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The Streets of Paris

semi-overcast 16 °C

We’ve been doing the sights of Paris for the past few days - the Eiffel Tower, Notre- Dame, the Arc de Triomphe etc. and even Disneyland with the grandchildren– but decided not to bore you with images of such well documented tourist attractions
Instead we thought we should focus on the more prosaic side of Paris – the everyday street scenes like the modern automatic toilettes that replaced the iconic, (though always smelly) pissoirs…
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Then there are the newspaper kiosks that seem to do a roaring trade despite the internet…
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And the fleuristes whose season-defying flowers overflow onto the sidewalks…
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Not long ago the banks of the Seine were lined with many hundreds of booths selling rare and secondhand books. Few remain today and those that do primarily sell tourist trinkets and cheap prints...
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Almost every corner of major intersections is home to a brasserie where snippy waiters make you pay through the nose for sitting on a squeaky rattan chair while inhaling the fumes of a thousand cars…
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But being in Paris, (for some) is all about being seen in Paris. The City of Lights still has allure for the rich and trendy and there is no shortage of establishments catering to the well-heeled of the world. We, on the other hand, are quite content NOT staying on the Champs Elysees or shopping in the chic establishments of the Avenue Montaigne. The boulangerie at the end of the street has everything we want…
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Just as Bruges is a haven of chocalatiers, Paris is home to a thousand boulangers, (bakers) and patissiers. Their breads and pastries tempt us every few metres. The most iconic name – now franchised worldwide – is that of Paul…
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Food is a primary pre-occupation of the French. It is not cheap, (and not always good), but it is certainly plentiful. Restaurants of every type and nationality abound in Paris and the quality and variety of fresh food available in stores is staggering. This is a fish stall in Montparnasse…
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….while this is just a local greengrocers…
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In a move that should be copied worldwide it has been illegal in France for supermarkets to throw away unsold food since May of this year. All products that have expired must be given to charity or used as animal feed.

Paris is a truly multicultural city and the shops and supermarkets reflect this diversity with products from around the world. In an inexplicable moment of madness we skipped past the local boulangerie to slip into Marks & Spencer's for a packet of their delicious English crumpets – now if only we could find a Tim Hortons coffee shop.

Posted by Hawkson 08:50 Archived in France

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Comments

I am first this morning!!! and you are making me hungry as I look at all that food. It is all so colourful. I am resting after all the work getting Sheila Malcolmson ellected ....the last day we worked from 7 am - 9:30 pm but it was worth it
love

by Jean McLaren

Madness, indeed. Crumpets?
If you had found a Tim Horton's, however, their maple cream donuts (my favourite)might have broken your resolve.

by R and B

Good to see we are on track with you guys again. Helen and I spent many days walking the streets of Paris and even had coffee in one corner shop that you took a picture of.

by Keith and Helen

Always a pleasure to stroll through the streets of Paris with you.Have the secondhand book sellers moved inside or is it a sign of the times with books. Always a fascinating city. I will take one of those meringues please.

by Sue Fitzwilson

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