Paris Delights and London Lights make way for Yellow Vest Fights

#1 Jan 1st, 2019, 16:47
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#1
This winter's visit to Paris and to London was marked by the revolution currently going on in both countries. The "gilets jaunes" in France and "Brexit" in England are both causing a lot of disruption and creating column inches (miles) - or centimetres (metres) - and plenty of aggro. For the unsuspecting tourist, or visitor, this has nothing much to do with them, other than perhaps changing one's itinerary at the last minute to avoid crowds and potential trouble.

The contrast between Paris and London was more stark than usual this year. Paris has dimmed its lights and the festivities are very muted. (I write this on New Year's Day, having not yet seen footage of last night's Son et Lumière on the Champs Elysées, which apparently went ahead without a hitch, in spite of huge police presence and a few Yellow Vests carrying on their demonstrations during the holidays.)

Well, having set the scene, let's get down to some photographs !

In our first fortnight in Paris we clocked up around seventy kilometers on the pedometer. I guess we can now call ourselves Urban Trekkers. Here is a pic of the Eiffel Tower on a somewhat misty and rainy day, when we walked instead of doing anything cultural. Later on we surveyed the scene on the Champs Elysées of broken windows and smashed facades, but I shall not dwell on that. I had wanted to go and see the Miro exhibition at the Grand Palais, but skipped it due to the immensely long lines. Here instead is a pic of the Petit Palais.

La Tour Eiffel in fog
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Le Petit Palais
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Many times during our visit, the roads were empty and the Parisian cloistered at home. It felt sometimes like walking through provincial streets, such was the paucity of vehicles.
#2 Jan 3rd, 2019, 15:30
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#2
One of our new discoveries on the gastronomic front was a pancake restaurant, a bizarre but highly popular, fusion of Breton and Japanese cuisine.

It is called Café Breizh and situated in rue de l'Odéon.

Crèpe de sarrasin (buckwheat pancake), with a Japanese touch
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Buckwheat pancake filled with salmon and ricotta
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Sweet pancake with Macha ice cream
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Another Japanese /French restaurant, Le Petit Keller, is still my favourite. Situated on the rue Keller, to the east of the Bastille, it is tiny and you need to book a table. We ate fantastic fish and drank an excellent wine from Cahors. I think I had already reported on that meal in the Lunch thread! The coffee at the end of the meal came with these delightful mini macaroons :

#3 Jan 3rd, 2019, 15:44
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#3
The mania in Europe for matcha continues unabated ...


"Dirty Matcha" drink



We had this quite revolting but energizing beverage in London at a café on the Kings Road called "Matcha and Beyond". I think we were the only people drinking this.


Meanwhile, in Paris, there is an abundance of new Japanese styled pâtissiers, who combine French and Japanese techniques and flavours, imbuing French classics with yuzu and matcha.
#4 Jan 3rd, 2019, 16:12
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#4
One day Mr theyyamdancer and I met up with Mridula, of IndiaMike fame. She and her sister were on holiday in Paris, so after ten years of acquaintance online we finally met. We took a walking tour through the Marais, from the Opéra de Bastille, via the Place des Vosges, various small parks and nooks and crannies, and - after a pizza lunch to escape the Parisian drizzle - we explored the Arcades of the 2nd arrondissement and ended up near to the Opéra Garnier. I think a good time was had by all.

Here are some photographs. (Pics posted with Mridula's approval !)



Coffee to warm ourselves up, at the Place des Vosges in the Marais
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Playing at statues
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Passage Brady
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I have a bit of a fetish with the Passages Couverts of the 2nd arrondissement. It is possible to walk under their cover all the way from the Boulevard de la Bonne Nouvelle to the Palais Royal, and although they were in their heyday in the 19th century, some of them have been recently renovated to their former glory.

Another Arcade is of course the Passage Brady otherwise known as Little India (or more correctly Little Sri Lanka). Entering into the spice laden emporium at the end of the arcade, called Velan, and endearing ourselves with a well-placed "Vannakum", we were immediately transported via our senses to the sub-continent.
#5 Jan 3rd, 2019, 16:20
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#5
My quest to find a truly Veg (as opposed to Non Veg) lunch spot was hampered not only by the rain, but the simple fact that in France there is a total confusion about what constitues "vegetarian fare" and "vegan fare".

The so-called vegan pizzeria was serving copious cheese and although the base of the pizzas may well have been made of cardboard (it certainly tasted like it), we were compensated by this wonderful artwork on the walls :


Karma for serving veggie food labelled as vegan !
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(Address withheld )


If you compare with London restaurants, they are far far ahead in terms of vegan-friendly places to eat. But they go to the other extreme, labelling everything to excess. Gone are the days of mystery in dining...


Oh well...
#6 Jan 3rd, 2019, 21:20
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by theyyamdancer View Post The mania in Europe for matcha continues unabated ...
New one to me! Not something I've seen at any of my local chai shops. And, a surprise to me, during my holiday last week (yes! I travelled: 10km!) was the number of people drinking lemon tea at my morning beveragery.


Well done with the Vanakam
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#7 Jan 4th, 2019, 20:48
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#7
Continuing with the theme of Japanese/ French pastries, here are some more examples of creativity, from a pâtisserie chain called Aoki in Paris.

Japanese / French cakes, conceived as "bonbons maquillage" in other words "make-up sweets".
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I did not taste them. I think they are better admired as an art work.

What I did taste, however, and it was devoured too quickly to be photographed, was a Croissant au Matcha ! It left me with ghoulish green lips.


From Aoki, some more picture perfect tarts :
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Again, I didn't taste them. The ones in the middle must also be matcha flavoured.*





* A bit of research shows that they are layers of matcha and adzuki :http://iamafoodblog.com/sadaharu-aok...reated-recipe/

If any IndiaMiker is inspired to do so, the blog in the link above gives the recipe !
Last edited by theyyamdancer; Jan 4th, 2019 at 21:49..
#8 Jan 4th, 2019, 20:54
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#8
However, the prize in the weird food stakes (steaks?) goes to this one:

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<< Sample our New York 100% vegan hot dog >>

Dear reader, I didn't.
#9 Jan 8th, 2019, 17:59
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#9
A favourite walk of ours is to climb the hill at Montmartre, up to Sacré Coeur. Touristy, tacky, full of touts, but still charming in the right light... We went there twice during this visit, once in the daylight on a clear day, and once at night when it was freezing cold and the Place du Tertre (where the 'artists' hang out to persuade strollers to have their portraits sketched) was totally deserted.

Mr theyyamdancer took some photographs (with a mobile phone!) in black and white, from the back of the Butte (hill) of Montmartre. The architecture of the cathedral of Sacré Coeur seems to be made of lace.

Sacré Coeur
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Even in the bitter cold, real artists were at work behind the touristy areas.

Painting at night
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When we descended from the heights, via the northern slopes, we eventually landed up on the bridge over the cemetery of Montmartre. I remember how back in the seventies I used to be scared of walking there !

Later on, that bridge was the scene of a huge gathering of "gilets jaunes" who were marching peacefully in the streets of Paris.

We proceeded via the Place de Clichy onwards to the Ethiopian restaurant "Menelik" for a wonderful dinner. Afterwards we walked back to the centre of Paris, admiring the Christmas lights.

Boulevard Haussmann
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Chez Menelik
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Opéra Garnier
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#10 Jan 8th, 2019, 19:06
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#10
Here are some more photos from Montmartre, this time shot in the sunlight:


Harp player



Misty



Butte de Montmartre (Hill at Montmartre)



Unfortunately, these looked a lot better before they were reduced in size. Now the pixellation is too great.

Naturally, the real view looked even better...


Coming down the steps in the sunshine, we descended the rue des Martyrs, which has become very trendy (instead of being slightly downmarket due to the proximity of Pigalle and its sex shops). The whole area has been hugely gentrified.

We went into a shop on the way down which was selling Scandinavian fare. I was initially attracted by the woolly socks. Then our eyes alighted on chocolates. We sampled a Finnish chocolate with liquorice and salt, called "Salmiakki". It sounds horrible; it was delicious ! We spent about an hour chatting to the girl in the shop, who was extremely friendly.

Later on, in London, we would have a similar chat with a Finn in a Spice Shop in Notting Hill Gate.... but I am getting ahead of myself.

Salmiakki... yum yum
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#11 Jan 8th, 2019, 19:20
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#11
I was about to wonder about the pics and then read the text beneath..
Think we should take it up with the authorities?
Sar Pass Trek , Rohtang, Munnar, Badrinath Kedarnath, Vaishnodevi, Goa, VOF, Kedarkantha, Kuari Pass, Brahmatal Trek
#12 Jan 8th, 2019, 19:22
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#12
You mean to say you read Finnish?


It is interesting to compare different ways of uploading photos...


Here's one more photo taken on the same occasion:
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#13 Jan 8th, 2019, 19:35
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#13
I am reposting a couple of the previous ones, via a different method, snotty.

Harp player at Montmartre
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Misty view
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#14 Jan 8th, 2019, 23:19
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#14
That looks a lot less like you photographed them from old TV screens!
#15 Jan 9th, 2019, 17:24
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#15

"I want my time with you"

As we leave behind the out-of-focus Parisian scenery, we are now boarding the Eurostar to cross the English Channel.

It is not so far in distance, and certainly not a long journey on the clock, but the scenery changes a lot ...

Upon arrival at the Eurostar terminal in Kings Cross, we are greeted by a luminous pink sign which says "I want my time with you".

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Apparently this is a Tracey Emin installation. (I should have guessed !)


One of the very trendy neighbourhoods of London is Notting Hill Gate. It was not always so. Whilst heading towards the market in Portobello Road, for a browse, and thus killing time before going to see a film in one of the local art house cinemas, we chanced upon this wonderful "caff", serving tea, right in the middle of the road.

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Close by, I serendipitously noticed these blue plaques, commemorating the birthplace of the Ballet Rambert:

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Close-up
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Last edited by theyyamdancer; Jan 9th, 2019 at 18:30..

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