Monday, December 29, 2014


We woke to blue skies this morning, what beautiful sight!  It's still cold, but at least it's not raining.

Our plan for the day was to visit the Musee des Arts Forain in Bercy in the southeast outskirts of Paris. The Arts Forain is a private museum housing Jean-Paul Favand's collection of circus, carnival and fair objects dating from the mid 1800 to the mid 1900's.  It's usually open by reservation and private tour only, but for the week after Christmas it's open to the public.  

We purposely waited until a weekday, thinking it wouldn't be quite so crowded.  It really wasn't too bad, we only waited in line for about half an hour.   It was great fun, and well worth the wait.

The Metro'd to the Cour de St. Emilion stop. After walking through the  Bercy Village entrance we stopped to check our trusty map to make sure we were walking the right direction.  A very nice young French woman asked if we needed directions. As usual, we are finding the "locals" to be very friendly and helpful.  She walked with us across the street and showed us the way to go.  We looked up and spotted a sign with arrows pointing the way--duuuhhhh.  We are so seriously directionally impaired sometimes!

The museum (and nearby shopping area) are housed in the old wine cellars and warehouse used by regional wine producers in the late 1800's until the 1900's.  
The entrance and courtyard area were nicely decorated for Christmas:

While we were waiting in line to buy our tickets (12E each) this fun young "Santa's helper/elf" stood next to me and started a fun conversation in a silly, squeaky elf-like voice.  He asked where we were from, and when I said Alaska--he squealed with delight and called over his friend Rudolph.  He excitedly explained to Rudolph that we were from the North Pole--it was silly and fun!  I asked if I could take his picture--of course he agreed, but only if he was in it!

While we were standing in line I spotted this huge old fortune teller's hand.   I am pretty sure it was meant to come home with me and join my collection of "hands", but David refused to steal it for me--darn!

Finally, we had our tickets and joined the big crowds inside.  It was crazy crowded, mostly families with kids in tow--and they were all having a great time.

Many of the attractions and games were operating today, and for a small token, visitors could play a game or ride one of the rides.  According to their website, there are 14 amusement rides, 16 original fair stalls, and countless other vintage works and attractions.  I think we saw them all!

There were old time carnival games to play---

A rifle shooting game, complete with funny targets.  Wish this one would have been open--I'd have taken a turn for sure.  They call me "Dead Eye Di", you know!

A silly Parisian waiter race--lots of cheering going on here:

A bean bag toss game--I like their funny painted faces:

There was a display of pretty painted tambourines, this fair stall was beautifully painted and detailed:

Everywhere we looked, from floor to ceiling, there were fanciful circus animals and fair figures and "props"

These looked like a fore-runner to our modern "foos-ball"

This was my favorite ride--an old time bicycle race.  One could spend a token and take a spin--but I couldn't talk David into it.  We were very surprised at how fast it turned--they were really whizzing right around that track:

All this fun and games made us feel like kids again--here we are, letting our (not so) inner children out to play:

We walked out to the courtyard area, where we found vin chaud and onion soup cooking in big cauldrons over an open fire.

Wish I could take this chestnut roaster home--it's so cute:

Next to the courtyard we found two kiddie-go-rounds.  They were adorable--I especially liked this cute little airplane:

There was another kiddie ride, this one with different animals and vehicles:

I didn't see this little boy crack a smile, I think he was pretty serious about driving his fire truck.  Maybe he wants to be a pompier when he grows up!

And here we are again---I think David is getting a little fresh with me!

After all that delightful fun, we took a quick walk thru Bercy Village.  These small warehouses were used in the late 1800's by regional wine producers to store their barrels of wine awaiting distribution.   You can still see the rail tracks down the middle:

Bercy Village now houses several bars and restaurants.  There are just a few retail stores now, in fact I think there are fewer now than our last visit in 2009.   It's a lovely space and concept--just doesn't seem to have been very successful.

This store was pretty busy though--cookies and candy:

We might have popped in for a sample or two……….

Earlier in the day we had planned on a "sunny day" visit to St. Chapelle this afternoon.  We've been there twice before but haven't seen the stained glass windows in all of their glory.  On our first visit the rose window was covered for restoration, and our second visit a few years later it was a cloudy day.  I really want to see those beautiful windows with the sun streaming in.

But it wasn't mean to be--while we were enjoying the Musee des Arts Forain the clouds rolled in.  Oh, well--next visit maybe!

Plan B was to roam around the Marais area.  It's one of my favorite areas of Paris.  I love the narrow streets and the ancient buildings.  There's some pretty good window shopping, too!

After popping up from the St Paul Metro we walked a few blocks looking for a nice place for lunch.  We had a yummy meal at a small cafe a few blocks away.  Our food was delicious--but ridiculously expensive with an appetizer (escargots) and wine.  We did enjoy every bite, though.

David's Blanquette de Veau (Veal stew):

My Boeuf Borguignon, the sauce had a deep, rich flavor and the beef was very tender.

After lunch we wandered the narrow streets of the Marais.  Here's the line for falafals at L' Aus du Falafel  They're good--but not that good!

We did some pretty serious window shopping and this was the best shop!  It was a great chocolate shop--and these shoes in the window are all made of chocolate.  I especially liked the chocolate "iPad"-I could imagine some disappointed faces on Christmas morning if one was expecting a real iPad!

By now we'd walked for many blocks and had managed to get thoroughly lost.  We were also very cold, so we stopped in a corner cafe to warm up.  We enjoyed a vin chaud, and asked for directions to the nearest Metro.  Thankfully, it wasn't too far, and soon we were back home in our warm and lovely apartment.

We're in for the evening.  Just the two of us--relaxing, enjoying a glass of wine and some soft music.  No dinner for us tonight--we're still full from our delicious lunch!

And---here's today's street art for Pat E:

Good night from Paris---sadly, I can only say that for two more days ;{

Tomorrow in Paris:  A visit to Chateau Vincennes is on the agenda


  1. More great street art. I love the three faces. This whole day was awesome. The circus area was so fun to see. Makes me want to hitch up my gypsywagon and head to Europe. Yummy looking dinners, too. Have fun you two. Miss you lots. I'll have lots of stories on your return. Hugs!

  2. Oh yea..... love that chocolate hiking boot too! ��