Aja Lee

Blog Schmog

 

Paris is so alive with so many ethnicities, it reminds me of san diego where there is no one kind of person, everyone seems to accept eachother and their differences of culture and style.
We picked up bikes again from here to there and there to here, stopping for walks and museums, coffees and rosés in between.
The morning was slow, the sun finally came to stay with us and the streets were filled a little extra for saturday, looking for one breakfast place just before noon, we found several others on the way and never made it to the original location, ending up literally one shop away, the windows of other boulangeries too amazing and tempting to venture any further no matter what the google and trip advisor said. Case in point when you see a beautiful glistening window of artisinal bread or crepes, look no further or suffer a fools lunch.
We couldnt decide so stefano had his espresso and pan au chocolate at one and i would go to the crepery after that. Only we ended up both eating at both places, in succesion, like dutiful foodies, no treat went untouched.
The boulengerie artisianal was so impressive i kept snatching up little snacks and "gifts" the longer his coffee took the more i was stuffing in my sack for "later" always being the thoughtful squirrel, hiding away treats in all bags for all moments of the day.
I had a very heavy dark brown bread with nuts that could easily be the best bread I've ever tasted, a little sour in the dough, chewy and soft. A box of macaroons for our host in Nice, one giant strawberry macaroon for myself and a fresh madeleine that caught my eye last minute from the register.
The bakery is truly bustling and some patrons are in a very serious hurry to get their bread so tickets and money and pastries are flying this way and that with virtually no line at all, i happily joined the group and let the chips fall, happy to not be rushing to the office, one man came in with a suit and filled a bag of bread more than half his size with about 15 baguettes, marching out as if his most important business transaction of the day had just been completed, and since its france and were talking baguettes that could very well be true.
Others were frenzied to get a croissant like it was the last seat on a plane home.
And i completely understand.
Now we were to make it next door to the crepery, the restraunt was cool and white with little plants hanging from moss and young servers in fine moods.
Parisians in fashionable outfits and mothers with children who looked like models with their silk dresses, mixed with lost looking tourists peeking in before passing, i ordered the common parisian menu choice of a sort of packaged breakfast, which actually doesnt really save much money but just lays out such a fortuitus course plan it seems the best way to have it all.
A salmon buckwheat gallete with creme fresh, followed by a dijon radish butter letttuce salad, some kind of hard cider (that or apple juice was the choice,,no contest there) that smells a little like kombucha but apparently light enough for breakfast- eh cest la vie!
And followed with a homamde chocolate, fresh cream, and little wild berries crepe.
The best way to describe it was that even though stefano had his breakfast already next door, he ordered just one crepe, then asked if he could upgrade to the package i had gotten after i had finished, the charming waitress replied in french in such a perfect way as if to say they were waiting for him to figure out that you have to have the crepe and the galette at some point.

Back to the bikes, passing by all the scenes, a small whiff of eucalyptus, a vagrant with a neatly packed guitar, children voices from a playground laughing always sound the same no matter what country, the beautiful breeze, the bushy fluffy green trees lining the city, their crunchy leaves on the ground, the pantheon and the awe inspiring focault pendolum swinging back and forth, the cold marble steps in the coolness, a little french girl of 3 sits next to me and sings to her stuffed bear, her father calls her name but she doesnt mind and just keeps singing and talking to herself, a greek cafe with dark stone walls and friendly owners, more biking and we take the metro to montmarte.
It is nearing 6 pm and we arrive in the swirling village at the top of the metro exit, a carosel, a familiar tiny sqaure, a guess and we take a walk in the best looking direction making our way upwards.
Up, up and a litrle more up, considered stopping halfway up fo a random cafe touting guiness, but sauntered on and came to the top view, filled with every kind of tourist and vendor imaginable. My cheese levels were dangerously low so we took care of that, and then made our way to the main artists colony square at the top, i had never seen so many artists walking around with their pads and charactures all lined up orderly maybe 40 of the them, showing their different styles and patrons all sitting still waiting for their turn, the museum dali, the garden of renior, i sat for my portrait drawing from a convincing artist and watched what an artists face looks like when they are creating, like a meditation, serene focused, nothing else in the world in their mind. I watched the artist next to us working furiously with a pair of scissors to make sillouettes, his shears going where i thought only pencil could accomplish.
Next was a jazz club that our friends had found the year before, bab ilo, it was a small door on a hill, some expats and frenchies were playing backgammon at tiny tables on an even tinier strip of sidewalk, we walked in and the friendly north african proprietors apologized for their english to whicb i replied, " no no, better than my french!"
There was one menu before the 9pm show and we dined on cous cous with a tunisian, algerian sauce called harissa, a wonderfully comforting red pepper sauce with notes i couldnt define, olive oil, and crispy grilled wild chicken i could eat every day.
The jazz group was bunped to 930, and arrived at 10, the crowd grew inside slowly, the owners set them up a full table and meal, the drummer left a peice upstairs seeming in no hurry,and the singer greeted all with gusto, the wine was poured and they had a relaxing meal laughing and joking, a small old woman seemed to know them all and sat at the bar waiting almost as long as we had, the empty place filled by then, and the red rope was finally let down around 1040, we all went downstairs for creole jazz.
The pianos top and front was off so you could see all the hammers dancing away, and the pianist was killing it. I could barely keep up with his ideas, melodies, riffs inside of the beat, pieces of different songs from Beethoven, flight of the bumblebee, and then back to a carribean riff and circling to blues again.
The drummer in the corner was happy and played with extreme skill, the standup bass rounding out the trio, the singer was quite the performer, talking, making noises, laughing, blurting out high and low one word melodies here and there, coming in on time after leaving the stage to go who knows where and back again, dancing, and adding some singing in for good measure.
I was tired long before the dinner was over and by now we still had to get to the metro and take it back to Paris, only to pack and leave early morning for our checkout.
Somehow it all happened because i am here
A few miles high on my way to the cote d azur, bidding farewell to paris in an early morning retreat to the slower pace of life in provance.

The pendulum of foucault in the pantheon, proving the earth rotates around the sun by the pendulum swinging on its own, it is actually not the pendulum swinging as it seems but the earth turning, pretty cool!

An adorable old "mini".

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