Morning Mission: Baguette
I woke up from nightmares again this morning. Had them last night too – torture, spiders, ghosts, and crossing a 4 lane intersection with my bike. As I lay awake in bed, I studied the crack of light around the curtains. I heard a crow calling in the stillness outside – far away, close by, then away again. Unusual to hear a crow in the city!
I got dressed and headed out in search for yogurt and bread for breakfast. As today was New Years Day observed, most of the shops were closed. I found a grocery store that was open where I got a lemon for our colds, camomile-honey-apple juice, and yogurt. I successfully completed the transaction in French too! The first bakery I went to was closed, and the grocery store was sold out of bread, but the second bakery was open! I got a multigrain demi baguette and a café allongé for Matt.
When I returned, Matt had CBC radio on (night steam) and was making coffee with the grinds from the pods. We spread out our cheese, baguette, and yogurt, having a morning feast before the big day ahead of us.
Du Pain et des Idées Bakery
We headed out with our umbrellas to a little bakery for some of Matt’s favourite bread: pain des amis (half flat is 5.30€). We got a mini almond galette, an escargot chocolate-pistache (pastry shaped like a snail), and two savoury rolls. Matt dived into the bread as soon as we got outside and I happily took pictures of our goods.
We climbed the steps to Sacre Coeur, the basilica on the highest summit in Paris. We walked around the church and took in the view of the city. I even saw a Welsh terrier – the relatively rare bread of dog I aspire to get one day (we’ve seen lots of smart Westhighland terriers – Matt’s dog of choice and another of my favourites).
We found a bench with a good view of the city and ate our lunch from the bakery this morning: one spinach and goat cheese roll, one honey and cheese with sesame. Matt found a ‘secret’ staircase to descend down the hill by. It was hidden in the trees and lead us into a beautiful park. It also seemed to be a favourite spot for people to use as an open air washroom – the stairs reeked of urine and we saw one women ducking in the bushes!
We wandered the streets of Montmartre, which I declared my favourite part of Paris. It was just the right amount of grit with European charm. There were window boxes with flowers, quirky shops, old fashioned lamps, and random staircases crammed between buildings.
We passed a realtor with condos advertised in the window. One particularly shabby one was quoted at 151,000€. Matt and I fantasied for a moment about purchasing a flat in Paris, him getting a job at Technicolour in Paris and me doing accessibility consultancy – Paris is in desperate need of it!
We made our way to Rue Ordener, where my godmother, Judy, once lived. We stopped in the neighbourhood cafe and had espresso for 1€. Apéro was a very friendly place – the barista was shaking hands with customers and everyone was laid back and jolly. Finally, a cafe experience to savour!
Père Lachaise Cemetery
When we got on the subway, Matt joked the squeal of the train were the spirits of the dead screaming. Apt for a trip to a cemetery!
We wandered the cemetery until after dark. Once it grew near to park closing, park staff stood at the park gates ringing handbells. I had just told Matt how they used to install bells at grave sites for people to ring if they were buried alive. What with the cawing of crows, the reflection of the streetlights on polished marble, and the bells, the cemetery had the perfect gothic atmosphere.
We went to see the graves of Chopin, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, and George Mélies. I accidentally stepped on a flat grave stone – the hollow sound underfoot was unsettling! It was right next to a crypt that was ajar – a gaping black hole in the ground!
We took the subway out to the Catacombs, snacking on leftover baguette and pistachio escargot along the way, getting all sticky with sugar and chocolate.
The Catacombs were closed today for the holiday (their website did not list specific holiday closures) so we got back on the subway, satisfied that we now knew where they were (directly opposite the Denfert-Rochereau metro station).
Dinner at Home
We returned home to heat up a can of lobster bisque, adding brined mackerel fillets, and the thick crust from our pain des amies. Paired with a 3€ bottle of white wine and appropriately French classical music playing on the iPhone, we had a very nice dinner indeed!
The fog was starting to thin, so we watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle from our bedroom window. It was a beautiful end to our day.