Muriel! Welcome to…
Muriel! Welcome to PARIS. And what’s the first thing we do? Food!
Enjoying around Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Also the Pompidou; Deyrolle; Museum of the Army and Napoleon’s Tomb; tours with Alain, Street Art, The Sewer Tour(!); Musees Carnavalet, Picasso; and Rodin; Jardin du Luxembourg
Muriel! Welcome to PARIS. And what’s the first thing we do? Food!
We strolled around the neighborhood, stopping off at the near-by church, Église de Saint Germain des Prés, the oldest standing church in Paris.
This place might contain the tomb of René Descartes – it’s somewhere in this church. I like their modern-art interpretation of the stations of the cross.
I’ve got other pictures of this church from week 1 and 2. I wonder if I should try to combine all this in geographic-coherency…we’ll see.
The Musée national Eugène Delacroix, a block from the house, and just behind me is the Cream Puff Palace where all they make are cream puffs. I will be trying those soon.
We had dinner at the fish place and this waiter was as charming and funny and professional as ever could be. He called the water ‘Chateau-la-pompe’ which I loved.
I wanted to go to the Pompidou today and Muriel was going to look at gardens.
On my way I saw this church and wandered over in that direction to find…
…these lovely ladies.
There was a show going on called ‘Les 3 Jean’ featuring memorabilia from the work of Jeans Delannoy, Marais, and Gabin all very well know in French cinema – two actors and a director.
The woman on your left is the niece of Jean Delannoy and a celebrity herself to these two volunteers. The three of them most charmingly urged me to come to the town of Bueil on Saturday to see the full collection of Jean Delannoy’s career. I would have gone too except that I’ve got the Street Art tour on Saturday.
Entrance of the Bourse de Commerce. I could take pictures of handsome buildings all day long.
From the NY Times: “Center Pompidou’s bold “exoskeletal” architecture was thought to clash violently with the old houses surrounding it upon its opening in 1977.
“The public considered the cultural center’s aggressive industrialist style an attack on Paris’s historic fabric; one Parisienne, upon discovering that Richard Rogers was one of its architects (along with Renzo Piano), hit him on the head with her umbrella.”
But from the top you can see the Eiffel Tower!
Looking down onto the Pompidou’s plaza.
This is the Musée National d’Art Moderne, my favorite, Modern Art.
I picked a few objects to show, ones I liked and was surprised by and had never seen before and are from some of my Name Brand artists.
Matisse – they had rooms and rooms of Matisse works.
I love this Picasso! It’s ‘Femme aux Pigeons’. Can you tell how much he likes this woman.
They would have a dozen pictures up by many but not thousands of artists, and it seemed only the heavy hitters.
This is Kandinsky’s ‘Two Green Points’.
That whole grid-y inside-out structure was interesting although it didn’t steal my heart. Also the outside surfaces are in real need of refreshing making it look industrial in a shabby way, not so much in the sleek way they probably intended.
More of things I liked. Those little dots are speakers and as you walk by the long wall you can hear the soft sounds of birds tweeting and the rustle of trees.
And I liked this too, it could be a shelf.
A really charming Chagall I’ve never seen. It’s called ‘Double Portrait with Wine Glass’ and the figures are an oh-so-happy bride and groom on the way to their wedding night.
They have their very own Calder. Not quite so splendid as LACMA’s fountain, but it turns and spins, so that’s good.
This makes me think of confession. I don’t think it’s meant to.
Internet picture from between the church and the museum, I didn’t like any of my pictures of this well-known fountain so I snagged this one as a memory jogger.
Muriel found this place from an article in the NY Times. Wow, what a place it is.
There were so many ‘No Photos!’ “Really, WE MEAN IT Don’t
Even THINK About It NO PHOTOS!’.
So I snagged all these from the internet.
There had been a recent fire and many of these objects were donated back to the shop.
I thought maybe I was going to write about this place because it’s so interesting. It’s also long. You can google deyrolle paris nytimes for an up-to-date article.
Also, to set the stage, this from wiki: “Deyrolle is a reference in the field of taxidermy. We can find birds, beasts and mammals from all over the world. At Deyrolle, with only a few exceptions, no animal was killed to be mounted: the non-domestic species come from zoos, parks, where they died of old age or illness. They are traceable, and protected species are held and delivered in accordance with the Washington Convention (CITES).”
The Prime Minister of France lives here. I know that because one of the four heavily armed guards told me. I had to go back a second time to confirm.
Imagine my surprise when those four guys and their sub-machine guns let me take this picture after a car drove in and the Americans won’t even let you into their church.
I was on a walk to Invalides.
from Wiki: “Les Invalides, officially known as L’Hôtel national des Invalides, or also as L’Hôtel des Invalides, is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose.
“The buildings house the Musée de l’Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France’s war heroes, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte.”
The Museum of the Army was interesting actually, well organized, well produced, and seemingly pretty thorough.
I knew France had a huge colonial presence but the graphic of their place in Africa showed a much bigger presence than I remembered.
Under the dome…
I wanted to see Napoleon’s Tomb. Even after having done it I’m not entirely sure why. But there it is, Napoleon’s Tomb.
Good morning! a view out the living-room window.
We’ve been having 12 hours of daylight but winters are a whole other ball of wax: sunrise about 8:30 and sunset about 5:00 with 8 1/2 hours of daylight which makes for a very short day and a lot of grumpy Parisians.
Muriel had arranged for a walking tour guide and here we are, Muriel, Alain, and me. It was Fun!
We stopped often to look at food. Food food food, it’s Muriel’s thing. Fresh fruits and vegetables, windows packed with pastry delights, bread, cheese, various meats, chocolate of course, and more.
I don’t take pictures of food much but starting tomorrow I’ll give it a go because that’s all I hear from back home ‘Eiffel Tower blah blah blah where are pictures of the food!
They were making sugar-bomb pastries in here.
Our stroll took us into the Eiffel Tower neighborhood where this fine structure peeks her pretty head into many open spaces.
A stroll through the neighborhood of some historic and very OOOO-LA-LA Art Nouveau buildings.
We also looked at many Haussmann-era buildings and those that came before and after. It’s these though that make you stop and look.
The gate from the above picture, with views of the Eiffel Tower.
A big WOW on this guy.
Muriel and Alain went off in another direction because…
…Check it out! Oh goodie goodie, it’s the Sewer Tour! I’ve been wanting to see what the Sewer Tour was all about even before I got here.
For less than 5 euros you get a little map and you set off on your own for a stroll through a touristified but very much in action section of the Paris sewer system.
They say you might see a rat….but this was the best I did rat-wise.
Really, it’s the sewer in the ‘brown slurry of poop’ kind of way.
Every once in a great while after heavy rains the sewers can flood up to the level of the walkways and then oooow-eeeee, you do Not want to be there.
If you happen to be in the Eiffel Tower area with a spare hour, here’s something to look at!
This place is called The American Church in Paris. I happened to walk by so I thought to go in. I ended up feeling a little embarrassed for my country. Here’s my dialog with the American at the desk:
ME: Bonjour! Good morning! may I ask, what denomination is this church?
she: We are interdenominational. Everyone is welcome!
ME: Cool, I’d like to see the church.
she: I’m sorry you can’t see the church.
ME: But every church in Paris is open.
She: We’re Americans here.
ME: That’s doesn’t sound very welcoming.
The public can visit the church a total of 21 hours in the entire month of September.
Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées.
wiki says: “The structure was built in the style of Beaux-Arts architecture as taught by the École des Beaux-Arts of Paris.
“The building reflects the movement’s taste for ornate decoration through its stone facades, the formality of its floor planning and the use of techniques that were innovative at the time, such as its glass vault, its structure made of iron and light steel framing, and its use of reinforced concrete.”
I still haven’t taken the big step to try the rent-a-bike system and it’s looking less and less likely that I will.
Just an example…I’m saving you thousands more.
We didn’t get out today until it was time for lunch so we went directly to Les’s top pick, Metropolitan, as it was exactly in the neighborhood we would be visiting today on the Right Bank.
This is the menu of the Plat de Jour.
I had it, and it was wonderful – a potato and fish cake that was both subtle and hearty.
We shared this dessert of honey glazed figs, chocolate mousse, gorgeous ice cream, and some decorations.
Next stop, Musee Carnavalet. It’s very big, it tells the story of Paris in art and artifacts, but I didn’t care. I came here because they have a recreation of Marcel Proust’s bedroom.
He sat in a room like this, or so they say, writing the seven volumes of In Search of Lost Time (I do prefer the old title of Remembrance of Things Past) that I have been reading off and on for two years. Maybe I’ll finish in the third year.
Maybe it will take me as long to read it as it took him to write it.
They had wonderful Art Nouveau objects, even this entire jewelry shop that was so gorgeous inside.
Then we were off to the Musee Picasso.
from Lonely Planet: “One of Paris’ most beloved art collections reopened its doors after a massive renovation and much controversy in late 2014. Housed in the stunning, mid-17th-century Hôtel Salé, the Musée Picasso woos art lovers with 5000 drawings, engravings, paintings, ceramic works and sculptures by the grand maître Pablo Picasso (1881–1973).
“The extraordinary collection was donated to the French government by the artist’s heirs in lieu of paying inheritance tax.”
I liked it A Lot. The rooms were organized in a way by topic and this room was about his first wife Olga. You can see what he thought of her when then met and at the end of their relationship.
Actually that’s not the exact painting of the end that was in the room. I was sure I’d get a better picture from the internet but my googling skills have failed me and I can’t find it!
One of the splendid gardens among the many at the Musee Picasso.
Following our visits to Musee Carnavalet and Musee Picasso we had a little tea break before heading home. That’s my one-quarter liter of house red wine in the little green pitcher that I so enjoy of an afternoon.
The place was just a drop-by neighborhood bistro but oh yes that apple tart was splendid. The sugar was caramelized right up to the exact point where one more second and it would have been burned. But it wasn’t burned, it was perfect.
The waiter/manager/owner was so funny as he described what was available. This was the most delicious he said. He put on his best John Wayne and called this Ammmurican Aaaple Piiii. Not what we were expecting, which is just as well!
Muriel did her knee in on Wednesday with so much walking and has been tending to it well. On Thursday, we went out for a while and today, Friday, she’s thinking to just give it a good rest.
Doesn’t she look happy?! Everyone who has stayed in the house for their own quiet day has been happy.
A few doors up Rue Jacob from the flat.
This is an example of a café/bistro/brasserie outdoor setup. These cafés crowd the main streets here in Saint-Germain-des-Pres. They all try to make their napkin and fork and knife design a little unique. They all have a glass for water and a glass for wine, they all have the salt and pepper and many have a pot of mustard in the holder with the salt and pepper, and they all have an ash tray.
I don’t sit out here due to the pleasure Parisians and tourists alike take in sitting around at these tables in great groups chatting away and chain smoking.
Inside all the eating places there is no smoking, no smoking in the Metro, etc. and compared to Vienna for example when you walk down the street enveloped in a cloud of smoke, here you actually can avoid getting a nose and throat attack as long as you don’t sit out here.
Another ‘just an example’ of the specialty shops that abound. This is a map store. They have maps.
What was in the window – de toutes les colonies francaises. This is also why I don’t take window pictures, because the glare bugs and I’m too lazy to figure out what to do about it.
I was strolling up to Jardin du Luxembourg, maybe half a mile up the road from the flat.
Lonely Planet: “This inner-city oasis of formal terraces, chestnut groves and lush lawns has a special place in Parisians’ hearts. Napoléon dedicated the 23 gracefully laid-out hectares of the Luxembourg Gardens to the children of Paris, and many residents spent their childhood prodding 1920s wooden sailboats with long sticks on the octagonal Grand Bassin pond, watching puppets perform Punch & Judy–type shows at the Théâtre du Luxembourg , and riding the carrousel or ponies.”
“The gardens are a backdrop to the Palais du Luxembourg, built in the 1620s for Marie de Médici, Henri IV’s consort, to assuage her longing for the Pitti Palace in Florence, where she had spent her childhood.”
It was totally wonderful, kind of a mini-version of the Jardin des Tuileries with some of everything, but more intimate.
There in the distance, that’s the second finger of Paris… according to the Eiffel Tower guide.
Just some silliness.
Next stop, thinking, at the Rodin Museum, beneath the shadow of the dome of Napoleon’s tomb.
The museum itself is closed for renovations which I knew before going there, but the wonderful as in full-of-wonders garden was open.
This scene is repeated in many of the garden locations, the long vista facing a grand mansion.
The Gates of HELL…
The entire surface of the doors, above, and to the sides of the doors is covered in these gruesome images of a hellish eternity for the unsaved. Meant to terrify, if these gates don’t get you then I just don’t know what will.
Rodin has this thing about turning heads to the side it seemed to me anyway. There were a lot of long exposed necks.
This is Muriel’s last day. She had expressed some interest in a Street Art tour so I saved the Saturday one (having previously gone to the Sunday one) and she was going to decide closer to the time.
She decided she’d rather taxi over to the Musee d’Orsay saving her injured knee and seeing well-regarded masterpieces than tromp around Belleville looking at Street “Art”.
The tour started at 11 and I thought I’d better eat something. Oh yeah, it was so good. The cheese was tangy like parmesan but it melted better, and the mushrooms were wild and fresh and so flavorful. He folded that whole thing up into a walk-away cone shape and I was one happy camper.
Here’s the tour looking at a Shepard Fairey piece across the street. It was so crowded I stopped counting at 30 participants. It was a ridiculously crowded tour and I’m not happy with the tour company for letting it happen.
By the end of the tour I stopped counting at 40. Because the group was so large I think people we passed felt no compunction about just joining in.
The guide was a tall young man so that helped because he could project his words over the heads of the surrounding sea of heads but only when we were stopped and all gathered around. Otherwise there was no way to hear what he was saying.
I will complain only one more time, I promise.
Actually, it’s hard to write this and complain only one more time!
I know this guy, ALO, from London.
Here he is, the guide, cute as pie. I’m in that picture too.
Here we are in Parc Belleville after having climbed many many steps.
The artist Seth does these beautifully colored people almost always children with their faces turned away.
More from Seth.
And here’s the view you get after having climbed all those steps up to Parc Belleville. From here you can see both the Eiffel Tower and the Second Finger.
A cat from a marvelous mosaic made by the residents of the neighborhood.
I had to wait for the crowd to thin every time we looked at a wall and then scurry to catch up with the group because there were Too Many People!
At my Metro transfer…
…and more. Who are all those people?! I have no idea and I have never had to stand in such a river (except maybe in today’s tour…no, sorry, this is not a river, it’s a regular flash flood!).
Within 3 blocks of 6 rue Jacob there are so very very many boutique shops (that bag costs 485 euro btw) and art galleries, as well as the cafés, food sellers, residences, and More.
I have concluded that during spring and fall I could live here at 6 rue Jacob.
Some people love to admire and take pictures of doors. Those people should come to Paris.
Paul. Oh you, you are the man. This is a chain boulangerie. Ingalill and I had fabulous sandwiches at a truck stop Paul.
This place is around the corner…everything is around the corner.
This cheese place is, yes, around the corner.
We had a fine Bon Voyage dinner of bread and cheese and then Muriel was winging her way home as Marsha, Mindy, and Kelly, who will be here for the next week, were coming over from London on the chunnel train.