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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Walk Through Paris

Written September 24, 2012

Sunday, September 23, our second day in Paris.  We took our sweet time getting going this morning.  We left around 10:00 or so  and after we walked on a few dozen yards the Lovely Sharon told me her socks were uncomfortable in the shoes she was wearing.  I suggested that go back to the flat and change her shoes and socks.  She agreed and while she was on that errand, I sat on a bench in the Avenue de Breteuil Park and watched people walk by and generally watched the buzz of a Parisian morning.   After 15 minutes or so she was back in the park and we started walking. Our destination, Musee d’ Orsay.  Initially we thought about taking the metro but we were both up for a walk.  After a few blocks we stopped for coffee and a croissant.  It was good but hardly enough for breakfast for a growing boy.  We walked awhile more and saw a small shop near the Musee d’ Orsay that had some small quiche in the window.  We bought one to share, the proprietor nuked it hot and we ate it on the museum plaza while sipping water from our water bottles..

The Musee d' Orsay turned out to be one of my favorite museums I have ever been in. The Impressionist paintings displayed on the fifth floor of the Orsay are terrific.  I have no formal art education.  I never even took a general art education class in college but I love art.  I have read a fair amount about the Impressionist over the years.  My favorite U.S. Impressionist is Childe Hussein.  My favorite European Impressionists are Monet, Renoir and Sisely.  There is a good representation of the works of each of these European artists in the Orsay. Even though I have been to The Metropolitan in New York, the National Gallery in DC and the Chicago Art Institute, it was still surprisingly exciting to see in person paintings that I have admired for years but had only seen in books or online.  On the second floor we saw a number of Van Goghs.  Having seen Van Goghs only in books, I was never particularly moved by his paintings.  But it was a different story seeing these in the flesh.  The colors were truly surreal. 

The Musee d' Orsay facility itself is a beautiful work of architecture.  This historic train station was saved from demolition in the 1970’s and is truly a wonderful place to view art.

The Musee d' Orsay

After the Orsay we walked on a pedestrian bridge across the Seine to the Tuileries Gardens.  We walked down the main concourse stopping for a few minutes to sit in the sun at one of the pools.  Green chairs were available for walkers to rest awhile enjoying the weather, the gardens and our fellow strollers.  The Lovely Sharon and I saw a 5 or 6 year French boy riding his bike for the first time without training wheels as his family cheered him on. 

At the end of the Jardin d Tuileries is the Louvre.  We walked around the I.M Pei glass pyramid but decided not to tour the museum until tomorrow or Tuesday.  Instead we walked through the Ile de Citi and the Ile de St. Louis, islands in the Seine.  We went through the Notre Dame where we sat for a few minutes near the Nave contemplating the world famous Cathedral and other things.  Sharon lit a candle for her parents. 

We ate a late lunch just over the bridge between the Ile de Citi and the Ile de St. Louis where we sat at a small table on a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon.  On one side of us we met an Englishman who has lived and taught English in Paris at the English School for the last 25 years. He was his sister and nephews celebrating her birthday. On the other side of we met an English lawyer and his wife.  We learned he had just retired after 41 years of law practice in a small English community.

Lunch at the Ile de St. Louis

After our meal we walked to the end of the Ile de St. Louis and crossed the bridge to the left bank.  We walked toward our flat for a half hour so before we jumped on the metro and were back on Avenue d’ Breteuil in a flash. We arrived at the flat around 6:30 pm.  The Lovely Sharon took a nap while I read. Then we sat on our couch nibbling cheese and sharing a bottle of Pinot Grigio. We turned off the lights in the flat and sat in a darkened living room talking and looking at the Eiffel Tower through our open French doors.  Finally it was time for bed.

We have not decided what to do on Monday.  We have a couple of ideas but if it rains it may direct us to an inside activity. 

 Its 1:30 am Monday morning as I write this and now I must turn off the laptop in my small writer’s garret and sleep awhile more. Bonsoir.

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