Another Paris Picture, a Perfect Tableau at Place du Trocadero

Yesterday, I shared some recommendations about Paris for a beloved niece who’s on her way to the City of Light.

In preparing the post. I saw some images I had forgotten as I was uploading pics to support my theses about where to go and what to do in Paris.

In the Place du Trocadero, anything can happen. Anyone can be there, taking any kinds of photos. For any reason, with anyone. It is packed with perfectly beautiful people taking pictures.

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I was fascinated by the tableau below. She looks like a model, right? Great hair, great dress, great shoes.

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But, pulling back a little, it’s clear that the “photographer” is using an iPhone.

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Boyfriend proud of his gal? Friend doing a favor taking model pics? And do they know how iconic they look next to the gold statue-woman posing?

This is just 30 seconds of the never-ending magic at the Place du Trocadero beneath and across from the Eiffel Tower. Go. Experience it. Let me know what you think. (I love Paris.)

© 2018 Glover Gardens

“Aunt Kim, do you have any Paris suggestions?” Indeed, I do!!!

One of my two fabulous nieces is headed to Europe for a week with her boyfriend (that’s them in the photos below), and they’ll spend just over two days in my beloved Paris.

Young, smart and eager to see the world, Melyssa and Steve can be frequent travelers because of their frugal planning and careful research. Plane tickets purchased about 4 months ago for their three-country spree were surprisingly cheap.  I’m thrilled that they wanted my input about one of my favorite cities and happy to share my experiences. I also can’t wait to hear about their discoveries and see their pictures.

General Advice from Aunt Kim

Melyssa and Steve, walk as much as you can, slowly, taking in not just the sights, but the sounds, the smells and the people. With only two days, I would do more walking than anything else and just get a sense for the city. You can go up in the Eiffel Tower or see the Louvre on another trip. I know you’ll be going back, because you will fall in love, just like I have.

paris-metro-mapThe Metro in Paris is great for getting around the city, and usually a lot faster than a taxi or Uber. The traffic jams are reminiscent of large American cities. Get Metro passes and ride when you’re not walking. Your Metro map should be well-worn by the time you leave Paris.

Some more practical tips:

  • Bring super-comfortable shoes.
  • Have your camera (or phone) ready at all times, because unexpected magic will happen.
  • Order food you don’t recognize, keep an open mind and don’t be surprised to fall in love for life.
  • Be ready for rain, but don’t let it cramp your style. Forego an umbrella for a €5 plastic poncho.
  • Be careful of pickpockets and aware of your surroundings, but not afraid, never afraid. Paris is very welcoming, and those age-old stories of Parisians being rude when Americans try to speak French just aren’t true.

Montmartre

Don’t miss Montmartre! Take the Metro to the Abbesses stop, get out and make your way to the Funiculaire de Montmartre, riding it up alongside the famous steps of Montmartre.

Or you could take the steps, but it is a loooong way up, and you’ll already be doing lots of walking. Walk all around Sacre Coeur, where you’ll see wonderful views of Paris.

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The Eiffel Tower, from just in front of Sacre Coeur (in winter)

Pop over into the tiny little village of Montmartre and check out the shops and artists, looking out for pickpockets. You may encounter roaming artists wanting to draw your picture, but be prepared to pay for it if they do. It’s ok just to say no and walk away. This part of Montmartre is touristy but still worth doing.

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If La Maison Rose is open, you should eat there. It is famous and fantastic. Your cousin Thomas (AKA the Musical Millennial here in the Glover Gardens blog) calls it “The Pink Restaurant,” and we had a very memorable meal there.  On a cold, gray day, we sat just outside the front door at a tiny table that only comes out when they’re open (which is sporadic) and had steaming hot plates of pasta that revved up our energy for more traipsing.

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La Maison Rose is unassuming, but wonderful

All the little cafes in Montmartre are great, and the pasta dishes are what I’d recommend.

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Pasta carbonara at a sidewalk cafe in Montmartre

The Museum of Montmartre is wonderful, too. It’s in a series of old houses where famous painters like Renoir painted. It’s not expensive and there are great views. Here’s a post about it.

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The Museum of Montmartre is on a quiet little street close to La Maison Rose
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The view from the back garden of the Museum of Montmartre; the red on the building up high is a flowering vine!

Rue des Martyrs

I like to walk back from Montmartre down the Rue des Martyrs after crossing over Boulevard de Clichy. You can walk all the way to Notre Dame, which takes about an hour. Rue des Martyrs is a historic street that’s protected by city rules governing what kind of businesses can come in (no chains), so you’ll see “real Paris”. You and Steve will love it, Melyssa – it’s like a great big farmers’ market. See my post called April in Paris: Rue des Martyrs for more.

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One of the many fruit and vegetable shops on the Rue des Martyrs
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Flower shops are there, too

As you leave Montmartre and cross over Boulevard des Clichy, to get to Rue des Martyrs, you’ll be walking through the Moulin Rouge area where you’ll see a bunch of ads for sex shops and erotic dancing shows, but it’s not scary. I promise.

Notre Dame

When you get to Notre Dame, you can go in without waiting in line if you are going to a church service or to pray. (Say a prayer for me!) You can walk around inside afterward and should – it’s beautiful. I was there last summer just after Papa died, and the building gave me a sense of peace and connection to him. See my blog post about it here.

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Looking up at magnificent Notre Dame

Pont Neuf

After Notre Dame, you can walk over to the Pond Neuf bridge. You’ll probably want to take selfies there with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

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The Eiffel Tower way in the background, from the base of the Pont Neuf bridge

Pont Neuf is where a famous scene in The Bourne Identity took place; remember when the Conklin boss-man character was on the bridge waiting to meet fugitive Jason Bourne, who then called Conklin from his own office in the building above?  That was the Samaritain building, pictured below. Thomas was doing a Bourne moment there.

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It would be fun for you to rewatch the movie after you get home from your trip and check out all the Paris locations you’ll be newly familiar with. I absolutely love watching movies set in Paris and reliving my walkabouts through the City of Light. Hey, maybe we can do a Paris movie night over the Christmas holiday!

While you’re in that area, be sure to walk along the River Seine and see the artists and little shop-booths that open during the daytime and close up like little flowers at night.

Cruise Along the Seine

If you have time, take a river cruise! This one, Vedettes du Pont Neuf, is only about 10 Euro and takes off from near the Point Neuf – I highly recommend it. Take it in the evening and you’ll see the Eiffel Tower all lit up.

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On a river cruise, I snapped a sparkling Eiffel Tower, probably about the 15 millionth photo of it
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Sunset is beautiful on the river cruise

Public Gardens at The Tuilleries and Jardin des Champs-Élyées

Another great walk is from the Tuilleries Garden through the Place de la Concorde through the Jardins des Champs-Élysées. I love these public gardens so much that I try to get there every time I go to Paris, no matter the weather, no matter the time of year – as you can see in these photos from various trips over a dozen+ years.

Champs-Élysées

After the gardens, you can walk all the way up the Ave de Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triumph. The Champs-Élysées has high-end shopping and quite a few pretty people in designer shoes, but stick to your guns and wear the comfy ones.

Place du Trocadero

The Place du Trocadero by the Eiffel Tower is also a great place for a view of that iconic landmark.

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Galeries Lafayette and Passage des Panoramas

There’s a great view of Paris from the top of the shopping center Galeries Lafayette roof terrace on Boulevard Haussmann, which is free. It closes at 7:30 p.m. In that area is one of my favorite little places, the Passage des Panoramas, this cool little set of passages between buildings that has great restaurants in it. I found it when Thomas and I did the Paris and London trip in 2011 for his 14th birthday.

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The Italian restaurant on the left (on the right in this pic), just a little way into the passage from Boulevard Haussmann is supposed to be one of the best Italian restaurants in Paris. I haven’t been able to get a table there yet.

fullsizeoutput_2a9d.jpegMy favorite restaurant in the Passage des Panoramas is Canard & Champagne, a “modern French restaurant” that mostly serves duck and champagne. It is divine! And not super-expensive.

fullsizeoutput_2a9c.jpegThe duck burger is fabulous. The paté is fabulous, The duck breast is fabulous. The duck leg is fabulous. The address is 57 Passage des Panoramas. Go there, taste, and be happy.

A Quick Coffee and a Family Memory

While you’re in that area, if you need a quick coffee, visit La Porte Montmartre just down the street. It has a special place in my heart because of the experience that Thomas and I had there, which you’ve read before in this post: The Thankful Foreigner: An Award-Winning Essay from a Millennial.

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The Musical Millennial (Melyssa’s cousin) in front of the cafe where we met the Thankful Foreigner

Delightful and Inexpensive Comfort Food, Country French Style

One of my other favorite restaurants in Paris is Bistro des Augustins at 39 Quai des Grands Augustins. I did a post about it called Comfort Food Alert: The “Best Gratin in Paris” (or maybe anywhere), which pretty well sums up my feelings about it.

It’s a great place to eat before going on the boat tour from the nearby Pont Neuf.

A Vietnamese Restaurant Extraordinaire in a Area with Superb Street Art

There’s a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant that only the locals know, Comptoir Vietnam at 15 Rue Esquirol, 75013. I found it through a blogger friend and raved about it in a blog post. It’s in the 13th arrondissement, which has lots of street art, so if you go there, be sure to give yourself time to walk around and view it.

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Cool street art just down the way from Comptoir Vietnam
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There’s no way to describe how delicious this food it – just try it!

The Latin Quarter

Walking around in the Latin Quarter at night is also fun. It isn’t far from Bistro des Augustins and comes alive at night with live music. No pictures of that yet – maybe you and Steve will collect them and do a guest post!

Have Fun, Be Safe and Collect Those Memories

There’s so much more to do! You’ll have to go back. Maybe one day we can go together.

Love,

Aunt Kim

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

The Little Brown Social Birds of Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland

I’m in a birdy mood! Yesterday’s post had a haiku and a variety of our feathered friends. Today, I’m sharing the social networking of just one flock of birds who fascinated me on a recent trip to Scotland’s Aberdeenshire region.

fullsizeoutput_2a92The ruins of Dunnotar Castle in Stonehaven are surrounded by nature’s beauty: the sea, fields of heather dancing in the wind, gorgeous grain meadows and huge open skies. I’ve got a lot more to show you from the castle, but today, it’s just about that flock of fun little birds.

They swooped in en masse and settled on tall grasses, chirping and squawking. It seemed like they were talking.

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Birds in the field
Hanging Out
Hanging out
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Wait for me!
The Castle
The castle backdrop
Bird, Watching, Waiting
Sentry
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Togetherness
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Fluffy little thing

I got too close and scared them, so they moved their party to the tree.

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Watching, waiting
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Going the same direction

Aren’t they marvelous?

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Like Christmas tree ornaments

I’ve done my homework trying to identify the species who gave me so much pleasure that afternoon, and I’m not quite sure…I think they are twites, but I look to my Scottish readers to correct me.

And now I see an easy haiku in this:

a treasure trove of
twites in a tree near the sea
in Aberdeenshire

© Glover Gardens

Haiku: Something about the Light in Paris

“only in Paris” ~
or at least, that’s how it feels
when you’re in its glow

There’s something about the light in Paris.

Even on a gray day, there’s a champagne tint as daylight turns to dusk.

Check it out with me in the photos below, a simple view down a typical street in the City of Light.  A weak evening sun shines pale gold like bubbly on the buildings. fullsizeoutput_2a63

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I could’ve stood there for hours, watching the light slowly change, and the Parisians pass by.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Haiku: Bees on a Mission

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You have to look closely for the industrious bee on the middle flower, getting every last fragment of pollen

bees on a mission
devouring the last pollen
before winter comes

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These bees blend in, too, as they scour the flower of its potent pollen richness

There are lots of bees in Scotland, and they’re feasting.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

 

Some Days Chickens, Some Days Feathers

Still reflecting on my recent few days in Aberdeen, the pics of this dogged little doggie on the beach make me smile. That feather was a prize.

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You’re smiling, too, now aren’t you? This jaunty, quirky little pack of canines and humans is all charm, personality and free spirits.

That’s Aberdeen for you.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

Gulls of Aberdeen Harbor (including haiku)

I’m a gull watcher.

I like them. They remind me of where I grew up, in Gilchrist, Texas on the Bolivar Peninsula. Where nothing ever happened, and yet every day was interesting and different. We had lots of gulls.

Join me in gull-watching, in Aberdeen, mostly in the harbor. Just for a few minutes. Hear them squawking and cawing, and smell the sea air. Feel the peace seeping through your soul as the staccato screech of the gulls is accompanied by the soothing sounds of the waves. A gull haiku:

gulls soaring, screeching
pulling me home to the sea
you should come with me

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I’m a gull watcher.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Suire’s Wows Again: I’m in Love with Their Crawfish Fettucini

After an anniversary trip to New Orleans this summer, I waxed long and poetic in this post about Suire’s, a tiny, quirky, wonderful and welcoming cafe and grocery in Kaplan, Louisiana that serves spectacular Cajun food.

Now I have to rave about Suire’s again – this time, it’s about the Crawfish Fettuccini. Wow!!!

If you read the original post (and I hope you did – or will), you’ll know the story about the generous stranger who insisted on buying us a frozen container of the Crawfish Fettuccini.

The People of Suire's – Version 2
On the right is Katlyn, our Crawfish Fettuccini benefactor, with Joan Suire, one of the owners of this delicious and delightful destination in Louisiana’s Cajun Country
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Below the baked goods where the Grill-Meister is selecting a house-made fig cake sits the frozen section – a freezer full of Cajun yumminess

The Crawfish Fettuccini Katlyn gifted us with has been sitting in our freezer waiting for the right time for us to savor it slowly and remember what a great time we had at Suire’s. Last night was the night. I’m messing around with crab cakes, trying to create the perfect Glover Gardens version. The taste is all that (according to my Official Taster, the Grill-Meister), but the texture isn’t right yet, so I’m not ready to share the recipe. Stay tuned. Anyway, I needed a side dish.

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First try on Glover Gardens crab cakes, made with Zippy Southwest seasoning and served with Sriracha mayo

The Suire’s Crawfish Fettuccini was the perfect complement to our crab cake experiment. And it was just that: perfect. Creamy, spicy, homey, with tasty little morsels of crawfish. Oh my goodness!

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You can almost taste the creamy, spicy goodness of the Suire’s Crawfish Fettuccini, can’t you?

So Katlyn, thank you so much for the gift of the frozen Crawfish Fettuccini. You were absolutely right about it. Wow.

I’m excited because we still have two frozen entrees from Suire’s – Red Beans and Sausage and Crawfish Étouffée. When they’re gone, it’s time for a road trip! Wanna come?

Resources

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

 

Still Not a Fan of Beets…Strange In-Flight Sandwich

With apologies to the airline, I was really surprised by the flavors in the complimentary sandwich Air France served on a recent flight.

Chévre / Betterave  /Framboise

AKA

Goat Cheese / Beet / Raspberry

You heard me right – the dreaded beet in a sandwich meant for the general public. Curses!

It’s probably the only French cuisine I’ve ever tasted and disliked. I DO NOT LIKE BEETS. What a waste of the goat cheese and raspberries.

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Read more about the beet problem here at I Hate Beets. There’s even a haiku. And surprisingly, lots of comments. Like politics at the moment, beets are a polarizing topic.

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Photo from johnnyseeds.com

They look pretty, but they taste like dirt.

© 2018 Glover Gardens