6/9/2013 Sunday 11:05 am

We are so excited to be in Paris.  It’s like a different world.  The change in language, the press of people in the Gare du Nord and surrounding streets, and the heat (when we arrived) all made for a clear message to mind and body that we’d arrived in an entirely new place.  Here’s a shot of Glenda in front of the Canal de St Martin near Gare du Nord shortly after we got off the Eurostar–she was excited because, off to the right in the distance, she spotted a store she likes (the colorful store fronts)!  (Glenda adds: Antoine et Lili!!!)

1 Canal


(Glenda adds: after we checked into our hotel and got settled, my Uncle Dinh, his wife, and son Vincent picked us up for dinner in the 13th arrondisement.  We had a Chinese feast!  My Auntie ordered green veggies for M, and then various entrees of poached chicken, fish, a clay pot one, and then soup with tasty squid and tofu.)

We woke up just south of the main city in Cachan near Glenda’s Uncle’s house on our first full day in Paris, and decided to try our first experience with a French marche (market), which was just a few steps from our hotel door.  What a market!  Meats, Fish, Cheese, Vegetables, Wine and more.  We successfully bought Apple Juice, Tomatoes, Baguette, Salami, Speck, Comté, and Roquefort, a small round of goat cheese, and Strawberries all in preparation for a picnic lunch we had planned with Glenda’s Uncle Dinh and his family!


2 Market


And here we are in front of Uncle Dinh’s house with Glenda’s cousin Vincent.  Vincent, by the way, is an extraordinarily talented filmmaker who works under the nomme de plume “Francis Cutter”.  His stuff is amazing–and you can check it out here.  (If you do, appreciate the fact that, in the very first example he’s created a hip-hop music video utilizing a new technique, entirely his own, where he places actors into existing films using a green-screen–carefully lighting and arranging each appearance to blend them seamlessly into the original film.  Mild viewer discretion is advised).


We had stopped at the supermarche for poulet frite (roast chicken) and fleurs pour la maison (flowers for the house).


3 Vincent


And here’s the picnic!  We had a magical picnic lunch with Glenda’s Uncle Dinh, Aunt Vivienne, and Cousin Vincent in their lovely back yard.  It was a beautiful, warm, day.


4 Picnic


After lunch we got on the metro and took off for the Latin Quarter to find our flat on Rue Monge.  We found it quickly and were met by one of the owners, Bruno, who enthusiastically showed us around.  Here’s the view from our window down Rue Monge.


5 View from Flat


And here’s a shot of the flat inside–complete with the Mona Lisa!  We have two bedrooms plus a kitchen and bathroom.  It’s charming and the location is unbeatable–just blocks from Notre Dame and the Seine!


6 Flat


One of the things I simply adore about being in Europe (it was like this in London too) is the fact that there are so many specialized shops.  You’ll have one for bread, one for pastries, one for cheese, one for chocolate, one for wine, etc.  There are supermarkets here and there, but the specialized shops are enchanting and the service and selection within each genre is superb and personal in a way that you rarely stumble upon back home.  (Glenda adds: Hmmm, I disagree, and I do most of the shopping for Team MatthewGlenda.)  Here’s a picture across the street with a shop for fish and seafood next to a shop for chocolate, next to a shop for meats and vegetables.  So neat!


7 Shops


Dad & Vicky arrived, along with my sister Sarina, from Toulouse (where they spent the past week) and once they were settled into the flat we went out to Le Coupe-Chou, where Glenda had made a reservation for us.  The restaurant was phenomenal!  It was a rambling and angular 5-7 rooms connected end to end (sort of like you might imagine a restaurant that Harry Potter’s Weasleys would operate).  Our waitress was marvelous, Le Coupe-Chou was very full but quiet, and the food was spectacular.  Perfect for us all to settle in and have a long talk over wine and a delicious meal.  Some of the things we had were cold leek-potato soup, avocado-grapefruit tartar, steak tartar, veal & lamb.  Sarina and I, the veggies, had this unbelievable ratatouille (pictured below).


8 Ratatouille


What a wonderful night!  For dessert Dad and Vicky shared a Creme Brulee, Glenda had this cloud-like soft meringue floating in a tasty sauce (Glenda adds: it’s called Iles de Flottante), Sarina had chocolate mousse, and I went for a napoleon with layers of egg custard between flakey puff pastry.  Yum!  Here’s Sarina, Glenda, Dad, and Vicky at Le Coupe-Chou with our dessert!
10 Family at Restaurant


It was a marvelous reunion with family and a tremendous introduction to the Latin Quarter.  Tomorrow we look forward to trips to markets, some exploring and more delicious meals together!


2 Responses to “Paris!”

  1. Hey guys! Love the photos :)))))) Big hugs to you both from up North! See y’all soon.

  2. I agree with Matt for the human contact, and variety of specialized shops. It offers more choice for the consumer, and it makes for a nice “promenade” everyday, which is very rare in Houston (because of the neighborhood setup and the … weather)!
    Again, like I said before: Vive la différence!