Paris, no capybaras (part 2)

Every morning we faced the same struggle: lounge around in our fabulous apartment, or drag ourselves out into the melée that is Paris? Abandoning yesterday’s croissants in anticipation of a slightly more substantial entrée, we departed our pied-à-terre with barely a glance to the stairway left behind.

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A beautiful stairway, but we were on the ground floor. Yes, there was a cute little elevator, too.

Struggle number two was the tug of our empty bellies versus the necessity of admiring and photographing every detail of Parisian architecture standing between us and lunch.

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In our neighborhood, all the buildings were above average. That’s a Crape Myrtle blooming in the foreground.

It’s a good thing the balconies were so far up or we would have had to photograph them in minutia, too. The ground level décor already kept us to a snail’s pace.

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Who wouldn’t be proud to call this home?

At a glance, the buildings all look alike, but the details are completely unique. That explains the 3,800 photos I took.

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I’m guessing most of our neighborhood was built during this era.

A. Sauvage, Architecte, and your contemporary 1894 cronies, I salute you! I applaud your fol-de-rol, your petrified florals, your symbolic balconies, your disembodied heads.

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Should have been a majestic capybara head.

Why is everything built now the same? Is it the lack of skilled labor or just a cost-saving measure? Surely people wealthy enough to build urban townhouses have pocket change for embellishment, but they invariably choose a sleek, pared down, almost austere facade. Less is more. Well, I’m glad the French didn’t have that attitude.

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One of many . . .

Wrought iron isn’t uniquely French, there is plenty in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. I don’t recall seeing so much art deco style there, though. Certainly when the iron mongers were working in New Orleans they mostly kept to a traditional floral-based theme. The Parisian workers seem to have evolved their style to the era. (Do I have any architecture historians out there who would like to comment?)

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These downspouts remind me of Alice in Wonderland.

In our lovely neighborhood, even the most mundane equipment was thoughtfully designed. I’m not certain it was so thoughtful to have the downspouts end over the sidewalk, but they are very beautiful.

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Would have made a great souvenir, but it was stuck down pretty good.

This ornament (Do these have a name?) sits astride a garage entrance. Inside the garage, the foundation narrows, and these ornaments warn the driver that the car might not fit if it can’t squeeze past the little entry demon.

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The French define elegance.

Yes, there was shopping. Check out this beautiful window display of perfume. Window shopping in French is called “lèche-vitrine,” or “window licking.”

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Macarons

That term probably originated as a result of the pastry shop windows.

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“I’ll take one of each!”

French food is fabulous, of course. Nothing over-rated about it, but our downfall was the desserts. No wonder the buildings were so beautifully decorated. That’s just French Mode.

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“Oh, and one each of these, too!”

It was our sworn duty to order dessert with every meal. How else would we manage to try every fantabulous offering?

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Finding our price range

Tourist shopping areas were not so fancy, and there were no windows to lick. This was near the Eiffel Tower, surely the ultimate tourist attraction. I was going to say in Paris, but anywhere, really. Is there a more identifiable monument than the Eiffel Tower anywhere in the world?

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Impossible to pick only one. I think I actually got two here.

The first of many scarf vendors. I must have eventually bought half a dozen, but the cheesy one I bought for €2.5 at this stand was the one I wore most often. I swear it went with everything in my suitcase.

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I don’t know, maybe this was breakfast.

So, yes, here is one of our first desserts. This is at a little sidewalk cafe near our apartment. We went back there later in the visit, but we weren’t home very often at dinner time!

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Peekaboo Paris icon, we see you!

And this is the view of the Eiffel Tower from the end of our street, just across the Seine from home. That’s the Métro viaduct blocking our view of the base. If you want to see more Eiffel Tower photos, stay tuned!

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