A black cat in Montmartre

If one is to be Le Chat Noir, this is the part of France to be. Alas, my Chat Noir is down on the Mediterranean with me and two sister felines (not black).

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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.)

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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.

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Sleeping angel. Montmartre, 2018.

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Urban strawberries. Strawberries? Seriously? Yes. Check the leaves. (Do not expect any kind of logic here. This is a Montmartre Pot-pourri)

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Le théâtre du chat noir. To lure…

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Come visit this beautiful old town for some kayaking, swimming and delicious food!

via Visit Annecy – Venice of France — It’s Time for Travel Time

– 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 […]

via FRAMING FRANCE; STRASBOURG — Deuxiemepeau; Picturing Poetry by Damien B. Donnelly

Join Cindy in Alsace!

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~

via Ribeauville

Un goût de Narbonne: deux

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. 

Parc de ville
Parc de ville

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!

Have a seat and enjoy the view!
Have a seat and enjoy the view!
Parc de ville 2
Parc de ville 2
Parc de ville 3
Parc de ville 3
Tourist Office
Tourist Office

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.

 

Chocolat!
Chocolat!

Of the many shops lining the street, this one seemed to sweep me inside. I do hope you will understand?

Le gendarme
Le gendarme
The owl, fish,
The owl, fish, rabbits…

 

Le chef!
Le chef!
Le chateau!
Le chateau!

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.

and more chocolate!
and more chocolate!

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.

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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…

Les macarons
Les macarons

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. 

Bisous,

Léa

 

Du marché Narbonne: le printemps

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.

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Les Halles

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.

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Bijoux?

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.

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Les Halles

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.

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Fresh spices anyone? Ah, the aroma…

Until you have bought and used fresh spices in your cooking, it is hard to know what you are missing.

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Lavande

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.

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Purses, caps…
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Pantalons…
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A typo or ?

Yes, these are on mens sport socks and I’m afraid that I just couldn’t resist including the photo.

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Les écharpes

I keep telling myself to buy one. Alas, I wear them so infrequently. They do provide a lot of colour for the price.

 

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Les vetements

The clothes are a big clue as to the season. The next few photos leave no doubt. 

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Plants and fresh cut flowers abound!
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Couleur de printemps
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Les fleurs
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Café ou rosé?

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.

Bisous,

Léa

Un gout de Narbonne

Un goût de Narbonne! (A taste of Narbonne!)

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.

 

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Plaza Centrale de Narbonne et Canal de la Robine

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.

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Canal de la Robine avec Les Halles

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.

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Les Halles depuis 1901
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l’estagnol Restaurant

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.

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Bon appetit!

A light but delicious lunch at l’estagnol was just the thing.

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L’art

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.

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Plaza grande centrale

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.

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Plaza grande centrale

A view of the other side of the canal with the heart of the city in the back right corner.

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Le canal de la Robine

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.

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Walking over the canal

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.

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Le coeur de la ville – The heart of the city
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Centre

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.

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VIA DOMITA

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.

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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.

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Entry to museum and chapel

Once you enter this arch way, it is much like walking on the Via Domita.

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Saint-Juste

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.

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Cour Saint-Eutropé Cathedralé

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.

Bisous,

Léa