Friday, October 01, 2004
I love walking tours of Paris. A French historian picks out different parts of Paris to talk about for two hours. I take three tours a month. Today was a tour of Les Halles. According to my tour guide, it is pronounced Lay All. I spend quite a bit of my day trying to repeat what French people tell me regarding pronunciation of words. I try to imagine French people in the US asking me how to pronounce, for instance, the Chrysler convertible. Living an expat life, at least in a country where people speak a different language is very humbling, and I constantly think back to how I treated foreign people in the US.
Back to the tour.... I went to Les Halles, which is the old food market in Paris. The market left Paris in 1969 and moved to a suburb. However, you can still find great restaurants and food stalls all around. The famous rue Montgrueil, known for its Saturday markets, is in the area. So is Saint Eustephe, one of the largest Churches (as opposed to cathedrals) in France. Les Halles, once the markets left, was developed in the 1970s and the consensus of my walking tour members was that it looked 70s. That was not a compliment. I guess other people think something is amiss because the area is not the gathering spot the city planners had hoped and now the city of Paris is going to decide among four options to renovate the area. If you are interested, you can look at this website. They estimate the project will take 10 years.
After the tour my friend and I headed to the famous Au Pied de Cochon. They are famous for their onion soup and that is just what we had. Two great big bowls with lots of soup, onions, bread and cheese. I took a picture, but my husband hasn't yet figured out how to download pictures from the new phone-camera.
After that we walked over to the equally famous, at least among Americans, cuisine store named Dehellerin (dee el a ren). They have pretty much everything you might need for your kitchen.... pots, pans, knives, strainers, whatever. It's a fun way to spend 20 minutes, especially if you want to bring home some copper pots. The website doesn't do it justice, but here it is www.e-dehillerin.fr/
-- said Auntie M in Paris