Tuesday, January 22, 2013

La Neige a Paris

Sunday morning I woke up and headed down stairs to breakfast.  You could juice your own OJ.

 You could select your own baguette
and slice off a piece.

 Amazing croissants, pan au chocolaté and other delicious pastries.
Ham and cheese for a little protein.  Amazing way to start my day.  
And then I headed out into the streets and this is what I found.  Shortly after I left the hotel a Parisian man stopped me and started talking to me.  He started out in French and then switched to English for me.  He told me how lucky I was to get to see Paris in the snow.  He told me to appreciate how quiet the city is in the snow.  We talked for a few minutes and then he headed off with his little dog to continue their walk.  Norwegians are very reserved and that made all of my interactions with the French, who are very outgoing, all the more memorable.  

 The bakeries were hard at work, some of the only places open on this snowy Sunday morning.
 Something about this palm tree covered in snow was amusing to me.
 These stairs were a little intimidating with all the snow.  I am used to the Norwegians that cover everything with gravel, not the case in Paris, so everything was pretty slippery.
A random house with its gardens all covered in snow.  

 This was the view from that house.  I love that you can see the churches about the buildings.
 I love little places like this.
At the base of the Sacre Couer there were still a few brave tourists.  There were 2 different french camera men out filming those tourists.  I love this cameraman filming the couple taking pictures.
Here is a young American taking a quick swig of red wine, yes it was about 9 AM and someone had an open bottle of wine they were sharing.
The young American then joined a couple of his friends and they slid down the hill on empty trash bags.  You can see the cameraman at the bottom of the hill getting a great shot.
And the reason I was out trudging through this crazy weather, the Sacre Couer.  It was beautiful even on a gloomy day.
I had planned to go the top, but the view of Paris wasn't happening today, you could barely see to the bottom on the steps, let alone across the city.
I headed off in search of my next destination.  On the way I passed this street, the beauty of the everyday was so striking.  I saw children sledding down sidewalks and people of all ages throwing snow balls at each other.  Here in Norway people are used to snow, but in Paris snow seemed to be a treat, something to get excited over.

This is the Cemetery at Monmartre.  There are some very famous people buried in this cemetery.  Edgar Degas and Alexander Dumas were two names that I recognized.    I love how they have built a bridge over the cemetery and if you don't stop and peer through the metal railing you could completely miss it.

It was about this point in time that I realized my boot was coming apart.  It was still snowing steadily and my foot was getting very wet and cold.  I thought I could keep going though, so I headed for the Metro and headed to Garibaldi, the stop that would take me to the Flea Markets.
I was so thankful to finally come upon this cafe, I knew I was in the right area, and I knew I could warm up a little.
When I walked in there were a few people hanging out.  I ordered a cafe au lait and prepared to sit at a table by myself.  I was invited to sit with this kind folks, there table was right next to the radiator and I appreciated their kindness.  They invited me to play this dice game with them, but I was content to watch.  The woman on the left spoke English, the man on the right did not.  I found myself trying to remember as much of my high school French as I could.  
He was kind enough to take a picture of me trying my hand at the dice.
Once I was done with my coffee I headed outside to see if any of the vendors were open.  This gentleman had left his tables set up and they were covered with snow.  There were not many vendors open because of the cold and snow.
This book store was open.  I stepped inside and realized I did not have the time or the space in my luggage to really do the place justice.
This is what you could see from just inside the door.  So much fun.
This was a different book store.  I just loved the way his store looked.  He had some absolutely beautiful books.  I found a 6 volume set of Bibles in French from 1819 that I really wanted to bring home, but at 100 Euros for the set.  It was not meant to be.  
From that shop I walked past a whole section that were closed up.  They had some great looking items. I went to college at the University of South Carolina where our mascot is the Gamecock.  This giant metal chicken was awesome.

This is a whole selection of metal tables and chairs, they were so beautiful.

After hours of walking around in the snow this is what my boot looked like.  I went back to my hotel to gather my things and check out and I took the time to dry out my socks, but as soon as I stepped back outside my feet were soaked again.  I had seen a shoe store the night before, but they were closed because it was Sunday.  I headed back to the flea market to see what I could find.  That was a long 10 minute walk with snow caught inside my boot.  

I found a vendor who had a surprising collection of cowboy boots.  I found this fun pair for only 50 Euros.  They are from Spain, I believe.  They kept my feet very warm and dry, they were not the most comfortable walking shoes, but I am still glad that I got them.  
Since my feet were warm and dry again I headed out to do some more flea market exploring.  There are  around 14 different flea markets in Paris, their origins go all the way back to the 1800s.  Some of them are very, very nice and some of them are more reasonable.  They are all beautiful.  The Marche Paul Bert is definitely one of the nicer flea markets.
I loved these frames.  The one with a price tag was 150 Euros, but they were very large and substantial.  
This rack of furs was inside the Marche Serpett.  This was a very upscale area.  I walked through taking in the sights, but I new I was out of my league.  
This is a Louis Vuitton traveling trunk.  The one next to it was almost 1000 Euros.  This same space had several different designer hand bags.  It was fun to look.

When it was almost time for me to leave I finally found my flea market.  Vernaison had so many fun things, at very middle of the road prices.  There were still some expensive things, but you could find some deals too.  I think the fact that I was low on cash and time was a good thing, otherwise I would have gotten myself in trouble.  The easiest way to find this market is to take the Purple, number 4 line all the way to the end at Porte de Clignacourt.   Walk north, cross under the highway, go to your second left and then look for these small little signs that will take you down alleys that are all filled with vendors and their booths.  

From there I knew my time was running out so I headed back to the center of Paris.  I crossed on Pont Neuf.

The view from Pont Neuf. 
And then I walked until I came to Notre Dame.  It was stunning.

A group of musicians performing in a Metro station.  I heard several musicians in the couple of days I spent on the metro.  This was by far the largest group I saw, they had attracted quite the crowd.  

Walking down the street, this bicycle was parked in front of a hotel.  I saw it both days I was there and I loved the color, the basket, and the idea of riding a basket like that around Paris.

At the Louvre, the bottom of the pyramid.  
The two story Apple store, it was packed!

A friend told me about this place, and it was great.  The chocolate was so rich  and amazing.

Walking down the Champs Elysees.  It was a beautiful sight. 

Even the bathrooms seem so chic here.  Can yo see the little WC sign?

I am not sure what this building was, but I spent a lot of time looking at it as I walked down the street.  It was very impressive.

And then I was back onto the metro and out to Porte Maillot to catch the bus back to Beauvais.  I know it was a very short trip, but it was just what I needed.  I was back in Oslo by that evening and up and around with the kids Monday morning.  I love that I was able to take this trip very affordably.  Now I am ready come back next month with the whole family! 


  1. Wow! You covered a lot of ground in a few days. Looks like you had great fun. Loved looking at your fotos.

  2. Great job Amy, you really should consider some sort of travel guide business, I love how you shared everything!

  3. Je t'aime Paris!! Wow, you saw Paris in the snow; how magical... Though, I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of snow with this cold weather we are getting here in New York. But, still very cool...

    Love seeing your travels here on your blog. I also have a travel blog, mainly focusing on New York. Hope you can check it out:


    Maybe we can follow each other :) Stay warm on your side of the world!