Exploring Paris: Art, toilets & crepes, oh my!

 

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Looks like we have security at the Artists’ Market in Montmartre area of Paris, France. Watch out, Bad Guys!

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 Place du Tertre is where the legends of 20th century art used to roam. Now it’s filled with watercolors, portrait sketchers and caricaturists.

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 Picasso, Vlamenck, Derain, Soutine, Modigliani, Van Gogh and countless others lived and worked in these narrow streets.

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 Wall plaques identify buildings and cafes as historic with crucial info such as “Hemmingway once peed in our bathroom…” etc.  ~ http://www.aparisguide.com/montmartre/

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Speaking of toilets, we find dire shortages of bathroom facilities throughout the city (which explains the frequent urine smells in stairways and in the metro.) and begin to plan our itinerary around estimated time of need. (I believe Joan may be researching the next toilet location as she waits her turn.) A few rare instances one may find a futuristic looking toilet pod as pictured above and below. ( Paris Sanisette:  Click on this link for detailed operation instructions.)

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The door closes after the previous user and it takes a full minute for the empty toilet pod to go through its disinfecting cycle before the next person can use it. A robotic arm comes out to scrub the toilet and the floor is cleaned so I patiently wait my turn. That extra minute between users is a long time if a person has to REALLY go and there is a long line. Wish me luck as I allow the doors to the unknown to close upon me. If I fall asleep in there or find myself locked in, it will automatically open after 15 minutes. So they say…

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With that business taken care of we can focus on finding real French crepes since all of this tourist activity has made us hungry. This crepe vendor looks authentic enough, right? 2014Paris-1080006dmvDoesn’t that look just nummy…?

To market, to market… Paris, France

Time to leave the hostal and explore, so we visit a neighborhood Paris street market near the Red Light District. Market products are often fresher, more flavorful, and less expensive than supermarket counterparts. They can also be a lot more environmentally friendly since the fresh fruit and produce, in particular, tends to come from local farms.  goparis.com

It’s entertaining listening to the French chatter while we try to identify products while their smells permeate the air.

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2014Paris-1070897dmvWith access to a kitchen, it would be fun to buy food and beverage at the market and cook our own meals.

Bon appetite!

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood ~ Paris, France

Want to experience Paris, but not willing to dole out extravagant amounts of money?

paris_map3Welcome to the neighborhood of Calaincourt Hostel, located in the Montmartre, a hill in the north region of Paris, France. If you check out the map above, we are located  just  north of #18 Sacre Coeur, located at the summit of the butte Montmartre. (Click on links for more info.)

2014Paris-1070930cl All five of us are crammed into this little room, but it is actually a wonderful spot to be and the price is right.  Breakfast included with all the coffee/tea you can drink(Sadly, not many bathrooms in the city so we had to limit consumption of liquids),  happy hour each day with a great view overlooking our steep steps, so we can look down and see/hear the people passing by. Bonus points for having our own bathroom/shower, and the bunk beds double as drying racks!

2014Paris-1080124dmvFront view of our hostel with a nice laundromat  located nearby. Thank you, Italian Family On Holiday for the interesting visit as we shared the laundromat facilities.

2014Paris-1080126dmvWe really are situated on a hill as our hostel window is upper left. Lots of beeking (eavesdropping?)  opportunities as people pass by on these steps. I am surprised that French does not seem to be the predominant language spoken as the chatter of Middle Eastern and African languages pepper the air as we listen through the window.

2014Paris-1080175dmvcrRandy finds an English-speaking French man to share dog stories.  Kind of looks like our old dog, Sandy.

2014Paris-1070982Fragrant smell of sausage and bread.

2014Paris-1080109dmvKids are kids the world around as they eye the yummy looking items in the window of a nearby candy store.

2014Paris-1080111dmvPopular mode of transportation.

2014Paris-1080119dmvThe name of this restaurant, Le Cafe Qui Parle,  reminds me of home ~ Lac Qui Parle County in Minnesota, but it is out of our price range. (Click on the link to view info and menu.)

2014Paris-1080121dmvcrWe purchase food and beverages at our local little grocery store and at a nearby supermarket.

2014Paris-1080177fp20pop30crThis little gal is ready to leave the cafe at the bottom of our steps before her parents have finished visiting.  Just like home.

2014Paris-1080184dmvDown the street, this gentleman sits at this spot waiting for handouts and is dressed in this attire each day we are here.

2014Paris-1080186dmvOne afternoon, I did see him standing in a small sandwich shop. I don’t know his story, but it seems to be a boring life.

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Photo credit: Joan Rigdon – Ipad

So, here’s to Paris and our new home away from home!

Au revoir… until tomorrow.