I enjoy eating out, but the concept of this trip is that I will be “living” in Paris for two months, not just on a two-month vacation. So cooking for myself fairly often is an important part of the plan. The picture shows a fish fillet sauteed with onions in olive oil, steamed haricots verts and whole-wheat bread, accompanied by a salad and a glass of red table wine. Delicious, if I do say so myself! It’s hard to go wrong when fresh and appetizing ingredients abound in the neighborhood’s special-purpose food shops. I’ve posted some photos of these cute shops, along with the rest of today’s photos, at this link: Paris-2 Photo Set
I got another late start this morning and I’m beginning to realize that my biological clock has not shifted yet. I’ll set the coffee percolator for an hour earlier tomorrow (even though it will be Sunday).
It was rainy and downright cold for much of the day, so I headed for indoor destinations. I spent most of the afternoon at the Institut du monde arab in the 5eme:
The Institute is quite an interesting place. The museum has some nice items but the displays were often too dimly lit to show them off to the best effect. What I enjoyed most were large signs covering the relevant periods of Islamic history, some carpets and a few exquisite miniatures. There’s a charge for the museum, and a separate charge for any special exhibit, but the rest of the building is free and open to the public. Starting at the top, there’s a roof deck with fine panoramic views, including Notre Dame. There are also two restaurants on the top level, one absurdly expensive and the other cheap but uninspiring. Down a few levels is a comfortable library, where I read a magazine for a while. On the ground floor there is a terrific book store and gift shop, along with a nice Lebanese restaurant, where I had lunch. The restrooms are in the basement, which is a very odd place. It’s a very big room filled with a maze-like array of huge columns; they look like the lower level of a great cathedral, but can’t possibly have an architectural function in a modern building.
On the way to the Institute I ventured into the Forum Les Halles, a somewhat-sketchy urban shopping mall that has replaced Paris’ food market, Les Halles (pronounced “Lay Ahl”). The mall is reputed to be dangerous at night, but it seemed busy and safe when I was there — certainly no worse than Central Square. As well as a huge movie theater it includes a swimming pool that a friend recommended, which I plan to try out soon (in the daytime). Update 2019: The Forum Les Halles has gotten a five-year facelift, in conjunction with the Grande Canopée, and now seems much more attractive and normal.
My Navigo worked fine in the métro today; I suspect that you need to show it to the attendant the first time you use it to confirm that the picture matches. I actually had to wait two whole minutes for a train today. Pretty aggravating, but I’m still a fan.
No photo of tonight’s dinner since it was exactly like last night’s. I’ve used up the fish, however, so I’ll have to get more creative tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what’s open, since it will be Easter (Pâques as they call it in these parts).
Also, my cousin Jackie is due to arrive tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to catching up with her after several years. Update 2019: I originally wrote, “She and her husband have developed a safari camp in Kenya that looks wonderful. The violence there a few years ago chilled tourism, and they are hoping that a more peaceful atmosphere will re-energize the tourist industry.” but the camp has closed and many other things have since changed.