Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday December 17 - Mouffetarde, Le Polidor, La Sainte Chapelle

Oysters on sale on Rue de Levis

We went over to Place Monge expecting a food market only to find a flea market instead.  A quick walk down Mouffetarde revealed the usual shops but, instead of the singing and dancing at the bottom there was a free ride for the kids put there by the City of Paris.

We walked back up Mouffetarde admiring the number and range of the various specialty food shops.
In the window of a chocolate shop on Rue Mouffetarde.
Le Polidor
We had some time in hand before lunch so we went to Le Polidor which Mary had read about in a Jack Reacher book.  It was proud that it had started in 1845 and a note on a chalk board in the window said "Since 1845 we have not accepted credit cards or personal cheques.  It was nondescript from the outside and going inside was like being in a time warp back to the 1950's.  The tiled floor didn't look as if it had been repaired since 1845, and the darkened paintwork hadn't been touched for a long time.  The young waitress was pleasant but fitted in well with the decor.  The toilet was an interesting experience - they don't make toilets like that in western Europe any more.

We had:
pickled herring/terrine of pork
lamb with beans
pichet of red wine.

With long tables there wasn't a great incentive to linger and we didn't.

The Luxembourg Gardens were bright and sunny.  There was a little wind but is was quite warm out of the wind.  Took the metro back home.

Back out at 1600 to La Cite for the concert in La Sainte Chapelle.  Line 4 was very very crowded indeed and it was quite a push to get into the train at all.  We arrived at the gate for La Sainte Chapelle in good time although there was some confusion as to at which gate we were supposed to line up.  There then followed a pythonesque series of happenings which eventually saw us in good seats in the Chapelle.  We were lined up at the gate giving entry to the building which was locked.  A man approached from the inside and gesticulated to us to move back as the gates would swing outwards.  He then went inside to get the man with the key who opened the gates which swung inwards.  We now had to go through the security.  Ladies with bags had the full treatment but men with only keys and cameras were allowed in with a cursory inspection.  A Man In Charge then told us to follow him, up some stairs and wait in line at the top.  The security check allowed us to get close to the front of the line.  A little while later, the Man In Charge came back and moved us forward to wait further in.  He then put a series of holders alongside us.

After more waiting a girl came up and told us to follow here towards the entrance.  Those with prepaid tickets were told to line up at the entrance while the rest had to pick up their tickets and then join our line.  The net result was that we waited around for 45 minutes but were fourth in line to get in.

The Chapelle is beautiful although we couldn't appreciate the stained glass windows at night.  It was also very cold.  So cold that the breath on one of the soloists was steaming.

The program started with Purcell - extracts from Dido and Eneas (forgettable)
The main work was Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols sung by the choirboys of the Paris National Opera accompanied by harp.

Taken during the day in 2008
They were very good indeed and the control was excellent.

I think everyone was glad when the time came to leave because it was very cold - several people had been given blankets.  We walked over to see Notre Dame at night.  There were very few people there.
We were both cold and found a small creperie on the Isle St. Louis where we had onion soup gratinee and a crepe (salmon/roquefort) which warmed us up very well.  From there it was a short walk over the Seine to City Hall where the ice rink was in full swing.  Then metro back to Villiers.
Bonhomme de Noel at City Hall

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