FRANCE: Paris – Rendezvous Time

Posted by on May 2, 2019 in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

It’s become a habit to make Paris my first stop on a European tour and to finish up with the United Kingdom. This year is no different, but this year England is coming to me here in the form of the Drovers, a fun couple with a sly wit who I met on a sailing ship tour off the coast of Santorini.

It will be most enjoyable to live vicariously through the thrills of people who have managed to avoid France throughout so much of their lives. Unfortunately, they will miss part of the excitement that Notre Dame affords, but Paris has more than enough to keep them occupied on this go-round since they shall most certainly return.

Perhaps, they will choose to celebrate their tenth anniversary here in France. Seriously, what could possibly be more romantic? Maybe the Loire Valley. Needless to say, I can sort them out on that one as well.

THE DROVERS – PICTURED HERE ON THEIR FIFTH ANNIVERSARY TRIP IN SANTORINI

I’ve been given the challenge of showing them the greatest quantity of Parisian highlights that can be squeezed into three days without running all of us into the ground. It will be their first visit to Paris due to Corey’s concern with some exaggerated stories of dogshit scattered throughout the whole city. Thankfully in the past decade, this issue has been resolved and with considerable nudging and clarification, he will arrive on May 4th with a happy wife. The irony is that Corey served in a dreadful war in Afghanistan, and now seems more concerned with stepping in poo than on an IED.

PAUL – This famous Parisian patisserie has gone global, but also served me the first apricot pastry of my trip in the Charles de Gaulle Airport. I got lost on my way to the train to Paris and stumbled upon this treat and an amazing goat cheese quiche (not pictured).

ABBESSES METRO STATION – After reaching the Gare du Nord from CDG airport I managed to wrestle my gear through a couple of stations before arriving at Abbesses metro stop in the heart of Montmartre. This station was immortalized in the movie, “Amelie,” which was France’s most popular film in and out of the country. It was all shot on location in Paris to great result, but the director swore he would never do a location shoot again because it was a massive pain in the derriere.

This station is the closest one to the Café des Deux Moulins in Montmartre which is the actual place that Amelie worked. This metro stop is also the location where she encountered the blind man with the record player for the first time. He was sitting there just like the person next to the train.

TONS OF TONS – PARIS HAS LOTS AND LOTS OF STREET ART TO GO ALONG WITH ITS FINE ART

Everything is about art here in Paris or France for that matter. Fine art, street art, musicians in the metro, jazz, fashion, cinema, and cuisine which is pretty much the national religion. It has easily supplanted Christianity. In fact, religion has less to do with the national distress over the Notre Dame fire than one would think. The grief among the secular is equally substantial since France is one of the less religious countries in Europe. It is viewed as one of the great Gothic structures on planet earth and is a symbol of Paris and all that has transpired since its construction. Fret not, mark my words Notre Dame will be restored to its former glory in record time.

The Left Bank sidewalks are filled with people trying to get a glimpse of the ailing cathedral. Some just have their heads buried in the bookstalls trying to forget the recent fire that destroyed the roof and spire.

Upon first glance from this angle, nothing really seems amiss save the missing spire.

 

Just two weeks after the calamitous fire, cranes are busy at work on the repairs to come. A protective covering already covers the space that the roof once protected. Clearly, the restoration is full speed ahead. The French value Paris, their National monuments, and heritage.

FONDATION DU PATRIMOINE – This image was displayed in Metro stations all over Paris. This organization is a repository of funds for the restoration of Notre Dame. Hopefully, it will inspire Parisians and tourist to contribute.

After over fifty years of visits to Paris, I felt that I was also responsible for the reparations of this monument. Given the happiness, this city has given me over the years, it was only appropriate that I establish a monthly contribution to the Fondation du Patrimoine.

 

 

 

STREET ART #1

LE BASILIC – MONTMARTRE BISTRO

LEG OF RABBIT WITH TAGLIATELLE AND MUSHROOMS

MOULIN DE LA GALETTE – BY NIGHT

DALIDA – YOLANDA GIGLIOTTI – A Famous Diva in France whose blighted series of romantic relationships led to an eventually successful suicide attempt. She subsequently became a cult figure á la Marilyn Monroe. This statue is situated in a square in Montmartre named for her that is close to her former chateau.

THREE DOG NIGHT – I put a euro in the dish, and someone left three croissants for the disinterested canines.

SAINT GERMAINE – RUE DE BUCI – DON’T MISS THIS STREET

A restaurant welcomes spring with an abundant display of flowers and baskets in this special neighborhood in the heart of the sixth arrondissement. Unfortunately, this May has been far from balmy since the daytime temperature has been hovering around the 40s and low 50s.

THIS RAMP LEADS TO A PLEASANT STROLL ALONG THE LEFT BANK

LOVE LOCKS ILLUSTRATE THE CAPTIVITY THEY REPRESENT – THE KEYS END UP IN THE SEINE SO YOU’RE TOAST

FUTURE RELATIONSHIPS THAT WILL LIKELY SOUR IN TIME – The Pont Neuf Bridge is in the distance.

JARDIN DES TUILERIES – This park runs all the way from the Louvre to the Place de la Concorde. With numerous bassins surrounded by chairs, one can even find one where your kids can sail a boat for a small fee. There are many small restaurants where you can enjoy a relaxing meal in the shade. I enjoy just walking the length of it ending up near Rodin’s “The Kiss” extends its embrace in perpetuity as you gaze upon the Place de la Concorde. In the distance are the Eiffel Tower and the Palais Royale.

 

Henry MOORE – Reclining Figure – 1951

This is one of many pieces of fine art in the Tuileries where you can find sculptures and statuary in many styles and from many periods. All of them are open-air museum pieces. In Paris, you needn’t set foot in a museum to be exposed to excessive works of art. Each city block is filled with phenomenal art and architecture. Even the water fountains here are renowned for their beauty.

PLACE DE LA CONCORDE – This is a sight you’ll rarely see. The roadway has been blocked off and today the subway is not allowed to stop here to prevent any Mayday demonstrations by the Yellow Vests from being held here.

THE BIG EMPTY – This wasn’t the only place targeted for demonstrations they even closed the Luxembourg Gardens to avoid the same problem there as well.

STREET ART #2

LES DIVALALA – These Divas freaked me out initially since I was in the front row, and they seemed really pissed off and no amount of crossing my legs gave comfort in light of such female resentment. I was trapped but desperately looking for an opportunity to exit the proceedings. I thought it was going to be an evening of peppy French songs, and not irritated women venting their spleens.

Of course, given the rustiness of my French, I definitely missed a lot of what was going on and probably misinterpreted what they were saying. As the evening wore on they became a bit more conciliatory. They were very talented, but so I assume, are many dominatrixes. I did not sign up for this and was most grateful when it was over.

THÉATRE LEPIC – I’m going to return to this venue to indulge in more enjoyable fare.

 

 

 

                 THE DROVERS ARRIVE – FIRST STOP MUSEÉ d’ORSAY

MUSEÉ D’ORSAY

 

 

Auguste BARTHOLDI – Statue of Liberty

Antoine BOURDELLE – Hercules the Archer – 1909

Paul CABET – Sortie Du Bain

Jean DAMPT – Saint Jean-Baptiste – 1881

François-Auguste BIARD – L’Abolition De L’Esclavage Dans Les Colonies Françaises – 1849

JOSEPHINE BAKER

Henri MATISSE – L’Asie – 1946

Henri MATISSE – Dame á la Robe Blanche – 1846

Henri MATISSE – Danseuse Créole – 1950

 

 

 

 

DANIELE LOVATI – Ebony and Ivory Armoire – 1881

Pierre BONNARD – Nu Rose, Tête Ombrée – 1919

Paul CÉZANNE – Cinq Baignuers – 1900-1904

Georges SEURAT – Poseuse Deboot, de Face – 1886

Paul SIGNAC – Young Girls from Provence at the Well – 1892

Pierre-Auguste RENOIR – Bal du Moulin de la Galette – 1876

Dance at the Moulin de la Galette depicts the famous guinguette – an open-air drinking establishment with food and dancing – located at the foot of a former windmill on the Butte de Montmartre. The dance is attended by workers, as well as Renoir’s artist and writer friends who mingle with the crowd. This is one of the artist’s most ambitious painting on account of its size, the number of figures, the number of figures, and in particular the play of shadows and dappled light which brings a sense of unity to the composition. The vigorously applied touches of color are not bounded by drawn outlines. They blend together and create a sensation of movement. The painting was presented at the Impressionist Exhibition of 1877 and was hailed as a masterpiece when it entered the French national collections twenty years later.

DETAIL

 

 

ART NOUVEAU STAINED GLASS

 

ART NOUVEAU

 

 

Vincent VAN GOGH – La Chambre de Van Gogh á Arles – 1889

Vincent VAN GOGH – Chaumes du Cordeville á Auvers-sur-Oise – 1890

 

 

COREY AND SARAH

VEDETTES DU PONT-NEUF

COREY, SARAH, AND I PREPARE TO FREEZE AFTER CATCHING THE 9:15 PM CRUISE

The lack of photos can be attributed to the cold in the upper deck, but we boarded the boat with five minutes to spare. That enabled us to arrive at the Eiffel Tower for the sparkle show.

We made it all the way to the Eiffel Tower before taking refuge in the enclosed lower section of the boat.

THE BIG PAYOFF – I’m glad Sarah & Corey caught the light show and justified the hypothermia.

The Pont Neuf Bridge leads right to a street that took us to the charming rue de Buci area which is just around the corner from their hotel and a convenient metro to get me back to the OOPS! Hostel which is my go-to hostel in Paris.

THE DROVERS PREPARE TO TUCK INTO SOME AUTHENTIC OMELETS AT “LE DEPART” ON PLACE ST. MICHEL

PALAIS DE LUXEMBOURG – Everyone’s favorite Parisian park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEDICI FOUNTAIN

AWWW BABY DUCKS – ALL BETS ARE OFF WITH THE GROWN-UPS – THOSE ARE DINNER

THE PANTHEON – This is a tribute to the Pantheon in Rome only without the incredibly large dome.

It’s not too shabby though and even includes a special crypt in the basement.

Smaller than Rome’s but very pleasing to the eye.

 

 

 

 

VOLTAIRE

VOLTAIRE’S TOMB

 

MARIE & PIERRE CURIE

MARIE CURIE – 1867-1934

VICTOR HUGO AND ALEXANDRE DUMAS

ALEXANDRE DUMAS – 1802-1870

LOUIS BRAILLE

LOUIS BRAILLE – 1809-1852

 

MARTYRS OF THE REVOLUTION

 

PANTHEON MODEL

 

 

 

 

 

WATER FOUNTAIN

OPERA GARNIER – Unfortunately it was closed for tours but that’s one for their next trip. We made up for it by visiting Le Marais district, Le Place des Vosges, Le Place de la Bastille, and the truly magnificent Belle-Epoque Train Bleu restaurant in the Gare de Lyon.

 

 

Clearly, they didn’t skimp on the outdoor lighting, and I urge you to at least do a self-guided tour of this grandest of grand opera houses. I personally despise Andrew Lloyd Webers theatre productions, but this is place that Phantom of the Opera is based upon.

 

                                       MUSÉE L’ORANGERIE

CLAUDE MONET’S WATER LILIES – ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE ART WORLD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franz MARC – Paysage Avec Maison et Deux Vaches – 1914

Franz Marc – Cavalier Sur la Plage – 1907

Pierre-Auguste RENOIR – Jeunes Filles au Piano – 1892

Pierre-Auguste RENOIR – Femme Nue dans un Paysage – 1883

Pierre-Auguste RENOIR – Yvonne et Shristine Lerolle au Piano – 1897-1898

Pierre-Auguste RENOIR – Bouquet dans une Loge – 1878-1880

Pierre-Auguste RENOIR – Pêches – 1881-1882

Claude MONET – Argenteuil – 1875

Paul CÉZANNE – Le Déjeuner sur L’Herbe – 1876-1877

Paul CÉZANNE – Pommes et Biscuits – 1879-1880

Pablo PICASSO – Grand Nature Morte – 1917-1918

Henri MATISSE – Le Boudoir – 1921

 

Auguste RODIN – The Kiss

PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

AWESOME OBELISK – ARC DE TRIOMPHE

PLACE DE LA CONCORDE – BACK TO NORMAL

MAGNIFICENT LIGHT FIXTURES

 

 

CAFE DES 2 MOULINS – Time for a visit to Amelie’s place of work in Montmartre. Having already consumed a number of pastries this morning, we stop by Deux Moulins for coffee and Amelie’s favorite dessert.

Sarah was entrusted with cracking the crust of the crème brulée!

TEMPTATIONS WE MANAGED TO BYPASS – WE NEEDED SPACE FOR LUNCH

STREET ART #3

STREET ART #4

STREET ART #5

STREET ART #6

LUNCH – THE FINAL APPROACH

STREET ART #7

LE MOULIN DE LA GALETTE – This is our stop for lunch. It was the spot that inspired Renoir’s masterpiece Bal du Moulin de la Galette.

Their onion soup was superb, the crêpes suzettes were also tasty. Renoir’s masterpiece is on the right.

Now for a little stroll about Montmartre.

 

STREET ART #8

 

STREET ART #9

 

La Vie en Rose earned him a euro.

SACRE COEUR

DETAIL

Many steep stairways fan out from the heights of Montmartre which is why they have a funicular to reach the Sacre Coeur.

STREET ART #10

STREET ART #11

STREET ART #12

Rounding out the Amelie Tour we descend into the Abbesses metro where she first encountered the blind man. We finished up our day with two hours of leisurely walking and shopping in the Saint Germaine followed by our usual chill out in the lobby of the Clement Hotel.

If you are looking for a nice room that won’t break the bank in the Saint Germaine, give this one a try. It’s one of the best neighborhoods in Paris, and the hotel is perfectly located near multiple metro stops, shopping, and restaurants.

ONE CAN FIND EVERYTHING FROM ACCORDION PLAYERS TO STRING ENSEMBLES HERE

MARTY – Alma, a shop owner in the Rue Mouffetard recommended this lovely art nouveau adorned brasserie just down the street from me. As with so many restaurants the interiors are as good as the food.

COZY CONVERSATION PIT

YOUR STANDARD PARISIAN BRASSERIE

LAMB RARE WITH ARTICHOKE POTATOES – MAGNIFIQUE!!!

Outside my window, the rainy day allows a bit of time for blogging.

SOLITARY MAN – A SYMBOL TO WHICH I CAN RELATE

“AIMEZ VOUS LES UNS LES AUTRES” – “Love One Another” – Although I disagree with this egregious, grafitti laden disrespect of a national monument, at least the message is a good one.

BERNARD & VALERIE – My friend and former colleague and his lady need no prompting from the above grafitti. Since they met in our former place of employment some years ago, they have been inseparable and live in the kind of harmony most of us only dream of. Finding a soul mate is the holy grail of relationships. Now, here in Paris with a couple of suitcases each, they seek their dream house in the French countryside. I have no doubt they will succeed in their task since the hard part is long behind them. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

It’s a pretty good view from the room of my hostel on this rainy evening. The Eiffel Tower treated me to a grand light show twice this evening which was possibly due to the fact that it is the celebration of the end of World War II, and for me an end to the war I used to have with myself.

Although I haven’t found a soul mate, I do have peace, contentment, and complete freedom in my life. I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone. With a daughter and grandkids who love me and good friends scattered about the globe, life continues to improve as the years pass.

Life is not a one size fits all proposition. Some are meant for marriage and kids, and some are destined for a more solitary existence with all the permutations in between. Life it seems is about finding a good fit and bringing out the best in oneself and others along the way. It’s taken me 57 years to get here, but there will probably be tweaking along the way. I am open to anything that the future might have to offer but will happily continue on this excellent adventure for the unforeseeable future until I grow weary of this lifestyle or just get too old to manage it. I don’t know if there is a dream girl in my future, but I have found Mr. Right and I look him in the mirror every morning.

8 Comments

  1. Sarah
    May 3, 2019

    Thank you for our photo John! Happy memories of Santorini 😊

    We are all set and ready for Paris and everything you can cram in for us.

    So looking forawrd to catching up with you too!

    See you in the morning…….

  2. The Travel Zealot
    May 6, 2019

    Hi Sarah,
    I’ve just been seeing you for the last three days, and I hope you guys had a good time and left with a good impression of Paris. I think we crammed as much as is humanly possible into trois jours without running shoes. Now, you both have a strong foundation so that upon your return, the city will be a breeze. You just need to order up some better weather is all. Under the circumstances, I think we managed to navigate around most of it other than freezing our bums off on the boat up the Seine.

    If you enjoyed Paris this past few days, imagine what it’s like with proper Spring weather. It was nice visiting my old friends in the Musee d’Orsay and Orangerie and sharing some of my favorite spots as well as a couple of unexpected new items. I hope now that with the miles we covered with Corey’s shoes going unsoiled by doggie detritus that there will be future visits on the horizon. It one of the greatest cities in the world and it’s virtually in your back yard.

    If you need a French itinerary to die for on your 10th anniversary, I’ll help to take all the guesswork out of a truly unforgettable trip. You haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all that this country has to offer. There is a good reason that it is the most visited place on earth.

  3. Sarah & Corey
    May 7, 2019

    Bonjour!
    Thank you so much for the most wonderful three-day tour, John.
    I am completely and utterly enchanted by Paris and will never forget our wonderful visit.
    We simply could not have crammed more into the last few days and it’s been amazing. Your expert guidance and planning was fabulous and a money can’t buy experience!

    From the unforgettable priceless art to the spectacular food, to the shopping…… I have lots of souvenirs and my treasured new Laulhere red beret will always be very special to me. Even the very chilly evening boat trip along the Seine was magical.
    I think Mr. Drover’s cold heart has melted and he loves the place too now despite his years protesting it would be covered in you know what!

    Enjoy your last few days in my favourite city and safe onward travels.

    A bientot,
    S&C

  4. The Travel Zealot
    May 8, 2019

    It was a pleasure, you guys. Now we’ve seen two very special places together. It won’t be long before I introduce you to the Beatles’ answer to the Sistine Chapel in your own home town. And, of course, we’ll have to go for a pint at the Grapes before a trip to the Cavern Club on a Saturday night to catch the local Beatles tribute band. Now go and have yourselves a lovely time and get some rest in Ibiza.

  5. Sarah & Corey
    May 10, 2019

    Thank you again for the most amazing time and adding all our memories on the blog John. The photos here are brilliant.
    We are all packed and ready for our trip to Ibiza tomorrow morning and looking forward to the sun and some relaxation. Although as you can imagine Corey does not sit still for long!
    However, we have just sat down to watch Midinght in Paris again. Maybe with an Amelie chaser? Thank you for bringing Paris to life for us. It was an amazing trip.
    The first pint in the Grapes is on us !
    See you soon,
    S&C

  6. The Travel Zealot
    May 10, 2019

    Sarah & Corey,
    I’m glad you enjoyed the shots. Now you have a travelogue for your trip that you can refer back to whenever you please. You’ve also seen first hand how I shoot the stuff on the fly without a lot of dilly-dallying. By the way, I have a new destination for you. If you liked Paris, you’ll love Prague. I even spotted prosecco in the first market I checked.
    Enjoy Ibiza,
    John

  7. Bernard Bieger
    May 12, 2019

    Hello John,

    It was an absolute pleasure to see you again after about 2 years!

    Valerie and I enjoyed our brunch with you and we just returned from Paris to Salies-de-Bearn. I’m amazed about your blog and about your way how you see the world, Paris in particular. Another person might just walk down a street and glance at a graffiti or a musician… You see an opportunity to show someone’s creativity and talk to a human being and listen to his/her story! Thanks for bringing a full blast of life to the web, thanks for your kind words, and Valerie and I wish you all the best for your future plans! Keep on photographing, stay curious, and – continue being our friend! Kind regards, Valerie et Bernard

  8. The Travel Zealot
    May 14, 2019

    Hi Bernard,
    Thank you for your kind words. The current blog is kind of a hobby/travelogue/opinion piece. In 2020 it will become so much more, and I look forward to your feedback. Prague is wonderful these days and I’ve met some great people in my hostel. Great ideas are coming with these interactions, and I am hoping to include you two in one of my video vignettes should you feel comfortable having your 15 minutes on The Travel Zone. My only concern is finding the time to do everything this new project will demand. Wishing you continued success in “your” excellent adventure, and I can’t wait to see where you end up! If I ever settle down I still have the Eiffel Tower cheese grater in storage that you brought back for me from Paris.

    Warm Regards,
    John

Leave a Reply