Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dinner in Paris with friends

I'm awake early and couldn't resist posting the photos from our delightful dinner last night with Nicolas and Maeliss, our friends who live in Paris.

They arrived at our apartment at half past seven o'clock and we enjoyed a glass of wine before walking to the La Jacobine Restaurant.  The place was full, so glad we made our reservations several days ahead.   And, thankful that God provided us good weather for the whole day! 

They were delighted when they saw the restaurant as they had a lunch here before and had fond memories of good food.  Jim had his canard one more time along with foi-gras; he was a happy camper.  As we were leaving they showed us the restaurant next door that goes back to the revolutionary times and was frequented by Robespierre and Benjamin Franklin!  It was opened in 1686. 

A fun evening that ended as we put them on the Metro for their trip home to Maisons-Laffitte, a small town about fifteen minutes outside of Paris.  We were snug in our apartment before eleven o'clock.

A side's Friday night in Paris and our neighbors upstairs had a party that lasted until the wee hours of the morning.   But we took sleeping pills and had a decent night's sleep in spite of the fun upstairs.  Now to pack and move out to the airport area.  No rain is predicted for today!!  We're going to walk the ten minutes to the RER this afternoon pulling our luggage!  

Here are all the photos in a slideshow: 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cernuschi Museum and Parc Monceau

Sunshine after two days of rain; all of Paris is out to enjoy the rays of sunshine!   We departed about half past eleven o'clock and our destinations in the eighth arrondissment.  Our first stop was at the art gallery where Maeliss' cousin works; not there today so we enjoyed the gallery and continued to our next site.  Mr. Jim is leading the way today and I'm just following along trying to keep up with his long footsteps.

The second stop was at a Galerie that makes replica's of famous paintings.   We'd found their name at the Museum Fournaise in Chatou; they'd made the replica of "The Luncheon of The Boating Party" for the museum.  Today we found out that it was done twenty-five some years ago.  Their work is beautiful and expensive.  

Continuing our walk we entered the Parc Monceau that is surrounded by very expensive homes.  With the sun out today the park was crowded with runners, walkers and those who were sitting with the faces raised to the sun.  I took lots of photos for you in the park.  Across the park we entered the Cernuschi Museum; Asian Art, mainly Chinese.  Again, a former mansion that the owner filled with his favorite art and then donated to the City of Paris.  Free except for the special exhibition. 

Back across the park that emptied out into the broad street of Avenue Hoche.  This is in a direct line with the Arc de Triomphe and you can see it even before you leave the park.  When we were nearly at the Arc de Triomphe we stopped for a visit at the Catholic Church where we renewed our wedding vows with our children in 2010, St. Josephs.   It has been the only Catholic Church that uses the English Language in Paris since before the great wars.  In recent years it was in need of restoration and a decision was made to tear down the church, put the new and very modern church on the ground floor and build an office building for income above.   A win win for everyone. 

We caught the Metro on the circle and headed towards an old favorite that we haven't seen yet on this trip:  Sainte Chapelle.   With the beautiful sunshine it was a perfect day to go for a visit to the chapel that has the huge stained glass windows that soar over your heads all the way to the ceilings.   We got off the Metro at Chatelet and walked across the Seine River at the Concierge, taking a few more "selfies" as we crossed the bridge.   The line to enter was one of the shortest I've ever seen.  You can stand for an hour or more during the summer, we were in and through security within fifteen minutes.  They are on the last piece of renovation that has been in progress since 2008 and should be finished this year.  A grand and glorious way to end our trip.

Leaving about half past three we had three choices:  1) walk back a bit and catch a Metro, 2) stop at the next bus stop for the bus or 3) walk ten minutes to the apartment.  We decided since it was such a beautiful day we'd walk along the Seine River and enjoy the view. 

We were nearly home when we started through the shortcut under the Institute of France building; they opened an exhibit a few days ago from the Beaux Arts School on Photography.   Jim decided to see if it was free; yes it was.  So we stopped in to see what they had and enjoyed our last museum for this trip.  We were home by four o'clock with time to have a snack and relax, make phone calls and send my blog before our friends arrive for dinner this evening.  The refrigerator and cupboards are bare except for some cereal for breakfast and a bottle of wine to share with our friends before we walk to the restaurant.

More than likely this will be my last blog except for a follow up after we arrive home on Sunday evening.  Tomorrow we check out of the apartment and go to a hotel very near to the airport.

Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Montparnasse Cemetery

What....another cemetery you say!   But they can be fun.  Montparnasse Cemetery is located in the south of Paris in the fourteenth arrondissmont.  It is very near one of the popular tourist sites called the Montparnasse Tower.  From the fifty-sixth floor you can take 360 degree panoramic views of Paris.  The best views other than the Eiffel Tower. 

Today started later than usual; I actually slept in until half past nine this morning.  Raining hard most of the night and it continued until nearly noon.    We waited for the management company to send someone over about the television.  We can only get the basic channels and it appears they need to pay a fee for us.  They came, yes we were right, as of tonight we're still waiting.  Actually, we are getting all of the channels that we normally get in Paris.  But, we've been spoiled with some very special channels this month such as the museum channel.  But, the apartment will be empty after we leave for some repairs so I'm sure they really don't want to pay a month's fee when it will be empty in two more days.  They'd put down a new wood floor among other renovations and the adhesive has come loose.  They'll probably have to move out all the furniture and start over. 

We heard lots of noise outside our window and when we looked a large truck had parked in the center of the's one way and very narrow....and the traffic was backed up for three blocks and they were all honking their horns.  It didn't clear for about half an hour.  The French move in their own time and double parking in these small streets for extended periods of time is common. 

About noon we dressed warmly, took our umbrellas and headed for the Metro Station.  It had stopped raining and we decided to get out for a few hours.  Along the way we stepped into an open door and found a cute window display of two drawfs, one dressed as a bishop.  Always fun to peek inside of the large green doors when they are open.

I then noticed the cars and thought I'd give you some examples of how close they park to each other.  I sometimes wonder how they get in an out of the spaces.  Enjoy. 

Soon we'd arrived at Montparnasse and because we walked the wrong way we found the theater district with many old theaters and restaurants.   We started asking for directions...none of the ones we received worked because they were pointing to the cemetery but there were no gates to enter.  Finally we walked back past the Metro Station and around the corner and voila...there was the gate. 

It's a beautiful cemetery built on grounds that were the dumps of Paris for many years until the city walls encompassed this area also.  It's level compared to the other two we have visited.  Very nice and easy to walk maps available.  So we had the same problems as yesterday.  Except that today it was not raining; well not for the first hour at least.  Then the rains came.  We didn't find any of the people we'd hoped to find; but found a famous French Singer and many beautiful and unusual tombstones.  One that was extremely unusual was a large fish with women's breast on the side?  The saying on the back was I will eat sardines.   So I think this was suppose to be a sardine.

The rain came down much stronger than yesterday so we were soon headed back for the Metro and home.  Stopped at the grocery store for something for dinner tonight.  Last night was nice but we do enjoy eating at home.  Picked up something easy that we could finish tonight.  Tomorrow is our big farewell dinner.  Looks like the rain will continue most of the night.  Yes...I did bring a backup pair of old tennis shoes.   I wore those today and I think they will also stay in Paris when I leave.  Both pairs are pretty wet inside.  Not to worry:   I do have a lightweight pair of tennis shoes for the trip home and my good flats for dinner tomorrow night. 

One of my readers said that she was going to miss checking in each night to see what Martha and Jim had done for the day....we will also miss sharing with you.  We've truly enjoyed this month.

Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A rainy day visit to Pere Lachaise Cemetery

The day started early and the rain started even earlier.  I awoke to rain at 5:30 am and it continued for most of the day.   We enjoyed reading our books for the morning and then about noon we dressed warmly and headed for the Metro Station. 

We had carefully mapped out the directions to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in the twentieth arrondissment.  It required three Metro changes before we'd arrived in the north east corner of Paris.  This is one of the oldest and definitely the largest cemetery in Paris.  It's twice the size of any of the other major cemeteries in the city.  Usually you can get or sometimes have to buy a paper map of the cemetery from the office to help you find the more famous people who are buried there.  Many of the guidebooks also provide you with information to help you find your way around.

But we arrived in the rain with no map and no guidebooks and the cemetery did not have any maps to give us or even sell to us.  So we stood in the rain writing down numbers of people that we'd like to find on the large map at the entrance.   I took some photos of the map and off we went to see who we could find.  In over an hour we'd only located four:   Heloise and Abelard; Frederic Chopin; the politician Denon from the early 1800's; and Louis David a famous artist from the time of Napoleon Bonapart.     We were soaked and ready to go home, especially since we'd been here before.  Reminder:  Take a map and instructions with you when you plan to visit any of the cemeteries in Paris.  

Back on the Metro for the reverse trip home.  Once in our neighborhood we took time to walk to the restaurant that we are eating at on Friday with friends; there we made our reservation.  La Jacobine Restaurant, a small French place located off of rue Saint-Andre-des-Arts in the Cour du Commerce which is a small covered passage that leads to other shops on a walking street.  Jim found this restaurant last September when we were having dinner with friends from home and we really enjoyed the evening.  He found it in Trip Advisor that places it #120 out of over eleven thousand restaurants in Paris.  And, it's only five minutes walk from our apartment.

We arrived at the apartment just after three o'clock, ate some lunch and spent the afternoon reading and enjoying our day inside while the rain continued.  Jim also planned the route for our trip this evening during this time.  I've basically been doing the Metro Routes so it will be fun to sit back and follow his lead.

About six o'clock we headed over to the Metro Station.   A couple of changes and we were over in the Eiffel Tower area.  Our first stop was to walk down one of our favorite streets:  Rue Cler.  The street made famous by Rick Steves Tours and is a great place to stay in Paris.  Full of shops and vendors providing a market every day.  Many good restaurants and an easy walk to the Eiffel Tower and other sites in the western part of the sixth and all of the seventh arrondissments.  They still had their Christmas lights on in this area and it was fun to see what they had strung across the street.

From there we found our way to rue Saint-Dominique and a Chinese Restaurant called Saveurs D'Asie.  We'd eaten here in 2012 after meeting the son of the owners; he was the one who helped us connect with our computers in the MacDonalds when we were in an apartment with no Internet.  The son is currently studying in Germany but the food had been so good we decided to go for a meal.  Since we leave in a couple of days we've been cleaning out the refrigerator and will probably eat the rest of our dinners in restaurants. 

Jim enjoyed canard and rice while I had caramelized chicken and rice.    The rain was pouring all the way there but it was a great meal and when we finished we sloshed through the puddles over to the Eiffel Tower for one last look at the strobe lights at the eight o'clock show. 

Back to the Metro and home again.  Jim did a great job with the Metro Trains tonight; it was nice to just follow along and not think about where we were going.   My shoes were swimming by the time we arrived home.  I've developed a crack in the sole I think and they are no longer water tight.  These shoes will stay in Paris when I leave!  

Hope you enjoy the slideshow:  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Visit to the Petit Palais

Spent this morning reading my newest book, actually one that I read several years ago.  I'd loaded it in to my Kindle Books before leaving since we planned to visit the town of Chatou on this trip.  Yes, this is the book that first tweaked my interest in Renior's painting; "Luncheon of the Boating Party" by Susan Vreeland.    The book is a "novel" about the story behind the painting and each of the models within the painting and their relationship to Renior.   Hopefully it's all based on historical facts but even if she's taken a great deal of literary license; the book is fun to read from the first page forward.

I did a bit of housekeeping today; wood floors seem to create dust bunnies and with the construction going on in our hallway; a bit of sweeping is necessary occasionally.   We could have paid to have someone come in weekly but decided to do it ourselves. 

About two o'clock we dressed and headed out; the sun was shining but it was cold.  We first walked to rue Bonaparte to check out the Beau Arts School that is only a couple of blocks from our apartment.  The students were returning from their lunch break and we walked in with them into the courtyard.  We checked out the bulletin board and found that yes, tourists can visit the school but only on the second Monday of each month.  Well we've missed that opportunity this trip so we walked back to the apartment to leave some of the newspapers that we'd picked up at the school. 

Back out on the street we headed for our Metro Station and were just about there when Jim commented on how cold it was and that he should have worn his overcoat instead of just his blazer.  Back to the apartment for a change of coats and then finally we were off on our planned journey for the day.  Only two changes in the Metro and we'd arrived at the Metro Champs Elysees Clemenceau. 

We walked down the street noticing that many of the Christmas decoration were finally gone and those that have not yet been removed have finally had their lights turned off.  The beautiful Petit Palais was only a block away; always a joy to visit and free except for special exhibitions.   Not crowded today and we walked right in with the exception of problems at the security check point.  The umbrellas in my pockets set off the alarms and it took a while to figure out what the problem was.

This is a stately building that was built for the 1900 Exposition and has been retained as a place to exhibit a portion of the vast array of art owned by the government.  There are paintings here by nearly every well known artist; one or two from each and sometimes you have to search to find them among the lesser known works.
One of my favorites was back on the wall today.  In September it was out on loan to another museum for a special exhibit.  It is Claude Monet's "Sunset over the Seine" that was painted in 1880. 

Jim had never been in the downstairs portion so most of our time was spent there.   I'd seen most of it with the girls last September.  Consequently, I found a spot to sit and read my book on my cell phone while Jim perused the art.  Suddenly my cell phone went off; as I desperately searched my purse the guard came to glare at me!   By the time I found the phone it had stopped but I knew that Jim had missed me and was out looking.  I searched the halls and finally found him.  The cell phones paid off again!

We then went upstairs and enjoyed our old favorites before getting our coats and heading back outside after an hour of enjoying the art.   It was four o'clock by now so we decided to walk up the Champs Elysees as Jim has only been there at night on New Years Eve on this trip.  Remember, he was sick with his cold on the day I walked it last week.   Always a fun walk, I began by standing in the middle of the street for two changes of the lights to get some photos of the Arc de Triomphe at one end and the Ferris Wheel at the other.  Jim was very patiently waiting for me on the curb when I finally completed my journey across the broad boulevard.

Along our walk we enjoyed visiting three different car dealerships to see the old and new cars on display.  Watched people rent two Ferraris and there was also a Lamborghini available; for twenty minutes you can drive one (with a partner provided for the drive) for eighty nine euros!  A bit steep for my ideal of fun.  Hopefully they get to put the pedal to the medal and make the engine roar at sometime during their twenty minutes.

Soon we were at the Arc de Triomphe and headed down into the Metro for our journey home.  The train was very crowded and we stood for a good portion of the trip.  After we changed lines we each got a seat for the remainder of the journey.
We stepped off the Metro at about six o'clock and headed towards our last destination of the day, the Cafe Flores on the Boulevard Saint-Germain.  Another famous coffee shop since the days of Hemingway.  We enjoyed sitting outside, under the red hot heaters along the top of the overhang, and Jim had Earl Gray Tea and I enjoyed a cappuccino. 

By seven o'clock we were back in the apartment and enjoying some cheese and olives before starting our dinner.  A lovely evening.  Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Paris Walk through Toulouse-Lautrec's Paris: Montmartre

Today we decided to take one of the walks in our book entitled "Forever Paris":  Toulouse-Lautrec's Paris that takes us around the neighborhood of Montmartre.  We've been there many times, including this trip but today we were searching for specific addresses on buildings.

We started our trek at three o'clock as we headed for our trusty Metro Station and with only a few changes we were  at the Pigalle Metro Station at the foot of the Montmartre Hill.  We walked about six blocks discovering the four apartments where Toulous lived and also a chocolate shop by the name of L'Etoile d'Or that has the very best chocolates in Paris per the book.   This was at #30 rue Pierre Fontaine.  Degas also lived in this apartment.

Our second site was the Moulin Rouge.  Been there done that but generally at night.  I was amazed at the long line of people standing in line to purchase tickets.  You couldn't pay me to go there, but it's always fun to see from the outside.   This was the favorite haunt of our artist and was the inspiration for one of his most famous posters featuring the dancer La Goulue.

A short walk towards the Montmartre Cemetery took us to the building where he spent twelve years on the fifth floor.  It has huge glass windows all along that floor making a perfect studio for him.  This is located at # 7 rue Tourlaque.  Back up the hill we continued our trip slowly up the famous rue Lepic that runs from the bottom of the hill all the way up to the top and into the artist area that is surrounded by restaurants.

Along the way we passed the old wooden windmill that stands at the top of the hill and then nearby the famous one that is surrounded by the restaurant Moulin de la Galette, a dancing hall during Toulous' day as well as a restaurant.   Soon we were at the top and enjoying the artists trying
to entice tourist to pose for a drawing.  One stopped Jim two different times and tried to talk him into a pastel drawing.  They love his beard!   One of my favorite restaurants here in the square is La Maison Catherine and the one that I always have Onion Soup at when I have the opportunity.  Today I learned that this is one of the oldest and the one that fed many of the starving artists over the years.

Around the bend and down the hill a bit on the back side we found the Montmartre Museum at # 12 Cartot.  At first we thought it might be closed as there was extensive repairs on the building next door but the garden gate was open.  So happy as it started to rain just as we arrived!

We learned that this is the oldest house on the hill.  It had fabulous views over the northwest part of Paris and today I was lucky to see a rainbow when the rain stopped.  The collection was extensive; lesser known artists but very interesting.  And, extensive amount of photos and information from the years of the Impressionistic Artists.

There was a large model of the Montmartre Hill with pins showing where all of the various artists lived.  There were two buildings that had multiple pins:  the museum and Bateau Lavoir.

Both Monet and Renior stayed in this house at various times while they were painting on the hill.  A favorite of ours was painted in the garden with a swing.   By the time we left the rain had stopped and we enjoyed the gardens before leaving this moment in history.

Back around the hill, we stopped to enjoy a silver painted mimic who danced a jig for me after we gave him a euro.  Then a quick look at Sacre Couer basilica before climbing on the Funiculaire for the trip down the hill.  We were two of four in the car; I've never seen it this empty before!

Jim window shopped all the way down the long block that is full of shops.  No bargains for what he wanted so we managed to arrive at the Anvers Metro Station without extra parcels.   When we got on the train it was packed solid...sardine can time...but by the time we were half way home it had thinned out and we both had seats.

A quick stop at the grocery store and we were home by five o'clock.  A lovely day and an even nicer evening.  I hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

Concert at Eglise Notre Dame de Lorette

Yesterday was a quiet Sunday in Paris for us.  We spent most of the day in our apartment; reading, checking the Internet for news, watching our Museum Channel on Television, bookkeeping for me and Jim did the cooking.  Our colds are using lots of tissues but we're mending.

About three o'clock we headed out the door for the Metro.  We only had to make one change to reach our destination.  There we walked up the exit and we were right next to...shall I say it sits on top of the Metro...our destination.   The church of Our Lady of Lorette.

We stopped by this church yesterday and saw the posters for the Concert tonight that is Johann Sebastian Bach:  Sonates and Partitas.  It sounded good so we came here this afternoon for Mass instead of St. Eustache as we'd originally planned.   And, it would also give us an opportunity to see the inside as it was locked up tight yesterday.

In reading our "Forever Paris" book about the walks; we discovered that this is the neighborhood where Monet lived with his parents during his early childhood.  The beautiful baptismal font that is pictured here was the very one where they baptized him as a baby.  So it has a bit of history for us also. 

We arrived early before four o'clock and checked out the best seats for acoustics and then enjoyed the practice session.   The actual performance started at four-thirty; by then the church was full and an elderly gentleman perfectly blocked my view!  Oh well.  Did I say...even with the heaters going full blast, everyone kept their coats on during the's a cold but dry day in Paris.

The first part of the event was a lecture on the music that was to be played.  We didn't get much out of that but the music was beautiful.  It you are on Facebook; I posted a short video. 

We had half an hour between the Concert and the beginning of Mass, so we took the opportunity to walk around the neighborhood.  The Mass was in French and sometimes it's hard to concentrate but we do enjoy the organ and singing by the people. 

After Mass we hopped back on our Metro at the door of the church and arrived home for a late dinner prepared by chef Jim.  Yes, I'm doing the washing up for him. 

Hope you enjoy the mini slideshow: 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Shopping Passages and the Gustave Moreau Museum

We had a relaxing day that began about noon when we headed for our Metro Station.  Three changes and we were in the ninth arrondissment.  Remember that Paris has twenty districts called arrondissments.  Arriving about 1 pm we spent the next hour walking leisurely through two of the beautiful Galeries sometimes also called Passages.  Many of these vintage covered shopping malls are being given a new life here in Paris.

Today we visited the Passage Jouffroy and the Passage Verdeau that are just across the street from each other.  The style of both is very Belle Epoque, reminiscent of the 1870's up to 1914 when many of these were originally built.  Art Galleries, Book Shops, Clothing Stores, Gift Shops and wonderful little restaurants fill these malls.   There are less than fifty of these scattered around Paris but more and more of them are being brought back to life as the French people and the Tourists flock to shop in them.

We then found a building at  #35 rue St. Georges where Renoir had a studio at one time, no plaque on the wall here.  Then nearby was #80 rue Taitbout where we found Square d'Oleans.  The door was locked but we took a photo through the grill on the gate of the beautiful residences behind the gate.  This was the home of the famous Polish Composer Frederic Chopin and the writer George Sands among other famous people.

We were standing outside the Church of Notre Dame-de-Lorette talking about the concert that is scheduled for Sunday afternoon when a group of people asked us how to find Notre Dame.  We got out the maps and gave it our best shot but in retrospect I wish we'd taken then on the Metro and shown them how to use it and also get them to Notre Dame or at least close to it.  They were walking they said.   They were from Brazil and spoke beautiful English.  Hind sight is always so much better than what we do but maybe they'll be a next time.   But as of now we do plan to go back to see the concert tomorrow night.

It was now two o'clock and our next site would now be open.  It was closed from noon to two o'clock for lunch.   Located at #14 rue de la Rochefoucauld in the ninth arr. is the home and now a museum of the artist Gustave Moreau.  He was a born in Paris and his father, an architect, recognized his talent and gave his full financial support to his son.  This allowed him to paint and also to give financial support to many struggling artists friends through the years.

Above the living quarters there were two double storied art studios that each took a full floor.  Each is full of finished and many unfinished works of art by Moreau.   We spent an enjoyable hour there looking at all of the art.   We spent time yesterday looking for his grave in the Montmartre and finally decided it was the one that was positioned on the map but the engraving had been lost over the years.  Much like the one for Edgar Degas but someone had put a marker of sorts on that grave.  That was one of the reasons that we decide to take a look at his Museum.  And, we've just discovered that it is open today for the first time in months after completing a lengthy restoration.  What luck!

After leaving the museum we started walking to some more of the Passages and then decided to hop on the Metro and head for home.  I've definitely got a head cold...but no sore throat....and we called it a day. 

But one more surprised awaited us on the Metro.  As many of you know, "street performers" hop on and off of the Metro Trains all the time for a short performance.  Then they pass the hat for coins and are off at the next stop.  But today we were in for a show!   Two neatly dressed young men, suits and ties, started a pantomime with recorded music.  Cute and the French were chuckling at their comments.  Suddenly they started a strip tease routine.  And one was doing a pole dance that had his feet on the ceiling.  The pants were fixed to come off with one swoop of the hand and suddenly they were in their underwear...and they were made from material featuring a map of the Metro System!
Needless to say they received coins from many before they hopped off at the next stop with their clothes in hand.  They dressed and we saw them across the way getting on another train to repeat the same performance.  A fun trip home.

Stopped at the grocery store for meat for tonight and tomorrow before heading home.  It's looked like rain all day but we never saw any and the sun was actually breaking through the clouds at times.   Jim fixed a delicious dinner tonight.  Yes...he's back in the kitchen again.

Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Montmartre Cemetery

This morning we both went to the Laundromat and did three loads of laundry including the sheets and towels.  Now we're set for the last week of our vacation.  We were surprised in the laundromat with all new posters of art shows on the walls.  Made the place very festive.  I left Jim in charge of the machines and walked over to the grocery store for a box of tissues...both of our noses are running with the cold weather.  Yes, today it seems the coldest ever! 

At three o'clock we caught the #95 bus that took us towards Montmartre; but we got off the bus at the cemetery just before you enter the area around Montmartre.  The road actually goes over the top of the cemetery.   Walking down steps we entered and stopped at the office for a free map showing the sites of some of the more famous people who are buried here.  There was a beautiful cat sitting on the counter and I remember that Jim said this cemetery is known to have many cats.  But this is the only one I saw today!

We spent nearly two hours tromping around the old cemetery and found nearly all of the ones that we had marked on the map.   One that was impossible to find was Gustave Moreau the painter.  But we think it was one of those that had such a soft stone that the engraving had disappeared. 

Some that we found:  Family of Camondo; the Jewish Banking family that donated their home to Paris in honor of the son who was killed in WW I; then the daughter was turned over to the Nazi in WW II and died at Auschwitz.  We've visited the beautiful home that is now a museum last fall.

The Painter Edgar Degas, the writer Alexandre Dumas, the composer Jacques Offenbach and Emile Zola, a writer whose body was transferred to the Pantheon but his tombstone is still here.

We watched workman use a lift with an arm that extended out far enough to reach over several rows of graves to the one that they were working on.  They put down the heavy new marble marker and then proceeded to use it for lifting the stone on the old ones that they were replacing.  Made me think of my growing up years; my father was the superintendent of a very large cemetery and we lived across the street.   We also watched from a distances as mourners came for a buried service.  Yes, the cemetery is very old but still has new burials all the time.  I'm not sure but I think if a family stops paying the fees; the ground is resold...not sure about that. 

We rode the bus both ways today, a nice change from the underground.  But it was so cold!  We walked to Notre Dame area to check out the elevator that goes down from the street to the RER B for our trip out to Charles de Gaule Airport next week.  If the weather is good we'll walk the ten minutes to this elevator that goes directly to the track for the train.  If it's raining we'll be getting a taxi for the short trip to the train station at St. Michel.   Good to plan ahead.
Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Visiting Chatou and the Ile des Impressionnistes

A rainy day full of wonderful surprises.  We took the train this afternoon and went about fifteen minutes west of Paris to the town of Chatou.   There we walked along the  Seine River towards the bridge that crosses the river to the town of Malmaison.  Half way across there is an access road to a large island in the center of the river that is known as the Isle of the Impressionists because in the late nineteenth century they would spend their weekends here painting on this island.

When we left the apartment about one o'clock it was lightly raining.  It continued raining all day but we always managed to be between storms when we were walking except for that original walk.  The walk from the station took about twenty minutes along a broad walking path boarding the river.

As we descended from the bridge we saw the set up for a large Circus that is taking place in a few days at one end of the island.  We were headed towards the other side where there is a famous restaurant that was visited by all of the artists during their weekends.  The restaurant was established in 1857 by Alphonse Fournaise and his wife.  They also rented boats and had a few rooms that they rented out.  Parisians loved to get out into the cooler countryside and enjoyed boating; easily arriving by rail. 

In the 1870's and 80's, Maison Fournaise was the place to be for Monet, Manet, Renoir and others.  One of my favorite paintings by Renoir was painted on the patio of this restaurant over a series of weeks.  Entitled "The Luncheon at the Boating Party".   I recently was given a very good copy of this painting that now hangs in my dining room.  Prior to this I enjoyed reading the book that was written about making this painting with the background stories of everyone involved.

Jim was humoring me with going but it turned out he enjoyed it as much if not more than I did.  And, this has been the first day since New Years Eve that he has felt like going out for the day.  The last luncheon customers were leaving as we arrived.  The hostess talked with us and told us where to find the Museum but she thought it might still be closed.  She suggested that we might like to come back for a coffee if it was closed.

Outside we walked around the building and found the boathouse that has been converted into a Museum.  The restaurant was closed in 1906.  It slowly became derelict until in 1977 when the city of Chatou purchased the property and finally in 1990 it reopened as a restaurant, reinstalling an orange striped awning as in Renoir's painting.  The Boathouse was made into a lovely and surprisingly modern museum. 

We tried the door and it didn't open; looked through the windows and were preparing to leave when a lovely young girl opened the door and invited us in.  We'd turned the handle the wrong way.  Not many photos as I was asked not to take photos inside the museum.
The Museum Fournaise is dedicated to the work done by all painters of this strech of the Seine River, Impressionists and Fauvists alike, as well as contemporary painters who have captured the spirit of the Seine River as it was in prior years.  The film of the river, the painters and its paintings plays continually in the last room of the Museum.  Since we were the only visitors there, she changed the audio to English.  We'd have loved to purchase a copy but none were for sale.

Jim wanted to purchase an umbrella that has the Painting of the Luncheon of the Boating Party on it; but at sixty euros, I thought it a bit expensive.  We settled on a postcard of the painting before leaving her a nice tip for inviting us into the Museum.  It was truly one of the biggest surprises that we've had due to excellent copies of many and several originals that we had not expected to see in such a small museum.  They even had audio guides in English for us to use. 

All too soon we'd seen everything and felt it was time to head to the station before another rainstorm started.  We walked around the outside with new eyes after our visit to the museum; enjoying many things that we'd missed when we'd arrived.  This time we walked on across the bridge to the station at Rueil-Malmaison.  Actually it was a shorter distance but not nearly as pretty as the one along the river on the way to the island.

Back on the train and into the city, rain threatened at any moment but held off until after we were safely back in our apartment.  Dinner tonight was chicken fillets cooked in butter and wine with slices of fresh mushrooms, baked yams and some mixed vegetables.  Most was purchased this morning on my visit to the local grocery store before our trip.

The original painting has been in the Phillips Collection, a Museum in Washington, D.C., for many years.

Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Completing the Hemingway Walk

We woke to sunshine again and Jim was feeling better so by eleven o'clock we were out the door and walking towards St. Suplice Church.  Walking past the church we found our first site at # 6 on Rue Ferou; a home where Hemingway lived with his second wife Pauline around 1927.  By this time he was making money but it was his wife's wealthy family that actually purchased the property for them.  A far cry from the two room apartment with the bathroom down the hall that we saw two days ago.

On this street we also found the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud chiseled into the wall.  He was a much beloved French poet who died very young.  The poem on the wall was "Le Bateau Ivre" (The Drunken Boat).   Jim was enthralled as he knew both the poem and the author.

Continued walking up the street to the entrance to the Luxembourg Museum, then around the corner to #10 Bis rue Serandoni and the favorite restaurant of the author John Baxter whose book Jim has been reading while we are here in Paris.   The Baxter family also lives in this area; but not sure just where.

Walking west along the north wall of the Luxembourg Gardens we headed towards the home of Gertrude Stein at #27 rue de Fleurus.   This street had the added bonus of many art deco buildings that were fun to look at.  Soon we walked back a block to rue d'Assas and walked south along the west wall of the Luxembourg Gardens all the way to the Gardens of Grands Explorations at the south end of the Gardens.  Here we enjoyed the beautiful fountain of wild horses; dry as all small fountains in Paris are at this time of the year.  Even the beautiful Wallace drinking fountains are turned off during the winter. 

Across the street we found the Closerie des Lilas restaurant (this was our destination when we got lost on Monday); and it was also visible from the RER Station that we'd used on Monday.   No plaque on the need to go into the bar to find it.   So we turned and walked down the nearby Notre Dame des Champs to #113.   Hemingway lived here with Hadley after he'd was making more money and it is rumored that he wrote his famous "The Sun Also Rises" while sitting in the nearby restaurant Closerie des Lilas.  The building is gone and another modern building stands in it's place.

We turned around and walked back to the restaurant and this time Jim insisted on going inside and asking if we could take a photo of the plaque at the bar.  They were wonderful...of course we remembered to greet them and then ask....and we took our photo of the place where he sat at the bar  and did his writing.

We then walked across the street and caught the RER back to St. Michel; there we changed to the Metro and exited at the Odeon Station.    This time we were looking for # 12 rue de L'Odeon; this is where the original Skakespeare and Company Bookstore was opened by Sylvia Beech.  She is also famous for being the only one who would publish "Ulysses" written by James Joyce.   Her bookstore became a haven for the many writers who flocked to Paris in the early 1900's including Hemingway.

We walked up the street to L'Odeon Theater of Europe, rounded the corner and headed for # 41 rue Monsieur le Prince:  Polidor Restaurant; a favorite of Hemingway's when he was poor!   We also think that this restaurant was used in the movie "Midnight in Paris" for the old building that turns into a laundromat when he turns around.  It looks like it and there is a photo of Woody Allen that was dated 2010 in the window.  We'll have to watch the movie again!  I do hope we've remembered that correctly. 

Our tour was finished so we turned around and headed up boulevard Saint Germain towards our apartment.   Suddenly we notice a movie theater and saw that they were playing the newly released movie "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty".  We decided to go home for lunch and come back for the three o'clock show since it is still in the English Version with French Subtitles. 

We enjoyed the movie and then walked over to the three famous restaurants on boulevard St.-Germain where everyone who was anyone spent time in the Hemingway years.  Tonight we sat outside of Les Deux Magots and enjoyed Hot Chocolate for Jim and Capachino for me after taking photos of Cafe de Flore and Brasserie Lipp.  A fun evening and something I've always wanted to do.  We made a toast to twin Mary and her friend Violett who wanted to do this in September but ran out of time!

We even stopped and purchased roasted chestnuts from the vendor in front of the restaurant before walking home to the apartment.  We were nearly there when we decided to walk out to the river before dinner.  Enjoyed the views, using my "night scene" setting I got some nice photos before we started back.   The rain started just after we saw the spot light on the wall; creating art using the branches of a tree.  We rushed the last block and then enjoyed a wonderful evening at home.

Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Army Patrols on the Avenue Des Champs Elysees

WHAT did I I strolled with a team of three army personal carrying their automatic weapons at the ready...a point man and at least thirty feet back two more spread apart making a perfect triangle as they walked the famous boulevard.  I've never felt quite so safe!

My day started about nine o'clock when I got up and opened my current book; my third since I've arrived, called "The French House" by  Nick Alexander.  A great little mindless novel about an English woman and a French man who decide to change their careers and become goat farmers in the mountains above Nice, France.  They start with a very old family owned home that is falling down literally as there is a hole in the roof when they arrive and the story goes from there.  Lots of fun and keeping me interested. 

Jim woke about eleven o'clock and after breakfast I did some shopping for groceries after Laura from the management company arrived to fix the television that stopped working last night.  Since I have to carry everything for four blocks and the storage space plus the refrigerator are all very small;  I do this nearly every other day.

Jim is thrilled to have both his computer and television working but is still under the weather so today was a day off for him.  But I was soon out the door and on the Metro; three changes and I was walking out to the Avenue Des Champs Elysees from under the Arc de Triomphe.

I snapped photos of some of the Christmas decorations that we'd missed  on New Years Eve and took others again in the daylight.  I stopped for a look at the Starbucks in an old Galerie and snapped photos of the theater marques as my object was to see if there was a new movie playing that we wanted to see and is also still in English with only French subtitles (Version Original).  The only one that seems interesting is the new one about Wall Street but I don't think that I really want to see that one. 

I stopped for some shopping at the Monoplix on the Avenue and sure enough I found some great bargains on the square pillowcases!  It was fun shopping for some new things to leave for the next guests in the apartment also. 

All too soon I was past the Rond Point, the intersection of the Champs des Elysees and Franklin Roosevelt; I crossed the street at Winston Churchill and caught the Metro at the Clementine Station.  Wasn't that the name of Winston's wife?  Back to Concorde, changed to the twelve which took me to Severs Babylone and there I changed to the ten that took me to my home station of Mabillon.  I walked into the apartment about half past four.  A nice two hour outing for me.  

I've discovered that I am just fine on my own when traveling but also that I enjoy it more when I'm sharing my journey with another person.  Solo traveling is okay but it's much more fun to share!

I'm enjoying cooking since Jim's been sick and he seems to be pleasantly surprised; he forgets that I did all the cooking during the early years but didn't have the luxury of cooking with wine, butter and special seasonings.  Tonight  I cooked rice and the sauce was slices of two large white sausage links, slices of fresh mushrooms, seasonings, butter, a touch of spicy mustard and simmered in white wine.  Mixed vegetables completed the plate.  A glass of red wine added a nice flavor to the meal.

Dessert tonight is one we have most evenings; half of a chocolate bar; like a hersey bar but European chocolate in the plain wrap on the bottom shelf in the grocery store.  One of the best bargains that my twin and I discovered back in 2009.   Delicious!   Hope you enjoy the slideshow: