Paris, semaine deux

Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen/Clignancourt

Friday, August 7, 2015
We like to go thrifting so we thought we would check out what Paris has to offer.

We saw on a website that this, Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen/Clignancourt, was the biggest of what Paris has to offer in the line of flea markets. It was supposed to be open weekdays 11am-5pm, Saturdays 9am-6pm and Sundays 10am-5pm. We took the Metro to the Clignancourt stop. You can even get a brochure to assist you as this is a huge market, short name Les Puces, that would take a whole day. If you go on the weekend do not be sidetracked before you get to the "real" market.We decided to go on a weekday when it was not too busy because we just wanted to get a small flavour of the market. We can not really buy anything big to take back anyway.

Going on Friday was a bit disappointing because most of the permanent stalls or stores were not open but a few were. We, however, got to wonder around in a leisurely manner and not have to fight crowds. The art and antiques were the best items we saw. From graffiti to huge art sculptures outside shops, it made me feel inspired. There were several sets of older model chairs that were exquisite in styling plus in great shape. Would have been mine in different circumstances. We saw huge, iron dog sculptures for outside. They were rusting which is a good look actually. Ken liked the old anvil. The graffiti was from Lady and the Tramp to huge panda bears and abstract paintings on the shop's roll down doors (yes, just like Mexico). When I checked we had already walked over five kilometres by the time we left Les Puces (fleas).

It was passed lunch time but we had not eaten and wanted to go back to the Latin Quarter. Our lunch spot was once again the Lebanese place we ate at previously. We ate a very tasty meal. Then we wondered around the Latin Quarter passed - Shakespeare and Company (this time there was a line-up to get in, so did not go), Notre Dame Cathedral, passed an very old, filled in well, into an art store and tapestry store and off to the bakery that had the huge meringue cookies in odd colours. Both Ken and I favour this area of Paris, it seems to be a very arty area. Then we realized we wanted to go back to the Louvre Museum shop to make a purchase we put off previously. It was back on the Metro for the third time this day.

Our Metro stop was the Caravel Mall. Ken went to the Apple Store and I wondered around in the myriad of supposed upper end shops. I was inspired by these shops, guess I was having a very inspirational day. I was in the shops Fragonard and Pylones. The art in Arteum was great. I especially liked a huge, red alligator/crocodile and dishes by an artist called Niki Saint Phalle. The glass atrium under the pyramid of the Louvre was as busy as usual. We moved on to the Museum shop were I picked up a few gifts.

Then we had the not so wise idea to walk some more. 
We both love to walk and rest when we need to bust lots of walking. This foot of mine is really cramping our style. We walked to Jardin Des Tuilleries. We were tired and sat on reclining chairs in front of a fountain. There were ducks in the water standing on floating boards, unusual. It was a delightful segway into nature from the city. Nearly every chair around this huge fountain has some weary, resting person on it. As soon as we decided to leave our chairs got taken instantly. On our homeward trek we cut through the carnival where the ferris wheel was located which ran parallel to the Jardin. By this time I could hardly wait to get back to our little hotel. I will need to rest tomorrow.

Saturday, August 8, 2015
We went to the Porte de Vanves Flea Market, in the 14th arrondissement (precinct).

We took the Metro so got off at Porte De Vanves which is only one stop from our usual Metro station.

This Market had a real variety of items. To give a general statement, it is quite different from those we have or have seen in North America, it had lots of antique or older items. The items were different than we have seen, too - antique furniture but lots of little antique items. Some of those items were China dishes and silverware, tablecloths and old lace, lots of vintage jewellery, vintage artwork and rugs, lots of wooden statues from Africa and lots more. The venders had to pay to be there. They sat up on tables and some were already packing up by the time we arrived. Neither of us bought anything, nor were we really that interested. I guess North American flea markets have spoiled us even though the goods here were quite unique. We did notice some of the vendors were pretty messy and there was lots of trash left on the sidewalk area. The vendors seemed like professionals who do this type of selling often.

We decided to walk back to our Hotel so we could experience a new neighborhood. I could not resist buying some "frites" or French fries as we know them. It was a huge amount for 1,80. They actually were very much like McDonald fries but served with both ketchup and mayonaise.
The streets have many little parks or garden areas in between them. The flowers are wonderful this time of year.

Sunday, August 9, 2015
Ken is so wonderful.

He was willing to take the Metro with me to the Musee d'Orsay. He would walk me there then go back to our Hotel to work on the blog. Once we were already and on the Metro I queried, "what if there is a line-up to get into the Museum and get tickets?". I should have thought of that earlier. The Musee d'Orsay is across the river Seine from the Louvre, sort of. I have the route memorize to get back, the Metro and the walk along University Street. We arrive almost at the Museum and I see a huge line-up. By the time the end of the line tourists get into the Museum it will be closing. That meant I was not going to the Museum because I hate line-ups. There are huge black statues by the Museum - rhinoceros, baby elephant and ancient women statues.

I was not too disappointed because I have seen a lot of art, but I still wanted to see the Museum and the art. We decide to walk over to the Carnaval Mall to the tobacco shop and pick up tickets for another days visit to the Musee d'Orsay. On the way to the Mall we saw many interesting sites from different visual perspectives then we have seen, like the Louvre, for example. We walked through a park attached to the Louvre. We saw the most precious of sites, a mother dog with her puppies. A man was trying to raise funds for them in a cup. I took lots of pictures and petted them so I gave some money.

We took the Metro back to our area, actually one stop passed our usual stop and walked back. It seemed like a bit of a wasted art day but oh well, better luck next time.

Monday, August 10, 2015
Ken is making final transportation arrangements for our day trip to Cambrai, France, north of Paris.

He is purchasing tickets on-line. It has not been easy for us to figure out the best way to get there. In the first place we made a tactical error. We did not check a map to see exactly where Cambrai was when we book into this Hotel then made arrangements for our next destination. This error is costing us in transportation costs but going to Cambrai means a lot to me. My Great-uncle, Avard Risteen O'Neill, was killed in World War I. He is buried in a Canadian Military cemetery near Cambrai. We are going to pay our respects. We did not know if we should rent a car or take the bus or train, when the dust settled we decided on the train.

Ken also had to buy my ticket to get into the biggest contemporary and modern art gallery in Europe - Pompidou Centre. He willing volunteered to escort me to the gallery via the Metro. My job was to use Google maps to get us there, then after viewing the gallery I would return home using Google maps. Ken returned, after taking me downtown, to the Hotel.
tell about gallery itself and about the exhibit.s..........

Tuesday, August 11, 2015
We are going from Paris to Cambrai, France (northern France).

My Great-uncle Avard Risteen O'Neal's (O'Neill) final resting place. He fought in World War I with the 85th battalion in the Canadian infantry. We found out where the cemetery was and even exactly where his grave was located.

I have need to let you know why this little family mission was so important to me. I am, as far as I know, the only family member to visit his grave. My Great-grandfather, Grandfather and Mother did not get the opportunity to come to France and pay their respects. I have the opportunity and really wanted to do this. I can remember my Grandfather very passionately telling me about his brother and the fact that he died in the war. I remember him showing me pictures. I grew to love this Uncle just from the love that my Grandfather passed down to me. I have wanted to go and see the grave for a long time.

Our journey started on the Metro, going to Paris North (Nord). From there we took a high speed train to Douai then on to Cambrai. We could see the cemetery from the bus as we sped in the clearing surrounded by farm fields. Driving into Cambrai we saw red brick buildings on either side of the road almost to the huge train station which was also brick. We walked into the small city or big town of Cambrai. I looked for a florist for flowers and Ken looked for a car rental company. I discovered the cutest little kitten in one shop, what a sweetie.

We rented a car and off we went to the local Canadian Cemetery for the Cambrai, France area. There is a sign from the main road pointing to the cemetery. Once you get there it strikes you that there are so many grave markers, so many had died in this battle. There is signage that states that 222 Canadian and 2 British solidiers are buried here, and that they all died in action on 27 of September 1918. The other thing that strikes you is the obvious respect and care that has been taken with the cemetery. The cemetery was constructed and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There are two big maple trees in the back spreading its branches out over the graves. Just under the tombstones is a row of soil and plants like rose bushes, etc. Mostly there is very well kept grass. The cemetery has a hedge growing around it and a big, main cross at the front. Each tombstone has the name of the fallen soldier, their age, when they died and an inspription, none of which seem to be the same. Did this inscription come from a family member back home? There were brick pillars guarding the gate of the cemetery. One of the pillars had a little brass door in it. When you opened the door inside was a book to sign and give a little message. It was all very sad. I brought roses to put on Uncle Avard's grave.

We went back into Cambrai and took back the rental car. The rental lady gave us an ungraded car for a lower price which was nice. We bought a snack to take on the train for supper. While we were walking around looking for a snack we found a park near the centre of town. It was a park set aside to commemorate the liberation of Cambrai in 1918 and recognizing the Royal Canadian Regiment that liberated their town. I was happy to see that they understood the sacrifice that was made and honoured that sacrifice.

We enjoyed the train ride back. The trains were almost empty. You would think quiet then, but some windows were open because the train was hot, so it was noisy. We stopped in some small town for almost an hour so we got out and roamed around it.

Once back in Paris North we took the subway to the lit up Moulin Rouge. We had no intention of going to a play but wanted to see the outside. People were lined up to go into a show, kind of late as it was around ten at night.



Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Almost as soon as I was up I went downstairs to do the laundry.

The washer is tinged blue as is the dryer. I would not wash white clothes but it was fine for the darks we wanted washed. We do not have air conditioning and it is hot outside. We have a floor model fan going so it did a quick job of drying the wet clothes that I did not want to dried in the dryer.

We needed badly to lighten our load, literally. Tomorrow we are on our way to Portugal and we are flying. We can take all four of our bags but they can over weight 10 kilograms each. That meant that we needed to send stuff back to Canada or just get rid of it. It was tricky to actually decide and pull our unwanted or not often used items. The boots I bought in Denver had to go. I really liked them but they were not that comfy and I already have a sore foot. I did get lots of wear out of them, plus they are heavy. Ken had to sacrifice his black shoes, they are very heavy and it was something he did not really want to do. He figured our how much everything sent back would be and he realized it just was not worth it. We did send a few prize things back and some books for our little niece but that was it. Ken spent lots of time packing up our items to send to Canada.

I went by myself on the Metro to D'Orsay Museum, across the river Seine from the Louvre Museum. Using the Metro is fairly straight forward, sort of. Use Google Maps to figure our how to get to where you are going. Once Google has figured it out, using the Metro then take a screen shot of it in case you lose your map. Which is what I happened to me once I was up above ground at the station I was going to, scary. Somehow I made it there. I had bought a ticker before getting there so just walked it, no line-up. I see lots of people lining up. I do not know why they do not buy tickets on-line, it does not make sense to me.

Once inside I remembered how huge this place is. I had only been outside before but is looks big from that angle, too. I started on floor 0........ From here I took the escalator way up to the fifth floor. It was in the area of decorative arts and Art Nueve. I would have skipped this part in lieu of paintings but I figured since I was there I would check it out. Wow, was I surprised. This area had some of the most unusual pieces, yet beautiful, artistic pieces. It went from ornately carved furnishings, vases, stained glass, fabric art pieces, wrought iron work, etc. to paintings.

The next part of the (ed. content not found in log notes)

Thursday, August 13, 2015
We had to do our final pack up because we are leaving Paris today. We are on to our new destination, Porto, Portugal. Since we off loaded some unnecessary baggage our suitcases were easier to pack-up and move. Merrily through the Metro we went. Ken had to carry all four suitcases either up or down the stairways, so do not think he was that merry. The Metro is not set up for those needing lifts or escalators because really most stations have stairs. After two Metro stations we went up for air because we were taking the Orly Bus. We just had to get across the street and pick a bus. These are not your regular shuttle buses. These were the huge buses that articulate in the middle. Our choice was the bus with no seats because we wanted to get to the airport as soon as possible. By this time it was very hot out and in. Sweaty palms clutched the poles of the bus all the way the the north Orly Airport in Paris, about twenty minutes. No seat was forth coming but who cares, we ended up not having to pay for this shuttle.

Lunch was our next big event and I would not mention it but it was only our third meal out in Paris. Also, a mistake! We spend 18,00 on just a Starbuck's meal. Yeah, and the frappincino was mocha, not nearly as good as the frapps in North America. We had a salad with pasta and a muffin, so basically we shared the food which was not even one complete meal.

At Vueling airlines luggage counter they said they would pack our luggage on board for free because usually they charge for it. What was good about that is we did not have to haul it around the airport anymore. Our plane ride was non-eventful except for naps all around. We landed safely into a slight rain and cooler temperatures. The cooler weather came with mixed blessings. The area we landed in was obviously much more lush and green than France.

Ken arranged for us to take the Metro-Porto, Porto's relatively new subway line. The trained looked very new along with the stations. From the airport, through farm country, through Porto's version of suburbia and on into the heart of the city. It appeared that we were in an area that is less well off than France, buildings are not in as good of shape but this is just an initial view. We found a taxi to take us to the Ribeira area (by the river) to our apartment for the week.

The kitchen was across the hall.

The place seems clean and comfortable. Miguel, on of the owners, showed us to and around our little apartment with kitchenette. Pluses are a flat screen TV, a desk for Ken, a dresser and big wooden closet. We even have a bidet (not that we will likely make use of it). The kitchen has everything you would want for cooking except an oven. Miguel also gave us an overview of the city and answered a few of our pressing questions, he was great. He told us about a geocery store so off we went to get a few supplies. We came back with the infamous vino verde, green wine which was tasty. We sat on the narrow balcony and drank our beverage then made a wonderful meal.

Ah, what a life! Tomorrow we will explore.

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