Sunday, March 15, 2009

An ace Sunday

What a day. By the time I rolled out of bed, had my coffee, did a little work and got ready, it was nearly noon. I made a beeline for Rue de Martyrs. The idea was that I’d start my day with the pastry I had decided against yesterday. But when I arrived at Arnaud Delmontel, the line was not only out the door, but down the street. I swear, more people wouldn’t have been waiting if the patisserie was giving away eclairs and baguettes for free. I was shocked. And sad—there was no way I was standing in the line so I couldn’t realize my morning pastry fantasy.

I did go inside the patisserie, however, to get the name of the treat I had yesterday. I felt like an idiot for not writing it down so I would know what to order next time. It was a patte d’ours: a bear paw. Awwww…

Next stop on the day’s grueling itinerary was the organic market (marché biologique) on Avenue Raspail. This is a Sunday market that Zack and I discovered back in 2001 (we were here for 9/11) when we stayed in Saint-Germaine. I returned on both visits last year. I just love walking through and soaking up all that food. Okay, I did enough of that yesterday, I know. But this was a quick visit. It was a gorgeous day and I wanted to fait du velo!

I got a Velib, headed back to the right bank, making my way by the Bastille Opera (The Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler on the calendar; got a ticket for next Monday), and up the canal. It was just a fantastic ride. With a beautiful spring day, everyone was out biking, rollerblading, strolling, and sitting along the water and at outdoor cafes. The energy is infectious. I biked way up to the 19th arrondisement and back down along the other side of the canal; then, through the charming streets of the Marais; and, finally, to the highway along the Seine, which they close to cars on Sundays.

This bit is amazing for the views alone, but it gets really clogged with pedestrians. Before peeling off to return to the streets, I biked through a long tunnel in which the streetlights cast an aquarium-type, soft bluish glow. With the other bicyclists' headlights shining and occasional ringing of bells, it felt like being in a fantastical under-water world.

By the time I emerged back into daylight, around the Place de la Concorde and through the first arrondisement, my legs were burning and my knees, aching. I was all too happy to ditch the bike and walk again. I headed up to Montmartre, where I:

• Had proper nourishment with a salades gigantes. Yes, the one that’s topped with fried potatoes.
• Bought a pair of jeans—my first purchase here, actually (not counting a couple books yesterday). But they were on sale, and they fit, and we all know that if you find a pair of jeans that actually fit, you have to buy them. Especially if they're on sale.
• Meandered up the hill, enjoying the quiet residential streets (where I passed a fondue restaurant I actually went to when I was a student), but not so much the souvenir stands, piano bars and tourist overload at the top.
• Bought a demi-baguette from Coquelicot. It was warm.

I told you: an ace Sunday. And I am exhausted.

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