La Seine and the Ile Saint-Louis on a Gray Paree Day. Photo by Jocelyn Carnegie.
A Typical Christmas Eve in Gray Paree?
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
We had a “smallish” turn-out to Parler Paris Après Midi yesterday and to Parler Parlor, too, of course because the city is winding down to a holiday weekend.
The weather has been absolutely Paris…45 degrees, gray, misty…like living inside a cloud. It’s not my favorite climate (Los Angeles is tough to beat), but one thing I adore about this time of year in Paris, is that because of the mist, the lighting is diffused and therefore there are no brights and darks…everything looks flat and surrealistic, in cool tones of blues and grays with pinks often in the sky. When you take a photo of a friend in the foreground, the background can sometimes look like a painted mural, as if on a stage set. I call it “Gray Paree,” affectionatley.
This morning I set out early to the market to shop for Christmas dinner. The grocery stores and markets were filling up quickly. By 9:30 a.m., the queue at the “poissonerie” at the Marché Les Enfants Rouges was 20 deep. This covered market on rue de Bretagne is the oldest in the city, dating back to 1615. It reopened just about two years ago after several years of closure and is still struggling to reach full activity. Still, the merchants there are top-drawer. I purchased red tulips for the table centerpiece, four kinds of middle-eastern olives to munch with champagne, fresh rosemary and tiny round potatoes to roast with the leg of lamb, Camembert, Brie and Chevre cheeses and of course, wines.
Luckily, my “Rolls Royce” triple-wheeled shopping cart jumps up the 70 stairs easier than most (I first saw these in Venice, Italy — women wheeling them agilely up and over the bridges). Packing my tiny freezer/fridge (47″ high X 19″ wide) is like working a jigsaw puzzle, but once done, I scurried off to the Notaire’s office to sign an Acte de Vente.
One of our readers who we helped find her dream apartment in a 16th-century building in the Marais, couldn’t be here to sign the final sale documents (Acte de Vente), so I signed on her behalf. The keys make an awfully nice Christmas gift.
Like many Americans we work with, she plans on using it a few weeks a year when she’s in Paris and then renting it on a short-term basis when she’s not. The seller will do the same with an apartment he owns just below this one, so the two available for rent will be ideal for friends or families traveling together who want to stay in close proximity.
Tonight, I’ll be cooking my daughter’s favorite dinner (she arrived just yesterday from school in New York) and tomorrow, you won’t hear from me because I’ll be busy roasting that lamb and pouring champagne.
To all of you, have a very wonderful Christmas, Hanukah and Holiday Season.
A la prochaine (Friday)…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Beginning next year (next month!), Parler Paris Après Midi will meet one time per month — the second Tuesday of the month. For the usual complete report and photos, plus the upcoming schedule of meetings, click on /parlerparis//apresmidi.html
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* Further resources:
* Learn how to live and invest in France! We’re meeting in San Francisco this March.
* Parler Parlor is not the same as Parler Paris! Practice speaking FRENCH…and join us for the Annual King Cake Party Tuesday, January 20, 2004. Save 10 euros off a 10-session card and 20 euros off a 20-session card that day!
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