Today we took the number 67 bus to its terminus at the Stade Charlety. The Stade is a big old football stadium and it’s just before the Peripherique which circles Paris. I have to say that it’s not a particularly inviting part of Paris.
In fact the only sights seem to be of old men pissing against the side of buildings. While this isn’t what most tourists come to Paris for I’m tempted to think that it is the Real Paris.
I don’t mean that to sound harsh. On the contrary, I love Paris. I’ve also seen men pissing against buildings in London and Sydney so it’s not like I’m being judgemental at all. It’s just that the real city tends to be hidden beneath the romantic idea of the tourist where old men do not piss against buildings. Unlike at home.
Anyway, that was our trip to the ‘burbs…sort of. We then caught the next bus back to the Marais, our new spiritual home. Well, we managed to get as far as Chez Julien which serves up some pretty special fare as long as your wallet can stand it.
I had cod while Mirinda went for the scallops. Both meals were superb. And the glass of pinot went down a treat.
The atmosphere at Chez Julien was a lot better than the one we were surrounded by at breakfast. It all started off perfectly fine.
We have decided to try each of the row of cafes – one per morning. Yesterday it was Le Pain Quotidien and this morning we went one further along, Les Marronniers.
We order scrambled eggs and coffee, both of which were delicious. Halfway through breakfast, a big group of people with cameras, bustle and far too much make up entered and started acting like they were on a film set.
The cafe had lined up a load of breakfasts for them ahead of time and they were basically trying to organise themselves for whatever they were intending to photograph. Eventually the manager of the cafe had had too much.
I’d been watching him and he was getting increasingly more and more annoyed. At the point when they were arguing about filming inside or out, he stepped into the melee and told them he wasn’t happy. This had not been what they’d agreed, he said, and it was all getting a bit too disruptive.
I can faithfully report this because the conversation was had in English given most of the people with the cameras and make up seemed to be American.
While it was all a bit hectic and not what the manager of the cafe had envisaged for a Saturday morning, it was a bit of fun and excitement for us. Particularly given we were sat in the middle of the maelstrom, so’s to speak.
We left before anything much was done so I have no idea how it was all resolved. I hope the manager was left happy though because he seemed like a very nice fellow and he doesn’t need his cafe blemished by arrogance.
Our next stop was for a bus to take us to the botanical gardens, the idea being to possibly have lunch in the mosque like we did years ago.
Which reminds me. Yesterday we were going to visit the Museum of Jewish History and Art. We’d seen the signs for it last time and managed to find it yesterday. However, just like the synagogue in Florence, the security was far too invasive for our taste. They didn’t get our tourist Euros. The same as Florence.
I’m sure it won’t bother them because, as Mirinda says, they prefer to zap people with x-rays and lock them in glass boxes rather than suffer against the tiny chance of someone proving a security risk.
That is, of course, their choice just like it’s ours not to subject ourselves to it. The fact that some places can get away with an amazing amount of this kind of thing says a lot about what people will put up with rather than the necessity.
But that was yesterday. Today we promenaded through the gardens, enjoying the few flowers and the erection of a new exhibition space which I think is going to be some sort of pop-up geodesic biome. There was nothing to indicate what was happening but it was a mammoth undertaking with a crane and dozens of workers trying to put it all together.
While in the park we also indulged in a couple of ridiculously expensive cups of coffee and a wander up to the labyrinthe.
The labyrinthe is an amazing spiral of hedges which lead to the Buffon shelter at the top. The idea is that the inside of the hedges is a world for the young. Small bodies run around, squealing with delight, unseen by the adult world strolling around the paths. A fantastic idea and so nice to see the kids actually using it.
Of course there was a sulky teenager with his phone but otherwise, the little kids were indulging in a world of their own, darting around like sprites in a forest.
Speaking of phones, the other night we watched an episode of Would I Lie To You? where Jennifer Saunders said that she deliberately walked into people looking at their phones. It was actually a lie but I’ve started doing it just for the fun of it.
So far I have managed to collect two people both of whom apologised for me bumping into them. I call that a 100% score for me and none for them.
But back to the park.
There were a lot of people in the park, enjoying the sunshine and general cold. Mirinda rather wanted to visit the big greenhouses but was put off by the long queue outside. It turns out that there is an orchid show on at the moment and the long, long queue of old people was eager to see it. We decided against it. We don’t like to queue on holiday.
Having walked and bussed, we wound up back on the Ile Saint-Louis. This is where our favourite street is, the rue St Louis en I’Ile. Given we were in our favourite street, there was only one thing to do and that was get an ice cream. Of course.
We popped into Amorino where a young chap took a great deal of care to make us both ice cream cones that looked like flowers. He was very good but we did wonder how he managed in the summer when the people demanding ice cream would be out the door and up the hill. He couldn’t really take half an hour per cone then.
There are other ice cream shops in this favourite street of ours after all. Still, that wasn’t a problem today. There was another couple ahead of us who were equally amazed at what he was doing so it was all very entertaining.
And the ice cream was so worth waiting for. Forget the pretty petals and floral art, the ice cream was perfect.
Having had our dessert we then went to Chez Julien for our main course before heading back to the hotel for the usual afternoon siesta. We did stop off on the way to see what a concept store was.
We’ve been seeing a few shops labelled as such and I have no idea what it means. The one we entered was, supposedly, about making things natural and safe for the environment. As Mirinda pointed out, the best thing for the environment would be to stop making stuff that people don’t actually need.
Still, there’d be little use for an empty concept store so they’ve filled this one with alternatives to plastic. Mind you, I was a bit dismayed to see a big jug of free water with those little non-biodegradable cups next to it. If they really cared about the environment they’d supply glasses with a sign suggesting bringing your own container to fill up.
But maybe that’s not the concept they’re going for. It seems to me the concept is one of capitalism with the veneer of green credentials. Destroy the planet lovingly, perhaps.
More to my mystification was the concept shop full of women’s clothing. It was called Women’s Clothing Concept Shop. It all looked very normal – a bit Dorothy Perkins. The shop next to it was more outrageous and yet was a normal, non-conceptual clothing shop.
We do live in a funny old world. And sometimes, we live in a very romantic world.
Tonight we returned to Diva’s Kabaret and once more we had a fantastic night with Sweety Bonbons, LaDiva Live and Lara Fullcamp. This time we only ordered a single charcuterie and cheese platter between the two of us. This was perfect.
Mind you, Mirinda had insisted on having a falafel from the famous falafel vendors of Rosieres street before the show. They are known throughout the western world for the best falafel ever. Mirinda thought hers was pretty good but I think it possibly filled her up a bit much. Still, I managed to eat most of the platter before the Little Blue Elf took it away.
The Little Blue Elf is a new addition to Diva’s. Well, new to us anyway. He is part of the waiting staff and he’s quite small and thin and has blue hair. He’s also about 12. He was very good though and made sure we were well provided with drinks and eats.
The guy behind the bar remembered us and Sweety Bonbons might have. She pretended to very well if she didn’t remember. Mirinda is a big fan so it’s probably good that Sweety didn’t make a big mushy fuss.
While the show was brilliantly funny, again, the best bit was the huge surprise at the end.
LaDiva was about to sing Non, je ne regrette rien when she grabbed a chap up from the audience to sing with her. He was quite good and enjoyed his moment on the stage. Then, for the last bit, LaDiva grabbed another chap from the audience to sing along with them both. He was a bit self conscious but joined in enthusiastically.
The song ended in a black out. Then, as the lights came back up and with LaDiva having left the stage, the small bald chap got down on one knee and looked up at the other bald chap and proposed. The room went mad!
Such excitement and joy and cheering and clapping. It was an exceptional moment. The second bald chap will remember it forever and so will I. Tremendous fun.
While it would have been impossible to get the actual proposal on video, below is the end of the song. The chap on the right proposed to the chap on the left who, through his shock and surprise said yes. My apologies for the quality of the video but the person in front of me kept stealing focus!
What a wonderful way to end the night. Brava!
And I think we should all be invited to the wedding.