Sunday April 14th 2013.
I find Paris a bit overwhelming sometimes. There is always something or somewhere new to discover.
This evening I wandered down to the area in the 5th around the area known as Val de Grace. Rue st Jacques. A pretty, elegant area, which I have never seen before.
I wandered into a church fete at the church of St Jacques de Haute Pas, which gives it’s name to Rue st Jacques, and discovered that the same church has a charity shop attached to it.
It is difficult to say something new. I have said before how Paris has captured my soul, A bit like a lover you cannot get out of your head that you keep coming back to again and again. I keep thinking I will get fed up of Paris but I never do. Each time I come back I get this feeling of peace.
I have not really found my favourite area. I think I have found “my” place, then I stay somewhere else and prefer that area. I really liked the trendy urban grittiness of Oberkampf but having stayed in the 5th for three recent trips I am beginning to think I this is my favourite. Elegant, but still lively and and full of local bars and cafes, but not too touristy.
Michael and I have taken a tiny, basic , attic studio on the 7th floor at the corner of Rue Royer-Collard and rue Gay Lussac in the 5th arrondissement. It is very handy for the Luxembourg RER , direct from the airport and there are lots of bus routes around. It is nice , but the bed had not been “aired” when we arrived and felt a bit cold and damp. I don’t know whether this was because it had been very cold over the previous few days or whether the lady had rushed to put the sheets on before they had dried properly, but it made for an uncomfortable first night.
Yesterday we caught the 85 bus from outside the door direct to the Marche au Puces in the 18th. We had a lovely morning browsing the market. I think this massive antique and bric a brac market is better than any museum. We also looked at the clothes market on the other side of the priphique. Running the gauntlet of the hasslers, under the bridge, trying to push their watches and mobile phones onto us. Now we know where all those stolen Samsung Galaxy go.
… and of course Paris would not be Paris without these characters we saw in the Cafe Voltaire on Rue de Rosiers at Marche au Puces.
We reserved a table for lunch at La Chope, a well known manouche, gypsy jazz place.
After a nice lunch and some great music suddenly a group of men came into the bar and ordered champagne. Fascinated we watched these men and it seemed a bit like watching an episode of the Sopranos. They seemed like they were the local mafia.
There was the boss, who wore a suit and kept going outside to use his mobile phone. The little gofer who wore a cap and ran around waiting on the rest and who frankly looked a bit mad! … the others who all wore caps. I watched amused as two American women who had innocently sat in in “their” corner were quietly moved by the charm of the gofer.
They had ordered champagne and were celebrating something. When we got home I heard on the news that a well known gangster had escaped from prison that afternoon……. hmm I wonder?…………….
We spent the evening in a local jazz bar I found on 267 Rue St Jaques, Cafe Universel. Free entry, nice atmosphere and although the drinks were a bit expensive at around 7-8 euro each the music was excellent. We both had a croque Monsier, as we were starving, which was not the best, but of course the food is not the focus of this kind of place. We nursed a non alcoholic cocktail all evening and listened to the excellent jazz. Nobody hassled us and the staff seemed friendly.
On the way home we caught the end of a free classical Choir concert at the nearby church of St Jacques de Haute Pas, which was also excellent.
One of the things I love about this city is that.here is always wonderful music to be enjoyed in Paris. from the buskers in the metro to the unexpected concert you find.
Music that lifts my soul.