Kathmandu and Quai Branly

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On tuesday I cooked for the first time Rabbit. It was a recipe I found online, with veg, prunes and wine, then I added rabbit thighs. It actually tasted really good. Kind of like chicken but the meat had a more delicate taste. On wednesday, I tasted Nepalese food for the first time. We went to a buffet on Rue de Boulangers called Kathmandu €10 all you can eat, and it was really tasty. Salads, rice and several types of curry. The restaurant had a very calm atmosphere and we drank from golden goblets! Apparently in the evening similar dishes can cost up to €40 so its best to go at lunch for value for money. I was certainly full after I left having helped myself to three platefuls!

★★★

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We then ventured into Paris and walked through the Tuileries towards L’Orangerie. It was a beautiful day, and the first warm-ish day we’ve had in Paris for a long time. I had visited the Orangerie once before when Heidi and Nick came, but today it was a lot less busy, and a much nicer ambience to enjoy the art. The white oval room with Monet’s waterlilies in particular.

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We wondered over the river along a lovely bridge with love locks towards Musée Quai Branly. Its a museum of indigenous art and culture from Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. It was absolutely vast and showcasing SO much stuff. We were really too exhausted to see everything, but some of the artifacts were interesting. I liked the totem pole and they had this series of crazy masks too. When we left, it was dark outside and all these little lights had come on in the gardens around the building which looked lovely. It felt like some kind of science fiction film. I then walked round the corner to see Claudia before heading home.

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Protesting and the Museum of Everything

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Over the last couple of months, there has been a lot of debate in France over gay mariage.  Basically the newly elected Francois Hollande promised to legalize gay mariage. The french seemed okay with it but a few months ago the outrage began. There have been loads of protests both for and against, and national kissing days. The anti – mariage want a referendum so they can have their say, but now Hollande has said he is leaving the decision to Mayors of each district to decide although nothing has been decided yet. So anyway today there was a protest for gay mariage, so we decided to go and check it out. It walked from Denfert-Rochereau up to Bastille. The tubes were absolutely rammed, i’ve never seen anything like it, even with the Royal Wedding in London! Eventually I was crammed on and arrived, and there were a lot of people there. According to online articles between 125 000 and 400 000! It was fairly peaceful and mostly young people but a few families. We stayed for a couple of hours and walked along in the crowds but then got on the metro.

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We went to Saint Michel and walked around that area up until Rue de Bac. Along the way I had a salted caramel and butter crepe which was yum!! We walked past a big church and decided to nip in. Paroisse Saint Germain-des-prés which was quite pretty inside, lovely stain glass windows. We also walked past Les Deux Magots (which Anne had told me I must visit) It looked lovely inside, I plan to revisit it soon for a coffee!!

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Then we visited the Museum of Everything. It is basically a travelling museum of undiscovered, unintentional and untrained artists from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Since 2009 over 350,000 people have visited their installations in London, Turin and Moscow, including Tate Modern, the Agnelli Museum, Selfridges and Garage Center of Contemporary Culture. Some of the art was just plain weird, but interesting. It was a mix of paintings and sculptures and collages – all sorts. Even this bizarre video called Doll Land about this guy who made loads of dolls creating a whole land of them! Photos were forbidden on pain of death or a fine of €1000 but I managed to sneak a couple when no one was around!

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Le Quartier Chinois

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Today we decided to have a wonder around my district (the 13th, also known as Le Quartier Chinois) along Avenue de Choisy. There were certainly a lot of chinese people there and Adam spotted a few accidental chinese hipsters! We’d found what was recommended to be one of the most popular chinese restaurants in the area called Tricotin. It didn’t look like much from the outside, but was packed – always a good sign!

We went in and were shown to a table. They obviously do a very quick turn around here as my seat was still warm! To start I had these fried dumplings like gyoza with some kind of meat inside, it may have been pork which were tasty with some ginger and soy sauce. A lot of people were having dumplings which looked good too! Then I had a beef and pak choi noodles dish which was quite nice, and was a very generous portion I couldn’t manage it all. Unfortunately Adams duck wasn’t so good as it was quite fatty, but the general ambience of the restaurant was nice and plenty of people coming and going. We then had a look around a supermarket on the walk back, and there was SO much chinese food, and loads of really exotic fruit. They even had those Durian fruit which stank!

★★

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Collection Howard Greenberg et le cimetière de Montparnasse

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IMG_0152 IMG_0154Today I went to Montparnasse armed with my new camera. I decided to check out a recommended exhbition from TimeOut. The Howard Greenberg Collection at the Henri Certier-Bresson Fondation. The exhibition was a selection from his personal collection of photographs including the very famous Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, by Ebbets, 1932. I found the building along a rather unassuming street but inside it was ulta-modern – white-washed walls and black and white photographs in white mounts and wooden frames. There were some beautiful photos of varying subjects but mostly portraits. I took quite a few photos in the first room, but obviously was a bit snap happy as a man came and told me off (obviously having seen me taking photos on the security camera!) I liked the quotes painted on the walls amongst the photos. This one beneath was my favourite. 
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IMG_0165I then left and on my way back to the metro stumbled past the Cimetière de Montparnasse, so decided to take a look. I’d never been to a cemetery alone before, and especially one of this size and on a cold wintery afternoon. Safe to say I was a bit spooked as it was deserted, but also in awe of its sheer size, it was enormous! The graves were mostly fairly old, but I saw one covered in flowers and it was dated 2013. Since it was very cold, I had a quick look around and went back to my cosy flat! 

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La cuisine Français et Lebanese

I have been back in Paris for just over a week now since Christmas. Just as weird as suddenly returning to England after so long was returning to Paris after the long break. All is the same as ever in Paris. The first week back at school was okay and not too challenging. I can’t say I’ve done all that much since being back, just settling in and catching up with friends.

On tuesday night I went to a restaurant with the boys near the Eiffel Tower (in the 7th). It was called Café Constant at 139 Rue Saint-Dominique 75007 Paris. There was a 30 minute wait as anticipated by the reviews online about its popularity and so we walked around the surrounding area a little. Soon we were sat down in the upstairs part which had a contemporary design but a cosy feel. I shared a prawn tart for starters which was actually very tasty (I like prawns now!) And for main I chose the beef with homemade mash. The meat was lovely and tender and the mash very creamy! The prices were reasonable at €11 for a starter and €16 for a main. I couldnt handle dessert but the profiteroles looked really good!! http://www.maisonconstant.com/cafe-constant/ It is owned by a well-known french chef, Christian Constant who also owns a michelin star restaurant on the same road.  They had these little postcards for the restaurant and on them this lovely little message:

“Ici nous faisons la cuisine de brasserie traditionnelle, inspirée des recettes de grandmère. C’est un lieu où l’on peut venir prendre un café et un croissant le matin, un déjeuner en toute simplicité, un verre à n’importe quel moment de la journée. En un mot un vrai bistrot parisien”

– Christian Constant et Eduardo Jacinto

★★★★

On saturday, after a shopping trip with Léa, we met up with Claudia and some of her friends from Bristol university who are all studying/working in Paris. We went to a Lebanese restaurant near Grands Boulevards called Cedrus at 17 Boulevard Montmartre  75002 Paris. It looked a bit deserted at first, but we were quite a large group. The restaurant wasn’t up to much but you could tell it was authentic lebanese. For starters we had humus and falafel, both of which were delicious, the latter crisp on the outside and great taste and texture on the inside. I chose some kind of chicken kofta with humus and taboulé (which I am told was the real taboulé with hardly any couscous in at all. He overheard me explaining it to Léa and corrected me!) The portions were huge, so much so I dont think anyone finished but the food was very nice. No room for dessert! They managed to get 30% discount (after booking the table through lafourchette online which made it a good value, tasty, and authentic meal

★★★.

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Back to England tomorrow for Mum’s birthday tomorrow and then the annual Youth Hostel at the weekend!