Friday, December 30, 2016

Friday 30 December - Musee des Arts Forains

The Musee des Arts Forains is in Bercy close to the line 14 Cour St-Emilion station.  The weather has turned colder and it was damp down by the river.  The Musee is not open on a regular basis but there was unrestricted entry over the holiday period.  It contains a large collection of fairground type exhibits from the late 19th and early 20th century.  Fairground rides and games have been well restored and there were a large number of families with small children. The exhibits are housed in a series of old warehouses that were formerly used to store wine.  Bercy village is close by which is set up like a semi enclosed mall. There must be a great deal of maintenance and restoration work required on the exhibits while a great number of people are required to work and display the various items. Rather than go into a detailed explanation it will be best to rely upon images and video.

The velocipede was an amazing attraction.  People sat on the seats and pedaled like mad when the brakes were released
In this game the kids rolled balls into the holes to score points and advance their waiter

Mulled wine was a welcome warm drink

This band played weird music but developed a following of small kids in a pied piper-like manner
Not only have the old buildings been used but the trees have become part of the musee as well
After a snack we walked through the Parc de Bercy which is a large semi-wild area of grass, trees and wetlands with large numbers of mallards and moorhens.  Very pleasant on a warmer day.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thursday 29 December - Le P'tit Canon

Lunch today at Le P'tit Canon was excellent.  It was very busy and the kitchen had to contend with 70 covers with just two servers.  We were in a room with just one party of about 20 people who had to work out the best table placements.  The servers could not reach everybody but had to pass the plates, cutlery etc from one location. The red Chinon was good.

We were close to the wine rack where straw hats were stored. Christian, one of the owners, always wears one of these.

Pickled herring (Mary)

Anchovies (Colin) - not at all salty

Ganbas (Mary)

Magret de canard (Coli)

Pear tarte (Mary)

Chocolate mousse
An old beer poster.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesday 28 December - Movie "Passengers"

In walking over to the Champs Elysees this afternoon we passed this tall thin tree in Monceau Parc. It is almost as tall as the tree next to it but very thin indeed,
This afternoon we went to the Champs Elysees to see the science fiction/romance "Passengers" it was well foilmed and the acting was good. We thoroughly enjoyed it and the 3D was effective.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tuesday 27 December - Fontainebleau

Today we had to buy Mobilis tickets to get to Fontainebleau, last time we tried it was free because of the pollution but the train broke down in Gare de Lyon.  It was a loco hauled train of UIC coaches which rode very well.  Our tickets allowed us to use the bus to the Chateau. The weather forecast was sunny - it turned out to be a cloudless blue sky all day which gave some excellent light on the buildings in the low sun. The pictures speak for themselves.

The plane trees have been trimmed to produce this avenue.

Cormorants on the roof sitting in the warm sun.

The Canada geese were trimming the grass

Back in the town the Naturalia store had an impressive green wall.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Monday 26 December

December 26 is not a holiday in France and the shops were open as a normal Monday. It rained first thing and I went for a walk to explore the abandoned railway from Pont Cardinet to Pereire. It is double track for most of the way and the overhead wires have been removed. All pictures are looking west.
Close to Pont Cardinet

The current RER Pereire station is in the background
The sun came out this afternoon and we went for a short walk around the Square des Batignolles where several birds, including a thrush and a great tit were having a bath.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Sunday 25 December - Christmas Day

As usual we had a reservation at Le Grand Colbert. We were a little early and spent a little time in the gardens of the Palais Royal.  The sun was breaking through and it was warm enough to sit out.

It was warm enough to sit out and enjoy the fountain in Le Palais Royal

There is a Christmas tree in the bar of Le Grand Colbert every year which is very attractive but it can slow down movements past it.
We started with a coupe de champagne.
Mousse de SaintJacques with lobster sauce

Onion soup au gratin

Hake with lobster sauce and risotto


Omelette norvegian - meringue around ice cream flamed with rum

Cafe liegois - coffee ice cream, Chantilly cream, wafers and some booze at the bottom.
It was a good meal and we decided to try and walk it off going via the Louvre and Tuileries then back via the Madeleine.
Hard to think that this is an entrance to the metro.
The Louvre and Tuileries were full of tourists and touts but the area around Levis was very quiet.  It seems that a lot of people are out of town.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Saturday 24 December - New Year's Eve with a silent haircut

The Batignolles Organic Market was busy but not crowded. There was a low buzz of conversation but nobody was talking loudly.

I went to get a gougere. The lady said that they were a local specialty Bourguignon but were not very common here


There was a brisk trade in oysters

Nothing like buying a carpet off a truck (SUV)
My hair was beginning to get long and, bearing in mind we are going to be away for another six weeks, I went to the barber down the street. I walked in and asked for a haircut. The barber looked to be from north Africa but he was playing Indian sitar music.  With a fierce scowl he motioned for me to get into the chair and began to work. His hands were shaking, either from old age or from drink. He had some difficulty getting around the chair and would motion for me to move my head from time to time. I was apprehensive when he got out a cut throat razor and inserted a new sharp blade but he managed the task without nicking me. I was relieved when he brought out the mirror which signaled the completion. I paid and gave him a small tip which produced a big grin but he didn't speak a word the entire time.

Our Christmas Eve Meal
Comparison tasting of regular Oban (right) and Small Cask Oban (left). They are both very good, the small cask has possibly the more intense honey flavor.


Pate de foie gras with pain d'epices and confit de port

Darnes de saumon

Pate en croute de canard a l'orange

Camembert, Mont d'Or and Valencay cheeses

A baguette and a gourgere

Buche de Noel de Diva et Chocolat

Callissons, crystalized fruit (Kumquat), marrons glaces, shortbread, crystalized ginger, chocolates, financiers, crystalized fruit in chocolate
It is a tradition in parts of France to have 13 desserts on Christmas Eve. We only had nine.