A Travellerspoint blog

Paris Markets

Marche Saxe Breteuil

I love Paris. I also love food, food markets, indoor and outdoor markets of all kinds. In my younger days, one of my favorite shopping experiences was going to the Englishtown Auction in New Jersey in the early hours of a Saturday morning and wandering. There were rows and rows of outdoor tables to see first, then it was on to the indoor buildings to warm up and find coffee. Outdoors, the best stands and finds were the independents. You literally never knew what you would find. I once found a copper sculpture of a Paris cafe for $3 which I still own. I refined my haggling skills here. Indoors, the Amish had a booth every week where you could buy fresh and amazing cheeses. As the years went by, Englishtown became more of an indoor mall with no true bargains and the outdoor tables were more commercialized with vendors who sold socks, jeans, and other outlet-type goods.

After the old Englishtown Auction, my all-time favorite market is La Boqueria in Barcelona. That is in a class by itself and sets the bar for all markets everywhere.

Since this is my second long stay in Paris, I have decided to visit as many markets as I can in no particular order. On a Spring trip to Provence a few years ago, I went to as many of the Provencial markets as I could. I loved them all. There were flower markets, flea markets, and food markets galore. Many of my favorites were in Aix-en-Provence. So Paris markets are going to have to be something special to meet my standards.

My first Paris market trip was to the Marche Saxe Breteuil which is open on Thursdays and Saturdays. I had read that it was part food, part flea market and is known in particular for kitchenware and linens. Although I found pots and pans and a variety of clothes, the ubiquitous scarves, and an abundance of fruits and vegies there were only a handful of other food vendors and no linens at all. There were a couple of poultry vendors and I opted for a cooked, rotisserie chicken. I also bought cheeses, olives, and my mandatory baguette. All in all, the produce was the highlight of this medium-size market. I discovered an heirloom tomato called coeur de boeuf . The tomatoes and the olives were the best products here. The French pumpkins were pretty and shaped differently than those I am used to.
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Posted by teethetrav 01:29 Archived in France Tagged provence la_boqueria marche_saxe_breteuil englishtown_auction_nj aix_en_provence french_markets Comments (0)

Bermuda Cruise

Norwegian Breakaway

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This cruise was unusual for a few reasons. First, we were skirting along avoiding the huge Hurricane Joaquin. The sea was rough and the ship rocked, even though it is as big as a small city. It defies logic that something that big can actually float. We cruised along for a few days and then the next unusual event occurred. The Captain came over the loudspeaker and announced we had to veer off course during the night. We had backtracked and were off the coast of South Carolina. There was a medical emergency on board and someone had to be media-vaced off the ship. Sure enough, a short while later, a Coast Guard boat circled around us in the water and a helicopter hovered over head. Someone was lowered onto the deck. More announcements warned us against photography OF ANY KIND. No wonder. I'm sure they don't want this sort of stuff to be publicized. After the poor soul was lifted onto the helicopter, the engines started and we were off. Our arrival in Bermuda was set for afternoon and had been delayed by our unscheduled stop.
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lobster

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Drowning my sorrows in lobster and tiramisu, it was consoling to notice that the air had turned balmy and humid. Hanging on our balcony, I looked forward to three days in Bermuda. That was the other unusual feature of this cruise. Instead of hopping off and on in various ports, we got to stay in the harbor in Bermuda for three days enjoying the Island's gorgeous beaches, such as Elbow Beach, and Horseshoe Bay, as well as the town of Hamilton.90_Hamilton.jpgElbowBeach1.jpgswimmer.jpg By the time we arrived, the Hurricane was a vague memory and Bermuda had been spared.
There are shows on board to enjoy, a bit of gambling, endless meals and a few cocktails. All in all, in spite of a shaky start and Hurricane Joaquin, I loved my first cruise. I might even be persuaded to do another. Someday.

Posted by teethetrav 05:20 Archived in Bermuda Tagged cruising bermuda hamilton horseshoe_bay breakaway elbow_beach norwegian_cruise Comments (0)

Cruising to Bermuda

Norwegian Breakaway

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I am no longer a virgin. I've taken my first cruise. And survived Hurricane Joaquin and the Bermuda triangle, although on Day 2 that was not something I was taking for granted. Days roll by on a ship, I discovered. Time is unimportant and news revolves solely around where you are eating your next meal. But I digress. Day 1 we boarded in New York City as Hurricane Joaquin was just in front of the east coast. It was heading directly for Bermuda and so were we. By afternoon, our sailing had been delayed until 2 a.m. of Day 2. Since I was fearful of seasickness and the ship was tightly anchored in port next the Intrepid, I felt solid and safe. Almost as if we were on land. That night we had dinner and saw Cirque de Soleil which was truly amazing. Then we went to bed for a few hours and set our clocks to see the ship leave NY harbor.
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The New York skyline is one of my favorite views anywhere and to see it lit at night from the water is one of the most amazing sights I think I'll ever see.
Watching the skyline disappear, the bridges twinkling like diamond necklaces, and seeing the Statue of Liberty is an experience I rank up there with my favorite travel moments. I've lived in or near New York all my life and my ancestors sailed into the same harbor. Leaving NYC by ship make me think about all they had gone through to get to the US.

Later that morning, we were rocking and rolling. The sea was rough and none of us were doing well. Most of the people on board were not doing well. My accoutrements (wrist bands, patch, ginger candies) were not helping. I resort to drugs and by evening, it was all good.

Posted by teethetrav 03:21 Archived in USA Tagged nyc intrepid statue_of_liberty cruising bermuda norwegian_breakaway Comments (0)

Airbnb A Cautionary Tale

Do NOT Rent from Laurence in Paris

I don't do reviews on this site normally, but this is a cautionary tale of a negative experience I had with Airbnb and a specific host. I want to be clear. I know there are thousands of good hosts out there, but my experience with a specific host named Laurence and the policy of Airbnb made me want to share my experience so others can move with care . Although other than using a different site I don't know what I could have done differently. Here's what happened:

I am going to Paris for two months beginning in October. I began looking for an apartment LAST MAY and found a few that I queried. Eventually I had a contract (Non-binding as I now know) with a certain Laurence for an apartment in St. Germaine. I had to pay a full month's rent of several thousand dollars at the time of booking with the rest due one month before arrival. The point being, Laurence and Airbnb had my money for over four months. With less than THREE weeks left before my trip, Laurence wrote me that she needed her apartment and was canceling. She was very jaunty and wished me luck finding another place.

I immediately contacted Airbnb and although they were pleasant enough to deal with, there was no recourse available to me other than my refund. So much for a contractual obligation. Lesson learned folks.

Laurence wrote me and told me she was sorry for my "distressing situation." Sorry, Laurence. A distressing situation is sitting in traffic. This is unethical and should be illegal. To have thousands of dollars of mine for months and cancel at the last minute when I planned carefully is not acceptable. But Airbnb has no teeth to enforce agreements. They haven't even kicked her off the site! So that is what you should know before booking. The Airbnb rep that I dealt with was very upset and helpful. She arranged for me to get a credit towards the fees. But the policy itself is flawed. An agreement with a host, even if you have paid, is non-binding and people shoud know that.

Me? Anyone know of an apartment in Paris??? I leave October 15 and will stay until December 15. I may be sleeping near a bridge overlooking the Seine.

If anyone has had a similar experience, please comment on this blog. Or if you know of a great apartment!!!!

Posted by teethetrav 12:54 Archived in France Tagged paris airbnb_caution do_not_rent_from_laurence Comments (3)

Las Vegas

Best and the Worst of the USA

I travel a fair amount, mostly in Europe. I am somewhat embarrassed to say I've probably seen more European cities than popular American ones. I'm not anti-American; After all I was born in NYC and it is still my favorite city in the world. Although Paris is a very close second.

In spite of all my travels, I have managed to avoid Las Vegas until now. My brother is (finally) getting married to his longtime love and they live (you guessed it) in Las Vegas. Not his choice. The short version is that moving to Vegas was the only way he got her to finally commit. But that's a story for another day and another blog.
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I have never had a desire to go to Vegas. I don't gamble, I hate loud places, I'm a beach girl not a desert girl, I have issues with half-naked girls being paraded around serving drinks and so on and so on. I expect you're thinking at this point I'm going to confess I was wrong and I love Vegas. I don't. I'm glad I came, happy to have been there, done that, but it is everything I expected and worse.
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Maybe once it was glamorous and cool. But the days of Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank, Dean, and the rat pack are long gone. Maybe I would have liked it then. I can picture myself in a white Corvette Sting Ray, cruising the strip, cigarette in hand, sunglasses on top of my head, heading to one of Frank's late night shows. Unfortunately, we have arrived-- thanks to my brother and his wedding --on the busiest weekend Vegas has seen in years. I Heart Radio Concert is here along with Ryan Seacrest, Kanye, Jay-lo, and at least twenty-five other current musical sensations of today. Not only is the concert here, there is a Mr. Universe event and a two day gay Pride parade. Even Jerry Seinfeld is here. All of them, and me. The cafe-loving, no traffic-loving traveller whose idea of a good time is sitting on the steps of a Duomo in a tiny town in Italy and watching the world go by. Or hanging with the Rat Pack.

My brother waited all these years to marry the love of his life. I'm thrilled for him.. Did he have to do it in this most consumer-oriented, commercial, misogynistic city on the busiest weekend ever?

Posted by teethetrav 07:36 Archived in USA Tagged las_vegas nevada corvette the_rat_pack i_heart_radio gay_pride_parade sammy_davis frank_sinatra jerry_seinfeld Comments (0)

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