After a few errands I set out on Wednesday afternoon to explore parts of the 14ème arrondisementthat I had rarely visited on previous trips, with the help of a wonderful guidebook, Paris méconnu (little-known Paris). It seemed to be a lively and agreeable area. The most noticeable distinction was the number of crèperies, due to the proximity to Gare Montparnasse, the railway station at which Bretons arrived, and around which they settled. The most photographable spot was the striking Place de Séoul, a circular mirror-faced apartment project enclosing a round garden.
Place de Séoul
Returning home that evening along rue Montorgueil I was accosted by a young fishmonger offering two soles (presumably Dover but I didn’t press the point) for eight euros. I changed my dinner plans on the spot and decided, instead of eating out, to make my standard Parisian meal. This entailed stopping off at the vegetable shop next door, then at the adjacent lettuce shop, where I got this magnificent plant, that it seemed almost sacrilegious to dismember.
Head of Lettuce
There was one glitch: I had not realized that the fishmongers gave me whole fish rather than filets. I went on the web to see what I needed to do to clean the first one, and ended up cooking only some scraps of flesh that I scraped off the bones.
Still a lovely meal, but more fish-flavored than fish! Last evening I did a bit more research and realized that the fish had already been cleaned, and could be sautéed whole. So my second sole dinner was even better!
Yesterday I took the train to Bayeux to see the famous tapestry (something of a pilgrimage, since I am descended on my mother’s side from William the Conqueror). I enjoyed the tapestry, which looked fresh despite being nearly a millennium old. The rich earth tones give it a harmonious feeling, though by no means monochrome. One modern resonance: since the images are made of stitches they sometimes have a slightly pixelated look. I was also interested to learn that the tapestry was basically a piece of propaganda, arguing that Harold was a usurper from whom William had every right to seize the crown of England.
The tapestry took only about 30 minutes to visit and I had allowed several hours between trains, but fortunately the town itself was quite charming. Here’s a teaser; the full photo set is Bayeux Photos.