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On Sunday afternoon Andy and I headed back from Belleville around 6 pm to get ready for an apéro at Rick and Cheryl’s place. Two of Rick’s nieces were staying with them so we thought it would be fun to get them together with Andy. Rick and Cheryl also invited their friend Carl and his nephew Alex, so we ended up with four aunts and uncles and four nieces and nephews. (I thought I was so original but it seems that quite few uncles invite their nieces and nephews to visit them in Paris!)

Neices, nephews, uncles and an aunt at Rick & Cheryl’s apéro

It turned out that one of the girls was best friends with one of Andy’s former roommates, who gave him a good review. After snacks and several bottles of champagne the young-uns went out on the town while Rick and Cheryl and I had a nightcap at Blanco.

There was talk of another 20-something outing for Monday night, after Andy’s and my second day in Belleville, but thunderstorms were predicted so everyone stayed in.

On Tuesday Andy and I walked over to the Musée des Arts et Métiers. He loved it as much as I expected. I’ve taken so many pictures in prior years that I only added a few to my extensive [Musée des Arts et Métiers Photo Set]. The museum is hard to describe but here’s a try: It’s an historical museum of engineering, design and science; basically the attic where every French gadget that’s too cool to throw away ends up.

Loved this diving suit! It never worked but has nevertheless become something of a steampunk icon.

Diving suit by Alphonse and Théodore Carmagnolle, 1882

Hood ornament, Coupé de maître, Hispano-Suiza, 1935

We had lunch at the nearby l’Absinthe Café so we could easily return to finish the museum. It used to be a classic neighborhood restaurant, recommended by my friend Elliot, who formerly lived in the area. I have seen it change over the years, adding burgers a few years ago and this year doubling or tripling the price of a carafe of wine. It’s still ok but I miss the old days!

Lunch at l’Absinthe Café

For dinner we walked over to Bouillon Chartier, an old favorite that has retained its classic character, despite being a tourist attraction.

Bouillon Chartier. The cubbyholes at the right were for the napkins of the workmen who frequented the restaurant back in the day.

At Bouillon Chartier you are seated with other patrons. This couple met when they were both 20; the American guy was a serviceman stationed in France, the woman was a local girl, and the rest is history. We had a lovely conversation with them.

With new friends at Bouillon Chartier.

When I mentioned that Andy had never eaten a snail the woman offered him one of hers. To my surprise, he accepted!

Andy preparing to eat his first snail!

The moment of truth!


We were still thirsty after dinner so we stopped off at Hoppy for what turned into a couple of beers.

Beer at Hoppy on rue des Petits Carreaux

That only made us thirstier so we finished the evening at another old favorite, Experimental Cocktail Club.

A couple of after-beer cocktails at Experimental Cocktail Club

Mot du jour: Scaphandre rigide: Diving suit. You can never be sure when this may come in handy!