Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The Metro walls are covered with posters; the television advertisements are as numerous as those in the USA….this Sunday will be their primary and then they have their final election in May. I really don’t think anyone is very happy with the choices!
This morning started early as I woke before 6 am and worked on my computer until Jim was up. After breakfast he went to the weekly market where he found the best price for an inexpensive umbrella…but at least he has one that is not broken. It got lots of use again today as the rain continued on and off all day and has really been coming down heavy tonight.
We left by Metro about 11 am and headed to the 8th arrondissement to see the Russian Orthodox Cathedral that was featured in the “Midnight in Paris” movie; and the beautiful golden domes on the roof. We were fortunate enough to find it open and were allowed to walk inside for a quiet visit before heading back to the Metro.
We exited the Metro at the Champs Elysees Clemenceau and dodged the raindrops as we crossed the broad boulevards heading towards the Grand and Petit Palais. I thought that the current exposition of photography work was being held in the grand halls of the Grand Palais; but no, it was in an adjacent hall and the large grand hall was empty and not available for us to enjoy. Took some photos through the doors and then walked across the street to tour the Petit Palais’ permanent collection.
I think nearly every famous artist has at least one piece of work displayed in this grand building that is free to walk through for everyone. We so enjoyed finding the little treasures tucked into the various halls of this beautiful building that was built in 1900 for the Universal Exhibition. Designed by Charles Girault, it blends traditional and modern architecture.
My favorite painting was by Monet and generated the comment that named a period of art…Impressionism….a well known critic at the time sarcastically said that “it is a mere impression of the sun rising over a harbor”; hence the famous term “Impressionism” was born.
We left about 2 pm and began walking down the Tuleries towards the Louvre; the wind was worst that the rain so we walked with closed umbrellas. I snapped a photo of the Grand Arche of Defense behind the Arc de Triomphe as we crossed the broad Avenue des Champs Elysees.
We noticed that the Ferris wheel and carnival are not in the park…they must take them down for the winter.
When we reached the Louvre we walked crossed over to the Rue de Rivoli and joined the mass of people dodging the wind and rain by walking under the covered walk ways until they finally ended and we moved over into the Les Halles area; the former major wholesale market in Paris, mainly for produce and meat.
Suddenly we saw a huge construction site and behind it a massive cathedral with flying buttresses. Checking the map we realized that it was Saint-Eustache…another site on my list of things to see. It was right next door to the Les Halles market. Built from 1532 to 1640 it is one of the largest Cathedrals I’ve seen; much wider than but not as long as Notre Dame. When the Les Halles Market was moved in 1969, the life of the neighborhood changed; the church has been very involved in the building of a cultural center on the market site. Construction has just begun and will last until the end of 2013. Underground the four story Les Halles shopping mall is huge and right next door to the church. We walked through it towards our next site.
At 20 rue Etienne Marcel there is a medieval tower called “/Tour Jean-Sans-Peru”. It was designated a protected building for historical purposes 155 years ago and was only opened to the public in 1999. It was a history lesson from start to finish as we read the history on each floor as we climbed the five flights of stairs to the top of the tower that was built next to one of the remaining towers of the Philippe Auguste city wall built in 1190. It’s only open for tours a few afternoons a week…this was our second trip…but well worth the time when you’re next in Paris.
By this time it was 4:30 pm and we were ready to ride the metro home to the apartment. We do love the Metro…we can be home rapidly from anywhere in the city for 1.70 euros each. Can you imagine what a taxi ride would cost!
We had dinner in the apartment and then tried the Internet at McDonalds without success…so we’re back at the apartment on our own time. I’m also trying to find an Internet Café to print a document…..they used to be on every corner…so far I’m not having much luck!
One note of interest you might enjoy is the fact that many adults here ride “razor” scooters around the city and even in the Metro halls. And I’m not just talking just about teenagers…there are adults up to fifty years of age riding them. Sometimes the whole family will be out together, each on their own scooter.