Well I’m back in Paris after a brief stop in Moscow Airport. As always it’s a joy to be in the City of Lights. It’s a shame so much darkness has befallen it in the past year due to attacks by religious fanatics, but I wasn’t going to let that keep me from my ongoing romance with Paris. After all, Georgie W. and his pals created all of this mess in the first place. The least I can do is spread around a few tourist dollars in France and Europe this Summer since that idiot has made things unsafe here for the unforeseeable future.
CHEZ GLADINES – A real French establishment for my first night with no tourists except me.
Saint-Germain – As usual I make a beeline for the Saint-Germain. It’s one of the finest neighborhoods in Paris and boasts a number of boutiques, cafés, brasseries that should not be missed. It’s just a lovely place to stroll around. So join me, won’t you, on a little sojourn around Paris? We’ll stop at my favorite museum, as well as, a new favorite. The crappy weather that was promised never showed up.
BON MARCHÉ – An expensive mall in the St. Germaine feature multiple designers and top quality merchandise at exquisite prices. However, I managed to pick up the scarf for a reasonable amount.
BAR DU MARCHÉ
LE PETIT ZINC – A little Art Nouveau gem in the Saint-Germain.
LES DEUX MAGOTS
LES DEUX MAGOTS – A favorite of Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Picasso to name a few.
Watching the world go by at the Deux Magots with a nice cappuccino. Back in 2000 my former wife, Yelena and I spotted one of her favorite fashion designers passing by, and I managed a discreet photo of her. It turned out to be Sonia Rykiel. Sometime thereabouts I gave her the nickname Sonia, and rarely if ever called her Yelena again for the next twelve years. This, however, was not the cause of our divorce. Maybe it was the other ten nicknames.
En route to the Museé d’Orsay, my favorite museum in Paris.
Outside the D’Orsay
The Museé D’Orsay is a converted railway station and is itself a work of art in its own right. It was inaugurated in 1986 by François Mitterand.
Yes, that’s one of many Statues of Liberty in France. There is next to a bridge in Paris of about the same size, and I saw another about two feet tall in Nice last year on the promenade in front of the Mediterranean.
Art students sketch the statues.
The station’s exquisitely restored clock, a masterpiece in its own right.
Art Nouveau Glass Panels
Art Nouveau Glass Panels
Art Nouveau Bedroom Set – Remember this beautiful bed you may be seeing it again in Lyon.
Alexandre CABANEL – Naissance de Vénus – 1863
Georges SEURAT – Cirque – 1891
Vincent VAN GOGH – Self Portrait
Vincent VAN GOGH – Chaumes de Cordeville à Auvers-sur-Oise – 1890
Claude MONET – Essai de figure en plein-air: Femme à l’ombrelle tournée vers la droite – 1886
Claude MONET – Meules, fin de l’été – 1890
Edgar DEGAS – If you like these Degas pieces make sure and go back to the New York City thread and catch the Degas works that I included from the special exhibit at the MOMA.
Edgar DEGAS – Danseuses montant un escalier – 1886-1890
Edgar DEGAS – La Classe de danse – 1873-1876
Edgar DEGAS – Le Foyer de la Danse à l’Opéra de la Rue le Peletier – 1872
BARGE ON THE SEINE
Palais Royale on the left in the distance
LOVE LOCKS – Love locks inundate one of many bridges overlooking the Seine. Although considered by many to be a romantic gesture, these eyesores have been known to damage the structures they have been affixed to.
Forty-five tons of these things were removed from the Pont des Artes recently. The basic idea is that you put your names on the lock, attach it to the bridge, and then toss the key in the river.
Instead of littering the beautiful bridges of Paris with this kitschy gesture, why not just hold hands watching a sunset from the Pont Neuf instead. And if that isn’t enough throw in a little French kiss and maybe a selfie for good measure if need be.
Preparing for a dolly shot on the same bridge. Pink sneaker girl awaits her fifteen minutes of fame.
The far end of the Jardin des Tuileries
Le Jardin de Tuileries – Looking back at the Louvre
Henri LAURENS – La Musicienne – 1937
Marché aux Fleurs
METRO – ISLE DE LA CITÉ
Saint Chapelle steeple on the left.
NOTRE DAME DE PARIS
Jazz musicians on the bridge to the Isle Saint Louis.
BRASSERIE DE L’ISLE DE SAINT-LOUIS
Notre Dame from the Left Bank.
LEFT BANK BOOKSTALLS
PLACE DE LA SORBONNE
JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG
PALAIS DU LUXEMBOURG
LE PANTHÉON – 1790
I thought this was an amusing take on Hitchcock’s, “The Birds”.
THE LOUVRE – I avoid the Louvre like I avoid Disneyland. It’s the crowds. I managed to see the Mona Lisa there when I was eight. I haven’t been back since. I never went to Disneyland, and have no plans in the future. If I need to take my granddaughter somewhere, we’ll go to Legoland.
PLACE DE LA CONCORDE – Next to the Museé de L’Orangerie – This museum was a big surprise.
MUSEÉ DE L’ORANGERIE – Les Nymphéas – Claude Monet – Prepare yourself.
ROOM #1 – Definitely gets my vote for one of the seven wonders of the art world.
This is how the gallery is lit with natural light. There is an oval skylight where the sun’s rays enter and are filtered through a gauzelike material that diffuses the light evenly throughout the space. Magnificent!
AU REVOIR MONET
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR – Femme nue dans un paysage – 1883
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR – Jeunes Filles au Piano – 1892
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR – La Barque et les baigneurs -1890
Auguste RODIN – The Kiss – Bronze
CATHERINE DENEUVE – Tourist Boat
LEFT BANK BOOK STALLS
PONT NEUF – The Pont Neuf bridge where one day a third of my ashes will be jettisoned into the Seine. The remaining two thirds will be tossed into the Loire and Dordogne rivers by my heirs as a condition of their inheritance.
Of course, they’ll get a nice vacation out of it to fulfill their obligations. It beats the hell out of a depressing funeral in my book.
Every time I’m in Paris there is always some erotic eye-catching advertisement in the Metro that is everywhere. This year there were two. The Chronicles of Snow White above, and Caroline Vignaux “Quitte La Robe” below. Now I must admit the idea of Caroline Vignaux taking her clothes off was a bit more compelling. However, I did some research and found out she is a comedienne, and it is a one-woman show she is doing. So I suspect she doesn’t really get naked except in a metaphorical sense. The posters do get your attention though, and the show got rave reviews.
CAROLINE VIGNEAUX – Quitte La Robe
DONKEY KONG – Jace 2015
GARE DU NORD – I mistakenly showed up here thinking a beautiful restaurant, Le Train Bleu, was inside. I mixed it up with the Gare de Lyon.
TERMINUS NORD BRASSERIE – 1925 – My mistake did not go unrewarded. I decided to settle for a meal here and wasn’t disappointed. Le Train Bleu would have to wait until tomorrow.
NOTRE DAME AT NIGHT
Chic and Funky Streets of the Marais
Steampunk Tricycle Extraordinaire – Even the whiskers are amazing.
AMORINO – Available throughout Europe, this is first-rate gelato.
There aren’t many of these art nouveau metro masterpieces left. This is the only redeeming feature of the Châtelet metro station. You will understand later as I am forced to use this hub after my jazz show.
SUNSIDE/SUNSET – Guilhem Flouzat Quartet – Real Jazz from a NYC dwelling Frenchman back on his home turf doing a gig in the Marais.
LE TRAIN BLEU – Amazing Belle Epoque Restaurant in the Gare de Lyon – I rushed on over in the metro just in time to leave Paris in style. I live in a lot of hostels, but I do manage a bit of luxury now and again.
The birthday scene from the film “La Femme Nikita” was filmed at that table to the left of the blond. See the French version of this film if you haven’t seen it already. It’s a fantastic film directed by Luc Besson who directed the perennial favorite, “The Fifth Element”. In fact, he married the stars of both movies, Anne Parillaud and Milla Jovovich. Oh la la!
La Femme Nikita – Anne Parillaud has just discovered that her 21st birthday gift is actually a large semi-automatic pistol that she has been instructed to use on a gentleman at a nearby table. She is removing the gloves to do the job only to find the bathroom window she is supposed to make her escape through has been bricked over. Recognize the woodwork, gilding, and brass luggage racks?
THE FIFTH ELEMENT – Milla Jovovich in her breakout role as a supreme being. A favorite sci-fi movie around my household back in the day. Costumes and set design by John Paul Gaultier. My daughter Dina even dressed up as Leeloo for Halloween in an outfit that can only be referred to as daring to say the least. She made family history wearing the Leeloo’s thermal bandage costume, which I have decided would be a bit much to be sharing on the blog.
Roast leg of lamb with potatoes dauphinoise on the right.
WHAT A VIEW!
Châtelet Metro – This is a major hub in the Paris metro system yet it has been torn up and under construction for years. Avoid it if you can. What a dump. A real disappointment after Le Train Bleu.
Aux Trois Mailletz – We mustn’t end on a negative note like the Châtelet metro, so I present to you a great piano bar with all night cabaret downstairs, right next door to the Latin Quarter between the Caveau de la Huchettes and the Caveau des Oubliettes which are both great venues in their own right as well.
Aux Trois Mailletz aside from the atmospheric piano bar, has a fantastic lineup with international acts that has been entertaining Parisians and tourists for decades. Caveau de la Huchettes is primarily jazz and swing, and Caveau des Oubliettes has rock, blues, and funk in a cramped cellar. These are all places that are worth a visit, and are all within 100 meters of each other.
What are you waiting for people? After Paris is clearly the greatest city in the world by far. Sorry folks, you can have New York City. Paris is it!