Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The last time I knew you, Brenda, you were living above your dad's chip shop, near the glue factory.

Evening all! One of the things I've been meaning to do forever is share some photos from the second half of our holiday to Paris at the end of April. I know it's nearing the end of June now but what are you going to do?! I also have a new handmade dress to sneak into this post too, so oooooh VALUE, right?!

So, when I left off it was the Monday evening and I'd done a whole lot of fabric shopping. On the Tuesday morning, Nic and I got up and did some grocery shopping in Carrefour before getting on the metro to Ledru-Rollin for the flea market at Porte d'Aligre. We'd been to this small flea market before on a very hot day, and had been charmed by the antiques stalls and fruit markets. It was a much cooler and pretty windy day so we didn't spend a huge amount of time browsing the stalls, but the fruit market was as lovely as it had been before, with vendors offering samples of their delicious fresh fruit. We had lunch on the Promenade Plantee before walking to Bercy to visit the Cinematheque Francaise. Which was CLOSED, because we were too dim to check the opening times before we went. DERP. Anyway, the Cinematheque is in a pretty cool area, so we headed to Bercy Village for a coffee and a little wander in the shops:

Here's me with a big red dog in Bercy Village

Coffee with the face of a bear in Bercy Village

After that the day got a bit strange as we had a long walk, got a bit lost, and got sore feet. But we eventually found our way to Rue Mouffetard and treated ourselves to some crepes. Because why not!

Three cheese crepe. I had a nutella and banana one myself. And the next day I had one with speculoos in it. YUM.

It started to rain just after this picture, so we took refuge in the comic shops of the Latin Quarter before catching the metro home to Montmartre. After a cup of tea and a rest in the apartment, we went out for dinner to the Relais Gascon - a favourite haunt on Rue des Abbesses from our previous visit to Paris, and then the Tuesday "boeuf" (jam) in Autour de Midi on Rue Lepic. This was a gorgeous evening, although despite my promises to myself, I didn't manage to finish my amazing Relais Gascon salad. Next time, though. It's worth going back to Paris just for one of those salads. We got back to our apartment late, after an evening of wonderful jazz and delicious wine. Can't be better than that!

Wednesday 1st May was a public holiday in France (and across a lot of Europe) - Fete du Travail - and the sun came out! I had planned to do a bit more fabric shopping, but all the shops were closed. So, there was nothing for it but to be real tourists. After breakfast we explored around our area La Goutte d'Or a bit more, which was really interesting:

Zola spotting - Place de l'Assommoir. The area we were staying in is where L'Assommoir was set.

I don't think I could get tired of Montmartre, and the area we were staying in - closer to the Goutte d'Or side of la Butte - was so vibrant and fun. Nic and I spent the day really being tourists in Montmartre and watching the Parisians enjoying their day off. We had a picnic lunch at the Sacre Coeur, looked in the windows of all of the estate agents on Rue Caulaincourt (planning out where we're going to buy our Parisian pied-a-terre, naturally) and explored the Cimitiere Montmartre again. Maybe it's ghoulish of me, but I love it in there. It's where Emile Zola was buried, although his body was later transferred to the Pantheon. Before we went into the cemetery, Nic stopped at a newsagent to buy an ice-lolly and the lady who owned it gave me a rose:

Zola's grave

I was surprised to find myself so moved by this monument - Zola's work means a lot to me for a lot of reasons, so it seemed fitting to leave this strange and wonderful writer a tribute. 

We spent the rest of the day as flaneurs, walking and chatting and stopping where we felt like it for glasses of wine and cups of coffee. A bit of exploring took us unexpectedly to the 9th arrondissement, where Nic found a wonderful comic shop and I browsed the afternoon away in various vintage shops and along the antiques market. After a nap and dinner we headed back out for cocktails in Clair de Lune and Le Rosie, on Rue Muller. Le Rosie was fabulous - it was like having cocktails in a stylish friend's living room!

La Roisin in Le Rosie

Le Rosie, much like Clair de Lune, is one of those bars that is really cool without being pretentious. We  were made to feel totally welcome even though most of the other customers seemed to be regulars. In fact, for the remainder of our stay in Paris the barman waved to us every time we walked past, which was really nice!

I did some more fabric shopping early on the Thursday morning at Marche Saint-Pierre and in Toto. Thursday was a glorious day - the first really warm and sunny day we'd had in Paris - and it was really delightful to potter around the fabric shops as they opened.


After stopping on Rue Lepic to stock up on bread and cheese, it was time for us to attempt to get into the Cinematheque again. This time, we checked the opening hours before we went over to Bercy! We had our lunch in the gorgeous gardens by the Cinematheque and fed the birds. This was really lovely if a little surreal - there's a playground there with a carousel, which was closed but still had eerie music floating out of it. It all felt a bit Twin Peaks.

Awww, isn't Nic a cutie?!

The Cinematheque is very cool, and it was well worth going back to Bercy to have a look at their permanent exhibition. We spent an hour or two in there before going for a walk and a further explore. An embankment separates the Cinematheque from the Seine, and we scrambled up it to see what was at the top and found a beautiful, undulating footbridge linking the Cinematheque to the Bibliotheque Francois Mitterand.

We crossed it, and sat by the Seine in the sunshine. There are so many amazing looking bars and restaurants down here - on boats and along the riverside. There's even a floating swimming pool, the Piscine Josephine Baker. This is a bit of Paris we'll be sure to explore a bit more the next time we're in town.

The rest of our holiday was mainly eating and drinking - and a bit more listening to jazz, as well. When Friday lunchtime came round I was sad to be leaving, but it was good to be leaving Paris with so many happy memories. And SO much fabric, as well!

Rue Charles Nodier by dusk

I've already sewed with some of my Paris fabric, and my most recent Paris make was from the Michael Miller Eiffel Tower fabric I bought in Tissus Reine. I initially planned to do something different with it, but I love the bodice of Simplicity 2444 and I knew it would let the fabric really shine.

Place Saint Pierre dress - Simplicity 2444 with a gathered skirt made with Michael Miller Eiffel Tower fabric and worn with Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Lady Dragon shoes

I've kind of got past worrying whether I look good in photos any more - Me Made May put paid to that - and this photo made me laugh so much when I saw it. There was some noise coming from upstairs, and this is what my face looks like when I'm thinking. Just thinking - not raging, although that is what my face suggests! Maybe I just suffer from chronic bitchface? Anyhow, nothing to say about this pattern combination that I haven't said a gazillionty times by now. I love this pattern. I wore this last Sunday to go and meet some friends for brunch and actually this photo is much more reflective of how I was looking at the time:


Don't be thinking that this might signal the end of my obsession with this fabric or this pattern. It doesn't. But all the same, I might lay off both for a while.

Right. All that reminiscing about Paris has made me want to eat some cheese, so I think I'm going to do that now. Au revoir, mes amies!