In the old days, Montmartre was the end of some Metro lines. “Direction Montmartre”. Not any more. It’s actually hard to find the appropriate station to go to “Matha’s hill”. I recommend Lamarck-Caulaincourt. No stairs, just walk up from the back. (The first half of this post has just been wiped out by WP. Grrr. Start from scratch. Patience, patience.)
Le chat noir, the black cat, has become a symbol of Montmatre. Who doesn’t have this sketch on a mug? A cabaret, it was founded by Rodolphe Salis in 1881. It soon drew a crowd of artists and “bohemians”, establishing the reputation of the “hill” as a haven for artists, then and now.
Sleeping angel. Montmartre, 2018.
Urban strawberries. Strawberries? Seriously? Yes. Check the leaves. (Do not expect any kind of logic here. This is a Montmartre Pot-pourri)
– Last weekend, possibly the final weekend of glorious sunshine for another year, we went to Strasbourg, the final birthday celebration, a city that is fully French, was once German for almost 50 years and is now filled with pretzels, flammenkueche, and all around adorability… And good cocktails! What? I’m Irish!!! Seriously, I wanted to […]
are two typical Alsatian towns. The architecture, is fairytale, meets living history, with the added benefit of French dessert! There are little towns like these scattered all over Alsace, exploring, (note Jupiter near clock tower) and eating, here is a delightful way to spend your days! Cheers to you from beautiful Alsace~
Due to a number of photos I wish to share, we are still in Narbonne. I do hope you find them worthwhile. Alas, I had to dodge a number of workmen, vehicles (yes, even in the park) scaffolding and a number of the earlier tourists. Yet here in the area, our tourists can be found in any season. Within another week or two, the crowds will swell in all these locations.
The sun dial is directly behind Place de ville seen in part one. It is a small but lovely park with flowers, benches and oh what a view!
Turning left as you exit the park and a right turn onto the street ahead you will find the the haven for tourists with questions. In a city the size of Narbonne you will be welcomed in several languages and the latest in information offered. You might guess that the Canal de Robine is just behind the bureau.
Of the many shops lining the street, this one seemed to sweep me inside. I do hope you will understand?
If you haven’t had your minimum daily requirements of chocolate, this may be the time… the aroma of chocolate permeates everything in the shop and I believe that I smelled it for awhile after parting.
While I’ve been to Holland and Belgium a few times and their chocolate is unbeatable. The Swiss and German chocolate is lovely but do not imagine that France’s chocolate cannot compete. For those, yes I am aware there are a few of you out there, that are not chocolate lovers we have something else that is very French.
Now I must admit to trying a few macarons in the eight+ years in France. Yet none have come even close to these delectable clouds of perfections! They should be sold with a warning that they are habit forming…
I do promise that the next post will be from a different location. However, if Narbonne is on your vacation list you won’t be disappointed and try to stay over for the market day, visit the museums just footsteps away for the square.
Yes, we just went down these same paths last week, but I went back on Market Day and thought you might like to see it for yourselves. I hope you don’t mind re-visiting so soon.
The vendors commence right up to the road and to the canal. There are many vendors on both sides of the canal and most anything is on offer. How is your French? You can haggle down a price on some goods and some of the vendors speak more than one language.
As you can see from this photo, table coverings must be sufficiently weighted down or clamped. When the Mediterranean winds kick in, things can become airborne.
While Les Halles is only closed about two or three days in the entire year, it’s vendors are finished and closed up by noon. The restaurants serve lunch but close up afterwards and do not serve any other meal.
Until you have bought and used fresh spices in your cooking, it is hard to know what you are missing.
I do love Lavande (Lavender). There are sachets in several drawers and with the linens. Once I read that if you put it under or next to your pillow it would sweeten your dreams and it can be comforting if you are lying down with a headache.
Yes, these are on mens sport socks and I’m afraid that I just couldn’t resist including the photo.
I keep telling myself to buy one. Alas, I wear them so infrequently. They do provide a lot of colour for the price.
The clothes are a big clue as to the season. The next few photos leave no doubt.
After all that shopping it is time for an aperitif…or perhaps lunch? There are many restaurants that would be happy to serve you.
Despite the plaza being filled with items for sale, this is only a small part of the Thursday market. Not far off there is a parking lot that is set aside each Thursday morning for Marché and in addition to what is offered here, there is also have fresh produce, cheeses, and other assorted foods.
The city of Narbonne looked nothing like this when Roman troops descended on it. Yet they left their mark as did others. Today, you can still walk along the Via Domita and it is the heart of this city. As you travel through these photos, be sure to click on and really take it all in.
From this side of the canal you can proceed to the first small street to the right. There are shops on both sides and from some of them you can look out over the canal. At the end of the street is the heart of the village and VIA DOMITA lies directly in front of you.
Les Halles has been in this enclosure since 1901 and is only closed a few days of the year. There are stalls all around and in clusters in between. On offer is fresh seafood, breads and pastries, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, olives and so much more. There are restaurants inside but they are all set up as bars and the food cooked to order. If you want to have lunch there, don’t wait too long as they get crowded quickly. Different seasons and festivals will have specialties on offer. Of course, there is plenty of wine. Do your shopping early as it closes up at noon except for the restaurants.
Just after Les Halles is l’estagnol restaurant. It has changed little over the years I’ve been here. A few menu changes and decor but the biggest change is the additional space in front. As the season progresses, additional chairs and tables will be brought out to the newly tiled area between buildings and the canal. Thursdays is market day in Narbonne and as large as the extended plaza is, the vendors and café’s fill it so you can just about make your way through.
A light but delicious lunch at l’estagnol was just the thing.
l’estagnol like many of the other restaurants and shops have begun displaying are by local artists. I prefer to sit outside, weather permitting, or a window seat. However, I had not seen this work before so decided to take the rear view.
It is my hope that these photos will give you an idea of just how large this area is. Make sure you are clicking on each photo to get an enlarged view. To the right you may notice the elevator to provide improved access to the canal.
A view of the other side of the canal with the heart of the city in the back right corner.
The canal is still a bit quiet but that changes rapidly as the tourists stream in. Narbonne is a very popular destination here in Europe. Often I’ve sat at a table in Place de Ville and practically made a game out of the variety of languages coming from the nearby tables.
This little street opens out to the heart of the village . If you turn right you go back to the grand plaza. Left will take you to the tourist office.
Soon many more café tables and chairs will encroach on the center of the city. You could not choose a lovelier place to have a café or glass of chilled rosé. On sunny days I will spend an hour or so at my favourite café reading and people watching.
Yes, you can actually walk on the VIA DOMITA. There is a plaque on one end and a map on the other. The next photo and a few others were shot while standing on the ancient road to Rome.
Hôtel de ville
Behind the windows where you see the flags is a very large room, ballroom size. It is hung with elegant tapestries and filled with ornate chairs and other such furniture. The mayor’s office is also inside as are other offices.
Once you enter this arch way, it is much like walking on the Via Domita.
Saint-Juste is one of the most impressive cathedrals. Alas, no photos were allowed inside. I’ve taken many photos from other cathedrals, including Notre Dame de Paris but not here.
There are a few more photos of this cathedral but with all the other photos I’ve taken, I’ve decided to do a part II so we shall return to Narbonne soon.
When I began putting this post together, I had made many historical notes but then decided to just show you around a city I spend so much time in. If you come to Narbonne one day, you may see me out on the Place de Ville with a book or journal and a glass of rosé.