May 07, 2014

Paris, Day Deux: Markets, Gardens, and thoughts on Dining

The next adventure began by visiting the Rue Mouffetard Market.  The Market is such a big part of French life--every neighborhood has them and they are frequented by the locals almost daily.


It was a quiet morning and we enjoyed observing Parisians going about their daily business while also picking out bread and cheese for our picnic later that day.



Once we had perused the market and purchased lunch, we began walking towards Luxembourg Gardens.  We passed the Pantheon, which was undergoing renovations.


Then...the gardens.  They were wonderful.  The sky could not have been bluer and the weather could not have been more perfect.


In all the public gardens in Paris, there are green metal chairs that can be moved to any space and configured in any way.  We promptly found four, cozied up and propped up our tired feet and began to relax.



Once we were recharged, we decided to walk to the Musee d'Orsay, home to many lovely impressionist paintings.  It was packed, so we saw the highlights and bolted back into the fresh air.


The d'Orsay used to be a train station before it was converted into a museum.


The next stop was Musee Rodin to see "The Thinker."  Can you see him?




After taking another break in the gardens of Rodin, we grabbed a snack at a local market and made our way back to the other end of the Luxembourg Gardens where there were tennis courts, basketball courts, pony rides, cafes and more lovely green chairs.  We posted up court side of a pick up basketball game and watched while enjoying the nice evening weather.


We decided to have dinner at Les Deux Magots--a restaurant that was one of Hemingway's favorites while he lived in Paris.  I was a little nervous that it would be a tourist trap, but we snagged a perfect spot on the heated patio and had a fabulous meal.


I had the hanger steak with mashed potatoes and Kern had duck with fois gras. 


When in Paris, one should never skip dessert.  This is a rule I believe by heart.


We spent about three hours enjoying our meal.  The dining experience is one of my favorite parts about Paris.  The waiters do not rush their patrons and you practically have to ask for the check or they will not bring it.  Initially, I found my American self being a little impatient and feeling ready for the next course.  However, once I really thought about the process, I was grateful for the "slow" service, as it helped me enjoy the experience of dining.


The slower pace of life is certainly counterintuitive to many Americans, but it is a trait that we would do well to practice from our Parisian friends.

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