A Walk

I do a lot of walking in Paris. It’s the best way to see a city I think. On this day I took an Internet friend, Susan, and her husband around the Marais. They both like photography and this area of Paris is full of photo ops.

Rain was in the forecast  but we never got any as you can see by the blue sky and light.

An ancient sculpted sign advertising a business that was luckily not covered up.

This painted door has been in the Village Saint Paul for years. I’m so glad it has escaped graffiti damage. It was one of the first things to catch my eye when I walked in the Marais many years ago.

You can find this little antique shop on a small street outside the Village Saint Paul.

The shop had a little cat on the premises which got outside to drink water from the street. Why drink clean water from a bowl when you can get it in a dirty gutter? My cat was the same, drinking water from my plants rather than from his water dish.

Verona

We made a a quick trip to nearby Verona by train in an hour and spent the night. I had no expectations when I went and ended up being totally charmed. It’s a lovely city full of interesting architecture, a lot of it Roman. It had once been under the rule of Venice and that influence is also here. It was once called the city of painting and many buildings do have remnants left of painted scenes on the sides. I would call it the city of balconies myself as they were everywhere. I do wonder is Shakespeare traveled here and got his idea.

The Roman Coliseum is right there in the middle of the Old City.

We went inside and climbed to the top. They still put on plays and events here, just no one killing wild animals.

Once a gateway into the city. It’s great that they left it here. Many of the streets were pedestrian only.

A Renaissance stairway. There was also a statue of Dante who was forced to leave Florence due to Catholic church disagreement with his writing but they took him in in Verona.

There were some wonderful churches in Verona full of painted walls and ceilings. This is a tomb of a wealthy person from Verona.

Another gorgeous church.

Another Wet Day

It has been raining a lot here in Paris. When you finally see a patch of blue sky and a bit of sun, there is rejoicing. I had a friend and her husband visiting here in Paris and gave them a walk around the Marais. I actually went to nursing school with my friend many years ago. She left that field and went on to become a travel agent and has traveled the world. We had to wait until the afternoon to walk to avoid pouring rain but had a relatively dry walk with a bit of sun.

This “artist” has this form of graffiti all over Paris using his face in plaster. This is another near the hotel of my friend with the artist sticking out his tongue and including hands this time.

Another type of graffiti rather fitting with all of the rain lately.

This shop had a long line waiting to go in. I think the interiors of these cakes are all meringue as we saw them assembling a cake using layers of meringue held together with whipped cream.

This ancient building is actually a youth hostel.

Two of the oldest buildings in Paris.

The rain may be annoying but it sure makes the streets beautiful when a bit of sun comes out.

 

The Marais

On Wednesday I walked all the way from our apartment to the Marais, about four miles. It’s been windy and I hate the wind, so I decided to make up for missing my early morning walk. I wore my jogging shoes with my jeans and off I went. There were still gusts but it wasn’t too horrible.

Mimosa have started blooming in Provence and you can find them for sale at florists.

Interior of the florist shop with a great selection of beautiful flowers.

I reached the Bastille area and saw the reflection of the column there in the windows of the Bastille Opera House.

I then reached the Marais with the fantastic architecture of the Place des Vosges.

A colorful corner.

Inviting seating but a bit to chilly for me.

Book Store

While in Porto I read of a famous bookstore called the Livraria Lello, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. I  love old bookstores. It’s known for its beauty but also for the fact that J.K. Rowling sat upstairs while writing some of her Harry Potter books and apparently there is a library in the series based on this bookstore. This fact has made the place extremely popular. I never could get into Harry Potter. I’m not that much a fan of science fiction and the first movie bored me silly. It is so popular that you have to go up the street a bit and buy a 4 Euro entry ticket. If you bought a book, and I did, you get a discount with the entry ticket. My 13 Euro book was 11 Euros thanks to that. It’s a small place and it was packed. It was, indeed, beautiful.

The exterior.

As you enter.

Underneath the lovely staircase.

The concrete stairs are red. I’m not sure if they have always been so.

I liked this curve of the stairs.

The stained glass up above.

Looking down from the second floor.

Porto


 As it was getting close to New Year’s Eve Maurice suggested going somewhere as we had no plans for that evening. Maurice suggested Portugal and asked the guardienne who takes care of the buildings where we live for suggestions as she is Portuguese and she said Porto so we quickly booked a trip for three days. Porto turned out to be a really beautiful and interesting city, full of hills like San Francisco and beautiful architecture, a lot of it with embellished with blue and white tiles known as azulejos. It was started by the Moors who once ruled this area. We found the Portuguese people to be very friendly and warm.

The first thing I saw when we got out of the metro stop when we arrived was this beautiful chapel.

A closer view. This was more recent tile done in the early 1900’s.

Another decorated church. Note the gray skies. We got rained on a couple of times. The sun came out the day we left.

I think this church was closed but I loved the door and window.

Here’s another one.

There was some Art Nouveau too.

They put up two huge umbrellas which blocked the beautiful Café Majestic. It has a gorgeous interior which is worth buying a overpriced drink to see just don’t, please, eat there. I did and I’m sorry. We had the crummiest seats in there too.

The pretty bar there. Over crowded with tourists. It’s listed in every book and article you read about what to see in Porto.