Thursday, May 3, 2012

It looked gloomy in the AM, so I decided to stayin Paris and I am so glad I did. . .the sun came out for my last day here. Went to a Monet museum on the west side of Paris (Marmottan). In addition to the privilege of hanging out with Monet's work and a special exhibit of Berthe Morrisot, I discovered yet one more glorious, park-filled neighborhood. And a perfect day for soaking up the green world before me, lush with flowers and my special friends the giant chestnut trees. Checked out the Arch de Triomphe (very briefly) and strolled down Ave. Hoche, another of those delighful, posh residential streets with dignified buildings, huge windows and trees and gardens. Revisited the glorious Parc Monceau, then a brief run downtown. Home for a bowl of soup and off to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. I finall explored the area behind the church famous for street painters (they were out in full with the spring evening). The village of Montmartre is particularly lovely with spectacular views, steeply winding cobblestoned streets and old apartment buildings with their attention to sculpural detail, grillwork and window gardens. It's a magial area. . .and jam packed with tourists and French people on this glorious soft evening. Then to the church itself to offer thanks for this journey and outside to the spectaular view of Paris. Good night moon. Goonight Paris.
A very long travel day tomorrow. . .   

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I am running out of tourist steam and feel quite complete about this visit. Tho, somewhere inside I feel like I have been missing Paris all my life and will miss her when I leave. It's been so great to have an apartment. I have a real sense of living here and belonging to a neighborhood. Wandered loosely today, first to an outdoor market area near the University of Paris. Mostly fabulous food: those yummy fresh (unpasteurized) cheeses, fresh breads (new addiction-baguettes, warm and straight from the oven), and lots of lovely fruits and vegetables. Also lots of supposedly inexpensive (but nor really) clothing stores, and a wonderful mix of students and shopkeepers, both farmers and sophisticated gourmet types. Paris has so many alive neighbooods like this. Then I walked and got lost as usual and took the first metro I could find up to an extreme opposite neighborhood. . .upscale shopping. There I visited Galleries Lafayette, which has to be the world's most gigantic department store featuring everything from Prada types to more middle class offerings. . .and lots of good food. Ate lunch at their cafeteria on the 5th floor looking out the window at the ornate upper levels of the Paris Opera. Then down to the river and Notre Dame to say goodbye and a lovely long walk along the quay. Home early. Giverny tomorrow probably. Back to the U.S. on Friday.          
Tuileries in the sun--

Bois du Bologne Shakespeare Garden

Giverny-first trip

Artemis, the Louvre

Athena, the Louvre

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bonsoir! Monday and Tuesday took on a very different rhythm. For one thing, Marjolaine came back and it is great to share Paris with her! The solo journey was just right, but basically Paris is something to be shared and Marjolaine and I flow perfectly. . .two streams flowing in one river. Monday morning--sunshine!!! Wow. Paris had a well-earned spring and how fabulous to see her in the sun. I walked along the Canal St. Martin, which is right near where I am staying. It has locks and a great variety of bridges. Mainly I just enjoyed the sun and warmth. Then back tothe apartment to await Marjolaine. Of course, by the time she came, the rain was back, but not too much, kind of coming and going, playing with the sun. We went back up to the Butte Chaumont Park and did our ritual of wandering the streets looking for a place to eat lunch at 3 PM. The French are not very flexible about such things except in the high tourist areas. However, after a success, we explored the park. I will download some photos. It is a wonderful universe replete with waterfall and lake and caverns and the chestnut trees with which I am majorly in love. Then we decided to have a dessert (an unusual event) to celebrate Marjolaine's return. This took us all the way to the Seine (I have to see it every day) and we wandered the Latin Quarter and surrounding areas until we found a quite place. Chocolate mousse for Marjolaine and creme brulee pur moi. Winding through the small quiet streets is always a great pleasure. Across Pont Neuf and home.
Today, our first full day of sunshine. Honestly, from morning to night. It was a big holiday here today so I think the Parisian collective consciousness must have ordered it up. Off we went to Bois Vincennes, a large park on the east side of Paris. Oh so gorgeous in the sunshine. We wandered around the lake filled with ducks and swans and even a couple of peacocks. Hundreds of Parisians biking, jogging, playing with their children, out in rowboats. Beautiful gardens with lilacs to smell. (yum). We treated ourselves to a relatively upscale restaurant right on the lake where we could hang out in the sun and look at the water and the hydrangeas. The food was brilliant of course. Then we completed our circumabulation of that beautiful lake and on to the next park. The trains were packed becos May Day is also a political day here and there were huge demonstrations against the current president (elections in a week or so). We changed our route to avoid the crowds and wandered the Luxembourg. The French have an enormous capacity to just sit and be which I admire enormously. This park was also packed. Some people running, some chatting, some smooching (and more), some reading and lots and lots of people just sitting and enjoying the trees and flowers and fountains. Again, I bow down at the feet of the Paris parks department. What a glorious job they do.
Then we wandered some more. Just being in the sun was such bliss. Finally we made our way to L'Eglise Madelaine for an exquisite concert. Pachelbel, Vivaldi, Schuman and others. A string concert with some voice. The concert master was such a happy man and brilliant. What fabulous tones he pulled from those strings. It was all pure bliss. Then out on the church steps as the light was changing. So soft. A perfect day. Marjolaine leaves tomorrow. I will miss her!!!
I was going to go to Giverny tomorrow but much rain is predicted, so maybe Thursday, my last day.