Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Day Full of Surprises!

April 11th, 2012

Last night we walked over to the Eiffel Tower to see the lights just after 8:30 pm. The rain had stopped but we carried our umbrellas; and my feet were nice and dry in my heavier shoes. Arrived just before 9 pm and at nine on the dot the strobe lights began to flash. It lasts for five minutes and is beautiful.

Breakfast and out the door by 11 am; we caught the Metro to the 8th arrondissement to visit a Museum that Jim had heard about at the Sunday dinner at Jim’s called Musee Nissem De Camando. It was a private home in a wealthy neighborhood that backs to the lovely Parc Monceau. We got off at the Villier’s Metro stop and soon realized we were on a street where every store was for some type of musical instrument! Many had craftsmen working in the windows. We soon found the museum.

This Musee was donated by the family to be a muse for the French people after his son was killed in WWI. The last survivors, a daughter and her family, were sent to concentration camps by the Nazis and died there in 1943. There are many paintings but “Les Arts Decoratifs” are the main features of the Musee. It’s like walking back in time and the narrative on the audio guide was wonderful for the hour and a half that we were there.

After leaving we walked around the corner to the Parc Monceau behind the house. Another beautiful parc full of people at lunchtime, it was after 1 pm and the sun was still shining! This parc is famous for the first French parachute jump; done from a hot air balloon. We exited the parc onto Avenue Hoche and walked towards the Arc de Triomphe, stopping along the way for a quick visit at St. Joseph’s Church were we renewed our wedding vows in 2010.

At the Arc de Triomphe we found the Metro Station and headed for our second quest for the day in the 5th arrondissement: The Val-de-Grace. We were expecting just a beautiful church but also found a wonderful Military Hospital Musee. It was almost empty and very informative; the church was spectacular with a six pillared canopy over the main altar modeled after the one in Rome at St. Peters. I do hope you enjoy the photos.

By 4 pm we were back on the street walking towards Luxembourg Jardens (love sprinkling in the French words): our first section was the Jarden of Grand Explorations that had the most beautiful fountain of turtles and seahorses…they looked like they were going to pop right off of the fountain they had so much energy!

Heading into the Luxembourg Jardens proper we searched for the beehives in the southwest corner and were rewarded with not only finding them but seeing the bee keepers in their glorious white nets and clothes harvesting the honey!

Checking out a missing statue we found the memorial to 9/11 at the base for one of the models of the statue of liberty. It was placed in the park in 1900 and an oak tree planted to commemorate the occasion. After 9/11, they rededicated it to honor those that lost their lives in the tragedy. Right now it has been removed for cleaning.

Further into the parc by the Orangerie we found the area for the chess players; some were individuals playing with friends…others were challenging all comers to a timed game. One was a young fellow with cerebral palsy… having lots of fun and doing well against his opponents.

By this time the skies were getting dark as we continued to walk in the park towards the large fountain where the children sail their boats using only a long stick and the wind. We found chairs…there are always hundreds of metal chairs in every parc…and watched them with their parents.

We continued to walk past some beautiful statues and fountains and around the Luxembourg Palace as we walked to the Luxembourg Musee; we’ll save that for another day. The rain began and we popped our umbrellas out of the backpacks and continued walking towards the Seine River. By the time we reached the bridge with the “Love Locks” it was pouring and very windy. Our friends had emailed further instructions and so we were off to find their lock again and we did! We were amazed at our luck as there are literally thousands of locks!

We walked from there to the newly renovated D’Orsay Musee; already closed for the day. It was 7 pm by now; the rain had stopped and we headed back towards the Louvre to find the Metro. Jim had purchased a 30 day card called Restopolitan that allows us to make reservations on the Internet with certain restaurants and pay only half price. We’d searched out several in our area and selected O’Zaromes at 14 rue Jean Maridor in the 15th….about a mile from our apartment for dinner tonight. We’ll have to use the card at least twice to get our value out of it.

We took the Metro to the Boucicant Station…near the hospital where I stayed for several days in 1992…and walked the last three blocks to the restaurant for our 7:30 pm reservation. It was a small place and the wife is the chef and the husband waits the tables and tends the bar. A delicious dinner starting with a Kir and a bottle of house wine with dinner; Jim had duck and I had beef.

We enjoyed walking home in the crisp clear evening air; arriving home before 10 pm. It was nice to not worry about the blog as I knew we had time this morning as we wait for the plumber to arrive to fix the leak in the water heater. A nice excuse to have a relaxing morning. My little finger is still giving me problems (from my fall on the escalator pulling luggage on our first day) so I’ve taped it to the ring finger with a popsicle stick under it; typing is difficult! But it does feel better already.

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