Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Partager Paris Surprises

Private Concert
That is the "thing" about Paris ... as I have appreciated many times in the past ... you just never know what is waiting for you around the next corner ...

We received an email from one of Mr. T's virtual friends on Flickr on Saturday inviting us to a chamber music concert to be held in a friend's home the next day..  We automatically agreed since music is one of those things you never turn down.   After finally getting the time and address, porte code, etage (floor) of the building, etc., we headed over to the 3rd arrondisement.  Not really knowing what to expect, how long this might last, ...  should we have brought a gift .... (I really think we should've) ... we arrived along with around 20 other people.    The apartment was on the 5th etage, and not liking elevators, we hiked up, caught our breath and pushed open the already open door.  Chairs were set around everywhere, and a beautiful black baby grand was sitting proudly at the end of the room.  Looking a bit closer, just beyond the piano,   I could see the outline of  la Tour Eiffel  framed in the window of the next apartment.  For the next 3 hours we were entertained by Mr. T's friend, the pianist, and his partner, a cellist.  Beethoven has never sounded so good!  And of course, the evening ended around des coups de champagne!  Another nice surprise in Paris!

If you would like to know more about the musicians :

Enjoy the beautiful weather in Paris!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Partager Parc Sceaux

Parc de Sceaux

Its not too late to enjoy this year's cherry blossoms ... if you have  a bit of time, jump on the RER station to Sceaux,  head to the Petit Chateau, and take a right down towards the fountain ... eventually you will run into the heavenly Pink Cherry blossoms to your left (Plaine de la Pépinére).  
Every year the gardens at Sceaux celebrate the Hanami "Cherry Clossom Viewing", a Japanese custom of picnicking under the trees with family and friends.  It is a great  excuse for  gathering up a circle of friends, choosing your favorite things to eat and drink, and then plan on a good nap afterwards.  Don't forget to take you camera!  

Bon Weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Partager Paris and More ... MADRID

El Prado Madrid
Another really nice thing about living in Paris, ... is that you can go to so many other European cities easily and cheaply.  I was reading Bonjour Paris's article the other day about her trip to Berlin;  and thanks to her great article I had a much better time in Madrid!  Thank you, Bonjour Paris!  How is that you wonder?  I took her advice and left in the afternoon, instead of the early morning, arriving in Madrid just in time for a drink before dinner.  Madrid is, like Berlin, about  2 hours away.  Flights are numerous, so usually there is a flight available every couple of hours, departing from Orly Airport.  Once we landed, we took a taxi to the hotel, a bit expensive as the airport is out from the city.  There is a bus/metro available, but ....  We stayed at one of the larger business hotels, which was nice for wifi, happy hours, and right next to a metro stop.  The city's  transportation system is excellent, cheap, safe, and runs late (around 1am).  I bought a 10- ride pass that was less than 10 E, and used it on buses and metros alike.   The city is a great one for exploring on foot, too, especially when the weather is nice.   I had lots of items on my list to visit, a special guide book with 12 different tours ... much more than I could do in 3 days, so I decided to choose one big event per day, and the rest of my time would be "par hasard".  The pressure was off!  

There are several museums in Madrid which should be visited, the Prado and the Reine Sofia, are two not to be missed.  They are housed close together with the Royal Botanical Gardens (El Real Jardin Botánico) sitting between them.  What a lovely place to go and loose yourself!    There are special discount days and times, so take a look on the internet before you leave.  

The shopping is great, (especially the Rastro on Sunday mornings), the architecture is stately, the people are warm, the city is colorful, the restaurants stay open almost all the night ...  and the white wines are just divine!   It is only 2 hours from Paris .....

A great restaurant to try :  Dantxari (be hungry !)

El Real Jardin Botánico