Saturday, June 8, 2013


Today it was so hot that I bought a coffee flavoured ice cream cone from a smiling man with no teeth.  He and his wife were selling them from a tiny stand at Pont de l’Archevêché, aka the "Love Locks" bridge.

While surfing the web this morning, I found what is officially my favourite web page via  It's a weekly listing of Paris markets by arrondissements!  Click here to see this week's listing.  Impressive, n'est pas?

I marketed at Marché Saxe-Breteuil this morning.  The market starts just off Place de Fontenroy which borders the back of École Militaire and from various points in the market, you get clear or partial views of the Eiffel Tower.  Nothing to get excited about just the usual Saturday morning selection of organic fruits and cheeses, free-range roasted chickens, Lebanese food, antique toy soldiers, olives, fresh flowers, madeleines, silverware and scarves.  

 In the past three weeks I have learned the value of waiting in line at market stalls.  The old adage, "you get what you pay for" translates to "you get what you wait in line for" at Paris markets.  I went first to the back of a line that snaked outside of the actual market to purchase organic pears and strawberries.  The smell of the strawberries occasionally wafted through the line and all waiting - all women - practically moaned in ecstasy from their sweet summer scent.  Next was the fromagerie where I waited sandwiched between two, bossy market regulars dressed in heavy wool skirts and pearls.  They were so assured and authoritative with their cheese choices that I just picked two of their selections: an emmental and a brie that came freshly cut from its still ripening wheel.  My last stop was the boucherie where I bought a "petit poulet" and roasted potatoes for 6 euros. I was able to select my chicken according to how well I liked it done and then it was quickly quartered with its nasty bits swept into a bin.

I don't take very good pictures of food but you can kind of see why I was happy to wait in line!
And then when I thought it couldn't get any better I spotted what looked like a pair of brown, fuzzy ears bobbing rhythmically in the distance.  I followed the bobbing from the market to the back of École Militaire where I watched a female police officer put her horse through a series of dressage exercises in one of two riding rings.  There was nobody else around.  I stood there holding a market heavy Dirty Louis and thought my heart would explode with happiness.  

These are the moments that make Paris so extraordinary.  

Two ears, two riding rings, a horse van and the Eiffel Tower
Market moment du jour...

Across from the Lebanese food stall, a large man loomed over a chaotic pile of scarves.  Unlike most of the vendors who are obsessive about their presentation,  his scarves had been dumped on the table with no regard for colour or pattern matching.  I noticed a large black and white scarf  patterned with show jumping horses and horseshoes.  I had to have it and approached him nervously to ask the price.  20 euros was my max.  Suddenly all smiles, he chatted about the scarves, gave me a price of 2 euros (!!!) and ended with, "Madame vous êtes si belle."  And it wasn't creepy like my Wednesday fish monger.  

Romantic moment du jour...

I wrote in the Luxembourg Gardens this afternoon and was treated to watching a just married bride and groom celebrate with their bridal party over champagne toasts.  They were clustered around a stone bench near the boat pond and the bride looked gorgeous in a loose fitting ivory gown that was more haute couture than bridal shop horror.  She had a large white flower behind her ear and was carrying a floppy, leather electric teal clutch.  When they started to walk towards the exit, champagne flutes in hand, all of the Saturday afternoon picnickers broke into spontaneous applause.  The bride and groom did a few dance steps and she blew kisses to her garden audience.  

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