Activities

Potager (Kitchen Garden)

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Community Potager Garden
Providing Food Aesthetically Joyful

Community Garden

Community Garden Opportunity in Uptown Chicago:

if you always wanted to have your own tomato plant, but had no place to put it . . .

if you are plagued by rabbits and dream of a garden way up in the air, away from varmints, with direct sun and a garden hose . . .

if you are looking for a volunteer project which will benefit a local soup kitchen . . .

if you want to become involved in the design, the planning and planting of this plot at it’s very inception

if you have big ideas, creativity and a “vision”

if you are a teacher, a hard worker or have botanical knowledge to share

if you have some extra seeds or want to buy us some seeds

if you want to plant flowers and design the perfect combination of textures, colors, heights . . .

if you want to spend time in the sun, get dirty and eat produce directly from the garden

if you don’t know what a “Potager” is . . .
(it’s an ornamental kitchen (or vegetable) garden
think flavors and color, edible flowers,
herbs and vegetables

Then you should tell us that you are interested and

Join our Meet-Up Group or Mail Chimp List
Give us a Call
Send us an email
or Just leave contact information

You will receive an update before the end of the month

Maybe we will see you this summer

List of Plants

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2016 Paris Itinerary

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Contact Us

2016 Intinerary

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Here is an draft of the Paris Itinerary
What follows is simply a suggestion

Friday, December 23rd 2016
Depart for Paris
Depending on your flight, you might leave late morning or afternoon
We prefer to arrive in Paris on Christmas Eve, in the early morning

Saturday, December 24th (Christmas Eve)
Arrive in Paris (CDG)
Conduct Airport Business (Museum Pass, Postage Stamps, Metro Tickets)
Buy an RER ticket into Paris and a stack of 10 Metro Tickets “a Carnet” for travel through Paris
Be Careful: It’s Jet-Lag-Day – your nerves with be frayed and your patience has been spent,
it’s time to engage your “sangfroid
Check-in to Montmartre Hotel
Don’t take a Nap. Take a hot bath and change clothes
Discover Montmartre, the Artists District
Shop for Groceries and Supplies in some stores which will be closed on Christmas Day
Purchase Advance Tickets for a Christmas Day Movie
Our best way to adjust your body-clock to Paris time is to go to bed early and get up and get out of bed early the next morning.

Sunday, December 25th (Christmas)
A Sunrise Church Service at Notre Dame is a good plan
Afterwards, the narrow streets of the Latin Quarter are uncharacteristically desolate, so are the iconic (overpriced and touristy) cafes which we have yet to visit
Last year we visited Au Pied de Cochon after mass for a great bowl of onion soup, served on white table cloth
It’s an easy walk over to Centre Pompidou, which is open of Christmas morning
Then it’s back to Montmartre and up to Sacre Couer
A great and storied area to explore along with the Montmartre Cemetery
Sometimes there is a first run movie worth seeing, Christmas Evening

Monday, December 26th
Moving Day (from Montmartre to Bercy)
Up and Out, Early and in-line when the Museums Open
Le Louvre
Back to Montmartre for Check-out
Travel over to Bercy
Check-in to Hotel
Interesting area with local grocery, parks
Bercy provides a great Velib bike opportunity
Despite our tendancy to get lost in Paris (which is not always a bad thing) the ride into Paris along the Seine is a no-brainer

Tuesday, December 27th
Weather permitting bike into Paris along the Seine for an early church service, perhaps the best time to visit a Paris church
Musee D’Orsay is the only major museum open on Tuesdays
Get in line early after visiting Eric Kaiser for a Pain au chocolat or Pain aux raisins and our daily Baguette aux céréales
Then bike to L’Orangerie, Centre Pompidou or the Pantheon.
Maybe enjoy a Flaffel or Soup

Wednesday, December 28th
Moving Day (From Bercy to Versailles)
Up and Out Early (maybe bike)and in-line when the Museums Open
Le Louvre
Back to Hotel for Check-out
Travel to Versailles on RER train
Check-in to Versailles Hotel
Tour the Chateau (if the line is manageable)
Otherwise tour the grounds and outlying buildings
There are a variety of bakeries and groceries in historic Versailles, we avoid the other touristy side of town

Thursday, December 29th
Up and Out Early into Paris and In-Line when Le Louvre Opens
Back to Versailles on RER
Tour the Chateau or the Grounds of Versailles

Friday, December 30th
Moving Day (from Versailles to La Defense)
This is a day to enjoy the morning, sleep-in, jog the grounds of Versailles and buy something for breakfast at the outdoor Marché
The hotel has an excellent breakfast, it’s one of the few Paris Hotel Breakfasts worth paying for
Check-out of Versailles
Ride RER into Paris
Check-in to La Defense
(The room will probably not be ready)
Climb up into Arc de Triomphe or Visit the Opera House
Lunch: It’s a weekday in Paris, you might find someplace for lunch
Grocery Shopping downtown (we haven’t found any grocery stores in La Defense)
Evening Meal at Chartier or a concert

Saturday, December 31st (New Years Eve)
Final Day in Paris
It’s guaranteed to be a wacked-out crowded, crazy day in Paris
Up and Out Early and in-line when the Museums Open
Le Louvre
OR maybe we join a Paris Meetup Group (Run Paris) for their Saturday morning run
Then Tie Up Loose Ends
Do some final shopping
Finish your correspondence and write Postcards
(Best Selection of Postcards on ground floor of le Louvre and a post office to buy French stamps)
Buy some groceries and New Years Eve goodies, maybe some Champagne
Relax and enjoy your last afternoon in Paris
The last two (3) years we purchased theater tickets, but it is not the best night to be out in the Metro returning to our hotel at 11p while people rush through the subway on the way to midnight celebrations. So celebrate early and visit churches and theaters the night before (you can be practical in Paris or you can succumb to the tourist experience)
There have been no fireworks in Paris on New Years Eve for several years
Last year there was an impressive light-show at the Arc de Triomphe
Although we are seldom up for midnight, La Defense has an spectacular plaza overlooking the City Lights of Paris

Sunday, January 1st 2017 (New Years Day)
Up Early and Out for a Jog, with several paths about La Defense
Mail your postcards (or leave them at the Front Desk – to amuse the staff)
Check-out then ride Metro into Paris and RER train to Airport
(All trains are free from late New Years Eve through New Years Day)
Departure from Paris (CDG)

* A good traveler has no fixed plan and is not intent upon arriving” – Lao Tzu

Les Quatre Hôtels provides further information on the Four Hotels where we stay

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L'Arc

Let’s Cook a Duck

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That is cruel and nasty. Humans r supposed to b veg/vegan, and eating animals is wrong and unhealthy.
Leave the poor ducks alone u evil carnivore
-Matt Hancock

Duck

The next Cook a Duck is scheduled for
Saturday, January 16th
Join us through MeetUp

Duck Confit:
A Traditional Method of Preserving Duck for the Winter, involving salt and fat
It is flavored, slow cooked than finished under the broiler to crisp the skin
Confit is similar to Confiture where the moisture is cooked out of fruit for preserves, and denatured perhaps by adding sugar so that it can be stored.
Pieces of Duck are sprinkled with salt, herbs and garlic, to both flavor and extract moisture – sitting overnight in refrigerator.
Then rinse or wipe-off salt and submerge in duck fat to slow-cook, sometimes we have used lard
Now-a-days we serve the duck almost immediately, but it can be stored for extended periods submerged in a cask of solidified fat

Duck Paillard:
We frequently cook Chicken Paillard as a means of preparing chicken breasts to avoid them drying-out during cooking. They are pounded thin to cook fast and can be stored in oil and herbs.
By the time a fat chicken breast is cooked-through-the-center it can be dry and tough on the outside. So we pound a duck breast (which may be sacrilegious) We grill it skin (and fat) side down (medium rare) after at least an overnight in herbs and oil
(NO SALT until immediately before cooking)

Duck Stock:
Use all the remaining Parts of the Duck
Roast the Bones for Stock
Reserve the Fat for Confit or maybe cooking Potatoes
Create Stock, Gravy, Jus or Demiglace

Schedule

Day #1
Butcher the Goose
Roast the remaining Carcass to color and render fat
Salt and Season the Legs and Thighs overnight
Pound and Flavor Breasts and Store in oil

Day #2
Confit the Legs and Thighs in Fat
Create and Reduce Stock (and sauce)of Roasted Bones

Serve
Grill or Saute Paillard
Crisp Skin on Confit
Sauce on Side

 

2015 Paris Itinerary

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2015 Paris Itinerary

Posted on Updated on

Here is an draft of the Paris Itinerary
What follows is simply a suggestion

Wednesday, December 23rd 2015
Depart for Paris
Depending on your flight, you might leave late morning or afternoon
We prefer to arrive in Paris Christmas Eve, in the early morning

Thursday, December 24th (Christmas Eve)
Arrive in Paris (CDG)
Conduct Airport Business (Museum Pass, Postage Stamps, Metro Tickets)
Avoid the long line at the CDG Train Station 2 (Aérogare2)
Use the ticket machine, if you have a European-style Credit Card with a “Chip”
(Otherwise you need to stand in the long line for customer service)
Buy an RER ticket into Paris and a stack of 10 Metro Tickets “a Carnet” for travel through Paris
Be Careful: It’s Jet-Lag-Day – your nerves with be frayed and your patience has been spent,
it’s time to engage your “sangfroid
Check-in to Montmartre Hotel
Don’t take a Nap. Take a hot bath and change clothes
Discover Montmartre, the Artists District
Shop for Groceries and Supplies in some stores which will be closed on Christmas Day
Purchase Advance Ticket for a Christmas Day Movie
Our best way to adjust your body-clock to Paris time is to go to bed early and get up and get out of bed early the next morning.

Friday, December 25th (Christmas)
A Sunrise Church Service at Notre Dame is a good plan
(we missed it the last two years, and slept-in)
If your alarm is set and you stand-up, you’ll always remember Christmas morning at Notre Dame
Afterwards, the narrow streets of the Latin Quarter are uncharacteristically desolate, so are the iconic (overpriced and touristy) cafes which we have yet to visit
Then it’s back to Montmartre and up to Sacre Couer
A great and storied area to explore along with the Montmartre Cemetery
Sometimes there is a first run movie worth seeing, Christmas Evening

Saturday, December 26th
Moving Day (from Montmartre to “downtown” Paris)
Up and Out, Early and in-line when the Museums Open
Le Louvre
Or, Run with Let’s Run Paris! (Meet Up Group) Le Cercle Luxembourg
Back to Montmartre for Check-out
Travel downtown into Paris
Check-in to Hotel
And Explore Paris
It’s the weekend, so major museums are mobbed
But Center Pompidou is open late (until 8:00)
Other secondary attractions might be worth a visit:
Such as the Pantheon, Invalides, Pere LaChaise Cemetery or the Promenade Plantée Parkway (Highline)
Cruise-by l’Orangerie on a Velib’ to see if the line is manageable
(admission until 5:15 – closes at 6:00)
And it’s Saturday night in Paris, a great time to throw-away the guide books and just walk

Sunday, December 27th
Walk to an early Sunday morning church service before the Museums Open
Saint Sulpice is a perfect option
Le Louvre
Markets (Marchés), Street Food, Wine Bars and Falafels
Last year we went to Opera Comique – a little expensive but a solid crowd of Parisians (few tourists)
It’s exciting to follow the swarm of patrons for Sunday opera in Paris
Or Church Concerts, with open seating and long-crazy lines of tourists
Saint-Chapelle is a good option, it is very small, so all seats are good

Monday, December 28th
Moving Day (From Paris out to Versailles)
Up and Out Early and in-line when the Museums Open
Le Louvre
Back to Hotel for Check-out
Travel to Versailles on RER train
Check-in to Versailles Hotel
Explore Versailles
Tour the Chateau (if the line is manageable)
Otherwise tour the grounds and outlying buildings

Tuesday, December 29th
Up and Out Early into Paris and In-Line when Musee D’Orsay Opens
(it is the only major museum open today – and very crowded)
Lunch: It’s a weekday in Paris, you might find someplace for lunch
You could travel to Basillica St. Denis afterwards
Back to Versailles on RER
Tour the Chateau or the Grounds of Versailles

Wednesday, December 30th
Moving Day (from Versailles to La Defense)
This is a day to enjoy the morning, sleep-in, jog the grounds of Versailles and buy something for breakfast at the outdoor Marché
The hotel has an excellent breakfast (last year, it is curiously provided for free)
It’s one of the few Paris Hotel Breakfasts worth paying for. Like a breakfast we had at the Ritz (in Chicago)
Check-out of Versailles
Ride RER into Paris
Check-in to La Defense
(The room will probably not be ready)
Climb up into Arc de Triomphe or Visit the Opera House
Lunch: It’s a weekday in Paris, you might find someplace for lunch
Grocery Shopping downtown (we haven’t found any grocery stores in La Defense)
Evening Meal at Chartier

Thursday, December 31st (New Years Eve)
Final Day in Paris
It’s guaranteed to be a wacked-out crowded, crazy day in Paris
Up and Out Early and in-line when the Museums Open
Le Louvre
Tie Up Loose Ends
Do some final shopping
Finish your correspondence and write Postcards
(Best Selection of Postcards on ground floor of le Louvre)
Buy some groceries and New Years Eve goodies, maybe some Champagne
Relax and enjoy your last afternoon in Paris
Cats at Théâtre Mogador on New Years Eve
There have been no fireworks in Paris on New Years Eve
Last year there was an impressive light-show at the Arc de Triomphe
Although we are seldom up for midnight, La Defense has an spectacular plaza overlooking the City Lights of Paris

Friday, January 1st 2016 (New Years Day)
Up Early and Out for a Jog, with several paths about La Defense
Mail your postcards (or leave them at the Front Desk – to amuse the staff)
Check-out then ride Metro into Paris and RER train to Airport
(All trains are free from late New Years Eve through New Years Day)
Departure from Paris (CDG)

* A good traveler has no fixed plan and is not intent upon arriving” – Lao Tzu

Les Quatre Hôtels provides further information on the Four Hotels where we stay

Learn More
Contact Us

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Waiting List

Triomphe

2014 Paris Itinerary

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ARCHIVE (2014)
Pompidou

Diane asks us,
“What Events are Scheduled for December in Paris?”

Here is the latest version of our Paris Itinerary.
This schedule changes
Depending on: whether you purchase a 2 Day, 4 Day or 6 Day Paris Museum Pass
(the passes cover consecutive days) and
Depending on which day you activate your 7 Day Vélib’ (bike share) pass

Tuesday, December 23rd 2014
Depart for Paris
Depending on your flight, you might leave late morning or late afternoon

Wednesday, December 24th
Arrive in Paris
Airport Business: Museum Pass, Metro Tickets, Postage Stamps
Ride RER train into Paris then Metro to Montmartre *
Check-in-to Montmartre Hotel
Take a Bath, Take a Nap
(although authorities are mixed on whether it may actually be better to stay-awake your 1st day)
Discover Montmartre
Shop for Groceries and Supplies in stores which will be closed on Christmas Day
Purchase Advance Tickets for a Christmas Movie
Option #1 Suggested *
Head straight to the hotel, don’t pop your head up into Paris
Option #2 *
Visit Notre Dame Cathedral – 1st Thing

Thursday, December 25th (Christmas)
This could be your best day in France
It’s a wonderful and serene moment to get lost in Paris
Sunrise Church Service: Notre Dame
Coffee and Exploration in the Latin Quarter
Back to Montmartre and up to Sacre Couer
Montmartre Cemetery
Vélib’ Ride
Evening Movie

Friday, December 26th
Moving Day (from Montmartre to Versailles)
Up and Out, Early and in-line when the Museums Open
Louvre
Back to Montmartre for Check-out
Travel to Versailles on RER train
Check-in to Versailles Hotel
Explore City of Versailles (our favorite is the historic business district)
Tour the Palace if the line is manageable
Otherwise tour the Grounds and Outlying Buildings
Option to travel back to Paris for Evening Hours at Louvre

Saturday, December 27th
Up and Out, Early Into Paris and in-line when the Museums Open
It’s the Weekend, so all the more reason to be at the Museum when it opens
Options for Vélib’ rides to Secondary Attractions perhaps
Pantheon, Parcs, Basilica St. Denis, Catacombs and Sewers
Back to Versailles on RER
Tour the Palace or the Grounds of Versailles
Option to Travel back to Paris for Late Hours at Pompidou

Sunday, December 28th
Moving Day (from Versailles to Bagnolet)
This is a day when we enjoy the morning, sleep-in, jog the grounds of Versailles and buy something for breakfast at an outdoor Marché (market)
You have time to tour the Palace, the Grounds and Outlying Buildings
We stay in Versailles until check-out time
Ride RER train back to Paris, then Metro to Bagnolet
Check-in to Bagnolet Hotel
Maybe use the Museum Pass as the weekend wanes
Pere LaChaise is nearby as well, perhap ride the Vélib’
Half of Paris restaurants are closed on Sundays
Opéra Comique Die Fledermaus (Johann Strauss)

Monday, December 29th
Up and Out, Early and in-line when the Museums Open
Louvre
Lunch: Falafel
Pompidou
L’Orangerie
Marais, Vélib’ ride, Picasso Museum
Many Paris Restaurants are also closed on Mondays

Tuesday, December 30th
Moving Day (from Bagnolet to La Defense)
Up and Out, Early and in-line when Musee d’Orsay opens
(it is the only major museum open today)
Back to Bagnolet for Check-out
Check-in to La Defense
(The Room will probably not be ready)
Climb up into the Arc de Triomphe
Visit the Opera House
Grocery Shopping Downtown (there are few grocery stores in La Defense)
Evening Meal at Chartier

Wednesday, December 31st
Final Day in Paris
This has the potential to be a very crowded day in Paris with long lines at some attractions
We are Up and Out, Early and in-line when the Museums Open
Louvre
Tie Up the Loose Ends
Do some final shopping
Finish your correspondence and write your Postcards
(Good selection of postcards on ground floor of Louvre)
Buy some groceries and New Years Eve goodies
Relax and enjoy your last afternoon in Paris
Théâtre Mogador Le Bal Des Vampires (Roman Polanski)
New Years Eve Eiffel Tower Light Show

Thursday, January 1st 2015 (New Years)
Up Early and Out for a Jog through the Plazas of La Defense
Mail your postcards
Check-out then ride Metro into Paris and RER train to Airport
(The Trains are free from late New Years Eve to New Years Day)
Departure from Paris (CDG)
(If your flight connects with a European city before returning to the US of A, you might depart from Paris Orly Airport)

In the spirit of the trip, this itinerary is just a suggestion. Plans change, group events will be added and members can create their own detours. It’s conceivable that you want to go to the Louvre less, you don’t ride bikes and prefer to eat lunch in a restaurant every day.

Last Christmas we landed in Zurich because the Paris airport was closed due to high winds. After an 8 hour bus ride from Switzerland, we arrived in Paris around midnight (about 15 hours later than we expected). That was the first change to our itinerary.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving.” -Lao Tzu

2016 Paris Itinerary

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Tour-Eiffel

Les Tour de Cimetières

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Marceau

Every December, we visit the extraordinary cimetières de Paris, which are as exquisite as any of the parks.

You see occasional tour guides, but we envision creating our own tours, where everyone is encouraged to contribute.

A cemetery presents a maze, and finding a plot can be a challenge in itself. There will be plenty of walking. Each participant selects a gravesite (in advance) then shares their interests and presents either a narrative, a poem, a reading, a story – it’s entirely flexible.

In Chicago, we created a Meet-Up group, initiating Tour de Cimetiere among the various cemeteries. We envision a great Sunday walk, maybe with a French beret or scarf, maybe flowers for the graves. We envision poems and performances, possibly even music and song.

A Zombie or Goth would not be turned away, but we will maintain an aire of respect.
(which is very different from taking anything too seriously)

This may be an opportunity for spirituality, but perhaps just an amble with a cup of coffee.

Graceland Cemetery
Paris Cemeteries

2016 Paris Itinerary

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Gravesite of Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

Exactly what is this trip about?

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monalisacolor3

Kay asks us:
“Exactly what is this trip is about and how much is it going to cost?
It sounds like a once in a lifetime experience, but it also sounds like a hoax”

There is nothing very Exact about our trip to Paris

This excursion is for individuals who could probably plan this trip on their own
Although it will be easier
-with a basic itinerary in place, and
-travel suggestions provided, while
-traveling as a member of a group.

Despite these conveniences, substantial effort is still required on your part to:
Purchase your airline ticket and
Book hotel reservations.

Once these transactions are completed, you’ll have an Exact departure date, an Exact venue for your accommodations, and then . . . everything else seems to fall into place.

It may be frustrating and scary to some, because no Exact price is attached to this trip. Some might prefer to write a check for an all-expense-paid trip which includes ground transportation, meals, museum tours, taxes and gratuities, etc.

If you make the trip to Paris for the Holidays, it is ultimately up to you to determine your budget, investigate airline tickets and shop for hotels reservations

This is not a Tour, so much as, an Activity which requires your participation

We will not be giving you a museum tour or shuttling you about Paris
But you can join us on the Metro (or Vélib’) ride to the museum
And hopefully, you will be telling us a story as we stand before a masterpiece at the Louvre
Or you have a tip on a remarkable place to eat

You can follow our schedule, stay at the same hotels and we can check-in together
Or you can do it your way

The aim is to assemble an interactive group, with everyone making contributions, but also free to operate independently.
And then see what happens

But, Nothing Exact

2016 Paris Itinerary

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