Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rainy Paris Sunday

A rainy grey weekend in Paris.

The parapluies (umbrellas) are out.

Bunny madness has hit Paris windows hard.

Why am I always surprised?

Bunny soaps like frogs sitting in a hair salon vitrine decked to the hilt.

More bunnies in a pet shop window.

A mad variety of bunnies in a stationary shop.

Green is the preferred bunny color.

Almost as much fuss is made over Easter here as Christmas not that I mind a bid. Very cheering.

The goodies above are at papeterie Marie-Tournelle - rue du deux ponts 75004

Elegant perfume shop Diptyque has a more sedate bunny onboard.

If you're in Paris, do hop over to rue Pontoise and bvd Saint-Germain to see the windows.

Diptyque has taken a good look at Dutch Golden age paintings certainment.

Every window a potential painting.


Lush flower, cherries and butterflies

Chocolate bunnies have been keeping me busy in the studio this week. Addressing envelopes and folding your April Sketch letters is the perfect pastime for a Paris rainy Sunday.

Paris rain doesn't stop the bikers or runners.

Or ducks observing passing boats on the Seine.
Someone wrote on the wet pavement on the bridge in italic script,
'Paris is Beautiful'.
Isn't it just.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sebastien Degardin Patisserie du Pantheon - My Sweet Paris

It's taken me more than a year to get to patisserie Sebastien Degardin.

Maybe I knew it would be dangerous.

But so pretty.

It's in the 5th arrondissement near the Sorbonne and Pantheon.
200, rue Saint-Jacques 75005

The window beckoned, 'Come inside'.

Very lovely too.

A classic old boulangerie the new owner, Desgardin, has cherished and embellished.

Of course I was tip-toeing around

Stealthily taking pictures whenever the vendeuse went into the back to fetch more Mont Blancs. Only when I got home did I realize she was the pastry chef's wife and partner.

 Isn't this witty. Hard boiled eggs garnished with biscuit 'soldiers' to dip into dark chocolate creme.

Desserts honoring the nearby Pantheon.

A chocolate egg pastry. Degardin's pastries are not at all like so many others you see repeated and repeated.

Their shapes and flavors are surprising.

Not easy to choose either but I always fall for passion fruit and mango.

The Pom Yuzu was sending out magnetic waves. A la prochaine.

I came home and consulted my new best Paris pastry guide, My Sweet Paris by Caroline Mignot.

Parisian author Mignon is a food writer for magazines Maison francaise, Prima, Regal, L'Hotellerie-Restauration, Le Monde plus her blog, Table a Decouvert . Her pastry book is just as detailed and informing.
'Another lovely cake is the Passiflore with it's extra-exotic notes: sitting on a thin coconut shortbread biscuit is a passion fruit cream topped with a very light, white chocolate mousse'. Perfect description.

On Sebastien Degardin, Mignot says,
'He was head pastry chef initially at Michel Troisgros' restaurant moving on to Pierre Gagnaire's establishment before opening his own place in the 12th arrondissement. (The diagrammatic drawing above is from the walls of his former shop). At the end of 2013 he moved into and modernized this magnificent location where part of the decoration has been classified by the Monuments Historiques of France.
I'll be coming back soon to Degardin for the Pom Yuzu. And I won't leave the house in future without My Sweet Paris.
150 pastry, ice cream, tea and chocolate shops are covered within.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Give Me One Reason to Stay Here (in Paris)

You Don't have to Give Me One Reason to Stay Here (in Paris).
 
Yesterday was visa day. It comes round once a year with the requisite nerves and stress,

There are lots of rules. Just entering the front door of the Prefacture de Police on Cite, there are rules. Only 10 people in the entryway. Then shed all your belongings and go through the machines.

Don't worry if you need copies. There are machines in the hall. Bring 20 centimes svp.

If your passport photos have a ding from a paper clip like mine last year, you can retake them in the hallway.

DO NOT FORGET to bring along your Convocation paper! I lost mine yesterday morning. Then I found it with a back page folded on top. Whew.

We did not have to wait long to see the receptionist who checks your papers. This is unusual.

You are given a number.
Take your seat and recheck your papers again and again.
I was missing a few copies. You need your originals and the copies to give the immigration agent for their file.

We only waited 1 1/2 hours! This is a short wait for the process.
Fortunately my clever visa lawyer complimented our agent (in French) on her mini fan and nicely broke the ice. We were holding our breath as she checked off each document 1-2-3.

We sailed through!
I return to the Prefacture in May to pick up, pay for my carte sejour.
Oh Happy Day.
Another year in Paris.

If you're serious about moving to France, I can recommend my American lawyer AC Dana who's lived here 25 years.

If you don't get your visa first go,
DO NOT take it out on the agent SVP.

I felt like the queen of Sheba walking out of there.

Time for an ice cream cone.

Ex-pat Baryshnikov was enjoying the sun on my island.

Maybe he just 'passed' his visa too?

Spring asparagus! Oh Happy Day.

The first Spring strawberry Fraisier at Gerard Mulot.

I tried to paint it. But had to run out and get a real one to study closely.
Celebration time.
Bear says I should keep painting. Not there yet.
He's pleased he's staying on another year.
And how!