Paris Day 8

We had high hopes for today but it turned very cold. High was 48 with a “feels like” temp of 43 and it was very foggy. The cold just went right into our bones.

We did manage to get ourselves over to the base of the Eiffel Tower. What an amazing structure. But why anyone would pay money to go up to the top when there is absolutely no view in this fog, I don’t understand.

I bought my DGD her mini-Eiffel Tower and then we went to the Brasserie at the Eiffel Tower for lunch. I finally had a Croques Monsieur.

Our plan had been to visit the Branley and then the Louvre. But it was so cold, we decided to head back to the apartment for a nap. We got back at 3:00 and both took naps, me for two hours.

This evening we put on some warmer clothes and strolled the Place des Vosges looking in all the galleries.

Kathleen went on to dinner at Tastevin, but I headed back to the apartment. My stomach wasn’t feeling up to a heavy meal this evening. I’ve just been enjoying some downtime with my Nook book on the iPad.

Even with all the downtime, I logged over 11,600 steps today.

Paris Day 7

For some reason I am unable to fall asleep before 2:00 am. So when I say I got up after 10:00 am today, I really only had 8 hours sleep. :). I took my time getting ready and K and I were out the door at the same time, about noon, each to our own destinations.

I headed West down Rue de Francs Bourgeois in search of a yarn shop which was supposed to be at #40. Since most businesses don’t have addresses posted, I never found it.

So on I went to finally find the Musee d’art et d’histoire du Judaisme. I think I now know why I didn’t find it before. There are two rue du Temples within a few blocks of each other. One is rue du Vieille Temple. That’s not the right one. If I had been on the rue du Temple before, I couldn’t have missed the museum.

Normally I am not a big museum nut. I enjoy them in small doses. But, I have to say I spent almost two hours here learning about the history of the Jewish people. I have Jewish ancestry on both sides of my family and I have always been drawn to Jewish novels, history, and any thing that teaches me a little bit more about the customs and traditions. So this museum was wonderful.

I snuck a picture of the extremely old Jewish wedding bands displayed. I don’t know how any woman could wear one of these, they are huge, but maybe just symbolic not for everyday wear.

After the museum, I strolled down Rue DES Rosiers in the Jewish quarter and bought my lunch at Korcarz Jewish Boulangerie. A fromage et epinard turnover and tartelette pommes.

Then back to the apartment for lunch. Before heading upstairs though I hit the G20 to stock up on TP and breakfast items. Seems we have been getting back after the market closes each night.

After heating and enjoying my lunch purchases I headed out again for Center Pompidou to see this modern art museum and meet K at 6:00 pm for champagne at Georges at the top of the Pompidou. Wonderful views from this outdoor cafe.

The Pompidou was undergoing some kind of renovation and only about half the collection was available. I did grab some pictures. Here’s one that shows you can glue just about anything to an old screen and call it art.

Can you believe I took that picture? And without flash, looks like a postcard.
And here’s another one that I swear is a popular quilt pattern.

It was pretty cold at George’s outdoor cafe on top of the Pompidou so we only stayed long enough for one glass of champagne. Then off to dinner at one of David Lebovitz’s recommendation, Ma Bourgogne on the Place des Vosges. Which is about three blocks from the apartment.

Even though I stayed in the neighborhood, I managed to log over 12,000 steps today.

Paris Day 6

The weather was the warmest yet today. 64 degrees and sunny. We only logged 10,023 steps today, but then we did spend more than two hours on the Metro and trains to and from Chartres.

We were out of the apartment by 11:00 this morning and stopped at a Boulangerie close by for a pastry for breakfast since we ran out of Milk. Then we headed to the Metro to take us to Gare Montparnasse to catch the train to Chartres. We did stop to listen to some muscians inside the Metro tunnels along the way.

Russian folk music we think.

The round trip to Chartres cost us Euro 21.50 and that’s the over 60 rate. After you buy your ticket, you validate it by inserting it into this machine which stamps the date and time on it. Otherwise the ticket is good for two months. We expected the conductor to collect the ticket or at least ask to see it, but no one ever did.

It took visits to two different information booths to find someone who could at least understand enough English to figure out what time and platform to board on.

Platform 24 12:33 pm. This is our train. And here is where we sat, upstairs, Second class section.

The trip took about an hour and was very nice. We arrived in Chartres and headed up the hill to Old Town, not far. We started with lunch at Creperie du Cygne, on the left with the burgundy awning in the pic below.

I had the Gallette Jambon et Fromage which is a buckwheat crepe filled with ham and Emmental cheese and K had a salad. I didn’t remember to take the picture until after I’d started eating.

Very good but not too filling so of course we had crepes for desert. So here is Le Grandiose, one for each of us. A chocolate filled warm crepe with bananas and chantilly cream on top. Delicious.

And off we went to visit the cathedral, one of if not the oldest Cathedral in France. At least 900 years old. Amazing.

They are in the middle of some restoration and cleaning the stone on the inside. The white part in the pic below has already been cleaned. What a difference.

After walking all through the cathedral, we walked through the old town popping into the shops. I even found a Singer sewing machine dealer that sold yarn, and a quilt and knitting shop that sold Elna and Bernina sewing machines. The quilt shop had mostly American fabric for only Euro 20 per meter. Exactly the same as what I can get for $11 per yard at home. A meter is just slightly more than a yard. No wonder EU quilters order online from the US and pay for International shipping.

Here’s a glimpse of Old Town Chartres and a great mural on the side of one of the buildings.

By now it’s after 5:00 pm and time for a glass of wine before heading back to the train station.

On our way back down the hill, what do we run into but a Foot Locker, Claires Accessories, MacDonalds, and of course an Apple Store.

Haven’t even seen one of those in Paris yet, although I know they must be here. One thing I see this trip that wasn’t here last time is a Starbucks on almost every main street block. I’m sure they were in Paris two years ago just not so prominently.

We ended the day with a simple dinner of a cheeseburger and fries at Breakfast in America. It was great.

Tomorrow is a free for all day where we will each do our own thing and meet at 5:00 for a drink at the top of the Center Pompidou. I’ve got my afternoon already planned out. Stay tuned…

Paris Day 5

Today, Monday, was a whole lot more interesting than yesterday. If yesterday was a day of rest, today was a day of climbing hills and stairs. We logged just shy of 18,000 steps today. 8 plus miles.

We started the day by taking the Metro to the Charles DeGaulle Etoile station at the top of the Champs Élysées. I was determined to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for the view.

Frommer’s opinion is it is a better view than from the top of the Eiffel Tower. That’s subject to opinion but our Museum passes get us into the Arc but not the Eiffel Tower.

We took the elevator to the top rather than climb the 284 steps. Being it was Monday, there were no lines.

K wanted me to publish her pic with the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc on my blog so here she is.

While we were up there a blimp kept cruising back and forth from the Eastern end of the city to the Bois de Boulogne and back. It was close enough we could hear it motors.

The sky was a bit overcast so the pictures are not real clear. Here is one of Sacre Coeur in the far distance.

You’ll see up close pics of this shortly as that was our next stop after a stroll down Champs Élysées followed by lunch. Only one minor glitch–the elevator was not working during lunch, so we had to walk down the 284 steps. That’s almost as good a workout as walking up, for the legs anyway.

We had to stop and window shop at Cartier. Nothing under 8000 Euros in that window.

Then lunch at Brioche Doree. The sandwich special includes a ham sandwich on a baguette, desert and a drink for 8,30 Euro. that’s about $11.

After lunch we hoped the Metro out to the Montmarte. We took the Funicular to the base of Sacre Coeur and then hiked the rest of the way up the steps. Last time we were here it was so foggy we couldn’t see a thing. Today the sun was mostly out and the view was great.

We then explored the Montmarte village in search of the hotel that K is transferring to after I leave on Sunday. With help from a shopkeeper and a map she generously gave us, we found it.

More walking up and down hills so steep some required stairs to navigate them and we were back at the foot of Sacre Coeur which is the fabric district and we went shopping St Le Marche St Pierre where we got great linens last time we were here. The selection wasn’t as good this time. K bought a couple of things but I didn’t buy anything.

When we finished, it was time to sit for awhile, have some refreshment, and people watch at Le Ronsard right across the street from Sacre Coeur.

Next on the agenda was the Metro back to Charles DeGaulle station and we walked the entire length of the Champs Élysées from the Arc to the West end of the Tuileries. What a beautiful evening for a walk.

We hopped on the Metro at the Concorde station back to the Marais. We had dinner on the Ile Saint Louis at La Taverne du Sergent Recruteur.

I had the lamb and K had the pork. delicious. And, because we surpassed our steps to date, we had some Berthilion Glacé (ice cream) for desert.

We are exhausted and my legs are feeling all those stairs and hills we climbed today. Tomorrow we plan to take a day trip to Chartres, about an hour train ride away.

Today’s color was yellow. Unfortunately my camera battery (and the spare) died before I could do yellow justice. This will have to do.

Paris Day 4

Today, Sunday was a day of rest. for me anyway. We managed to get up to our alarms at 9:00 am and out of the apartment by 10:00 am. We were headed for the flea market at the southern end of the city. After buying a pain du raison (raisin danish) to get change for the Metro, we headed out and three Metro lines later we arrived.

March aux Puces is basically Flea Market. It runs every Sat and Sunday.

The flea market was not that special. junk is junk whether it is Paris or the Bay Area. K bought two small engravings and I walked away with nothing.

We returned to the Marais and I was sinking fast. So we had lunch at Le Petite Saint Paul. Another of our favorite little places.

We both had Quiche Lorraine and salad for lunch, after which I headed back to the apartment and K went off on her own. On the way back I took some pics of the neighborhood. So here is a little tour:

Rue de Turrene which is the main street off of the Rue de Rivoli and runs right by our street. Here’s what it looks like:

Our apartment is at 9 Rue Saint-Gilles.

If you turn 90 degrees from this last pic you see one of our favorite restaurants Cafe de Musees.

This restaurant is a highly recommended place to eat in Paris.

This pic is looking down our street. Can you believe a bus and garbage truck navigated this street right after I took this picture? The cars on the right side just behind the people are parked and if you look close you can see the bus entering the other end of the street.

Here’s the SuperMarche (supermarket) directly across the street from our building. Closed on Sunday, but open very late every other day.

And finally our building, number 9.

After a three hour nap, I was feeling better. We headed out for dinner about 7:45 pm. Remember that is early for dinner even on a Sunday. Happy hour here is from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

We were headed to Caffe Boboli but it turned out to be closed. So we ate at Le Bucheron just down the block. I had excellent veal scallopine with mushrooms and penne pasta. We’ll have to come back to this place.

Then, in lieu of desert, we stopped at Dome St. Paul for an after dinner Amaretto.

Only 9400 steps for me today, but not bad for sleeping half the afternoon away. We have big plans for tomorrow and they don’t involve setting our alarms.

Paris Day 3

We just about slept the day away, both of us waking about 10:30 am. We managed to get out of the apartment by 12:30 or so. We headed out to the Metro to go to the Bois de Boulogne on the Western edge of the city.

The sky was overcast and we knew it was supposed to shower late in the afternoon so we were prepared, sort of. I had my umbrella, K decided to be brave.

We managed to find the Bois de Boulogne even though we didn’t have a map that covered that far out of central Paris.

We walked along the Eastern edge of the park and found a lake with row boats, pony rides, ducks, etc.

Much like Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. The big difference is that the parents take charge of the ponies, leading their young one around the park at will rather than all the ponies leashed to each other and traveling around in a circle.

We had lunch of ham and cheese sandwiches from a concession stand by the lake. This is very typical take-away food all over Paris. We had similar sandwiches yesterday at Brioche Doree.

We then headed in the direction of the Museum Momartton to see the Monet exhibit. we found out this is a private museum not covered by our museum pass. Lovely Monets and a few Renoirs among other pieces.

Now to find the Metro station to head back to central Paris. We managed to get directions from the guy at the coat check station and we understood his French as well…well K understood his French.

Translation: Sortie means Exit

The rain had started just as we got to the museum and seemed to let up a bit when we left. We made it almost to the Metro station but it was after five and it was time for a cocktail. After a Kir Royal for me and a glass of champagne for K we hopped on the Metro.

But our adventure had just begun. We managed to transfer from the green line to the orange line but only got to Concorde when there was an announcement in French of course and we followed everyone off the train. Not having a clue what was going on or how long the delay might be, we decided we were within walking distance so we would just go for it.

Many steps later we had walked along the Rue du Rivoli from the Western end of the Tuilleries, past the Louvre, all the way to the street where our previous apartment was located. It was raining, but the side walk is covered a good part of the way. We did have to duck into BVH to buy K an umbrella. It’s now 7:30 so we stopped to eat at one of the restaurants below our old apartment. We both had the chicken, mushrooms, and rissotto.

14,464 steps later we arrived back at the apartment about 9:30 ready to call it a day. Tomorrow we will try for the flea market once again. This time we have set our alarms for 9 am.

Today my color was blue. Since we were mostly in the park or walking along busy streets there emerged a street sign theme. 🙂

Paris Day 2

Our first full day in Paris. We logged over 12000 steps and this was a take it easy day.
After not getting up until almost 9:00 am, we had a quick breakfast of cereal and tea and headed out the door before noon. But not before I clipped on my iPod Nano with its pedometer app. We logged over 12000 steps and this was a take it easy day.

First up was a walk back to the Île Sain-Louis poking into shops and such. I purchased a few things for my DGD as did K.

Then off to Île de la Cite and a stroll through Notre Dame. I’d been there before but it was nice to go through it again. The inside is an amazing feat of construction. We sat for awhile and just soaked it all in. Then more walking to find some lunch. We ate at Brioches Doree, a sandwich place found in many locations around Paris. This one was in the Latin Quarter just on the other side of Île de la Cite. Had a ham sandwich and chocolate/banana tart. Then back to the island.

La Conciergerie in the Palais of Justice is a former royal palace and prison. Hundreds of people we taken here to be tried before going to the guillotine during the French revolution, including Marie Antoinette. La Conciergerie now has a recreation of Marie’s cell during her last days. The gated area shown above is in the Women’s Courtyard and is where prisoners were held just before being transported to the guillotine.

Then we went on to stroll through the flower market on the island. Earlier, we decided to focus our photos on a single color for the day. Since we were revisiting places we had been to before and taken way too many photos already, this was a good focus for our cameras. K chose red and I chose orange for today. Here’s a collage I put together using an app I downloaded for the iPad.

By now, it is time for a glass of wine at another of our favorite places Le Bar du Caveau in the Place Dauphine.

We had lunch here last time and enjoyed it.

And here’s the inside.

We visited a gallery just a few doors away and that’s when we got the news about the earthquake in Japan. How horrible that is and so much devastation in Japan. It just shows how isolated from world events you can be when on vacation. We will be looking up the news when we get back to the apartment tonight.

Back to the Marais to make our dinner reservations at Cafe de Musee. We both had entrecôte and frittes followed by the crepes for desert. The crepes came with a bit both caramel and chocolate sauce.

We were back in the apartment by 9:30. Tried to go to sleep around 11 and slept for a bit but here I am awake at 3 am. I’ll pay for it tomorrow.

Paris Day 1

We arrived at the apartment about 1:30 pm after an hour taxi ride from the airport. After trying the front door code we wrer given about a dozen times and trying to make a phone call to the local contact and failing again, we were stumped as to how we were going to get into the building. Just about that time a knight in shining armor (building tenant) came to our rescue and told us the code had been changed recently. He gave us the new code and we were in.

The next challenge was the front door key. You have to push in, turn counterclockwise, push in again, turn and push. Finally, we got the door open and breathed two sighs of relief.

The apartment is everything we expected, very nice. It has everything including a combination oven/dishwasher. Yes, you read that right. The top portion is the stove/oven; the bottom is a dishwasher.

Amazing. We also have a washer/dryer that is both–a washer and a dryer, in the same space. I’d seen that before.

After unpacking, making up the bed in the living room for K, we decided to head out and find food. We were served a meal about 2 hours before we landed but that was about 9:00 am local time.

From Paris 2011

We walked over to our local favorite Les Bouquets St Paul and had their Chicken and frittes and some Sancerre Blanc. Now we had about four hours to kill because we were not going to sleep before 8:00 pm. So, we walked all over Ile St Louis, had an ice cream cone at Berthillon (Creole or rum raisin), and wandered back to do some shopping at the market right across from the apartment for milk, cereal, Kleenex, and sugar.

Off to sleep shortly after 8.

Shipshewana 2010

Finally, I’m back. I haven’t posted in a long while because I broke my elbow in late August and had surgery to put four screws in to repair it. That was followed by a bout with some virus that knocked me off my feet for several more weeks. So September and the first part of October were like a blur for me. But nothing was going to keep me from making the trip to Shipshewana. I didn’t care if I had to sit and not sew all weekend, I was going. And, I did.

img_4901I feel like the last retreater to get a post up about last weekend’s amazing adventure to Shipshewana, IN for Ruthie’s Threads of Mine Retreat. This was my first quilting retreat and I traveled almost 2000 miles to be a part of it. I’m hooked and will be back next year and the year after.

Within an hour of signing up for the retreat last year, I met my new BFF who was my roommate at the retreat. I’ll refer to her as MS because she has a very unique name that can be easily located in a search. MS lives near O’Hare so she scooped me up at my hotel Thursday morning and off we went in her van for the three hour trip to Shipshewana. After a couple of wrong turns we got to the hotel by about 12:30. It was strange losing an hour since IN is on Eastern time and Chicago is on Central time and of course I was on Pacific time.

img_4919We shared a group of four tables with six other ladies, Jennifer, Carol (her mom), Lorelei, and Kathy from Indianapolis, and Judy L and Elaine from MO. We all be came fast friends. I met so many other ladies that were absolutely delightful. Ruthie of course, the organizer, Jill from Ohio, Eleanor who only lives 40 minutes away, and the list could go on and on. I don’t mean to leave anyone out.

I’ve posted all my pictures here on Picasa, here. A number of bloggers have already posted about the weekend so I won’t retell what others have already. You can read these blogs for more tales of the weekend: Jill Quilts, Judy L, Bonnie, Ruthie, Subee and I’m sure there are others I’m missing right now.

The absolute highlight of the weekend was getting to meet Bonnie and img_4842Judy L. in person. What a treat to have both ladies in the same room. Better yet, Judy sat right across from me and was generous enough to bring a machine for me to use so I wouldn’t have to lug mine on the airplane. THANKS AGAIN JUDY. Bonnie and her friends were directly behind me. I wasn’t the only one from California. Bonnie’s friend Randi flew in from Santa Cruz as well.

I had Judy’s mystery quilt all cut out and ready to sew. I started Thursday afternoon and put the last stitch in the top on Saturday about 11:00 am. (Can’t show a picture here because the Retreat mystery is currently being revealed on Judy’s blog for those who didn’t attend the retreat.) Why did it take so long you ask? Well, there were two trips to Lolly’s and Yoder’s and three meals at the Blue Gate to squeeze in between. Plus all the talking, laughing and general frivolity involved when you get 50 or so women together. It seemed like every few minutes someone had a new finished quilt or top to show and tell. So of course we had to stop to oooh and aaaah and take pics.

Pineapple Blossom blocksAfter I finished the mystery top, I started on Bonnie’s Pineapple Blossom blocks that I had all pre-cut and ready to sew. I was rushing to get a few done so I could get a picture of them with Bonnie. And, what did I do??? I didn’t ready her instructions closely enough. So when I presented her with 8 finished blocks, Bonnie very kindly pointed out that five were wrong. Talk about red on my face. See I read the instructions up to the second round of strips. That’s where I stopped and didn’t pay attention to the order I was adding the strips. Bonnie explained it would only become apparent if I tried to put the blocks together like a star rather than using sashing and cornerstones. So, those five blocks will now go on the back of my quilt and I learned a lesson I should have already known: READ TWICE and SEW ONCE! The blocks on the left are incorrect; on the right, correctly made.

img_4948I managed to buy enough fabric in Ship-Shop-Shewana (it’s new nickname) that my suitcase was five pounds overweight when I got to the airport. Not to worry. I had a tote bag all ready just in case. I just pulled out five pounds of fabric to carry on and was on my way. Here’s a pic of my purchases.

Mostly Moda’s Breath of Avignon and Kansas Troubles End of Summer. But I also slipped in an Asian Jelly Roll with matching border and binding fabric found at Lolly’s. I already have the pattern that was made up at the store, so I couldn’t resist. MS bought this one too. And, then I had to buy some of my favorite blenders Fusions 5573 at Yoder’s at $7.96 a yard. My stash report is not going to look so good tomorrow.

I’m off to unpack my suitcase that remains on the floor of my bedroom even now after being home six days. And, of course, to count how many yards of fabric I purchased for my stash report.


I’m sitting in the Starbucks across from the Flagship Nordstroms having my reduced fat turkey bacon egg white whole wheat English muffin sandwich for breakfast. Sounds awful, right? But it really is pretty good and only 340 calories. I know I supposed to be on vacation but I was horrified when trying on pants last night at Nordstroms. Walked out with three pair of Not Your Daughters jeans and they were tight and a size larger than the ones I bought two years ago. Sheesh!

Here are some pictures from my phone from yesterday. The view out my window and the original Starbucks at Pike Place. It was in the high 60’s and absolutely gorgeous. I walked until I couldn’t go any further and then shopped till I dropped.

I did visit the quilt shop at Pikes Place. Walked out with the end of the bolt of some Raspberry Dimples (about 3 yards) at 40 percent off.

Well, it’s stopped drizzling now so I’m off to do some more exploring before the conference starts.