lundi 28 juillet 2008

Weekend at Paris Plage, Strasbourg and Baden Baden

I decided to give myself a long weekend and take a day off from not doing much. So Friday I went to Paris Plage, now in its eighth year. Paris Plage is a two-mile long man-made beach on the banks of the Seine (this year it has been extended to other parts of Paris, but I just went to the one on the Seine) created by trucking in 1,800 tons of sand and almost 300 umbrellas. According to the city’s website, the sand used is no ordinary sand, and represents the perfect compromise of grading and comfort for visitors’ feet. (I am not making this up).

If lounging around soaking up sun on the banks of the Seine is not to your liking, there’s plenty of other things to do, like:

- taking a dip in the pool or cooling off in the “showers”

- playing petanque

- dancing

- and even practicing your fencing skills

There’s also concerts and a few cafes, but alas, I have no good pictures to share with you.

On Saturday we took the TGV to Strasbourg to visit some friends and their adorable baby. We had window seats and were able to enjoy the beautiful French countryside on our way, replete with rolling pastures, cute cows, and soft sheep (they looked soft at any rate!)

We spent the day touring the old part of the city, including the cathedral. The area has such strong Germanic influences that it is easy to forget you are in France. I took this opportunity to enjoy some wines, like gewurztraminer and riesling, that are not as widely available here. Our friends prepared a lovely dinner, which we enjoyed while sampling some local wines and chatting on the balcony (I do hope the nice dinner and the elaborate brunch our friends prepared has not spoiled my husband!).

Feeling very international, on Sunday we took a little road trip to nearby Baden Baden in Germany. We could tell we were in Germany not just because the town is in the middle of the Black Forest, but because our friend accidentally left his camera bag (which had his wallet) on a ledge, and it was still there when he went back to look for it 20 minutes later. I cannot imagine it would have still been there in Paris.

Diego and I used this trip to Baden Baden to buy rich coffee that smells almost like a dark 70% chocolate and enjoy a final ice cream before returning home.

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