Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Canal Saint-Martin, Paris

 When John and I decided to do a tour of the Canal Saint-Martin we took the metro to Gare de l'Est and turned off the square at the front of the railway station onto Rue des Recollets towards the canal.
Right away we made a discovery that wasn't mentioned in the guidebooks -- the Librarie Galerie Photographe, a wonderful bookstore devoted to photography books.
We quickly arrived at the Quai de Valmy on the canal
with views of the widest part of the canal to the north.
It was a sunny morning and locals were already relaxing on the shoreline.
As we walked south along the canal I was fascinated by the streets leading off at a lower level.
The neighbourhood could offer lots of sidetracks and discoveries away from the canal.
But for the moment we wanted to concentrate on the canal, its locks, bridges and quais.
and the old working class buildings that line it.
The bridge and locks at Rue de Lancry and Rue de la Grange aux Belles are particularly picturesque.
The Quai de Jemmapes side features the charming Hotel du Nord cafe/restaurant
featured in the famous 1938 film by the same name.
We decided that the patio offered the perfect opportunity to pause-reset
with a glass of prosecco.
John took the opportunity to take some shots of the 1930s interior,
now listed as part of the French national heritage.
Across the bridge is a popular store, ARTAZART, which features books on art, graphics, illustration and design.
As we wandered down the canal I got a peek on another place worth a future visit. Later I discovered that I was looking at the gate to Hopital St Louis, founded in 1607 by Henri IV to care for victims of the plague.
At last we reached the bridge and locks
where the canal disappears into an underground tunnel to the Bastille.
We crossed the street to Rue Leon Jouhaux and
headed towards the trees of Place de la Republique to continue our day's agenda. Lunch!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hôtel de Sens

Surprises kept happening in Paris. Somehow, although I knew that the  Hôtel de Sens was situated in the Marais,  John and I always seem to come upon it by accident.
And so one day while taking a small detour on our way to the Seine we came upon the rear parterre gardens of the magical medieval palace residence.
 One of the few remaining Medieval residences in Paris, the home of the Archbishop of Sens, it was built between 1475 and 1507.
The little jewel box of a building is a mix of Late Gothic and Early Renaissance styles. This is the courtyard.
One more surprise for us, I just read that the building houses the Fornay Art Library of art and craftsmanship, displays regular exhibitions from its collection and is open to the public for free. We didn't even imagine entering the building. Next visit!

Friday, June 26, 2015

New Friends at Fer à Cheval

On our 2nd-last night in Paris Bill and I went for a drink at Au petit fer à cheval.
The waiters knew us and looked after us well. Because it was our last visit they bought us a round of drinks.
 We were pleased when our new friend Danielle appeared. 
 She had a surprise for us.
 She wanted her friend Niky to meet the guys she'd met from Canada.
We fell in love with Niky at first sight. 
 What I mean is we felt a deep affinity.
 Niky spoke very quickly with Danielle feeding Bill much-appreciated subtitles.
Danielle had one more surprise -- her friend Soumaya, who is finishing up a degree at the Sorbonne.
 I assured Soumaya that I would edit the pictures I was taking to include only the flattering ones.
She told me to put them all in, she wanted to recall each moment as it happened. 
Three women after our own hearts. Lovely meeting them all.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Solstice in Paris

The night before John and I left Paris was Summer Solsice and the Parisians were celebrating with a city-wide Music Festival. After dinner we headed out to see what was happening.
Lots was happening! Right next door at the Place des Vosges the arcades were providing a perfect setting for both professional and amateur musicians like this harpist.
We loved this folk singer with her dulcimer and so did her audience.
This amateur choir invited the audience to sing along.
There was no room for cars on the streets around the square.
This drum group invited kids in the audience to partake with rattles.
A wonderful jazz group; Odeon by name.
Another group played country dance music
and the crowd joined in with enthusiasm.
We liked this group of
mouth organ virtuosos
and another group playing bagpipes.
We decided to see what was happening at the Swedish Cultural Center. Swedish songwriter, singer and feminist, Beatrice Eli was in full control of the young crowd wearing flowers and drinking from wine bottles.
Many were singing along to her new single: Girls.
On hip Rue de la Perle the DJs were working the young crowd.
After a drink at Au Petit Fer a Cheval we decided to see what was happening in the Gay Village. A Samba marching band was squeezing through Rue Ste-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie
and all the clubs had DJs blasting out dance music to the immense crowds around the Gay clubs.
Just off Rue de Rivoli an enthusiastic group were letting their hair fly
above a subway vent.
John picked up a 3 euro beer at this pub to carry along the street.
On Rue Francs-Bourgeois we found this rock duo
and farther down the street these young jazz musicians.
We headed back to our apartment to pack for the trip home past this rock band in the Place des Vosges. It really felt like Paris was sending us off with a big party. Merci, Paris!!