vivifiante” later called “Eau de Lubin”. The fragrance soon won him the favour of the Imperial court. And so began Lubin’s renown thanks to Empress Joséphine and Pauline Bonaparte, Princess Borghèse. When the Bourbon monarchy was restored, the perfumer dedicated his fragrances to Queen Marie-Amélie.

Some mixes of fragrances inside the store. We tried several helped by a very nice man. I think my favourite was one called Gin Fizz and I may go back one of these days and buy some. They have candles too, a weakness of mine. You can find this perfume online, by the way.

Friends from Louisiana were visiting and two of them had gone to a Sacred Heart boarding school in Louisiana with a long history connected to France and Madeleine Sophie, now a saint. There is a church just a block from Invalides that has the body of Madeleine Sophie in a beautiful coffin made in Ghent, Brussels and our friends wanted to visit it.

Here she is. My friend said the nuns at her school used to dress like this. Not only did she get an excellent education there, she also became fluent in French, lucky thing.

We made the short walk to Invalides looking pretty against the sky.

The enormous interior courtyard.

The tomb of Napoleon.There was no expense spared for the tomb and Napoleon Bonaparte’s body lies within six separate coffins. They are made of iron, mahogany, two of lead, ebony, and the outer one is red porphyry.

On a cold and rainy day a friend and I decided to stop for tea to warm up.

The tea shop, l’Heure Gourmand, was found in this passageway.

Nice light from this window. I don’t know if you can tell but the street is about 3 feet higher and you have to descend a few steps to get into the tea shop which makes me think this is an old building and that the courtyard levels were raised at some point.

Isn’t this a pretty cup and saucer?

Pouring the tea.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It has become a huge thing to put locks on the bridges here in Paris, and many other places around the world, and call them Love Locks. At first it was sort of charming but now it is over the top and along side graffiti as far as spoiling history monuments. Go to No Love Locks and have a look at what two American women who live in Paris have done in the hopes of getting love locks stopped.

Here’s a look at a section of Pont des Arts where you can see how out of control it is. The rest of the bridge has been covered with plywood and I think there may be plans to put up glass panels in the future so locks can’t be attached. It has been slow but the city of Paris is going to try and change things.

The view of the beautiful Institute de France seen at one end of the bridge. The Louvre Museum is at the other end. Napoleon used to walk on this bridge from the Louvre to the Institute for meetings. I don’t think he would be very happy to see what has happened.

Look at what some thoughtless jerk did. You can see the plywood has been covered with graffiti too. I hate it.

There was a cute couple sitting on one of the benches having a romantic moment with pink champagne so I took a photo.It was a freezing day and they only had on light jackets but “they had their love to keep them warm”.

They saw me taking a photo of their glasses and the bottle so the woman put out her love lock all ready to attach somewhere. I would have told them not to and why not but they were Russian and I don’t think I could have gotten my point across.

So, I hope all of you out there have a great Valentine’s Day. We will probably do nothing special. In fact, we may be baby sitting. Sigh.

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