Paris

The Magical Eiffel Tower

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I've been organizing the thousands of photos on my hard drive and came across one of my favorite cell phone shots I took of the Eiffel Tower. We visited it several times at night because, well...it's just so magical with it's twinkling lights and gorgeous, moody skyline. Coming across the photo reminded me....

I also shot a little video so you can experience a bit of the magic for yourself. Enjoy!

 

Paris Paintings

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Top on my list of things to buy while we were in Paris were oil paintings. I was determined to bring at least one home. Fortunately we found the most amazing shop, where I came across this oil painting of a woman. The shop owner said she was his most beautiful phantom (ghost in French). When I found her she was unframed and I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep it that way or have it mounted on a stretcher bar. I decided to do the later. But, when I went to the frame shop they refused to do the job because they were afraid they might damage the painting.

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Not being one to give up so easily, I decided to share my dilema with The Man. I showed him the frame on the other smaller landscape painting I bought at the Paris flea market and he went to work making me one...

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We didn't have any antique, flat head trim nails so he cut longer ones down and filed the points to the right length. They worked perfectly and we proceeded to nail them in the existing holes in the canvas.

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Notice they are uneven and not properly spaced? That's exactly where the old ones were and it made me think of this quote.... "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" -- The Nester.

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I just love my new lady! I'm not sure if I should name her or not. Any suggestions? How about Belle Phantom?

Paris Flea Market Tips & Video

Parisflea06lowI know you probably thought I was done with the Paris posts. Me too, but I realized I never shared the flea market with you. How could I forget? We all love the flea market! So I thought I'd share a few tips and a short little video for you...

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1. There isn't a bad flea market in Paris. They're all good and I doubt you will walk away empty handed from any of them. I really liked Porte de Vanves and went twice. The closest Metro: Porte de Vanves stops right in front! Open Sat and Sun.

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2. Be prepared to negotiate. I didn't pay asking price for anything, and in fact found the dealers fun, friendly and fairly reasonable. They seemed to really like Americans and most spoke some English. At least enough to work out a deal.

3. Don't go at 7am unless it's the middle of summer, or you're prepared for chilly darkess and have a flashlight. Most dealers weren't set up until 8. Instead, sleep in a bit then grab a pain au chocolat and hot cafe on your way. Afterall...it's Paris.

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4. Wear layers, bring a good size tote bag, and keep your money close to you. We didn't experience any trouble with pick pockets but have heard lots of stories.

5. Don't bring your passport. It's not needed and a pain if you loose it.

6. Here's a great guide on getting to the biggest flea market in the world, Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. But keep in mind...this is the spendy market.

Most importantly, have fun! It's an experience of a lifetime!

 

Merci & French Finds Giveaway!

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 One of our favorite shops in Paris was the concept store Merci. The idea or mission behind the shop was to give Thanks by providing a stunning place for customers to find unique, well made products and using the profits to benefit an endowment fund to help the poorest children in Madagascar. It's such a clever way to market charitable giving although we really shouldn't have to be seduced by wares in order to give. Come along and take a peek for yourself...

Merci08 In the courtyard you're greeted by the adorable red Merci car and a beautiful selection of faux bois outdoor furnishings and potted trees. The displays indoors are spectacular! They had a great mix of modern, industrial and French chic mixed harmoniously together.

Merci04 Merci02 Downstairs was my favorite spot. It was filled with wooden kitchen utensils, napkins and towels, picnic supplies, etc., etc. Their selection was a stylists dream! I also adored this simple pendant lightbulb in the shape of a diamond. 

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And they had a rainbow of Pantone mugs in a multitude of hues. Each one had the Pantone color name and html code number on it...so cute! 

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There are 3 floors to wander about with mens & womens clothing, housewares, books, apothecary and linens. And lots of cool Japanese paper goods like journals, envelopes, bags, tape, notebooks, cards and much more. Temptations everywhere! Merci09 Merci is located at: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris 75003 The nearest Metro is Saint Sébastien-Froissart on Line 8. Open: Mon-Sat 10am to 7pm

Merci12 I wanted to thank you for coming along with us on our Paris adventure by giving away a Bundle of French Finds from our trip to one of you! The gift  includes a bar of Violette Savon, a nubby cotton dish towel and scrubber, the latest holiday issue of Marie Claire Idees Magazine, a token Eiffel Tower keychain, vintage ephemera and buttons from the Paris flea market, Raspberry Pastilles Candy and the most delicious Fleur de Sel Butter Caramels.

Winner will be announced Friday, Dec 2nd. To enter just leave a comment answering the following question:

 What was your favorite part of your Thanksgiving holiday?

CONGRATULATIONS!!  THE WINNER IS:

Wendy in Kennewick said:

My favorite part was a phone call from my godson on the East Coast, closely followed by stuffing! I have so enjoyed your Paris blogs and adding to my list of non-tourist places to visit the next time I am there.

Thanks everyone for sharing your holiday memories. I felt like I was right there along with you having turkey, playing cards, eating pie and enjoying family!

A Visit to E. Dehillerin

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First off, this image has absolutely nothing to do with the French culinary mecca, E. Dehillerin. But I thought you might get a kick out of seeing Recycling Day in Paris. The big green recycling bins were overflowing and curb sides were spilling over with wine bottles. Can you imagine this in the states? We'd think someone had a HUGE party.

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Many of you are probably already aware of this famous shop. They've been in business since 1820 so I'm in a very long line of devote customers. Their copper pots were amazing. And they had them in every shape and size you could imagine. While we were there a young American chef was purchasing a large assortment to take back to his new restaurant. I imagined he was going to use the small ones to serve Lobster Pot Pie. I would.

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The staff was extremely friendly and helpful despite the fact that the shop was packed. English and French verbs and nouns were being flung around as if they were one language. Everyone understood each other as if their true mutual language was Culinary.

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Pastry chefs must adore this place. Every imaginable tool was available for them from minature tart pans, ring molds, brioche molds...and expert advice on anything they might need.

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At the sales counter (which is probably the original from 1820) they carefully wrap your purchases up in brown parchment paper. And for the heavy items (like all the copper pots you buy) they will pack and ship them right to your US doorstep.
See? They're very helpful. :-)

Cafes, Crepes, Croissants & Confections

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With this being our first trip to Paris, we felt obliged to visit the famous Laudree for a box or two..or three of their macarons and confections. I must admit, I loved their packaging and gorgeous shop more than the macarons. Except for the Caramel Sea Salt. That macaron is in a league all it's own. 

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Since this was a suprise to me, I feel I owe you a heads up...Laudree is packed. Jam packed every single minute they are open. And we went to several locations. Bodies are squished together like tight uncomfortable sardines. So be prepared to get comfy with strangers who are also waiting for their sugar fix. Oh, and they don't allow photos so you'll have to be very, very sneaky. ;-)

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We were probably in Paris for 7 or 8 days before we finally had a crepe. I know! The creperie located in the Tuileries seemed to have the best variety of both sweet and savory crepes. We tried the Chocolate Banana and the Nutella with Chantilly Cream. Both were delish!
And the little beignets in the photo below were from a vendor at the Rue Cler market...also very yummy!

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It was so charming that many of the cafe waiters were dressed in black tuxedo pants, crisp white shirts with vests or long aprons. Sure wish they did this here in the US. Makes your ham sandwich seem more refined...and expensive.

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The famous Eric Kayser bakery was only a short walk from our apartment and we found it to be a great place for our morning Petit Dejuener. This consists mainly of a croissant or tartine, fresh pressed orange juice and hot coffee or tea. Occasionally, we would splurge and have an herb omlette with fresh greens.

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And the afternoons often included slipping into a boulangerie for more cafe cremes or hot chocolates followed by a pain et chocolate or eclair. This is how we powered through all the walking we did. Caffeine and chocolate.

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My absolute favorite spot for afternoon tea was at the Musee d'Orsay. The museum is in an old train station (amazing!!!) and houses paintings from the most famous artists in the world. I loved this place. If you are only going to visit one museum in Paris...this should be it. They also have a gorgeous restaurant that serves the most delicious lemon tarts.

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 All in all, Paris was delicious. Including the japanese noodle house we popped into for hot bowls of udon noodles and dumplings. And the friendly Italians with their tiny little pizza shops and incredible tiramisu. Heavenly.

Still to come...flea markets, shopping, my finds and a giveaway! You know I would never forget to share the flea markets with you!