Monday, May 25, 2015

Saturday Afternoon at Josephine Bonaparte's

Rich Parisians have always had week-end "country" getaway homes. Josephine Bonaparte's Chateau de Malmaison only about 30 minutes by RER and bus from Paris and well worth the trip and the modest 8.50 Euros ($10 USD) entry with free audio guide. The use of the house as the French government headquarters from 1800-1802, and Josephine's love of flowers and her feminine touches are evident in both the gardens and the interior.

The front gate entry.
The front garden is full of flowers and roses.

A walking path from the front of the house to the front gate.
One side of the front garden includes a small vegetable patch.
The back yard is more natural with intentionally unmowed grass for animals.
The back entrance is as stately as the front
with Egyptian style decor.
Inside the foyer.

Even the doors are decorated
 as well as the ceilings.
Her husband Napoleon had a few mementos on display like his grooming set,
a few swords,
and of course his hat.
The billard room showed she enjoyed games,
 entertaining guests,
 playing music,
 and dining.

 The library,

 Josephine's salon,
 and receiving rooms,
 showed details like swan chairs.
 Josephine's bedchamber was like a sumptuous tent,
with incredible details like a sky painted ceiling

 and flower painting on every panel of the wall.
This was her jewelry box which held all the diamonds, emeralds, and rubies she owned:)
A small country home only about 12 miles from Paris :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Les Halles de Versailles Part 2

I went back to the marché in Versailles on Sunday when the center square was filled with food vendors instead of clothing vendors. A big difference, even at 11am, was there were many more people,
and many more vendors.
Honey from all over the EU & from Lavender honey from Provence for 20 Euros ($22 USD) a Kilo (2.2LBS).
Strawberries are in season and as delicious as they look.
 All the ingredients for a ratatouille.
 As much asparagus as you can eat in both white and green.
 Herbs galore for about 1 Euro a bunch ($1.15USD).
and spices from all over the world.
 If you don't want to cook your Sunday meal, chickens are available roasted with potatoes.
 Only two blocks from the Chateau de Versailles, Les Halles de Versailles is a much more local experience than the busloads of tourists at the gates (which you can see the the end of the street).

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Les Halles de Versailles

Nearly everyone who comes to Paris goes to Versailles, but unless you live here (or nearby) Les Halles, or the markets of Versailles, just a few blocks from the Chateau, are a hidden treasure. First I went to see the organic (bio) markets by the church St. Louis, but the market was tiny, with literally less than ten stands in front of the church.
Les Halles the big market, is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 7am- 7:30pm and on Sunday from 7am-2pm, the covered square and open center square attract locals more than tourists. With easy parking underneath the square, many bus stops within a block or two, and an easy walk four blocks from the chateau, make this a worthwhile stop if you are going to Versailles.
The permanent stands are all in the covered buildings surrounding the open area and feature several cheese shops,
vegetable and fruits vendors,
all kinds of poultry, raw and cooked,
seafood and fish stands,
prepared foods if you don't want to cook,
prepared skewers for your BBQ,
prepared roasts for your oven,
and mountains of shellfish.
If you want dessert, there is of course sweets and patisseries galore.

All around the outside of the covered stands are cute cafés with outdoor terraces if you want to be served your meal and just window shop the vendors :)