Saturday, 30 July 2011

Paris: Cheap eats in Paris

We spent quite a lot of time trying to find good cheap places to eat - there is some good information here 

Rue des Rossiers is the main thoroughfare through Le Marais and is famous for its fantastic falafels - 5 euros and delicious

Steaming bowls of noodle soup at Pho 76, a Vietnamese restaurant in the 5th at 59 rue Galande. Reasonably priced and extremely tasty

I can't believe how many videos I have made of food!

For the biggest lemon meringue pie you have ever seen head to Le Loir dans la théière on Rue des Rossiers in Le Marais - check it out

Paris: Conversation exchange

In an attempt to practice our French we decided to try and meet some genuine french people to baffle with our 10 sentences that we could remember from school. 

However, meeting french people in Paris isn't such an easy task so we found a website called conversation exchange - you can meet up with people to practice french while they practice english. 

This turned out to be one of the best things that we did in Paris, we met people that I hope will be long term friends. Julien (the cheeseburger) was our first date, we went for a wander around Opera while Julien told us how he thought that British people were completely mad for wanting to feed birds and there is no way that anyone in Paris would ever do such a thing - then we saw this

Hilarous - Julien couldn't believe his eyes!

Another of our dates was with the wonderful Christophe, we met for a brilliant dinner and an evening at Franglish which is like speed dating for conversation - 7 minutes in French and then 7 minutes in English. I did end up resorting to asking people if they had any pets when my french ran out, and almost sang 'sur le pont d'Avignon' at certain desperate moments.

Christophe then invited us to his home for a proper french meal, it was on our last day in Paris and felt like Christmas day. 

Thanks Sebastian - best meal in Paris!

Rasta the french bulldog

We had one of these lemon meringue pies (made by Christophe) each! 

An American phrasebook !???

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Some pictures I found

I just found these pictures on my phone, the one below I saw a couple of days before I handed in my notice, it was written on a wall somewhere in Leeds

This image is of  the crowds of people looking at the garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. Its always amazing watching peoples reactions to something that you have worked so hard at

My last day at work!

A photoshoot for Eye Spy Gallery all of the pictures are now on display in Cafe Creme, Bearsden, Glasgow!

Dan saying a fond farewell to our chicken neighbours in York

The journey begins

Paris: The Pink Flamingo

Thanks to Kat for taking us to the Pink Flamingo, which is a pizza place with a difference. There are a few dotted around but the place but the one we tried was in the 10th near Canal St Martin.

When one of my chic french friends suggested going to sit next to the canal and drink I was a little shocked, I had thoughts of grimy canals in Glasgow with buckfast drinking neds for company, but no, of course not - this is Paris! The French seem to have a knack for restrained social drinking which the brits haven't quite mastered. This trait makes drinking wine by a canal a rather pleasant and not at all terrifying prospect.

So the pink flamingo is a take away pizza place, you place your order and then get given a pink balloon and sent on your way. We found a place to sit next to the canal with our carry out of wine and beer and waited. The pizzas arrived by bike, how perfect is that.

The pink balloon

Paris: François Morellet and other bits of art

We were lucky enough to catch the Francois Morellet exhibition in the Pompidou Centre which was one exhibition that I could have stayed in for ages rather than doing my usual quick glance around and then escape. It was clever, interactive, funny and bloody great



Dan Shadow

We did make it to the Louvre and I have a top tip for anyone that feels the need. You don't have to queue for an hour to access the gallery through the pyramid, there are loads of self service ticket machines and entrances which you can get to through the shopping centre underneath the palace.

The Mona Lisa (had to be done!)

My personal favourite - snake biting nipple picture

Paris: Lots of Paris parks

A few years ago a group of us went on holiday to Paris 6 out of 7 of us were landscape architects so it ended up being a bit of a busman's holiday. Dan was the only non landscape architect and made it very clear that this month in Paris wasn't going to be spent trailing around multiple parks and taking photos of lovely drains and tree guards! I did however manage to get him to a few parks that were off the beaten track

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Situated in the 19th this park is absolutely brilliant. The park was created in the 1860's on the site of an old 

quarry in the 'rough' end of Paris, it's a great example of what can be done to rehabilitate land.

 The park is eccentric and fanciful, a complete contrast to the symmetrical formality of a lot of Parisian city parks. There are plenty of places to explore including a 2 hectare lake which surrounds a great rocky peak topped with a temple, man made caves, rocky streams, vast waterfalls and a suspension bridge.   

It felt relaxed and spirited with people picnicking and enjoying the grass - no 'pelouse interdit' signs to be seen! 

The lake and  "Temple of Sybille"

Views towards Monmartre 

Jardin des Plantes

Jardin des Plantes is Paris's main botanical gardens and another of my favourite parks. The plants are laid out in a vast labelled horticultural display and there is also a mini zoo, ecological garden and a number of hothouses and galleries.

The signage and furniture is beautiful and you can get a damn fine cup of mint tea and sweet treat in the Paris Mosque across the road

In the alpine garden with Sasha and Tim

Jardin Atlantique

Jardin Atlantique is on top of Montparnasse train station in the south of Paris, the garden was named after the trains which rumble below the garden in the direction of the Atlantic Coast.

The garden is technically fascinating as there it's all built on a suspended slab with the trees being planted directly above the structural pillars. The garden also has to allow ventilation and light into the space below which creates lots of interesting design features.

Although a little tired around the edges this roof garden is a lush and relaxing escape from the urban play which surrounds Montparnasse station. There is lots to explore with a number of themed garden rooms, water features and planted spaces as well as open lawned areas. 

Promenade Plantee

A precursor to the fantastic High Line, the promenade plantee traverses Paris 10m above the bustling streets below giving a tranquil perspective on Paris life. 

Friday, 22 July 2011

Paris: Bastille Day

Thanks to Tony for one of the most amazing evenings ever! Clambering onto his rooftop in the 16th where we could see the fireworks over the Eiffel Tower - totally unforgettable

La Defence and the sunset in the background

and our view of the Eiffel Tower

Climbing up onto the roof

The parade during the day. We missed the flyover but managed to escape the manic Champs Elysees to a cafe on a side street when the whole parade, tanks and all, drove past us on their way back to barracks

Paris: La tete dans les olives

If you ever get a chance go here its bloody great.

I read about this place on this great blog it's a tiny little deli in the 10th near the canal that has space for 5 people to sit around 1 central table and experience some rather fantastic Sicilian delights.

I had tried to book a table on the off chance that they would be able to fit us in, and luckily enough we were able to go one Friday lunchtime. Dan and I arrived on this ramshackle street to find the table set for two with a selection of olives, olive oil, bread and tapenade. Our charming host told us all about the different types of oil that the deli sourced from various farmers in Sicily, all of the oils are named after the farmers. We then told his how we had quit our jobs to go to France and our next stop was to be on a help exchange at Le Brewery. At this point our host looked a little worried and asked if we knew how much this wonderful intimate dining experience costed! I said yes, that it was 30 euros per head. Ahhh yes it is but that is for 5 people and you actually book the whole restaurant so it would cost 150 euros!!!

As you can imagine we were a little shocked but thankfully it had turned out that the owner had forgotten to tell me this so we were able to come to an agreement and enjoy one of the most memorable and fantastic dining experiences we have ever had.

The appetisers were: a salad of fresh orange, sicilian anchovies and thinly sliced shallots a bizarre combination but delicious. The citrusy orange sharpness cut through the salty anchovies to make a glorious zingy flavour combination. We were also treated to fresh mushrooms stuffed with capers which had been marinated in lemon juice & oregano and thin slices of carrot wrapped around a mint leaf and smothered in olive oil and parmesan and finally shredded cabbage with cured tuna

The pasta course was some of the most delicious pasta I have ever tasted. Capers, raisins and tuna belly with lashings of olive oil some garlic and mint - totally delicious. Desert was another masterclass in simplicity with thinly sliced apple doused in rum and lemon juice and sprinkled with icing sugar and crushed amaretto biscuits.