Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Paris: Day 5

By this point, it was hard to ignore that we were going home soon. We had breakfast at Café Benjamin on Rue de Rivoli, a place I like for their 3 euro breakfast of coffee, croissant and orange juice as much as for their encaustic tile floor.

We had a moment of complete heat-induced stupidity when we went to the Louvre and discovered that it was closed on Tuesdays. That’s why they make guidebooks, people! Oh, well – really it was too nice a day to spend inside anyway.

We walked down through the Tuileries and along the Champs Elysees until we came to the Arc de Triomphe, which neither of us visited last time. It was an adventure trying to figure out how to actually get to it – there’s an underground stairway that we didn’t see at first – and then when we got to the center, it’s just enormous. I was glad I’d photographed it from across the street, because it all wouldn’t fit in the lens once we were close up.

Once we were done there, Mario looked at the metro map and pointed out that the metro line we would have to take ran straight up to Anvers, and wasn’t it a shame that I’d been deprived of going to Reine the day before. Honestly, the man just gets better and better! Off to Montmartre we went again, and this time I didn’t hold back. Two cuts of Liberty cotton at Reine, and permission from the saleswoman to take ONE photograph of the mannequins. Of course someone jostled me and I wasn’t allowed to take a second one. One photo meant one photo. So, a blurry picture of a mannequin wearing a really fabulous red satin gown.

There are other stores there called “coupon” stores. Coupon apparently means remnant, and those stores were treasure troves if you’re willing to dig. I. Am. Willing. To. Dig. I found two wonderful summer cottons, 3 meter cuts for 12 euros each, and a brown crinkled taffeta with embroidery and sequins that is just calling out to be made into something excessive from BWOF.
An ulterior motive was revealed when Mario found a green striped/floral shirting fabric that was a really good approximation of some of the shirts he’d been admiring. Three meters for 18 euros, and I can do the contrasting bits with last year’s Liberty lawn, which will work really well, or a solid green if he objects to the pattern. (Fabric photos to come, I promise!)

We stopped at a café near the metro stop for lunch and got to experience something I didn’t know existed anymore – one of those Turkish toilets that’s basically just two footrests and a hole in the floor. Interesting. Almost sorry I didn’t have my camera, but not quite.

After resting up a bit and coming to the shameful realization that I’d acquired something like 20 meters of fabric in two days, we headed out for our final dinner. Allard, on Rue Saint-Andre-des-Arts, was our favorite restaurant last year, and we decided to go back. We got there at about 8:30 p.m., and while it wasn’t packed, it was pretty crowded. Without a reservation we got put into the less attractive, still very nice back dining room. There was a Canadian couple at the next table and we compared vacation experiences and admired each others’ food – they got the roast chicken with mushrooms and we got the roast duck with olives, both highly recommended.

The duck took up so much space that we passed on dessert at the restaurant and took another walk instead. Even though it was almost 10:00 p.m., we managed to catch a great sunset as we crossed the bridge. That inspired us to walk back to Berthillon for a final sorbet – pomme vert (green apple) and groseille (red currant). Yum.

Packing took some time. The wine got wrapped securely in my dirty laundry to be checked at the airport. The fabric and the few ceramic bits I picked up at the flea market took up my entire carry-on bag, which I only brought on the off-chance I bought anything.

How do you say, “I’ve been a bad, bad girl?” in French?


laura said...

I had no idea that taking pictures wasn't allowed in Reine! Why isn't it allowed? What must I have looked like wandering around taking pictures left and right! Oh well, no one ever said a word to me!

laura said...

I had no idea that taking pictures wasn't allowed in Reine! Why isn't it allowed? What must I have looked like wandering around taking pictures left and right! Oh well, no one ever said a word to me!