blessed opportunities

I wake up each morning, and I have no idea where the day will lead…..

…but I know that I continue to be excited about where I’m going…..

I celebrated 54 yesterday, quietly thanking my Mother and Father for giving me life.
I have had the opportunity to experience more than I ever dreamed possible, and there is more to come.

Today’s devotional (Matthew 25:  21) began, “take risks for God…”
“the only mistake is not to risk making one…”
“go out on a limb; He won’t let you fall…”
“take a big risk; He won’t let you fail…”

At present, I’m obsessed with finding and reading Paris blogs.  I love the pictures, and the stories they tell.

Isn’t the fingerless lace glove beautiful?

After dinner at Bodega, aboard a boat docked on the Seine, across from Notre Dame, she introduced herself (a famous foreign actress), told us the gloves were made in Spain and worn on her most recent movie.  She was very personable and talked to us with casual, non-rushed ease; she was traveling to NYC within hours.

If you are homesick for Paris, here is one of many sites overflowing with images of the great city.
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Chocolat Chaud and night cruise on Seine River

Today is Tuesday and it is my last day in Paris; I don’t want to waste a minute!


Though we were among those enjoying Paris last night until midnight, at 9AM, Martha, Jerry and I walk the few blocks from my flat to Place des Vosges.  We are greeted by ‘my’ waitress at Carette Paris; she remembers me from my visit earlier in the week (American, grey hair, aging citizen….etc, etc, etc)


A few days prior, I tried to describe the Chocolat Chaud to Martha, but not until I poured the steaming hot, molten liquid into her rosebud china teacup did she understand. I believe her words, after she drank her hot chocolate (and scraped the bottom of her cup with a spoon) went something like this: “can I lick the cup?”  I understand her question, and no–we didn’t lick the cups…but we could have….

Our French pastry breakfast was just as one would expect – - buttery and flakey and crispy and decedent. We found ourselves gathering the paper thin pastry scraps onto our spoon, not  wasting a morsel.  Jerry’s chocolate eclair was glazed with chocolate and filled with a chocolate mousse.  Martha’s pretzle (nothing like our pretzles) was made of layers and layers of flakey pastry.  My apple tart was flakey pastry shaped long and thin and filled with an apple goodness that oozed with each cut of the fork.  We ended our meal with a selection of French macarons. 


Click HERE for a short review of Carette by one of their many, many patrons.


After breakfast, I walked once again among the many shops along neighboring streets.  One last stroll to smell the cheese and the fish and the roasting chickens and the baking bread.  One last opportunity to gaze into the store windows sporting purses and shoes and boots fashionably displayed to draw the viewer into the store.  One last time to admire the rows and rows of colorful macarons.  One last time to sit outdoors at a corner cafe and sip hot tea and watch Paris move.



We allowed time for computer updates, then made plans for dinner and a late evening cruise on the Seine.


Our dinner at Cafe des Musees, recommended by a friend as an establishment frequented by Parisians, was an excellant choice.  Earlier in the day we watched as fresh produce was delivered to the restaurant. The eggplant (aubergine) I saw delivered on the street in the morning was prepared and served to Martha that evening in her dish of eggplant and lamb, along with cold couscous topped with mint leaves. Jerry dined on grouse, and I enjoyed pork glazed in something delicious and topped with slightly crisp sage leaves. 


Half of the experience of Paris is to order something from the menu, having no idea how the dish is prepared nor the ingredients therein.  The flavor combinations are unique, while taunting the taste buds and causing one to want more and more and more…  savory and sweet equally….


A Metro ride to Trocadeor…and all of a sudden….Eiffel!  
Lights glowing yellow against the night sky.  
Spire pointed toward heaven. 
Water fountains spraying in choreographed dance.  
Carousel horses circling. 
I could feel my heart beating and all I could think was, “oh….oh…how beautiful…”



Arm in arm, we descended the steps toward the Seine. The river tour offered another viewing perspective of the beautiful city.  How many pictures of the Eiffel tower does one need….As if trying to capture the moving light of a lighthouse on the ocean, I shot and shot and shot as the blue ray of light on the tip of the Eiffel tower circled the dark evening sky.  Buildings were lighted; lovers standing on the bridges above the boat embraced in the warm glow of the light on the bridge.  Individuals walked along the shore of the Seine.  With every gaze, a postcard of Paris was being painted in my mind.

Notre Dame from the Seine:

Eiffel from the Seine:

I will leave the city soon, and return to TN, USA.
I hear French music playing deep within me…..
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16, rue du Parc Royal flat

75003 PARIS
3rd arrondissement (the last 2 digits of the Paris zip codes denote one of the 20 arrondissements)

The following information is from HERE:

Arrondissement 3 – Temple

\"MapAnother small arrondissement; it contains the northern part of the historic Marais district. The Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts), the Picasso Museum and the Carnavalet Museum - devoted to the history of Paris – are located here.
The city of Paris is divided in 20 arrondissements. The first one is in the center, the following ones spiral outwards in a clock-wise direction. Most of the famous tourist attractions can be found in one of the central 8 arrondissements.
The arrondissements are encircled by the périphérique, a ring highway. Outside the périphérique are the banlieues, the suburbs of Paris.



The location of my flat was within walking distance of retails shops, cafes, parks, monuments, fountains, historical buildings, bridges, and the Seine River.  Oh, and the Metro!


Laduree Paris

The Laduree boutique in the Paris – Charles de Gaulle airport was a welcome sight since I didn’t visit the store at  75 Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

aren’t they beautiful, adorned in colors of the rainbow and flavored by nature:

The packaging is exquisite, colors and designs reminiscent of a victorian tea room.

DELICIOUS!!!!  At first bite, the macaron shell cracked on the outside and the inside of the macaron was soft and chewy.  Perfect!!!!

Do not pass by Laduree in the CDG airport in fear of old or stale or out of date macarons; the macarons are supurb!

The packaging containers are beautiful!  I purchased macarons in a round cylinder that opens like a lipstick case.  The inside of the container is gold foil lined, reflecting the beauty of the macarons.  Paris……………

Sunday Worship-Gardens-Fountains in Paris

The green spire of the American Church in Paris(bottom right) stands proudly near Pont Alexandre III (bridge), the Petit Palais, the Grand Palais, the Eiffel Tower(center), and a few blocks away from Dome Church and Napoleon’s Tomb, and Invalides.  This morning, all the pews were filled as well as side seating, the pastor delivered a wonderful message, and we exited after the visiting choir from Texas concluded the service with upbeat, uplifting music.

Standing in Place de la Concorde, and looking around in all directions offers a magnificent view.  Though now a parade route, the square once held the guillotine and was the execution site of Marie Antoinette and 1,000+ others.

We enjoyed lunch in Jardin des Tuileries (gardens), especially Jerry’s chestnut cream dessert, Coupe Mont-Blanc.

…a most delicious, floral black tea

I walked out the gates of the Tuileries gardens and gazed through the Arch de Triomphe du Carrousel onto the inverted glass pyramid at the Louvre.

We walked directly in front of the Musse d’Orsey, along the banks of the Seine.

St Michael’s fountain was spectacular, in the midst of a very busy intersection.

I must say that Jardin de Luxembourg are the most beautiful gardens I have seen(travel guide states that this is the most popular park in the whole of Paris).  Though they display potted palm trees (which seem out of place to me), the remainder of the gardens are breathtaking.  A band played in the distance, children were  running around the pools of water and among the trees, young boys pushed white sailboats in the pool, and young and old sat in the chairs throughout the gardens enjoying the day, the intermittent sunshine, the hefty wind, and a few drops of rain.

Vendors sell their wares along the Seine, we walk on the cobblestones of the lower deck along the Seine on Ile St Louis, arriving at our dinner destination.

Bodega is a restaurant on a boat docked on the Seine River across from Notre Dame.  Rain showers preceded this magnificent rainbow in the afternoon sky.

Sunset turned the windows of Notre Dame a golden glow, and afterwards, the pink sky of the setting sun painted the high walls of the great cathedral.  What a truely amazing sight, sitting and watching the sky darken and the lights begin to illumine the bridges along the Seine.

Drizzle, rain, wind, and more rain and wind did not deter our day, nor that of many others in Paris.

About 11PM after dinner; Martha in Paris:

Another great day in this great city…how will I ever leave…

madeleines

Page 221 from David Lebovits’s “The Sweet Life in Paris.”

My book ‘falls’ open to this recipe, for I have made them more than once. The recipe is wonderful. Follow his mixing method, and definitely allow the batter to sit for 10 – 12 hours. This resting time allows the lemon flavor to permeate the batter.
Fresh from the oven, they have a slight crunch on the outside edge and are cakey inside. They are equally delicious glazed with the lemon glaze. And, to prevent excessive consumption, I freeze these baked beauties. They are quite good from the freezer.
In addition to the recipes, David has a way with words and is quite the storyteller. He relays every day life of an American in Paris. This is a must read for any American contemplating more than a weekend stay in Paris.

smooth and creamy chocolate fudge

I walked into the store and purchased this chocolate at La Maison du Chocolat in Paris, France.
The fudge made with this chocolate was rich, creamy, melt in your mouth wonderful!

Here’s the link to the recipe. The recipe instructed to beat the fudge with a stand mixer. It did produce the smoothest fudge I have ever tasted, and there was not one grain of sugar. But it just didn’t have that ‘fudge’ feel in the mouth. It was very good, and all who tasted complimented highly. But, beating with the mixer changed something.