Friday, August 9

I take another beautiful long walk around my neighborhood.

Yes, it's not even Noon yet here in Paris and I'm drinking wine. If you had to take a week's worth of my class, you'd be drinking by now too. Have a great weekend, everyone, as soon as yours rolls around! I plan to spend most of the rest of my day getting just a bit plastered, and maybe going up to the Seine (except too many tourists) and/or over to the Lux (tourists, but not as bad) later on, and doing NO homework.

Haven't got around to shopping for my weekend unbelievable pastry yet. What should I try next? Big decision to make.

A young woman in our class had her iPhone stolen on the Champs-Élysées. Some guy ran up while she was using it, grabbed it out of her hand, and ran away. How terrible! It's getting just as bad as Michigan Avenue, I tell you.

Next week: A four day weekend and a party chez Deo and Raquel. Hooray!

Maybe you can sense that I'm having a pretty good time in Paris this summer. I was a bit worried about being lonely, but that's been only a small problem. Mostly I really don't like being in restaurants or bars by myself, so I haven't been going much. Everything else is just about perfect. When Andrea and Jeremy come, we'll hit the restaurants big time. I also want to take them to that fantastic restaurant I discovered in Tours when we go there to see the châteaux. Looking forward to it!

I took another long beautiful walk around my neighborhood. I don't think I could ever get sick of this city. You'd really have to be a poet, and a good one at that, to even begin to describe it properly. Here's a big photo dump of the Jardin du Luxembourg, the Seine, various parts of the left bank 6th and 5th arrondissements, and my neighborhood as I arrived home after dark. Yes, the sun sets in the west here just like everywhere else, but somehow it's different.

Got 3 grenouilles on my last dictée. Haven't seen one of those in weeks. Only made 1 mistake! Does perfect get 4 grenouilles? I'll probably never find out. I think this one was my best chance, but I heard and wrote "session de ski" instead of "station de ski". A "station de ski" is a "ski resort". I told Raquel that I felt like I was 8 years old - "Look mommy, three frogs!". She laughed.

Had an impossibly nasty exam at the end of class today, though I suspect I did better than most others. Finished a bit early and went outside to hang out with other high-achievers who had also finished early.

Jordi showed up to wait for Wee Ling, who was still working on the test, and we talked for a while, which was very pleasant. He's nice and very sympathetic to us ignorant French-learners, probably because of his wife! I told him I wanted to visit Canal St-Martin (the northern section) this weekend. He suggested that I visit Comptoir Général, a trendy bar in the area. A review on the net says "Hipsters, boho-chic types and families are all tumbled in together here – a varied but very Parisian mix. We love the atmosphere of the place and its amazing setting, with its odd assortment of armchairs, affordable cocktails, blues and jazz soundtrack and menu of inexpensive Asian dishes." They have a brunch on the weekends, and it sounds like fun.

One of the problems on our exam was a picture of a rake that we had to label. The word for rake is "râteau," but I wasn't sure about the circumflex over the "a". I asked Jordi. He had to look it up on his iPhone. Hah! Turns out it does have one, and I think I missed it. That's probably worth half a point off on the exam.

Told Selin that I was inspired by her exposé (and Joel's) and decided to buy myself a French cookbook. She thought that was a good idea. She's only 19 years old, from Turkey, and I think she's the nicest of the youngsters in class. She has a good smile and is "gentille".

Listened to another dialog. I understood nothing, but most of the other students didn't catch more than a word or phrase or two either. Too fast. Cheap disk player too screechy, especially with my hearing aids. Yes, I'm searching desperately for excuses now.

This weekend's bottle of wine is a red from the Rhone valley, a Crozes-Hemitage Domaine Combier 2011. Simple and fruity. I like it. La Fontaine aux Vins is closed for their August vacation, so I had to buy this bottle at a marchand du vin across the Mouf.

I think I've now completed my project to try at least one wine from each of the major wine-growing regions in France: the south-west, the Rhone valley, the Loire valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Beaujolais, and Champagne. Have I missed any? I kind of like the reds I've tried from the Loire, the Rhone, and Burgundy. They seem to be less challenging than the more complex ones from Bordeaux. But the ones from Bordeaux taste pretty darn good too!

This week's pasty treat is a tarte au citron meringuée (lemon meringue pie). Just finished that "slice". Very sweet and good, but a little bit goes a long way! Pairs well with Coca-Cola Light (Diet Coke). Partagez un Coca-Cola light avec vos copines! (Share a Coke with your friends!)

Anthony Bosson is the pâtisserie on the corner where I buy lots of bread and sandwiches, but I think this is the first pastry of theirs that I've tried.

A boulangerie sells bread or mostly bread, but there's usually some pastries too, and pâtisserie means pastries, and you often see the sign read "boulangerie/pâtisserie". Basically, if you really want to know, walk in and look around. And the difference, if any, between "restaurant", "bistro", and "café" is very vague. But a "bar" is usually a "bar".

In the Jardin du Luxembourg, after the people, I love the flowers first, then the statues, then the geometry of the park. In particular those formal allées of trees in the background, in contrast to the flowers in the foreground. The French definitely have a feel for how to do this sort of thing.

More flowers in Jardin du Luxembourg.

More flowers in Jardin du Luxembourg.

More flowers in Jardin du Luxembourg.

Statue in Jardin du Luxembourg.

Palais du Luxembourg, where the French senate meets, shot from rue de Vaugirard.

Velib rack on rue de Vaugirard.

Fence at northern end of le Jardin du Luxembourg on rue de Vaugirard.

Sidewalk on rue de Vaugirard.

An apartment building in the 6th arrondissement.

Restaurants on Place de la Sorbonne.

La Sorbonne.

Place Saint-Michel, on the river at the end of Blvd St-Michel, on the border between the 5th and 6th, across the river from Île de la Cité, at Pont St-Michel. The fountain is Fontaine Saint-Michel, designed by Gabriel Davioud for Baron Haussman in the 1850s. The centerpiece depicts Archangel Michael and the devil, with two flanking dragons.

Pont Neuf.

A boat on the Seine.

Bateau Mouche on the Seine.

Steps on the bank of the Seine.

The Seine and Notre Dame.

Under a bridge on the Seine.

Street at dusk on the left bank near the Seine.

Fountain and restaurant as night falls over Paris. I walked through this square and past this fountain every day on the way home from phonetics class.

Apartment building and restaurant on rue Monge.

The stairs of rue Rollin.

Rue Rollin. The street where I live.

Acrobats in Place de la Contrescarpe.

Rollin's Pub.