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Jared arrived on Sunday afternoon. All went well once we resolved the communications SNAFU described in my previous post. Like C.N. and Sherard before him, Jared is a keen walker, so after he got settled in we went for a stroll. There are many attractive destinations nearby: the Jardin des Plantes, rue Mouffetard and the one we chose, Buttes-aux-Cailles. Flâneurs that we are, we mostly followed our noses instead of a dusty old map. We were rewarded first with an enormous vide-greniers — a collective tag sale.

There were many treasures for sale, including these African items that looked like they could be in the Musée du quai Branly.

What particularly caught our eye, however, was this mysterious wall plaque, which unfortunately wasn’t for sale.

After escaping the crush of the vide-greniers we noticed some balloons next to an open door and were pleased to find that we had caught the tail end of an open studio weekend for the 5ème and 13ème arrondissements under the rubric of Lézarts de la bièvrelézarts being a jeu de mots between lézard (lizard) and les arts (the arts), while La Bièvre (literally “Beaver River”) is a little river that wound northward to the Seine through the two arrondissements but over the centuries has “disappeared under rubble and urbanization.” We got a map and visited several studios. We got into some charming conversations with artists but frankly didn’t see anything that particularly excited our artistic sensibilities. Another year I may try to do these open studios more systematically.

As we continued to explore the area south of Place de l’Italie, which I have slighted in prior years, we stumbled on Square des Peupliers (Square of the Poplars), an extremely quiet and cute little neighborhood.

39, Square des Peupliers
Jared R. on Square des Peupliers

Jared followed the same strategy that had succeeded so well for me when I arrived this year: Keep awake until at least 8 pm, then sleep for as long as you like. I whipped together a quick dinner from items I had on hand (after overcoming a confusing situation caused by using the wrong size pan on our induction stove top) and Jared crashed at 9 pm.

Friday and Saturday had been quite nice, with just a bit of rain. It really started getting nice, however — le beau temps ! — when Jared arrived. Since then it’s been short pants every day. Finally!

Mots du jour: I had considered vide-greniers and brocante to be interchangeable, but I see now that a vide-greniers is a collective tag sale where ordinary people sell anything and everything, while a brocante is a temporary non-food market where full time or part time professionals sell used items. A marché aux puces is basically a brocante with permanent stalls.