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Paris! A tale of ethernet cables and "veau"....

I arrived yesterday and until a few hours ago it was mostly tedious and boring, dealing with getting a functioning local cellphone and accessing the internet in my apartment which both required trips to several locations in the city to buy wires (NEVER travel without an ethernet cable!!!) and special parts to make the phone work. I learned that the French word for ethernet cord is......... "ethernet cord". On the plus side, it gave me many opportunities to parle en francaise with the natives, and everyone replies to me in French, so even though I never learned any grammar and have forgotten what miserable shreds of tense conjugation I once had, I think I am successfully speaking French.

There were a few brief moments last night and today when I felt like I was in Paris - crossing the Seine over an uplit bridge as I walked home after dark last night, catching my first glimpse of that special tower which holds rank as the world's favorite keychain fob. But mainly it's been a maze of hunting down the closest Monoprix grocery store and returning to my apartment to repeatedly enter a 30-digit passcode into what I have come to believe is an imaginary "wireless" connection. Thus the cord.

But eventually I got myself trussed safely back into the various virtual networks I need to feel sane (and connected to my painfully far away husband) and finally I was able to relax and start feeling the Paris vibe.

And now I'd like to sing the praises of Monoprix.... a store that is the prettiest, most compact and city-fied Walmart you'll every see. I bought a travel sewing kit, asparagus, kelloggs brand cereal, a grid-ruled notebook, proscuitto, and a polka dot scarf, among other things. If I were so inclined I also could have bought baby girl dresses, plastic picnic ware, a sack of croissants, and the entire Neutrogena line of skin care products. I restrained myself, at least for now.

When the groceries were put away in my microscopic fridge I went to a cafe around the corner for dinner and and despite the goofy dancing tomato logo on the awning the food was divine: I had "veau" which I need to look up because I don't even know what kind of meat I was eating, but it was sooo good, tender meat on a t-bone with a creamy sauce. Had that along with a carafe du vin bordeaux and finished it all off with mousse au chocolat which unexpectedly had little chips all over the top which at first I thought were chopped nuts but turned out to TOFFEE and wow... if there is ever a proper topping for chocolate mousse it is little bits of toffee.

So, now I feel like I am here :)

Oh, and the apartment I rented is just lovely - artsy and quirky as only the french can manage, the owner has decorated with tiny antique chests and huge gold-framed mirrors paired with modern reflective tile in the bathroom and kitchen, with pickled white hardwood floors throughout. Very cute, very eclectic. Buddahs and framed oil paintings and weird little lamps on doilies abound. And a tiny 6-inch window above the bed, just big enough to crack open and let in a tiny whiff of damp Paris nighttime air, the best air on the planet in my humble opinion.

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Reader Comments (2) are a life-saver. Came upon your women painting women blog and followed it to here and read all this LOVELY info. I am a student at the Kansas City Art Institute that is going to take an art history course in Paris (in the museums!!!! yes yes yes) for the month of June. I am so glad I read this blog, and I will definitely follow your suggestions---thank god there is such a thing as a Monoprix. I was getting worried.
ps. Your paintings are beautiful, but one question on your drawings...have you ever tried toned paper?

If you have any more suggestions regarding Paris (as an art history buff and painter myself, I am very interested in any artists you especially enjoyed seeing in Paris, like Reni), please contact me at

March 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterangelhereal

Hi! I hope you read all my Paris blog posts, you can get to them in the Paris link under Labels in the right column.

I can highly recommend Musee Carnavalet. I've been to Paris 5 times and didn't to go this museum till my last visit and couldn't believe what a great collection I'd been missing out on. It's bigger than it looks, so plan several hours!

Ah, I left for Paris a year ago and am wishing I could go again this year!

Funny you should mention toned paper, I've just been thinking of it recently when I found this" REL="nofollow">amazing tutorial online.

March 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSadie J. Valeri
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