Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fête des vendanges à Montmartre 2005

Sunday was a wonderful day. Dr. B and I headed up to the Fête des vendanges in Montmartre, held in the streets of the city and around the church Sacré Coeur. Vendanges is french for harvest--and quite a harvest this was! Many booths were set up with samples of delicious items, most of which were also available for purchase (bien sur!) Street artists set up displays, and many sketched pictures or profiles of attendees on the spot. Musicians were scattered around the various venues, playing for the crowds. (I spent a rather delightful amount of time watching and listening to a Highland Bagpipe player while drinking champagne--Vive la France!)

We enjoyed sampling the grape harvest, trudging up and down the hills of the area (looking for a toilette), gazing out at Paris from the open balcony in front of the church, watching a (quite surreal) puppet show in front of the view of Paris, smelling the smells (both good and not so much) and seeing the sights! We came home with two types of honey in our sac--one blended with hazlenuts and one made from bees that had feasted on linden flowers. Oh, and don't let me forget the Gateau de Bretagne avec Framboise (delicious butter cake with a raspberry layer)--heavenly. It's amazing that there is still a piece left! (I am a paragon of self-control.)

And now for something completely different...
NOTE: French jeans fit men better.

Backtracking a bit, we went to Montparnasse on Saturday to see what there was to see. What there was was WAY too many people, and Dr. B gets a bit, um, freaked out in crowds. He HATES them. So after 2 hours of trying to convince him that, despite the small minority of fashion week people in these crowds, the average french person does not don head-to-toe couture, and he isn't expected to either. And no, he doesn't need to retreat to bumpkin-land, because this street is not reserved solely for the well-to-do (as Mom would have said "their ___ doesn't smell like roses either.")

Anyway, we decided to go home after a quick trip into Celio* to look at clothes for him. We hit the jackpot--finding french jeans that were dark, slim, his size, looked GREAT and on sale. Plus a pair of pants (black with a light stripe), a long sleeve T, and a gorgeous black corduroy blazer. Got all of it for the same price as the coat was at another store where I saw a very similar one. I convinced him to go for it, despite the fact that the sleeves were a bit long. The french are known for using tailors to make their clothes fit perfectly--and I knew this one was worth it.

So, after that, he was feeling a little bit better about life. We headed to the Montparnasse Monoprix for some fixings for dinner, and then metro'd home. A difficult day, but worthwhile.

Yesterday we had our first french doctor visits. We needed them, although we had both just had complete physicals with blood work done in the states, but the french government insists. I got some names from the Mom of the girls I sit for, and we set up appointments on Friday. Monday morning came, and Mr. B was quite nervous. He really hates official stuff, and the thought of explaining everything in French was really hard for him. Luckily (and thanks to Mme. S) the doctor was very nice, friendly, funny and extremely patient. He took the time to listen to us (which is not always the case) and did his official duty (listened to our hearts, took blood pressure, checked glands) and pronounced us healthy. Since we couldn't find any official papers in our dossier, he filled out his own version for us, and said if there is anything else, just to call and drop it by and he'll do it without another visit. He knows the french bureaucratic system well--they are forever searching for the one paper you don't have, and often because no one gave it to you. (I don't think there is a word for efficiency in french.) He also wrote out french versions of our, OK my, American prescriptions, and even gave me a few leads on local schools where I might be able to find some clarinet students.

And all this, dum da da DAAAAHHHHH!!!! Cost us 20€ each, which will likely be reimbursed to us. Yay for socialized medicine!!! I remember the bill for kleenix in the hospital in North Dakota in 1998--we both were seen by a doctor for less than that stinkin' box of tissues!

The rest of the day was spent looking for an open "Retoucher" (alterations shop) for the jacket Dr. B got on Saturday, doing the big Monoprix shopping trip of the week (with my new rolly cart--made bringing home heavy bottles of laundry detergent, etc. much easier!), and walking the dog before heading off to work. Plus, on the way home I took a shortcut (although I think it was a long cut, but no worries) and found an Alimentation Generale (teeny grocery store) that had regular popcorn. And I had just enough cash to buy a 500 gram bag of it. Yay!

Well, I'll end this long and rambling post, and let you get on with your lives. Happy Tuesday!



At 11:06 PM, October 11, 2005, Anonymous Aunt J said...

Thanks for sharing your adventures. We really enjoy hearing about the fun things you are doing. Be careful. :) Aunt J & Uncle R


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