A Travellerspoint blog

May 29

D-Orsay and boat ride along the Seine

We had a long sleep, got up late. Nicely relaxed we had some fresh croissants from our patisserie. We had gotten coffee, milk, butter and traditional apricot jam and OJ at the local grocery named Franprix..

After breakfast we left the apartment to walk along Rue Glaciere to the Metro where we got tickets to take the subway to Musee d'Orsay. The d-Orsay is the remains of a train station and that is still visible. Erik caught silhoutted walkers, two and three stories above gave the backlight windows a wonderful theatrical vision. People moving, always changing. He later turned this image by adding steel i-beams with rivets to enclose each side to a semi-realistic stage setting. He added this photo to his "geometry" collection.

Later that afternoon we walked to the Seine to take a boat ride along the river. Kevin Flynn, our Halifax neighbor, highly recommend we do so. We got there just in time to quickly buy tickets as the last voyagers to get onboard before setting sail.

At the end of the trip we had views of the burned Notre Dame. It had burned just the month before our trip.

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May 30

Pompidou Center and Picasso Museum

Today we went to the Pompidou Center - up the escalators on the outside of the building - in a tube. They have a ga-ga art collection.Some people consider this building ugly. Perhaps. It's skeletal exterior too radical for those used to experiencing closed walls of cement.

Looking for Matisse and there is some. The Pompidou has a major collection and most are not shown. Checking with the information desk we were told some were on loan to a museum in London. Kind of disappointing. The sculptor Brancusi has a separate building set up as his studio with a ton of his pieces.

Lunchtime and the quintessential Parisian pretty park picnic of bread, cheese, fruit and wine turned into a falafel sandwich that we ate while sitting at a bus stop because we couldn't find any other place. In the foreground were cars, buses, Bicycles and motorcycles whizzing by.

We walked to the Picasso Museum in the Marais through winding and narrow streets. The museum is intimate with three floors and it felt especially like being in a reconstructed home with white stucco walls and exposed ceiling beams. The musee had a show with Miro and Picasso pieces juxtaposed against each other. It was a popular and crowded exhibit..

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May 31

Arc d'Triomphe, Musee L'Orangie, Saint Chappelle

Our Metro line, Glaciere, runs from Nation Station to Charles DeGaulle where the Arc de Triumphe is, passing the Eiffel Tower along the say.

Today we went to the Arc, taking about 35 minutes, for the first time. It was super crowded. We didn't go up the elevator but got the flavor. Then we walked along the length of the Champs-Élysées to Place de la Concorde. The boulevard is wide, trees, cafes and expensive shops. Several stores were marked with bullet-like holes and shattered glass doors. Perhaps the result from violent recent protests by Yellow Vests who fight for economic justice

Walking past Place de la Concorde, we went into the Tuileries Garden. Off the garden is Musee L'Orangie. They had a lovely collection of 19th and 20th century European art. And, a special exhibit of German Expressionist and Blue Rider work by Franz Marc and August Macke.

We went to Saint Chappelle to view the fabulous stained glass. Entering into a drab chapel with tourist gift stands along the walls we waited for our turn to go up to the Chappelle. Winding narrow well-worn stone steps up and at the last step we heard people gasping. We did as well when we stepped into the Chappelle with the immense stained glass walls. The sun was shining so the colors really popped. People were trying to be quietly reverent but it was so difficult to not talk about the beauty. Guards scolded people for being loud. It was astoundingly beautiful.

After visiting Chappelle we went to a cafe and were scolded by a waiter for having moved a chair to sit side-by-side. Apparently that was a no-no because it was too close to people walking on the sidewalk. The garçon warmed up to us later as he learned we were from Boston and he had a connection there. Erik got pickpocketed at the Halles Metro stop as we headed back to our flat. Three men took Erik's wallet that contained the metro ticket, a multi-day museum pass and about $80. Lucky Erik had his passport and the rest of his money in a money belt that was totally secure.

(Erik's, memory of this: 3 black guys, probably Africans, barricaded me as I entered the train. I tried to bust through and finally said "pardon". One of them got onboard at the same time I did, made a threatening glare toward me, looked around like he suddenly realized he was on the wrong train and nonchalantly got off as the doors closed. Suddenly I realized my wallet was gone. It's amazing that even if you were aware of "pickpocketing" in a few seconds someone can reach into your pocket and steal. I decided not to talk to anyone about this because It would command excessive conversation.)

After a nap and supper we got back on the Metro to go to the Eiffel Tower for the 9pm blinking light show. Spectacular and fun. It was a mild clear night with a lot of people laying about on the lawn at the base of the tower, Indian men walking around the crowd, "champagne, wine, beer, cigarettes."

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June 2

Exploring St. Martin Canal and an afternoon at Des Buttes Chaumont

Sunday and we explored the city, no museums or sites. Taking the Metro to Republique stop, we went up to the Plaza where there was a big Arab demonstration regarding Algerian voting rights. It was crowded, electric and foreign. We walked along the St. Martin Canal, stopping for a picnic along the waterway. Merritt Eddy, cousin Jodi's husband, was being remembered this day in MIddlebury Vermont with family and friends. Kathy promised to do something special for Merritt. Thinking tossing flowers in the canal was not special enough we walked on. Our destination was Des Buttes Chaumont, a park in northeast Paris. It was a bank holiday weekend and people filled the park, lounging as families or groups of friends.

We found a bench where a young fellow was playing an acoustic guitar. Asking if it was okay if we sat there, it was the three of us and we chatted briefly. Realizing this could be the something special for Merritt, Kathy surreptitiously started videoing the fellow. We told him we were enjoying his music he said his name was Ariel. We started talking more and learned he was from Cuba, had been a musician on cruise ships in the Pacific, Fiji, etc. where he had lived. He now lives in Paris, has a son in Cuba, a son in Paris and tries to stay in touch with his Cuban son via video chats. We talked about life, family, loss, Merritt and much more. He eventually said he was going to leave and have a smoke. I asked if he would do a favor, we would pay him, if he would play a song that we could video to send to Jodi and family. He stood up, faced us and played and sang a lovely Spanish song. We didn't know the topic but he said it was about life. At the end, we offered to pay him. He put his hands to his heart and said it was his pleasure to have played for Merritt's memory. It was a very lovely afternoon and rather tearful.

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June 3

Finding The Docks and a store in one of our travel guides

Today most museums are closed due to a national holiday so we walked around. The main objective was to find The Docks, Mode & Design building. Erik had read about it and we saw the building while on the Seine River cruise earlier in our visit. The street map was not great - it didn't show certain streets so we got lost. I had to GPS on her phone and we finally got there

The building is a learning center and has nightclubs on the rooftop. What a fabulous plein aire, deck-like night romantic spot, drinking, music and dancing in our dreams because we were there during the day and it was tightly buttoned up. Later we went window shopping, specifically looking for the shop THANKX GOD I'M A V.I.P. on rue de Lancry. We found it and it is a terrific designer vintage clothing shop. The clerk was pleased to learn the shop is listed in one of our travel books, "CITIX60 Paris". He took a photo of the cover to show the owner. The clothing is on the racks by color Erik tried on a number of shirts, nothing fit right. I looked at all the interesting dresses, sweaters and pants. Many things to love there.

Posted by Erik and Kathy 16:27 Comments (0)

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