Today we set off to discover the Marché des Enfants Rouges or Market of Red Children in the Marais. Being a national historical monument and the oldest market in Paris as well as off the tourist beaten path it seemed worthy of a visit. We weren't disappointed. Apart from the fact that it's August and not every stall was open we still browsed the photography store where I picked up some vintage postcards of Versailles; bought a baguette and fresh produce and dawdled over coffee.
The strange name of this market is well explained here. "Marguerite de Navarre, sister of King François the 1st and mother of King Henri the 4th (who was the one to end the religious wars that had been bloodying France), was a very well educated, politically engaged and charitable member of the royal family. In 1534 she had an orphanage constructed in what is now the Marais whose little pensioners were dressed in red as a symbol of their status. The orphanage was closed in the beginning of the 17th century and in 1615 was transformed into a market dubbed the Marché des Enfants Rouges (market of red children) to commemorate the charitable establishment that had occupied the site for almost a century."
A few hours later we were drenched. And I mean drenched. Our search for a specific art supply store was fruitless and the umbrella proved flimsy and inadequate. It would have been far more sensible to take cover until it was over but 'non' we pressed on! The weather in August is changeable - apparently the hottest but also wettest month in Paris. Up until this date it's been a light drizzle now and again - no serious rain. But enough about the weather.
Far more interesting I believe, is the latest task I've set for myself. Along the lines of the Julie & Julia Project I've purchased a copy of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". (We found an English bookstore near the Tulleries and I blew my entire daily budget on books.)
I like to cook, I like to bake and quite unfortunatly for the waistline I like to eat the results. So it should naturally follow that while in Paris I should attempt some French cooking. The catch is that I'm severely limited in this endeavor by an teeny-tiny, extremely basic kitchen - with no oven. That rules out a vast number of recipes in the aforementioned cookbook. Nevertheless my aim is to attempt a dinner menu composed from it and I'll document the results should they be blog-worthy. Or perhaps even if they are not.
Our bumper day was rounded off nicely with a visit to 'Angelina'. It was simply impossible to pass by this century old tea shop on Rue du Rivoli. Apparently once frequented by Proust, Coco Chanel and other famous names it was definitely worth the stop.
Another full day. Now what to do this evening?