6.27.2009

Paris Market: Rue Mouffetard

I guess I saved the best for last. It is our last day in Paris and I thought I would get around to telling you about the street we live on. First of all I have to tell you how lucky we feel to have gotten the apartment we have. I mentioned in a previous post about finding an apartment on Vacation Rental by Owner but I don't think I have told you about where we live (unless you count a few quick videos).

We live on Rue Mouffetard right in the center of the market section of the street. Out our front door are bakeries, produce stands, fish and meat markets, cheese shops and even a small supermarket. In addition to this there are tons of cafes, wine shops and even some pizza places. This street is in the "Latin Quarter" so named for when it was a university neighborhood and everyone spoke "Latin". The cafe selection is varied going all the way from traditional bistro food to sushi.

Our street is a happening place. In the day time everyone does their shopping at the markets and tourist crowd the street (it is a tourist stop). At night the street (which is closed to cars most of the time) is full of pedestrians checking out the numerous cafes. My new favorite cafe is just down the way on the corner. It is called Cave La Bourgogne.

The street can be wild and crazy but when we close the first door of our apartment complex the street noise disappears. All we hear in our apartment is the birds or the local church bells telling the time. We have the best of both worlds. We were SO SO lucky with our apartment. I don't think we could have found a better place to live in Paris.

Paris Market: Rue Mouffetard from everyAugust on Vimeo.

Review: Le Restaurant in the Musee d'Orsay

Le Restaurant in the Musee d'Orsay was recommended to me by a friend. Unfortunately on our first trip to the museum we got a little mixed up and found the Cafe on the top floor and thought that was what he had recommended. When we asked if there was another cafe in the museum the hostess said that "this cafe" was the only one. She was correct. This was the only "cafe". What we were looking for was called "Le Restaurant". Our mistake. We went to Le Restaurant on free museum Sunday after a morning at the Louvre.

Atmosphere:
Le Restaurant is in the old salon of the train station that became the Musee d'Orsay. It has been renovated and is cream and gold with chandeliers and mirrors providing elegant lighting. Located on the third floor, it has windows running the length of the restaurant and about thirty foot ceilings. While the atmosphere makes one think of the Ritz this establishment has no stiff dress code. Most of the clientele are museum goers and dressed appropriately (i.e. casual).
Score: 4.5

Food:
What we had:
Bottle of white wine
Bottle of water
Cheese plate with salad
Plate du jour: fish and gnocchi
Chicken wrapped in prosciutto with a side of penne
Vegetable Risotto
Chocolate cake
Ice Cream
Cappuccino
Espresso
Total= €120.00 ($168.67)

Excellent except for the risotto. The texture was wrong. It needed to be creamier. Other than that the cheese plate and salad were delicious with the assort of cheese really complementing each other. The little sister really enjoyed her chicken stuffed with some kind of cheese and then wrapped in prosciutto. My gnocchi and fish were good and the desserts rocked. Overall we were impressed with the food, except the risotto.
Score: 4


Staff:
So cute in their grey suits, so charming and funny. Our waiter played down how well he spoke english. Very knowledgeable about the menu and attentive. Exemplary service and our favorite wait staff in Paris.
Score: 5

Overall I think we were charmed by this restaurant and the wait staff. I would recommend it as a splurge restaurant (i.e. a place to eat like the French with multiple courses) and as a bonus you get to enjoy a great museum.
Score: 4.5

6.25.2009

Paris Market: Disclaimer

I have loved exploring the "Paris Markets", I think the pictures show it. We bought a lot of stuff and did a lot of cooking. It is so nice to have a kitchen and be able to cook in a foreign country. And after going to all these markets who wouldn't want to cook?

I do have a few disclaimers I wanted to let you in on:

1. Just because a market states it starts at a certain time does not mean that it really does. I am an "early" market goer, meaning that back in California I show up when a market starts. Here I wasn't so much that person because 1) my sisters and 2) when I did show up early no one was open. I even stopped by a market that opened at 7am after a run one morning around 8:30 and half the people were still setting up.

2. Most markets sell more than food.

3. Ask to taste things if you are going to buy. Samples of cheese, fudge and sometimes fruit are given to see if you like what you are going to buy.

4. Let the vendors pick your fruit. People stand in line to wait for someone to help them and then let the vendor know what they want. The vendor then picks out food according to when you are going to eat it.

Review: Café Louis Phillipe

I like this little cafe in Paris. A friend recommended this place and the middle sister and I tried it out.
Score 1-5 with 5 being the highest.

Atmosphere:
Cafe Louis Phillipe is just across the Pont Louis Phillipe from the Ile St. Louise on the right bank. Walk through ivy aches to the outdoor patio or choose to be seated inside like we did and enjoy big windows, plenty of natural light and no smoking. This cafe is charming and feels like coming home. Marble tables are covered with a red print tablecloths and the menu of the day is written on mirrors and the windows. You can feel the metro when it passes.
Score: 4 (I was really charmed by this place)

Food:
Choose from the Prix Fix menu of appetizer and entree or entree and dessert or just order off the menu. I ordered the appetizer and entree and the middle sister ordered the entree and dessert. We split the appetizer and dessert.
What we had:
Large carafe of house red wine
Tomato and mozzarella
Onglet (beef) and french fries
Tagliatelle and pistou
chocolate mousse
espresso
coffee creme
TOTAL= €49.00 ($67.79)

I was excited that the plat du jour was Onglet. My dad tells this story of ordering this in Paris but not knowing what is was and never being able to find it in California. He is stopping in Paris and I am excited to tell him that I have tried it. It also came with french fries and I was looking forward to those. Both items did not disappoint. The Onglet turns out to be what I would call beef tenderloin. It was cooked medium rare and was delicious. The fries were also really good. I am not a tomato fan but the middle sister is a vegetarian so we needed something she could eat for the appetizer. I told her I would just eat around the tomatoes. We have learned that the menus in Paris can be very literal. If you order something under "Le Salade" that just said "green beans", well green beans are all you will get. Imagine our surprise when the tomato and mozzarella came out on a bed of mixed greens with a pesto-ish dressing. Now the mozzarella was not fresh mozzarella but we still found it to be very enjoyable. My sister said her pasta was the "best she had in Paris so far" and the chocolate mousse reminded me of pudding but that was because it was milk chocolate mousse and not the chocolate mousse noir I am used to.
Score: 3.5


Staff:
The waiters at Cafe Louis Phillipe dress casually and wear long aprons. Our waiter was wearing jeans and a white button down. He was funny and made fun of me when I ordered a cafe creme after dessert. He said "Breakfast? You want some bread and jam?". He also put the dessert in front of me instead of in the middle of the table because the middle sister had not finished her entree. He made us laugh and we really enjoyed our selves.
Score: 4

Overall I really liked this place. I will go back and think of it as what a charming Parisian cafe should be.
Overall: 4

6.23.2009

"Take Away" from Paris

To go food in Paris is called "Take Away". Some restaurants hang signs in the window to let you know you can get food to go. It makes me smile that they call it "Take Away". In this spirit here are a few things I am going to "Take Away" from Paris.


1. Make my own bread. I actually started making my own bread right before I left for Paris by following a recipe in a book called Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I will keep it up when I get home. I love having fresh baguettes.

2. Make my own Pasta. I just got a new pasta attachment for my kitchen aid and I am looking forward to using it. Fresh pasta is easy to make and quick to cook. I am formulating ravioli recipes in my head for when I get home. Here in Paris I walk by fresh Pasta everyday on our street. It is very motivational.

3. Make my own yogurt. I ordered a European Yogurt maker before I left California and am looking forward to using it when I get home. We have a joke about some of the food here saying it taste different because it is missing "chemicals". I have decided to really start pay attention to what kinds of foods I am putting in my body.

4. Chocolate mouse. I eat chocolate mouse for dessert all the time here. I am going to find a recipe I love and perfect it.

5. Spend more on quality food. I buy a lot of my food at farmers' markets but I usually only show up with $25. I think I am going to bring more money and start buying things like cheese and fish, the high price items at the farmer's markets.

6. Cook with family. The middle sister and I are going to start cooking together once a week. We cook together a lot but now we are going to have a standing date. We love to cook and eat and drink wine, so now we will get together once a week and do it. This is only a Paris "Take Away" because we decided to do it while in Paris.

Last week in Paris

It is our last week in Paris and we are re-visiting a few things and trying to get to a few things we missed. I can't believe we have been here for 26 days....It really hit home the other day when T sent me this picture of some of my orchids. They were supposed to take up to five years to bloom, but decided to do it in two and a half. Of course they bloomed when I was away and T said it was because he was an excellent gardener.

6.20.2009

Paris Market: Ave du Président Wilson

We hit up two (well three but the third was just art) markets today. I think this market might be my favorite. It was just a long market between two streets, but the people just seemed friendlier. As crowded as it was (and most of the narrow ones get crowded) everyone just seemed to take the time to enjoy the market.


Pairs Market: Ave du President Wilson from everyAugust on Vimeo.

Video: Paris Market: Batignolles


Paris Market: Batignolles from everyAugust on Vimeo.

6.17.2009

Paris Market: Grenelle

This market is under an overhead Metro on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7am - 2:30. I read somewhere that this neighborhood developed so quickly as a residential neighborhood that there were not a lot of stores in the area. This market serves as an everything market and locals shop for a lot more than food here.



Paris Market: Grenelle from everyAugust on Vimeo.

6.15.2009

Paris Market: Raspail

It is Paris Market week, or it is Paris Market Video week.... you decide. Paris has a lot of what I call "Farmers Markets" but I have heard them called "Paris Markets" here. There are different ones everyday and some have specialties like organic produce or spices. This week is all about food and food markets. We are going to try to hit up a different one everyday. We actually hit up Raspail yesterday and I thought I read somewhere that it was an organic market. Not sure if it was or not, but I loved it. Here is the video:


Paris Market: Raspail from everyAugust on Vimeo.

Today we hit up: E. Dehillerin which is a 200 year old restaurant supply shop. Kind of wish I had a bigger suitcase to bring stuff home.

Airstream Update: Bathroom Door

Look at this door: it is amazing! T built it to replace the old pocket door. I love it! I actually gasped when I saw this picture. It solves the problem of letting light into the airstream but also hides the bathroom. Genius.

6.14.2009

Paris Market: Maubert

A friend told me about this Paris Market off the Maubert Metro stop. He said it was good place to buy spices and herbs to bring home. I found some "local" honey here that is delicious.



Paris Market: Maubert from everyAugust on Vimeo.

6.12.2009

Notes on Paris: things I packed

I think I packed the best I could for Paris knowing that the average temperatures would be in the mid 70s. So "average" means it could go up or down. I packed for the up and for the down. I have to keep telling myself that as I look at the linen pants and skirts that are just waiting for some warmer days.

Future packing notes to self:
Classic is best.
Bring a trench (the black one would have worked here and in Seattle)
You need a better (sturdy) umbrella. When the wind gusts you live in fear of your cheap umbrella breaking.
Boots. Comfortable boots.
Solid, tan scarves. Europeans mix black and brown like it is going out of style.
Could of brought the black knit scarf but this is hindsight because of the rain.
Gloves were a great choice.
Solid color bag next time. Maybe tan or black.
Maybe some fun scarves for the hair? Just an idea.
One skirt only. You hardly wear them at home, why would you wear them here?
Leave in conditioner. Your hair misses it.
Yea for bringing a good cooking knife. We use it everyday.

Paris Fashion notes:
Converse are in. Not a lot of black, but I have seen a lot of muted colors like grey and blue. Girls and guys both wear them.
Trench coats are everywhere. Longer trenches.
Girls wear heels, boots or really cute flats. Some of them are even colorful.
Almost everything worn here is a solid color (no prints or designs) for the most part.
EXCEPT for STRIPES. There are a lot of Stripes. We play "Where's Waldo" a lot.
Tights are everywhere.
Not everyone in Paris is fashionable, but no one in Paris wears white tennis shoes.

6.11.2009

Review: Café du Marché

I was so disappointed in my last restaurant that I couldn't leave it as the top blog post for long. I rushed to do a review of Café du Marché over off Rue Cler, kind of near the Eiffel Tower where we had lunch yesterday.
Score 1-5 with 5 being the highest.

Atmosphere:
Café du Marché is on a corner of Rue Cler and some other street. When we arrived the restaurant was busy and a waiter pointed us to a table "outside" under an enclosed patio where we listened to the rain and watched the people walk by. Seating was at little round tables pushed four in a row. When I asked my sisters what to give this for atmosphere they said a 3.5 because "it is what it is but it doesn't offer anything extra".
Score= 3.5

Food:
We were handed some menus (with English on them) but looked and ordered off the chalkboard menu.

We had:
Carafe of the house red
Cheeseburger with potatoes
Penne with tomato and basil
Rigatoni in a truffle cream sauce
Dessert: tiramisu, coconut tart, profiteroles rolls
Cappucino
Café Creme
Total= €59.10 ($82.83 US)

I was hungry when we arrived at Café du Marché and I passed someone eating a cheeseburger (with a knife and fork) and thought it looked good. The sisters ordered pasta and when it arrived the wrong type of pasta was with the wrong dish. For example the penne was supposed to be with the truffle cream sauce but the rigatoni was with it. No big deal, they just switched plates. I removed the tomatoes from my burger and went about eating it in the french fashion, with a knife and fork. It was a bit of a challenge. The flavor was pretty good and the burger was cooked rare. I am usually a medium-rare girl myself and have found the French serve most of the beef I have ordered as medium-rare but closer to the rare side. This was the first time I had rare meat in France but it was tasty so I just kept eating. The penne with tomato and basil was simple and a little lacking to our taste buds. One sister said it needed mozzarella and I thought it could use some more basil, but the dish was what it said it was: penne with tomato and basil. The pasta with truffle cream sauce on the other hand was amazing. The cream sauce balanced the truffle flavor with the texture of the pasta. While the sauce seemed "rich" in flavor it was not overwhelming. We mopped up the sauce with bread to make sure it was not wasted. For dessert I had the tiramisu which I found too sweat but the little sister said her profiteroles rolls with chocolate sauce were not sweet enough so we switched. The coconut tart was "pretty good, not too sweet" according to the middle sister. They also served this with chocolate sauce and I thought that was overkill.
Score= 3.75


Staff:
The wait staff was always running at this place and our waiter was okay. He spoke okay English and was very matter-of-fact with a "boyish charm". We were not sure if he messed up the pasta order or if the kitchen did so we will let that one slide.
Score= 3.5

Overall we really liked this place, would recommend it, and will defiantly go back. If you go make sure to look on the "chalkboard menu" for the specials.
Overall Score= 4

Review: Georges at the Pompidou Center

Okay we don't know if this is called "Georges" or "George Café" but it is the only restaurant on the top of the Museum of Modern Art at the Pompidou Centre.
UPDATE: little sister said it is called "Restaurant George".
Scored 1-5 with 5 being the best.

Atmosphere:
Very modern, simple and cold. There is indoor and outdoor seating. We choose indoor because it was a bit chilly, but a friend recommends sitting outside. The view is amazing either way. The restaurant looks out over the city and it is truly breathtaking.
Score= 4.5


Food:
Nothing to write home about. Actually way down at the bottom of my list of good meals and way overpriced for what it was. Maybe we ordered incorrectly, but I would think that it shouldn't matter. A restaurant of that caliber should serve much better food. You truly go there for the view, which you can see if you go to the Museum.

What we had:
Bottle of white wine
Traditional club sandwich (we see it on all the menus)
Rigatoni (but it said macaroni on the menu) with morel mushrooms X2
Dessert: chocolate fondant, mielle feuille with strawberries, citron tart
Verbena tea
Espresso
Total= €155.20 ($218.54 US) OH MY GOSH! We are in shock.

This is my first review of restaurant so I am trying to get my formatting down and I think I want to give thorough reviews of the food. This is going to be harsh.

My club sandwich (that cost me $28 US) was not good. I eat a lot of club sandwiches and can say that Mimis' Cafe serves a MUCH BETTER club. While the fries looked interesting they were cold and flavorless.... Okay, I got that off my chest. My sisters both got the Macaroni with Morel mushrooms. Secretly (and we tried to ask) we thought it was macaroni and cheese but it turned out to be rigatoni in something that was supposed to be a mushroom cream sauce but it was really a light coating of barely there sauce. We might of thought is was good but we had this AMAZING pasta dish yesterday at Café du Marché and this one really paled in comparison. Oh, and one sister was very bitter we did not get bread so she could try to eat the barley there sauce.

Our wine was okay and I will try to keep track of what we drink in the future.

Dessert was okay. I had the chocolat fondant (chocolate cake that is gooey in the center) and it was really rich but good. The chocolate desserts here are dark chocolate based and not supper sweet. Right up my ally. Mine was so rich I couldn't finish it. The middle sister had the mielle feuille with strawberries which is like a single layer Napoleon with pastry cream and fruit sandwiched between two layers of thick pastry dough. My sister said the cream was nice, not too sweet, but the strawberries were old and dry. The other sister said her citron tart could not make up its mind between being sweet or tart and that the overwhelming flavor of the tart was from the crust. My verbena tea on the other hand was excellent with the leaves steeping in the hot water for max flavor.

Score= 1. For the price the food should have been MUCH MUCH BETTER.


Staff:
Strange things we noticed about the staff. Boys wear suits, girls look like they walked in off the street. Most of the girls were wearing jeans or shorts or other street clothes. You would not have known they worked there if they were not all carrying little purses with a napkin hooked on them. Strange. Our waiter spoke English but only seemed to understand items on the menu. He did redeem himself a little around dessert but when we had asked what a certain dessert at another table was early in the meal, he told us the wrong thing.
Score= 3

Tips:
It seems that only parties of 2 are seated inside by the windows during lunch. We were a party of three so no romantic view for us.
We did not have a reservation. It did not seem like one was needed for lunch.

Overall score= 2 (For the view and the relaxed atmosphere)

Of all the restaurants we have eaten at in Paris, we could not in good conscious recommend this one.

Here is a view from the museum.

6.10.2009

Video: Rain at the Luxembourg Gardens


Rain at the Luxembourg Gardens from everyAugust on Vimeo.

Video: Paris Metro

Best purchase in Paris so far: Paris Metro Pass.

We are in Paris for the month of June so we bought a Paris Metro Pass. This pass works on the metro, bus and with the city bikes that are everywhere. We didn't realize it worked with the bikes until after it started raining so we do not have pictures of us attempting the bikes just yet. Being form California (where public transportation consists of JACK) the metro was a little confusing at first. Yes I got on trains going the wrong way, or ran for a train only to realize (while on it) that it was the wrong train, but I am getting better and can find my way around the city pretty well on the metro. Next I tackle the bus.


Ride the Paris Metro from everyAugust on Vimeo.

UPDATE: You need to have your picture on the back of the Paris Metro Pass. There are little photo booths inside a lot of the metro stations. Get the mini pictures. You can get a fine for not having a picture on your pass.

6.08.2009

What I eat for breakfast in Paris

I love food and strangely I have not told you about anything I have been eating here in Paris. I posted some pictures on flickr but have to restrain myself from putting EVERYTHING I eat on there. We have eaten some great meals and I will blog about them soon, but today I wanted to let you know what I have for breakfast.

There are two versions of breakfast: the at home breakfast or the cafe breakfast.

The at home breakfast consists of a few slices of baguette, maybe a banana and some yogurt. We live on an amazing street with three bakeries (boulangerie) within a minute of our front door. One bakery is organic, one has a earthy-grainy baguette and one has a soft tangy flavor baguette. I go back and forth on which one is my favorite. The good thing is I don't have to choose. Each day I can have a new favorite.

We also live near a few cheese shops (fromagerie) and they sell yogurt. The yogurt is sold in glass containers and I find that really quaint. Now the yogurt is "mass produced" and I have found the same yogurt at our local "grocery store" but I think it is delicious. It is creamy, not too sweet and does not need to be stirred. We have a collection in our fridge and find myself snacking on it later in the day. It is so good..... Before we left for Paris I ordered a European Yogurt Maker, and am excited to use it when I get home.

Some mornings we go running or are trying to get somewhere and must have the "at home breakfast". Other mornings we head out to a cafe for breakfast.

My cafe breakfast consists of a hot chocolate (choclat chaud) and a baguette with butter (tartine). Our first morning here I saw a french couple order this for breakfast and then dip the bread into the hot chocolate. HEAVEN. It is so good. The two sisters usually split a chocolate croissant and have espresso or cafe ole. The chocolat chaud taste like is is made with dark chocolate. It is chocolaty but not sweet. It is thicker then most hot chocolates I drink and soaks into the the baguette making it a chocolate delight.

I want to say that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but every meal is my favorite meal of the day. I guess I will just say that I love how my days are beginning with a "balanced breakfast".

Airstream Update: Aluminum Bathroom

Hello. As I explore Paris T is working on the Airstream. Here is a bathroom update picture. Originally he was going to paint the bathroom a white-ish color to match the rest of the original airstream and had done some roof repairs and had put a piece of aluminum up in the center of the bathroom. I said it would be cool if the interior of the bathroom could be aluminum but he said it would be way too hard/ time consuming to make it all aluminum. The back of the Airstream is curved and things would need to be fitted perfectly. "Oh well, maybe next time" I said.

Look who changed his mind.....

I think it looks awesome.

6.07.2009

Free trip to the Louvre

Did you know most museums are free the first Sunday of the month? We did. We headed over to the Louvre when it opened to take advantage of this. My favorite "indoor" statue is at the Louvre, Winged Victory. I have been to the Louvre once before and remember it being a little overwhelming. I mean it is 12 miles of stuff to see. The sisters and I had downloaded some free museum tours from Rick Steve's to guide us through a few museums. We had listened to the one at the Musee d'Orsay and had one for the Louvre. We started listening to the tour but soon switched over to music. I wrote in a previous post about giving a space a soundtrack and this is what we did. The Louvre was pretty crowded and the music helped me to just enjoy the art.

You can click the picture to make it bigger.

6.05.2009

Paris.... why am I allergic to you?

I have a bit of bad news about Paris. It turns out the middle sister and I are allergic to it. We have been trying to deny it, but the truth is obvious in our sneezing and itchy eyes. Even now as I write my eyes are swollen and irritated. (This is why we have sunglasses on in so many pictures).

I have to say that being allergic to Paris kind of sucks. At first we were really having a problem. We were both pretty miserable but we would not let that stop us from seeing the city, I was even using the Netti Pot a few times a day. Now things are looking a little better, but by late afternoon my body gives up and sneezing and itchy eyes force me back to the apartment. I guess it is not all that bad. Some days I nap or catch up on blogging but other days I just drink a lot of hot water and try not to think about how yucky I feel. Today is one of those days.

I know we are not the only ones allergic to Paris. I have learned to recognize the symptoms in others. It makes me think that it is just that "time of year" here. I wonder if the forecasted rain will make it better...I hope so.

UPDATE: The rain has seemed to help! Sneezing is almost gone and itchy eyes are not so itchy.

6.04.2009

Monet's Garden

Today we left Paris and went to Monet's Garden. We followed Rick Steve's advice below and walked to the garden instead of renting a bike. It took us a little while to find the bike path, but we think our scenic route was way better. We all agree; we liked the walk to the garden as much as the garden itself.

Monet's Garden from everyAugust on Vimeo.

.....below is information from Rick Steve's

Cost and Hours
€4.50 for gardens only, April–Oct Tue–Sun 9:30–18:00, last entry 17:30, closed Mon and Nov–March, open some Mon holidays — check website, www.fondation-monet.com.

By train: Take the Rouen-bound train from Paris' Gare St. Lazare station to Vernon (6/day, more on Sat, about €22 round-trip, 45 min one-way, 4 miles from Giverny, no baggage check).

From the Vernon train station to Monet's garden (4 miles one-way), you have four good options: by bus, taxi, bike, or on foot. The Vernon–Giverny bus meets every train for the 15-minute run to Giverny (no buses on Mon) and takes you back to every return train to Paris. If you miss the bus, find others to share a taxi (allow €12 for up to 3 people, €13 for 4, taxis wait in front of the train station). You can also rent a bike at Café du Chemin de Fer opposite the train station (€13), and follow a paved bike path (piste cyclable) that runs from near Vernon along an abandoned railroad right-of-way (figure about 30 min to Giverny). Finally, you can walk to Giverny, following the bike path, and take a bus or taxi back.

6.01.2009

Kindness of Strangers: Paris addition

I'm sure you've heard the stereotype about french people. "Unfriendly" is the nice way to say it. When I told people that my sisters and I were staying here for a month some were jealous but most asked me if I was worried about the french people. "I've heard they don't like Americans" they would say.

The truth is I was not worried about "the french people". Everywhere I have traveled in this world I have met amazing people... and a few grumpy ones. I was sure France would not be any different.

It turns out I was right, but today I was so proud of how friendly and helpful complete strangers were to us that I had to write about it.

Our day started with a run at the Luxembourg Garden. The middle sister and I run at home and have a group of people we see and say good morning to. I guess the habit is hard to break because we were saying "Bon Jour" to almost all the runners we saw this morning. I would say our track record was about the same as we have at home. About 80% of people said "Bon Jour" back. We thought this was a good sign.

Next we tried a new cafe where the staff were friendly and polite. My middle sister speaks some french but is "out of practice" as she puts it. I am a little ashamed to admit I learned a lot less french then I should of because I knew she would be on this trip. We (the little sister and I) tell her what we want to order and then let her fend for herself. She went to the bar and ordered our "breakfast" and came back to tell us the staff was really nice. I think she gets self-conscious about her french but she gets more confident when people talk a little slower and take the time to interact with her. Needless to say we really like this cafe and will return. We even saw our waitress later buying bread and she smiled and waved at us.

Our next adventure started when we where trying to buy the month metro pass. We didn't know how to do it so the middle sister went to the information window and the women working there came out and explained what we needed to do. This is probably a good time to debunk a myth that is going around, "Not everyone in France speaks English". The women who was explaining things to us only spoke French. She explained that we needed to buy a card and then put the month pass on it. The catch was we bought the card at a machine and then came to her window, got the card with our receipt and then go back to the machine to put the month pass on it. No problem, right? Well not really. When we tried to buy the card through the machine it would not read our credit card. The middle sister was getting a little frustrated. She was doing everything the directions said but it was not working. A woman came over and helped her. Apparently there was a trick of keeping the credit card in even when the machine said to take it out. Total stranger who just saw we needed help. We went to the window and got our cards and then tried to put the month pass on them. The middle sisters' credit card was declined, same with the little sister and my credit cards. We tried all our cards but nothing helped. The information lady was out helping someone else and then she helped us again. It turned out our credit cards didn't have some EU seal on them that made them work for the metro system. Totally frustrating, but good to know. She helped us buy the pass with cash and we were on our way.

Next we headed to the Eiffel tower and the street market on Rue Cler. We exited the metro and and were trying to get our bearings when an older couple walked by and the woman asked us what we were looking for, (in french of course). The middle sister said we were trying to find Rue Cler. She called her husband over and they gave us directions. It seemed like a charming conversation and the middle sister told us later that if everyone spoke french like they did she would have no problem understanding people. Apparently her husband said it was a far walk and the wife said it was not too far and it was a nice day. We also asked about if the Eiffel Tower was near by and she laughed and said we would see it. They gave us directions and wished us a nice day. Again, complete strangers who just came up and offered help. It made me so proud of these french people, these strangers who took the time to help someone in need. Thank you so much.