Skip to main content

Paris - Day Four

It's Wednesday.  By the end of today our week in Paris will be more than half over!  :-(

We started with Breakfast.  You know the drill.  Coffee and croissant.  Cheese and fruit.  And really...what else do you need?  This morning, there was a little construction going on next door, it's August and vacation month for many French people.  It seems like every other shop we past has a sign on the door, "En vacances pour le mois d'août."  And lots of them are having face-lifts or renovations done while en vacances.   Well apparently our concierge, Arnaud (not to be confused with our guide Arnaud (who has his own blog here) decided that he'd had enough.  Out the front door he went and the jack hammer stopped.  Back in he came with a look to me that said, 'we'll have no more of that until you are all out and about.'  The rest of breakfast was peaceful and pleasant.

Today we started at the Pompidou Center.  The ugliest building in Paris, Arnaud has successfully convinced some groups that it's an energy plant.  George Pompidou had good intentions.  But it was the 70s.  We all made mistakes in the 70s.   The area where the center is located is called the Beaubourg.  Originally the center of market activity, when the markets moved to the suburbs, this area was abandoned.  The Pompidou Center houses a huge collection of Modern Art, a large public library, public information library, and music and art research centers.  There is a cafe that faces the square which is apparently where people who want to "be seen"  go to "be seen."  There was no one to see when we were there.

The Stravinsky Fountain was a delightful thing "to see."  Various modern sculptures represent characters from works by Igor Stravinsky. 
As Arnaud so succinctly put it...only one boob is working today.  (Must remember that one for some future snark.)

From Pompidou, we walked to the Hotel de Suubise, - now the home of the National Archives and Hotel de Sully - the Ministry of Culture, responsible for the national monuments and historic buildings of France.

Hotel de Soubise
From Sully, we entered the Place des Vosges and the Marais District. 
Arnaud was full of stories today, about Marie Antoinette and a necklace.  About Henry IV and a deadly duel.  About all sorts of ghastly royal intrigues and deceptions and games and foolishness.  It was great!

The Marias is now home to the Jewish district, antiques stores and boutiques a plenty.  As we were walking through the district, I noticed that there were blue, white and red bouquets on the doors of several shops and residences.  Then Arnaud mentioned that today was the anniversary of the liberation of Paris at the end of WWII.  These bouquets were being left on the homes and businesses of Jewish residents who were deported during the Nazi occupation.

We passed some students waiting outside a school and received a little education on the French school system.  And then another history lesson.

This is a remnant of the wall built by Philippe Auguste (Philip II) to protect Paris when he left for the crusades.  The moat - a dry one - was about 50 across.

After our history lessons, we had lunch in Mere Catherine square at a lovely cafe where the waiter spoke little English and Bridgete happily translated for our little table.  I had a lovely duck with potatoes and wine, of course.

After lunch, we took the bus to Pere Lachaisse, the famous cemetery on the outer edges of Paris.   It was starting to cool and drizzle, so we only  saw a few of the graves I wanted to.  But we did see Heloise and Abelard, Moliere, Chopin and Oscar Wilde.

SEE!!  I was really there! (I know you were growing suspicious...)

We returned to our hotel and changed for dinner and moonlight cruise on the Seine.  My camera didn't like taking pictures in the dark and moving - so I can't show you how incredible the city looked at night.  There is no question that I have now fallen completely in love with this city and everything about it.   There is nothing like a beautiful summer evening on the Seine, lovers everywhere along the Quai, singing, dancing, drinking wine under the lights and a FULL MOON!  (too perfect.  I kept looking for Gene Kelly at every moment.)

I don't think I can leave here now.  I'll think about that tomorrow....


Bridgete said…
Oh thank you. I have all these pictures from this day but my sprained ankle caused me to forget what everything was. Now I can put them on Facebook and explain them. ;)

Popular posts from this blog

A Good Man

Roger M Watt - April 8, 1914 - March 27, 1981

My father was a good man.  He was born in Oklahoma 98 years ago today.  He grew up during the First World War and the economic boom of the 20s.  When the bust happened, he moved to Los Angeles with his family.  In 1934, he met my mother at a Halloween Party.  He was 20, she was 15, and he was in love for life.  The raven haired, dark eyed beauty won his heart and his devotion. When my mother became bedridden with tuberculosis, he visited her every day, bringing her books from the library and news of the world.  They married on Father's Day in 1939. 
During the final years of the Second World War, my father was drafted into military service and left my mother with her parents - pregnant with their third child and my brother Jim and sister Judie.  He contracted malaria in the Philippines and spent most of his service in a hospital in Hawaii. 
On March 27, 1946 my parents and their three children moved to Grants Pass, Oregon.  This is w…

Movie Madness - MELANCHOLIA

From the opening moments of Lars VonTrier's latest film MELANCHOLIA (2011), I was hooked.  The exquisite extreme slow motion movement is beautifully orchestrated by Wagner's Prelude to Tristan and Isolde.  We see a bride moving as roots tear at her feet, a mother clutching a child, a horse laying down all as two planets come hurtling toward one another to the inevitable end - the consumption of one planet by another.  It's only later that we learn the larger planet is Melancholia and it is headed toward Earth; because after this beautiful prologue we are thrust into the marriage of Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skarsgard)*.  Justine and Michael are late for the very elaborate reception being hosted by Justine's sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland).  As the evening rolls on, it's clear that Claire is hanging on by the thinnest of threads and Claire and John are frustrated by her reluctance to put on a good sh…

There Be Dragons

So we're one month in to 2012 and it's been kind of rough.  The election mudslinging has started early.  Long term relationships between non-profit organizations are threatened by political machinations.  Major companies pretend to support one lifestyle, cave when threatened by a PAC, then switch again when public opinion cows them.  It's going to be a long year.  I can see lots of unpopular ideas being promulgated and lots of "facts" being tossed around to prove one side or the other as right/wrong - good/bad.  And so I thought I'd make my position known and just refer anyone who wants to drag me into their battle to this post for the next several months.
Like Martin Luther King Jr., "I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered…