Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Paris is Always a Good Idea!

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This is Part Two of my 2018 Paris posts.  Warning!! Picture overload! Read Part 1 about Notre Dame before the fire here. In late April 2018, my husband and I enjoyed a cruise on the Danube River then onto France for three days in the Loire Valley( Gardens in France blog post here) and another three days in Paris(Paris is Always a Good Idea).

We left Amboise in the Loire Valley early morning thinking we would have most of the day in Paris but little did we know that the train workers were on a slow down. We had to wait for several very stressful hours in the train station in Tours hoping that we would even get on a train to Paris that day. 

 Thankfully because of a House Beautiful magazine I was reading a lady who was an American spoke to me at the train station and we exchanged valuable information about the train situation. We finally arrived in Paris that afternoon and checked in our hotel in the Montparnasse area.
This is the lobby in Hotel Sainte-Beuve.


Our room had a picturesque and spacious balcony.









 After getting settled in our hotel we went exploring. We easily spotted Cafe La Rotonde's outside eating area as we began walking. We decided to stop and have an appetizer of Escargot that would be a quick and good late lunch. 




This lovely flower shop definitely called me inside.


As we kept on walking the familiar Les Deux Magots is a favorite place to people watch and enjoy an aperitif. 

The hotel had a very nice breakfast the next morning.  The previous day had been warm and I wore a short-sleeved shirt but this next day was cooler and I wore a sweater and scarf. 

Our day started out with Laduree, an elegant pastry and tea room on the Champs Elysees. They are the premier source of macaroons in Paris and sell 15,000 a day. 

We were seated upstairs at the very same table where we had sat on a previous visit. The beautiful gilded furnishings and lavishly painted ceilings create an elegant atmosphere.
Why I didn't ask the waiter to make our picture I don't know because Mike is looking bored!





Our desserts and cappuccinos were very good. And look at the gorgeous pink roses on the mantel above our heads!

 It is hard to choose between so many beautiful desserts.  Laduree's packaging is so pretty and a gift from Laduree is something to be desired.

From here we walked on down to the Arc de Triomphe. I wish we had walked to the top on our first trip to Paris years ago. I can only imagine the spectacular scenery from the top. I missed the boat though because I know I could not walk that many steps now.

It was on this spot that my husband, the wannabe french speaker, had his proudest moment in Paris. A Frenchman seeing that he had a map asked him if the adjacent street was the way to the Eiffel Tower. He replied, "No monsieur, c'est lá ba,-No sir, its over there". And then counted the number of street crossings to get to the Avenue Kleber, "Un, Deux, Trois! 


As you walk on any street you hear different languages being spoken. The atmosphere is always exciting. The street flower markets are enthralling! 

Then we rode the batobus down to the Eiffel Tower which is a hop on and hop off boat on the Seine. There are so many beautiful bridges and I challenge myself to remember the names but with anything you have to use it to remember it.

 The Pont Alexander 111 is one of the most ornate and extravagant bridges in the city. It was built for the 1900 World Exhibition.
It connects the Champs Elysees with those of the Invalides and Eiffel Tower.
This is a typical cloudy day in Paris. This is the same day I made the pics from the Seine of Notre Dame in the Remembering Notre Dame Before the Fire post as well as some I made after we got off the batobus.
That night we had dinner at  Cafe La Rotonde which was close to our hotel. Its website defines it as a "brasserie" and a restaurant. It has been around since 1911. The food was exceptional and we highly recommend it. It is located at the corner of Boulevard du Montparnasse and Boulevard Raspail.
My husband had the Dover Sole which he went on and on about. I wish I had snapped a picture when they brought it out whole for him to view before they filleted it.


My steak was absolutely perfection. 
My steak frites, as they call them, were the best I have ever had! 






Strolling through the Tuilleries Gardens in May was a visual delight. Of course, I began dreaming of alliums in my garden looking like this. I planted bulbs right on time in my garden and they came up about 3 inches and died. It was an extremely dry time and even with extra watering, they did not make it. Maybe next year!

I adore the statuary, the fountains and the flowers in the Tuilleries Garden every season that I have been. 
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel Louvre entrance. I found it very interesting to read that the four horses that pull a chariot on top of the arch are a copy of the quadriga at St. Marks Cathedral, Venice. Originally, the real thing was used at this site but was afterward returned to Italy.



The Chinese-American architect that drew up this design is said to have thrown caution to the wind but the absurdity of his design fit perfectly. This pyramid of steel and glass was built in 1989 and is instantly recognizable around the world. 



It turned cold the following day as you can see jackets were needed.

One of the delights in Paris are the coffee breaks and a hot drink was welcome on a cool day. In France and Italy, locals don't drink cream in their coffee after 11:00. I think this was around11:30 a.m. according to my camera but they knew we were Americans.

You know a restaurant is good when you eat there two nights in a row. We had dinner again at Cafe La Rotonde and it was fabulous again the second night. I won't show you pics of all the dishes again but I had a veal chop with mashed potatoes and Mike had the duck. But the highlight of the evening was the "Mille Feuille." This is the dessert I had heard so much about from the book, "A Gentleman in Moscow." It did not disappoint.

Our three-day trip was very nice. Because we have seen most of the places that you must see in Paris we could relax and just "be there" and not have a schedule. 

Other Paris posts here and here.

Paris is Always a Good Idea! We love Paris. Thanks for joining me. Please tell me your favorite thing about Paris.

Please check back next week for the Welcome Fall Tablescape Blog Hop. There are many talented tablescapers you won't want to miss. My table is Thursday.



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Late Summer Tablescape

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 A centerpiece of peonies was the inspiration for this summer table on my patio. Today, I am joining 20 other bloggers for a late summer tablescape blog hop sponsored by Chloe Crabtree @Celebrate and Decorate. Throughout the year, Chloe has tablescape themes that inspire amazing creativity. Friendships have developed and it is inspiring to be part of such a talented group.



These English hand-painted butterfly plates went perfectly with the pink peonies. There is a story about the plates I will tell later in the post.

Each plate has a different butterfly and flowers. The scalloped edge and two green borders are so pretty to me. I layered the plates with another gold-bordered plate to accent the gold in the butterfly plates and gold flatware.
My mother's Fostoria Meadowrose wedding crystal from 1945 felt right for this tablescape and I always love using it.
I added ferns from my garden in the flower arrangement to pick up the green in the plates. I really wanted some fuchsia napkins for this tablescape but none were to be found in our little town.
 Butterfly napkin rings complemented the butterfly theme.  It would have been fabulous if a butterfly had landed on my table while I was photographing it!
My granddaughter was visiting while I was styling this tablescape and she wanted to have a tea party.  We actually did before I dismantled the table. It was a hot day and she suggested having ice cream. It was a great idea to have something cool. We enjoyed eating our chocolate mint ice cream that just happened to match the butterfly dishes but we were not dressed for photographs. However, the ice cream inspired another tablescape........ fast forward a month.
In the summertime, I crave ice cream and chocolate mint is a favorite. Add some pound cake and I am a happy camper.
I have a friend who is an antique dealer. She brings back many lovely things from trips to England. I was pleased to buy these butterfly plates from her that inspired this tablescape. My eye went right to the plates as I viewed her new purchases. I immediately began planning a tablescape in my mind using the plates in front of my summer phlox before I purchased the plates.
 If you live near Atlanta, her booth, The Spence Collection, shows monthly at Scott's Antique Market. Her Instagram account can be viewed here



Bougainvillea placed on the napkin added another pop of color and took the place of a napkin ring.






Phlox is a perennial that faithfully delights year after year in my garden. You may remember me mentioning my sweet garden helper cut my phlox down with a weedeater before it bloomed last year. So I am very grateful to have it blooming this year. It makes a great cut flower and multiplies. Soon I will have enough to move to another spot in the garden. 

I love this sheer embossed vintage tablecloth. It was used here some years back for a Valentine post.
Pink lemonade, chocolate mint ice cream, and pound cake are refreshing and make a good summertime treat served in the garden.
 Thank you for joining me today. The blog hop schedule with links to other summertime tablescapes is listed below. Stop by and leave them a comment. I would love one as well. 
Wishing you a lovely week. 
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