Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Paris...Part Deux

On our third day in Paris we visited the Conciergerie. Probably most famous for housing Marie-Antoinette during the revolution ...before she went to the guillotine. What amazed me during this trip is that we were walking in the same city as kings, queens and emperors of history.

Below is the Salle des Gens d' Armes where the guards of the royal household lived.

Speaking of Gen d' Armes....

After a brief interlude with the nice policemen..... we walked.....walked.... and walked over to the Jardin des Tuileries on our way to the Musee de l'Orangerie and Place de la Concorde. No wonder the French are slim. Everybody walks. I think we logged at least 5 miles or more a day. By the end of the trip my legs ached. The Tuileries is filled with scultures, manicured hedges, flowers, fountains, and of all things....buckeye trees. As we walked along, I notice the buckeyes on the ground. For those of you not from Ohio....the buckeye is our state tree and Ohio State is know as the Home of the Buckeye's. When I was growing up on the farm, our neighbors had a buckeye tree in their front yard. Funny to find something so familiar that far away.

I can't help thinking that if this statue were in the US, we would have to put a bra and panties on her to avoid offending the sensibilities of our moral right.

The flowers were beautiful. I couldn't help thinking that the growing season must be a bit different than where I live. There were still flowers (what looked like summer flowers) still in bloom. We walked down a street past a number of plant/flower stores still selling summer flowers.

I love these street lamps. Seeing the Eiffel Tower in the distance just made us giddy. We were actually in Paris!!!! After a quick spin through the l'Orangerie to see Monet's Nympheas (Water Lilies), we spent the rest of the day strolling on the right bank. We wandered up through the Place Vendome.

Napolean sits on top this column which was made from the melted brozne of 1,200 cannons caputured at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805.

More tomorrow

Sunday, September 23, 2007


She was my companion for 21 years. She would sit with me in the morning while I got ready for work. She demanded attention from me whenever I came home. She laid on the bed with me while I read at night...curled up in a ball...every once in a while peeking out to make sure I was still there. She survived my being in Paris...probably better than I did. We had 3 good days with her since we've been back. Today she had such a hard time walking and couldn't seem to settle down in any one spot. Pacing back and forth trying to find some comfortable spot. Her meow's were more like moans...the kind of sounds that you know come from pain. We made the hard decision to put her to sleep. I know it was the right decision but it hurts so much to know that I won't see or touch her again. We buried her in the backyard and place a large stone on her grave. Next spring I will create a flower garden around her.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Back from Paris

What can I say....C'est Magnifique!!!! I want to go, now. I loved Paris. History, art, architecture, fashion. We had six full days...not near enough. Our hotel, Relais Medicis, was perfect. Only 16 rooms, but what a wonderful and charming place. When I was trying to decide on a place to stay, someone told me..."you know the rooms don't really look like they do on the website". They do here...even better and the staff was wonderful. Anyway....when we got there on Thursday, we had been up for almost 24 hours...but when you arrive at don't go to bed. So we fueled up on a couple of Croque Monsier's (ham and cheese sandwiches which are so much better than any that I have had here...they throw an extra layer of cheese on the outside of the sandwich and then broil it to get the cheese bubbly and brown)...and we headed for Notre Dame.

Notre Dame is located on and island (Ile de la Cite) in the middle of the Seine. It is breath-takingly beautiful. Started in the 1163, it took 170 years to finish. I could have spent hours there just looking at the stained glass windows.

From there we wandered over to the other island in the Seine, Ile Saint-Louis. There were street musicians playing on the bridge so we stopped to listen for a while and then wandered on to find a chocolate shop that had a chocolate fountain. Below is my Louis on Rue Saint Louis en L'ile. Everywhere we looked things were named Louis. We even saw a restaurant named Chez LouLou.

So after being up for 30+ hours we crashed until the next day.

On Friday we wandered around St-Germain-Des-Pres, which is the neighborhood where we were staying on the Left Bank. We stopped at Les Deux Magots for some coffee. This is a famous spot where Hemingway, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jean-Paul Sartre used to hang out. It is now populated with tourists but was fun for people watching. There was a woman there that made the saying..."you can never be too rich or too thin" a joke. She was striking and had obviously been beautiful when she was young. She was in her late sixties, practically skeletal, and her makeup was hideous. She used a very pale, almost white foundation, black eyes, dark red lips, and a big black hat. She was with a man probably in his late 40's. We couldn't figure if he was her son or lover but neither one of us wanted to consider the later. We debated whether she was sickly or just desparately trying to hold on to her youth. Every few minutes she reapplied her lipstick and eye shadow. I found her very sad. No mater how thin or rich she was...she was a living caricature.

From there we went to the Musee d'Orsay. This used to the the Paris terminus of the Orleans railroad company and was slated for demolition in 1970, but public outcry saved it. It is home to some of the most famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. I was in heaven seeing paintings by Cassett, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, and Lautrec. This collection was definetely one of the highlights of the trip. Below is the ground floor sculpture gallery

Below, the view from the roof of the Orsay of the Louvre on right bank.

More later

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Off to Paris Wednesday

I'm flipping out cause we leave for Paris on Wednesday. My biggest anxiety has nothing to do with the trip...but with my cat. She is very, very old and I hate to leave her. She has good days and bad. Sometimes I think she will live another year...other times I think she's about ready to leave me. She rarely goes upstairs anymore...she is too arthritic. She stays on the first level. I just hope she makes it through the next 2 weeks. Maybe I putting too much emotion into it. Will she even realize that I am gone if someone is here to feed her? Who knows? I think she gets lonely. When I go away...she follows me around for days after I get back. Probably sounds stupid that this is what I am concerned about. I guess it's cause I expect the rest of the trip will be great.

I have a number of restaurant recommendations from people who have been there or who live there. There are more museums, parks and historical sites than we have time for. The weekend that we are there is The 24th Annual Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days). That weekend historical sites that are normally closed to the public are open. You can even visit President Sarkozy's office and the grounds of Elysée Palace. Just like stopping in the Oval Office to see GW...not that I would ever want to do that. I have too many travel guides. I have to narrow it down to one and a map. I have a moleskin specifically for Paris that I bought at the bookstore. It has street maps and lots of rooms for notes and drawings. The camera is ready. All I need to do now is pack. Someone at work asked if I was buying new clothes to take to Paris or if I was planning on buying clothes there. No and No. First....I have no desire to buy a whole new wardrobe to take this trip....primarily because it is cosing so much to go....can't afford to buy new clothes. Second....from what I understand the clothes in the boutiques were made for stick people and they are expensive. I can't imagine I will find anything in my size. But I love to window shop and if I buy anything it will be purses and shoes and beads if I manage to find a bead shop.

Mostly I think we will spend the entire week walking. In Amsterdam last year we would head out in the morning (OK...late morning for those of you who know me well) and have a destination in mind...but just stroll there and back taking detours that look inviting. And I've heard that Paris is extremely walkable. So I have to pack my walking shoes (ugly but comfortable), black jeans (which I never seem to be without...cause I have about 10 pairs) and assorted jackets and I am ready to go.

I'll post when I am back. We're back on the 19th, but I won't go back to work until the 24th YEAH!!! A few days off after the trip to recoup.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Once when you were a child.....

Once as a child you heard enchanted beings whisper, tempting you away. Cautious, declining, you grew up regretting lost possibilities and unimagined lands. What would you give for a second chance to hear them whisper your name, to see their whimsical looks and feel the wonder in your soul again? --Teesha Moore