Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Open face chicken sandwich

How tasty looking is that?!

St. Honore shrimp dish up close

Shrimp lunch in St. Honore neighborhood

We stopped at this place Tuesday for a late lunch after walking the canals in another neighborhood. I had an open-face chicken sandwich: piece of grilled chicken on excellent bread covered in exquisite cheese then grilled. SO glad it's low fat. Yeah right!

I have yet to see any menu items labeled "heart healthy" or "low carb". I think that's completely contrary to the French approach, which is: highest quality ingredients, beautifully prepared to perfection for the palate. If that means the freshest vegetables, seafood and meats coupled with buttery sauces, real ham and bacon, and a healthy helping of cheese, so be it.
We know what that means healthwise, so either eat in moderation and walk a lot, or be prepared to find a caftan shop you like. Life's all about tradeoffs. :-)
Personally, I'm opting for the moderation and walking this week. When I'm back at my sedentary job, I'll post a list of my favorite Northwest caftan retailers. ;-)

Louvre: inside looking out

Shot of the massive courtyard on one side of the building. Acres of gardens unfold farther afield.

Mayhem at the Louvre

We visited the Louvre museum yesterday. It apparently receives 5 million visitors each year. It felt like 3 million of them visited the same day we did. The picture shows the crush of people in the entry under the giant glass pyramid. Note: this is just people waiting to buy tickets to get in! Definitely not the place for people with fear of crowds, or ambulatory problems: we walked for 2 hours and barely covered the wings on ancient greek and italian figurines, paintings and drawings.
I'll post more pix later showing how big this place is. But the art and buildings really do give you an amazing sense of history: the Louvre itself opened in 1793! More info and pix of their holdings here: http://www.louvre.fr/llv/musee/institution.jsp?bmLocale=en.
Favorite moment: the look on the face of two frazzled parents as they realized that, after a long wait in line and who knows how long getting to the museum, the amassed art at hand was less interesting to their two young kids than running and sliding across the marble floors on their knees. :-)

Metro musicians

Not sure if this will upload, but this is video of a group of musicians playing in one of the Metro stations. There have been different ones each day in the station nearest our apartment and it's a wonderful bit of culture in the sweat-tinged crush of people in the Metro's hallways.
The French really revere writers, artists and musicians; much more so than Americans on average. Some historians say that's partly why African American entertainers were so accepted here in the early 20th century, despite France's lack of acceptance of people of color from its former colonies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. The culture of celebrity definitely played a role. I'll add links to some interesting resources on this issue when I return. In the meatime, here's a link to an audio file from NPR's This American Life about life in France for American expatriates. The first couple a hilarious classics from NPR's Davis Sedaris. The 3rd or 4th one is by an African American attorney and author who moved to Paris in the 1990's for her job. She wrote a book about her rise from the 'hood to the Ivy Leagues, to attorney in Paris. http://www.thislife.org/pages/descriptions/00/165.html. Enjoy!

J. @ Arc de Triomphe

This picture doesn't do the structure justice: it's massive and sits at the intersection of several streets that converge in a circle around it. So to reach it, you take a tunnel from the Champs Elysées (a giant boulevard) under the street and up to the base of the structure. Once there, you can also take an elevator ride to the observation deck.
Info on the arch's history can be found here: http://www.paris.org/Monuments/Arc.