Paris – day 3 Van Gogh and a walk on the old railroad track

Today was an off the beaten path day. Weeks ago I had found a blurb about Atelier des Lumieres. It was the most unusual experience. We saw the Van Gogh experience today and I can barely describe it. Let me start with a warning, There are 11 chairs and 220 people. The best view is upstairs if you can get a chair, otherwise stand behind a chair up there or walk in to the right where there seemed to be fewer people.

It is a huge space, like a school gymnasium and there is music playing, not blaring and the walls and floors are splashed with a kaleidoscope of pictures. Though I was very uncomfortable – (we did not get a chair) I really liked it and I think it will be a memory I will hold.

But that was already midday. Our day began by heading off in the direction of the show, into the 11 arrondissement. A quick look at my tour book upon arrival indicated there wasn’t much to do or see so we were on our own. We wandered a bit, through a small park, and then searched out lunch.

Le Square Gardet for lunch – I suppose if I were to imagine a restaurant in the main floor of an average French families home these rooms would be it. It was a good fall into this place after a short google search and though the duck was a bit lacking the Croque was like a chunk of gooey cheese with a bit of bread and the tiniest drop of ham, yet, superb.

We skipped the offered dessert of a mousse instead deciding to search for a boulangerie, and not an easy search as it turns out. We walked from one to the next, none very nice, and not falling for any of the offerings even when they were beautiful. We had an hour to go so I had a lesson in using google maps and eventually we eventually stopped at Ounissi (132 Rue du Chemin Vert, 75011 Paris, France) and picked up a small cake, a Madeline and another escargot. Turns out the escargot is my favorite. Challah tasting bread, enough chocolate so you are never wanting and a dash of pistachio – I don’t know if I know what thats for but I assume it enhances the flavor.

Then the show, then a walk toward the one thing the guide book did tell us about – walk along an abandoned railway track that runs through the city. The Promenade Plantee. Details found on an interesting website where you can rent a local, a great idea for me if I return and want to work on my french or on learning how to navigate the Paris subway system.

We wandered a bit on our way and quenched our thirst with a bottle of water from a little boulangerie where we just had to get the chocolate tart near the biblioteque Parmentier. I refused the clerks offer for a heat up and we were divided on the result. I thought it was the best chocolate so far, Brad thought it might benefit from the heating, either way, if you are in the area ( the 11th arrondissement) we can recommend. Then onto the heights…

We picked up the trail in a not very appealing part of town and soon were raised so our eye level was even with all that beautiful carvings along the high floors of Paris apartment buildings. A wide walkway of greenery, with benches, and scattered viewing spots and few people. This is a must do experience.

When we finally arrived back we were hungry and tired and wandered a bit in that state and how lucky for us that we did. As we were unable to make a decision we headed aimlessly towards a row of tents set up on the sidewalk and found ourselves in a short market. I got a bag of dried strawberries and we tasted cheeses and meats and just got happy.

It was then that Brad came through, I don’t know how he does it but he wandered us right to a charming little dinner spot, authentically French, two blocks from home. We shared a rare sort duck- we know because there was a paragraph long description in the menu of its age and origins. It could have turned us off. But it didn’t. The duck itself was a little tough but was accompanied by a most magnificent gravy. SO good that we scraped the bowl clean with our bread.

The meal began with the most absolutely delicious starter of mushrooms and ended with the most fabulous pot of chocolate.

so we call the restaurant a winner!

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