New friends, new places

Way back on a cold winter night in January I got a call from one of my knitting friends asking me about Paris and telling me her and her niece were planning on going over the summer, probably sometime in July.  We were talking about places to see in Paris and we had several places which overlapped.  Since both her and her niece are teachers they were free to go whenever they wanted.  That’s when we decided to have our trips overlap.  I stayed an extra couple of days to meet up with them and they arrived around 11:30 this morning.

I wanted to be at full strength when they arrived so I decided to take it easy this morning.  I had scoped out a couple of yarn stores before I left and did not realize until last night that one of them was a 5 minutes walk from the hotel.  Perfect morning activity!  I stopped at a cafe and had breakfast (a croissant and the best orange juice I’ve had, this is saying a lot because I’m not a big juice fan…) watched the crazy Paris traffic and relaxed  until the yarn store would be open.  I arrived right at 11 at Caf’e Tricot Studio (www.cafetricotstudio.com) and the owner was very nice and let the stalking shopper in.  It was a decdent size space (for Paris) and she had lots of yarn and samples.  It was interesting because it appeared she carried yarns from two companies but all the varieties offered.  This is unlike stores in the states which usually carry a variety of brands but perhaps only a few of their offerings.  I managed to find some yarn to buy (I know, surprising!) and it was made in Italy and is not something I’ve seen at home so we will see what it might become someday!

I then headed back to meet up with my friends.  It was so nice to have new people to talk with (not that I didn’t enjoy my travel group but I had been with only them for 2 weeks…).  We headed straight for the Musee de l’Orangerie.  If you have not heard of it don’t worry I had not either until our priest mentioned at some point during the planning stages.  It’s this tiny museum in a corner of the Tuillers Garden but what is important is that it houses Monet’s Water Lillies.  I can’t say as I have ever seen a space better designed to show off art than I did today.  The paintings in those two rooms just belong there and are spectular (we are going to see the actually gardens tomorrow and can’t wait).  The lines are much shorter at this museum as opposed to the Lourvre or the d’Orsay.  The bottom floor has quite a large collection of some other Impressionists so you get the flavor of the d’Orsay without the lines or crowds.

After that we grabbed some lunch on the Rue de Rivoli and then the new arrivals needed a rest period.  Since I had been leading them around I made sure they had directions back to the hotel and I headed down to the Champs Elysees to how prep for the Tour de France is coming.  They are setting up the crowd barriers and hanging flags – can’t wait to watch on Sunday!

I still had some time and it was boiling hot so I looked at my list of things to do and remembered that my friend Diana had posted about a special corset exhibit at the Textile Museum.  As I learned today it is housed in part of the Lourvre building so the inside was  beautiful.  The museum was close to where we ate lunch to I headed back figuring it would shelter me from the sun, be somewhat cooler and have bathrooms.  The exhibit blew me away.  It was two floors, interactive (they had a part where you could try on constructed samples of the corsets in the display), had movies and tons and tons of corsets and other garmets constructed with corsets.  Some were very old.  It was dark (to preserve the fabric) and super cool (again for the fabric) so it was the perfect spot to hide all afternoon.

I had planned to meet up with my newly refreshed friends to head out and explore the neighborhood our hotel is in.  We are staying in the 20th arrondissement.  The most famous thing close to us is Pere Lachaise Cemetary.  It’s a little on the fringe and is very residential which is nice because you don’t have the tourist scammers, just your random homeless people.  Our first stop was a cafe for a caffeine break.  And then we were off.  We found lots of fun stuff on the walk and it was nice because we were not moving at a death march pace.  We saw a cute park, some great buildings, a weird mini China town and many intoxicating smelling bakeries.

We made it back to the hotel and popped in for a bathroom break.  My friend checked her travel guide and there was wine bar nearby that was recommended so we set out to find it.  It was pretty close, but it was closed 😦  We had passed a happening looking joint so we went back there.  It was perfect!  The best part of the whole meal was when they brought my friend’s dish (she ordered lamb, kind of accidentally bbut that’s another story) and it had a flaming piece of rosemary sticking out of it.  A+++ for presentation, it was beautiful and the aroma was awesome!

We are off to Giverny, home of Monet and his garden tomorrow!

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