Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday in Paris

This is the first in a series of (belated) daily posts of photos of Paris. It seemed silly to spend time in Paris processing photos, so I waited until I came home, and now I'm revisiting it all again.

While wandering around in the neighborhood of our hotel, in St. Germain, I found myself at Deyrolle, one of my favorite shops, on my first afternoon. They specialize in taxidermy, shells, insects, and other curiosities. This is one of the shop windows: a lion lying with a lamb and some fawns as extras.

The main salon at Deyrolle offers quite a show:

An exuberant display of bunnies, in honor of Easter, with a few foxes for contrast (and literary allusion).

I passed a film crew as I crossed the Pont des Arts (lovers leave small padlocks all over the metal fencing, painted with names, dates, and brief sentiments — you can see two tiny ones on the left). Who is that pretty actress on the right? Is she famous, or does she just look like so many other French actresses?

I had a mission on the Right Bank to buy a copper pan at Dehillerin, where serious cooks buy kitchen equipment while I hesitate and wish I spoke decent French. Here's a typical shelf of crèpe pans, probably looking much like it did in Madame DeFarge's time, except for the nonstick finish.

I finally decided on their largest round copper pan, after the salesman mentioned that it would be good for pies and tarts tatin. I had only been thinking about casseroles and gratins.

I found myself on the Quai de Mégisserie, lugging my copper pan in high winds and rain. I ducked into all the pet stores that line this street after noticing these chickens in one window. Bunnies are popular at this time of year, and there are birds of every color and description.

Dogs rule in Paris, of course, but I was surprised to see that the few (all purebred) cats in each store sold for about twice the price of any dog breed. "Maine Coon" cats and kittens sold for between 900 and 1400 Euros. And they didn't really look like Maine Coons. British Shorthairs seem to be a popular breed in Paris, and these silver ones were the only kittens to stay still for my camera. I find their round heads, unusually big eyes, and tiny noses startling. They look like they could speak — intelligently and in a well-bred British accent! We definitely don't see many cats like this around Boston.

Here's the base of a lamp post on the Pont Neuf. There's beauty everywhere you look in central Paris.

Back on the Left Bank, I passed one of the bike rental stations that dot Paris. Having already given myself several bruises and a nice gash between my eyes, I decided to abstain, since I didn't pack a helmet.

A pretty courtyard. There must be hundreds, or thousands, of these all over Paris, behind those imposing sets of locked double doors you'll find on practically every street.

Every trip to Paris requires a visit to at least one Mariage Freres tea shop. I picked up caramel, butterscotch, and "Esprit de Noël" flavors this time.

Then I went back to our hotel and massaged my feet.

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