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.

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…..

European hot chocolate, macaron, and Popelini

My morning walk led me to Place des Vosges and Carette Paris.  The Chocolat ‘carette’ was superior quality chocolate in liquid form.  I enjoyed the steaming drink, served in a china cup, along with a  cafe (coffee) macaron.  There is no doubt that I am in Paris…

The Saturday market is open today in Martha’s village.  Fruit, fish, vegetables, cheese, eggs, milk, and the plat de jour (dish of the day) are among the items for sale.  We walked through a wonderland of color and aroma.  The established street business is busy also.

Chickens roast on rotessary racks, fresh fish stare blankly at those passing by on the sidewalk, the smell of freshly baked bread drifts onto the rue.  We search for Popelini; I’m glad Martha was diligent and continued the search to find the tiny shop on a side street.

from the Popelini web site:
“Popelini is the name of the italian chef who came up with the recipe for choux pastry in 1540 at the court of Catherine de Medicis.Today, Popelini pastry shop is devoted to create a modern twist on this classic french specialty, by offering a wide range of colorful and tasty choux à la crème.”

A ride on the M deposits us at Magdalenae.  The church is spectacular, dressed with rows and rows of flowers along either side of the massive front steps.  From the top of the steps, we can see the obelisk at the center of the Place de la Concorde.

After a visit to local shops, and another ride on the M, we walk through the huge shopping area of Les Halles, and then to E Dehillerin.

Arms laden with bags, we retrace the M journey and make our way home.

It is now 6:30 PM, and as I sit at the antique desk and write this post, music drifts from my neighbor’s window and into mine.  Church bells ring in the distance.

Dinner will be after 8:30PM tonight.  It’s Saturday night, and Martha, our tour director (vs Jerry, our tour guide) says that we must go out on Saturday night in Paris!

Neither little nor a lot! of rain stops anyone in Paris.  We walked the streets, umbrellas in hand.  Many of the restaurants are very small and full to capacity during the dinner hours; however, walking a few feet along the sidewalk usually reveals another restaurant.  On our 4th attempt, we found a vacant table out of the rain.  The dinner was excellent!  A few night photos from a bridge over the Seine and midnight was upon us.

Another wonderful day in Paris….