Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Paris, Part 1

Ah, Paris. If you love beautiful things, then going to Paris is like climbing onto the mother ship. Everything is amazing looking: the architecture, the art, the people, the streets you walk down. The buildings of the city, or least the center of the city, are all the same style and color -- creamy limestone with grey roofs. There are no colors or billboards or neon to distract the eye -- just cream and grey and trees and sky and the Seine River. It's like a medieval city. It's a city as a work of art.

We took the train, with our friends Bunny and Dan Gabel, from Amsterdam to Paris.

Ted and I went to Paris a couple of years ago and loved the Marais, a charming neighborhood filled with art galleries, book stores and cafes, so we found a small hotel on-line in that area. This shot is from our hotel room.

On our first day we went out to visit the Grand Palais, the huge Belle Epoque exhibition hall, but it was closed so we went to the Petit Palais, a smaller museum across the street. But nothing about it was small. You get the feeling that they threw it up in the nineteenth century to offer more exhibition space, but it is spectacularly beautiful, with vaulted architecture, immense windows and painted ceilings. As you can see here, the display cases and the book store at the end are made of clear plexiglass so as not to obstruct the view.

There was mounted an exhibition of fashion photographs by Patrick Demarchelier, with his photographs mixed in with the permanent paintings. I think Patrick Demarchelier is good photographer but honestly I think I would have preferred just the paintings. I like old paintings, what can I say.
In the museum was a little cafe so we had lunch outside in the circular garden which was filled with giant tropical plants, an exotic combination. Over head, garlands of gold metal leaves looped around the circular terrace. It was quite a sight.
At night, we hung out at a famous, old, tiny Marais bar called Au Petit Fer a Cheval, the little horseshoe, named after the shape of the marble bar. One night we asked the bartender to recommend a restaurant and he sent us to a place where his friend was the "cooker," the chef, and I had a delicious beef bourguignon
We had a couple of glitches; we went back again to the Grand Palais but couldn't get in because the line was too long, the Musee de la Mode (the costume institute) was closed until November, and the Picasso Museum was closed for renovation. No matter, we just moved on to the next thing. Traveling is all about adjustment; no complaining or negativity. My friend the Reverend Donna Schaper says, "Light and lively. Move nimbly." When disappointing things happen, you try to leap over it. It's a good attitude for life, and for traveling.

Here are more photos:

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