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jeudi 2 juillet 2009

Cuban Heart and Parisian Mind and Sefardi Stomach

Newly found Love for Paris

One thing you would learn living in Cuba is that you are curious about most things and you become very observant. when you show someone a photograph, they might make remarks on how the hands are held or the jewelry they noticed.
Combined with this, the natural curiosity that comes from being Jewish, which is taught you from childhood, makes one a good anthropologist and also a fine traveller since you tend to observe, not what is being pointed out or obvious but the stories behind what you see.
My excellent stay with my good friends (they are not friends, they are tattoes in my heart!) in Havana, I have come to Paris with a new vigour. Never have I had such an enthusiasm for this city, since Havana enhances this moveable feast, not competes with this feast to the eyes and stomach.

So my eyes are fresh from Cuba, the heart tender as ever and my mind brimming with emotions.. this is the Paris of the day for me..
First, the Lunch
Paris has many food markets, but Marche des Enfants Rouges.. market of red children.. is 400 years old, and is so named for the red uniform of children from a nearby orphanage of yesteryears...offers an array of International dishes.. I had gone there especially to taste Moroccan Couscous with eggplant and steamed vegetables. I plan to return to taste the japanese fare, where the cook and the waitresses are Japanese (many a japanese restaurants in Paris are owned and run by expat chinese or koreans!).. there was a Traiteur Libanaise.. where one could feast on dishes familiar to any australian, there were about ten international places to eat..
The authenticity of these places cannot be questioned, and the price is most reasonable for Paris..
It is in the northern section of Marais, at the northern end of rue du temple and near the junciton of rue bretagne. At the corner there is an excellent bookstore. I bought one book there today Guide du Patrimonie Juif Parisien The Guide to Parisian Jewish Heritage.. of course would be visiting some of that in the future..
Walking around Marais, this old jewish neighbourhood, fastly converting into glassy, kitchy shops and chinese selling wholesale tchotchkes from China is loosing its character, but it has become an excellent place to people watch, with its large gay community and flagrant joie de vivre of the ambience..
Walked down all the way to rue de Rivoli, the bustling commercial street and full of tourists today, to end at the magnificent Town Hall of Paris and then walked towards Chatelet to catch the train back to the house..

While walking towards the M station, came across a small park with a lonely tower of a building where many people had taken refuge in the shades from the heat of the day. turns out to be Tour Saint Jacques, centered in the square of the same name, between boulevard de sebastopol, rue saint martin and rue de rivoli and avenue Victoria. Architects Jean and Didier de Felin 1523.
The remant tower of the Eglise Saint-Jacques-la-Boucherie, demolished in 1797 in the continuing fever of revolutionary anticlericalism. Now a meterological station surmounts it all. This is a late Gothic, from a time when Michelangelo was drifting into mannerism in Italy.

Good Food. Good Book to be bought. Cafe at Reinitas with its free wi fi at rue du temple, and this Tower and a bit of history..
That was my afternoon in Paris. 2 july 2009 and tomorrow is a Public Holiday in the USA to celebrate the 4th of July. Happy Independence Day to all my friends in Yuma/Yanquiland/USA!