dimanche 28 octobre 2012

American Diner

Just a stones throw from the Paris Opera is a fun place called Happy Days Diner. The inside is decorated like a real 50s diner complete with old vintage signs and a juke box!! One even sits in the old-fashioned booths with their logo stitched into the seats. - that was cool! The food is totally American! If you are missing that got to have it hamburger, nachos, milkshakes, onion rings, this is your place!! I didn't try any of the food, so I can't give you my opinion on it. However, we did have the Chocolate Viennois* which was very good. There was so much whipped cream in there, I wasn't sure I had any hot chocolate!! There was even marshmallow fluff served on top of the whipped cream.  I like my hot chocolate a bit richer and more chocolatey than this, but maybe they were going after what Americans were more used to rather than their French counterparts. But all in all a good deal at 3,50 euros.

* hot chocolate with whipped cream

Literal Translations

The french language is full of descriptive phrases. It seems every word can have more than one meaning. I am not adept enough with the language to understand each circumstance to use a particular word when there is more than one choice or situation. Today I heard two different phrases that I am just crazy about and I love how they are used to describe a normal situation.

I was sitting on the bus when I overheard the chauffeur* ask the car in front of him if he could move up a bit as his back end was sticking out. However, in french, the words he used were, " S'íl vous plaît, avance un petit peu, Je jette mon derrière." If you were to do an exact translation, it would say something like "excuse me, can you move up a bit as I am throwing my backside." Je jette mon derrière  - I love this expression!!

While reading the free Paris morning paper, I was reading about the floods in Lourdes and how the river was overflowing it's banks. The french wording was: "La rivière est sortie son lit" - literally "the river has left its bed."

I love the mixture of words used - beautiful poetry with words!

* bus driver

dimanche 21 octobre 2012

Indian Quarter

I love venturing out to explore new, non-touristy quartiers* in Paris, and the Indian Quarter in the 10th is no exception. I love Indian food and all the yummy spices that go along with it so we decided to venture to Krishna-Bhavan Vegetarian Restaurant on Rue Cail (Metro line 2). I don't think anyone can eat as inexpensively and well than here.  You can have your choice of many Indian Vegetarian dishes - the servings are generous -  so be forewarned.... I ended up ordering way too much food. The meals are served on metal trays, if that puts you off.... well, sorry, can't help you.. The food is good and the spices used are authentic.  Top off with a cup of Cardamom tea and you are good to go.

If you are anxious to explore more, there are plenty of shops on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis to check out. The beautiful displays of Indian dresses are worth the walk along this street alone. Purchase 6 or 7 colorful Indian bangles for a song.  There are two big Cash and Carry's here - one on Faubourg Saint-Denis and the other on Rue Cail. Here you can find an abundance of Indian products as well as English/US products - real baking soda and powder and black beans!! It is fun to wander the aisles. All the products are not labelled in English so can be a bit difficult if you are not sure of a spice. However, the staff at both locations were very helpful.   If you want fresh Jasmine, head to the small florist shop on Rue Perdonnet, every Friday he has fresh Jasmine flown in from Chenai.  You purchase it on a string and the aroma is breathtaking.  I actually wanted to buy some on Wednesday, and he said no, come back Friday when it's fresh.

If you are feeling  a bit more bold, visit the Temple Ganesh on Rue Pajol. When you are first invited in, you must leave your shoes outside the door. So you can imagine, I worried the entire time of the ceremony that my shoes would be stolen and I would have to walk around Paris shoeless.  For a donation of about 8-10 euros you can participate in an Indian ceremony. You are given a basket of fruit and then the man gave it to me and waved his arm around the room.  This gesture, I interpreted, which should not have been an open interpretation, that I distribute my fruit around the room to the different "God"statues. The "priest" took the roll of ashes from our plate, said a blessing and smeared it on our foreheads.  Then we gathered with the other attendees for a short ceremony. The "priest" walked to each "GOD" statue and chanted prayers. I noticed that my fruit was the only fruit among these "God" statues.  When the "priest" got to one of the larger statues, he tossed my banana away in disgust before continuing his chant.  It was all my daughter and I could do not to laugh, we were beside ourselves and so very embarrassed. Don't forget this entire time, I kept sneaking looks out the door to the "rough" passer-bys who I was sure would steal my shoes, although why would they take some crap from Target I don't know.  After we endured this 45 minute chanting/prayer time, it was over and we were offered this huge plate of warm rice as a thank you.  I smiled took my rice and found my shoes, safe and sound, and we went on. Definitely an unforgettable experience and one not to be missed. After we found out, we were supposed to make a donation of the fruit to the "Gods"- just not in the place we put it.

This area may leave you feeling a bit uncomfortable as it is quite ethnic and a bit rough and tourists do look out of place. However it is a lively quartier worth a second and third and even beyond visit.

* neighborhood

mercredi 17 octobre 2012

Quaint in the 7th

Had a yummy, simple lunch at Les Deux Abeilles in the 7th today in a residential area behind the Musée Quai Branly with an old friend. This charming Salon de Thé is run by a mother/daughter team. When you walk in to the place you feel as if you have gone back in time to your grandmother's kitchen or dining area. It is cozy and comfy and the food is simple, yet wonderfully presented.  They have continuous service up till 7 pm. You can also go in and have an afternoon coffee or tea and one of their wonderful homemade desserts or take some home to enjoy later. Check it out - worth a visit!

samedi 13 octobre 2012

No French Accent here - Click!

Trying to deal with bureaucratic issues in another language is my least favorite thing about living in France. I completely understand how people feel when they come to the U.S. not speaking any English and try to manoeuvre an automatic phone system.

When I first arrived in France I would spend up to 40 minutes redialing and listening over and over again to the automated prompts writing each section down until I had the whole message in front of me - then I was to exhausted to continue!!  Now, I have wised up a bit, I just use my two little translators!!

In any case, trying to call the Post Office and having a package redelivered was a joy this morning. I had to say the number of the colis* in to the phone and then I would be redirected. Well, apparently they didn't understand my accent, so the automated response went something like this - "we cannot understand your pronunciation so we now wish you a good day - au revoir" and they disconnected.

C'est la France!!

*colis: package

dimanche 7 octobre 2012

Le Chineur

Today, I was "le chineur"*. I love going to brocantes, antiques shops, flea markets to poke around - one  never knows what treasures you will find.  Twice a year they have a big brocante in Chatou. Vendors and people come from all over to this event. I struck up a conversation with an older woman who very kindly gave me an extra ticket she had (It's a 5 euro entrance fee). We chatted for a few minutes on the navette** to the brocante - me in my horribly sounding French - although she did say very kindly - "where are you from, you have a cute french accent?" We parted ways and she wished me a bon chiné.***  This brocante is expensive and normally hard to find a real deal, but nevertheless, I did find the cutest table, then forgot I had to get it home on my bike...... Oh well, where there's a will, there's a way. Click here for information on the brocante. The next one is in March 2013.
Balancing Act

*chineur: bargain hunter
**navette: shuttle
***Bon Chiné: good hunting

29 Euro Perfume at Marionnaud!!

Just till tomorrow, get a 30 ml size bottle of your favorite perfume for 29 euros!! Click here for more information. Some stipulations apply. What a deal!!

vendredi 5 octobre 2012

Colorful Pillows and Teapots to add Flavor to the Salon

These pillows are so pretty and colorful and will brighten any living room. These are also part of the "Antik Batik"  Collection at Monoprix. I just love these "India-inspired"colors and patterns and a bargain at 12 euros each.

Antik Batik Pillows

I also stumbled upon these cute teapots also part of this "Antik Batik" Collection. 

10 euros each at Monoprix!!

This Little Doll is So Cute!!

Monoprix has a new line of clothing and items for the home called "Antik Batik" I picked up this cute little doll for 12 euros. Make a great gift for a little girl.

Antik Batik Collection 

and More Chocolate!

Claire enjoying - what else.....Chocolate!

Stopped in for another recon mission to Monsieur Chocolate in the 15th - beautiful displays of chocolate in all matter of things from a huge chocolate Tour Eiffel to tennis rackets, guitars and even beautifully made chocolate heart necklaces perfect for Valentine's Day or any day to show your love. Beautiful displays of a variety of chocolates fill the shop and envelop you in smells of vanilla, chocolate, praliné, cinnamon, to name a few. Because the shop is so small, the aromas, I found, were much more intense. I chose the moelleux chocolat, one rasberry filled and the other chocolate-ganached filled along with some yummy mini brioches for the morning. Nothing made it to the next morning!! We peeked in to their kitchen and it is literally no bigger than most of the master bathrooms at home - they said they make everything in that tiny space. This neighborhood chocolatier is a definite go to for some yummy goodies and chocolates to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Chocolate Tour Eiffel

mercredi 3 octobre 2012

Free Make-up Sessions at Yves Rocher

If you are visiting Paris area or living here, Yves Rocher is offering free make-up sessions at some of their locations up to 14 October. Click this link for more info and follow the link to "Make-Up Days

Free Mini Eye Pencil!!

Nocibé is giving away an mini eye pencil if you show them the Direct Matin (free mag) found at all metro stations  - run to walk for this give away!!