The Last Gasp ? Nukesafe in Paris Again

Jun 11th, 2014, 10:15 AM
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I am impressed, Hetismij2. A lot of people in Washington State don't know Anacortes and here someone from the Netherlands does.

We do love living here, and it is not too late for you to get an art fix! You could stay in our Airbnb room and see if you like her stuff up close. This is NOT an advertisement, we are almost fully booked for the Summer, anyway, but if you want to see pictures of us, Google Airbnb "anacortes large private room great view" and you will see how we get the extra cash for travelling.
nukesafe is offline  
Jun 11th, 2014, 10:22 AM
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OK, here are some more comments on places we went/things we did:

Saint Sulpice. In all the times we had been to Paris we had never visited the church. We went, also hoping to scope it out for a Sunday organ concert. We found, to our disappointment, that it does not happen each Sunday, and the next one would be after we left. Nice Cathedral, but it did not grab us like Chartres.

Art galleries. We visited them in numbers beyond counting. All that remains in my few remaining memory cells are a few fragments and a large blur. I'm sure Annette could recall each and every one. I do recall some that had some excellent things that I would love to have in my home, and some things that would gag a maggot. All at astronomically silly prices, of course.

Marias Flea Market. We had not seen this advertised, but our Paris Greeter, Marie-Claire, mentioned that the first weekend we would be there a number of streets of the Marais would be blocked off for a giant flea market. Since we love the unique and unusual things one sees at such events we went on the Friday, and passed through quickly again on the Saturday. It was truly amazing! It went on and on and on for block after block, as a mixture of the professional flea market stands one sees at Vanves and real people putting out stuff from Grandma's attic. We go to a lot of garage sales in the States, and it was fascinating to compare the unique design differences in everyday household items in France from those items at home. I knew that thing was a lamp or a door knocker, but who ever thought of making it that way, or in that weird color? We saw lots of neat stuff, but bought nothing; the reality of trying to ship or lug the stuff back kept our Euros in our pockets.

Drouot Auction House. We stopped in, as we had last time, and looked through the long line of catalogs on the counter in the lobby. Unfortunately, the Salles with the sort of things we might have loved to look at were not open that day, so we could not go prowl amongst the wonders.

Petit Palais. We actually went there twice. We wanted to see the Paris 1900 exhibition. The first time we went was on the Saturday, which was a free museum day. BAD mistake. We had taken a cab, for once, and were chatting about how we loved the Petit Palais, and about the exhibit. As we rounded the corner the cabbie, who had been listening to us, burst into laughter at my, “Holy S#^T!! exclamation when I saw the line. It stretched into infinity. We went away to try another day.

We came back during the week to try again. The line was much shorter, and we joined it right at a sign that said, “45 Minute Wait From This Point”. “What the hell”, we agreed. “Perhaps we can get tickets online with our iPads while in the line.”, we thought, and tried to do so. Then it started to rain, and out came our umbrellas. Have you ever tried to shuffle forward in a line, holding an umbrella in the wind, while trying to type on an iPad and keep it dry? One armed paper hanger, buddy! We gave up that route as we saw the line was moving faster than we had feared it would. They were only letting people in as others exited, but we were in within 20 minutes. The wait was well worth it, and we thoroughly enjoyed both the exhibit and the rest of the museum. I had been drawn to that cafe in that inner garden and intended having lunch there, but the rain did not make that attractive. Next time.

Richard Lenoir Saturday Art Market. Always a delight, IMHO. Getting there mid morning before crowds arrive one has a chance to look at the art and talk to the artists, many/most of whom speak enough English to describe how they do their work. They love to talk about what they love doing.

Canal St. Martin/Bassin de Villette. Our apartment was only one block from the canal on Rue Alibert. We had walked the canal on earlier trips, and I had heard the area had become more trendy, but we were surprised how jumping the canal was. Every patch of bright or slightly warmer weather brought hoards of young folks that lined the canal and the Bassin on both sides. Hanging out, picnicking, drinking, they stayed until late in the evening. Never saw the slightest signs of trouble. No fights, no rowdy behavior; just young folks chatting with their friends and having a good time. The bars/cafes were the same, crowded, except most of the crowd seemed to hang out on the sidewalk outside the bar. Perhaps it was because some of them were smokers, but you could tell a bar from blocks away from the huge “mill”, we called it, swirling around the entrance. Not in the least threatening. I'm afraid the sight of such a “mill” in the States would make me think twice before plunging through. Not here, though.

As much as I like the area, I must confess that the only bit of unpleasantness we experienced in Paris on this trip happened there, on our own street just yards from our apartment. As we headed home after dinner at Le Marine we came upon two young drunken chaps pissing on the wall of a building. Right in front of us; the pee running between their legs across the sidewalk so we had to step over it. Right in front of my WIFE! I saw red and started for them. I knew exactly how to treat young, rowdy drunks, as many years ago I was a Marine combat military policeman, and those old instincts kicked in. The instincts kicked in –- but thankfully common sense quickly followed. Sixty year old instincts probably cannot match youth and strong drink, I reasoned. Also, Even though I still do not ever bend, I break much more easily. All I did was to call them animals, which they thought hilarious. Still makes me chagrined I didn't bump a couple of heads against the wall, though.

Salon Antiqites Brocante at Bastille. On previous visits, usually in September, we had noticed a number of white tents erected near the Bastille that apparently housed an antique show. We were curious, but too busy to explore further. We like looking at antiques so this time we paid our €10 admission fee and went in. Inside it was like a really upscale flea market, with many, many, booths set up with delectable antiques. There was even a small eating area, toilets and other amenities. I think it was worth it if you are into gazing at the furnishings and household trinkets of the rich and famous from a bygone age. Beautifully inlaid Louis the XIV hall tables and cloisonne cuspidors are neat things to look at, even if I could never afford them, or even want them in my home.

Ave. President Wilson Market. We never fail to walk this market every time we are in Paris. We love the hustle and bustle of street markets, anyway, and this is one of the best, IMO, in the hustle and bustle department, as well as in the quality of the goods. I know Kerouac sneers at the high prices, and he is right. Since we seldom buy anything it hardly matters, we just enjoy it. Also, Annette is a bit of a hat freak. She loves those silly (my opinion only) little “fascinator” hats which she only wears to art openings where her works are displayed; sort of a trademark. There is a chap at the FDR market that sells them at a small fraction charged at regular hat shops in town. For example, on another day Annette dragged me into a shop we passed at 30 rue Mirosmesnil, called “Authentic Panama”, There were some bits of fluff with feathers and bits of lace in the window that caught her eye. It was one of those places one must ring the bell for admittance. We did and she went in to try on a few creations. I went reluctantly went in as well, both because I saw a comfortable chair for old husbands and because I wanted to protect our dwindling bank account. None of them suited her, thank the stars. The unique creations started at €700. At the FDR market Annette was able to find two similar bits of fluff for €20 each. I love that woman!

BTW, another fascinating cultural thing I noticed was the interesting umbrella protocol that the French practice. It was raining hard that morning and, though the stalls themselves were covered, the central isle was open to the elements. People going both ways carrying umbrellas, trying to stay dry under the booth overhangs, and having to step into the torrent in the middle when shoppers crowded in front of displays, led to what almost looked like a mix between a Max Sennitt comedy and a ballet. Umbrellas being closed and immediately snapped open as one dodged from dry to wet, people quickly approaching, or overtaking, dipping or tilting their spiky instruments in a dance that almost guaranteed the loss of an eye or a poked neck – went off without a hitch. Nobody jabbed anyone else. Nobody glared at anyone for invading their space. Standing back to watch it was almost like seeing something choreographed; yet all done by dancers without conscious thought.

Buttes Chaumont. One sunny, warm Monday we took the bus up to Buttes Chaumont. We love that park; converted from an old quarry to a delightful bit of green in the midst of the city. We should have gone on the Sunday, as it was another glorious Spring day, and the Parisian families must have been out in the thousands, doing picnics and lolling on blankets. We could tell they had been there, as the grass on all the hillsides was flattened from the blankets and little kids flying feet. It was nice to see that almost all of the trash that must have been left by the crowds was almost all disappeared. An army of cleaners must have appeared at dawn. We walked up to the Coppola to take pictures and then sat on a bench by the lake, contentedly watching the birds and playing children, or reading our books on our iPads, but mostly just sitting on a bench feeling fulfilled.

That's all I have time for today, folks. Will add more soon.

BTW, thank you all for your kind comments.
nukesafe is offline  
Jun 11th, 2014, 10:54 AM
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nukesafe, so glad you were able to make another trip. And you really covered some ground. Good job! My DH's Aunt, at 92, says being in her 80s was a time she didn't fully appreciate! Also, your wife's work is beautiful!
TDudette is offline  
Jun 11th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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Great report, nukesafe. If drunken pee-ers was your worst encounter, I wonder why so many people are still afraid of the outlying areas of the city.
kerouac is offline  
Jun 11th, 2014, 07:01 PM
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I love Petit Palais. Great report and so happy that you made another just might be traveling into your 90s! I still need to get to Chartres.

Very interested in your impressions of the Cristal Room....I have always had that in the back of my mind and am a bit obsessed with Baccarat.
denisea is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 03:42 AM
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Nukesafe, fabulous report. I love all the detail like the umbrella choreography described above. Such an eye for detail and such a youthful spirt. Continue at your liesure....
latedaytraveler is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 09:53 AM
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And a bit more I have managed to dredge up from what is left of my memory:

Paris Fan Museum. Annette's Mother loved fans and collected the few she could afford, as a Brooklyn widow raising and putting through college three kids. DW still has some of those, so we decided to visit one of Paris's really tiny museums to see more. The place is difficult to find, open only a few days a week, and even harder to get into. One first needs to get through a buzzer controlled door in a regular apartment building; a resident let us into the foyer. Once there we buzzed what we figured was the museum, but got no answer after several tries. The resident took pity on us, and showed us the elevator and pushed the proper floor button. Once on the landing we knocked on the door and were finally admitted. The lady said she must have been in another room, and didn't hear the bell. I figure she was taking a nap.

In any case, the museum is run by volunteers and packs quite a lot of interesting displays and a gift shop into several cramped rooms. If you are into ladies fans or want to keep a wife happy it is worth a short visit.

Musee de la Armee. Being a professional warrior in my youth I am fascinated by things military, particularly early arms and armor, so one day Annette and I split, her going off to do even more galleries, followed by a trip to a Hammam for a – whatever they to to ladies in a Hammam, while I went to the Musee de la Armee. I had a hell of a good time looking at swords, halberds, helmets and battle flags. My only problem was the scale of the place. I had been there before, so could skip some things, but I still only got through about half of the medieval stuff before I had to leave. I'd like to return some day and take several days in shorter doses.

Jacques Borker Studio. I mentioned earlier that we had become and remained friends with Claude, our guide on our first Paris Greeters stroll a few years ago. Then, she would not even allow us to buy her a drink after the lovely stroll we took with her. This time we asked if we could invite her to lunch or dinner and spend some time catching up. She had been a bit ill, so hesitated, but accepted our invitation after we arrived in Paris. She suggested Le Cafe de l'Industry in the 11th, not far from Bastille, which proved a great choice. After lunch she proposed going to visit her friend, a 92 year old artist named Jacques Borker, who had arrived back from an installation in Cambodia only the day before. What a wonderful visit! He reverse paints with acrylics on plexiglass, and constructs mobile sculptures from the same materials. His huge apartment/studio is on the Rue de Seine which he bought many years ago for almost nothing. The taxes for that property today are killing him, as it must be worth a lot of bucks. In any case we had a lovely visit during which he gave us a tour of his art, and let us in on some of his secrets for reverse painting on plexiglass. His websites shows some of his recent works decorating stunning modern living spaces. A lovely, lovely visit with a gracious and talented gentleman.

Movie (v.o.). People on this forum have urged visiting Yanks to attend a French movie house to see the differences. We looked up movies with v.o. designations, showing that they were in the original language with French subtitles, and chose the “Homesman”, with Tommy Lee Jones which was opening that day. (It still has not opened in the States as of this writing.) We figured we could combine the show with our visit to Bercy Village, as we had heard there was a really big modern cinema out there. We were disappointed in that we were told when we tried to buy tickets that the “opening” was really the opening in Cannes, while it would only begin showing the following day in Paris. Poop –

The following day we did, indeed, go to see it in a theater near Bastille. The French movie theaters seemed quite similar to US ones, i.e., really high prices, except this one had uniquely comfortable lounge seats. The only major difference we noted was in the popcorn, of which we are picky connoisseurs. There were two bins of popped corn, one was white and one yellowish in color. We asked the difference and the yellow was “sweet” (shudder), while the white was the “regular”. We opted for a large regular and asked about butter and/or extra salt. We got a puzzled look and the answer that they had neither. The popcorn sucked! The popping oil coated the tongue like some sort of industrial lubricant, and there was almost no taste. We each had a few kernels and threw the rest away.

The movie was rather disappointing, I thought, even though the visuals were stunning, the cast incredible and I really like Tommy Lee Jones. Some of the scenes and images are very powerful and will stay with me for a long time, however. The subtitles were not distracting. I'm a bit hard of hearing and we usually have the subtitles on anyway to watch TV. I even picked up a few French words, trying to match the dialogue to the subtitles.

Bercy Village. Ho and Hum. A rather long bus ride with a couple of changes led us to what could have been almost any kitschy shopping center, anyplace. Except for the history of transforming an old industrial area into a modern revenue stream, and a line of mostly chain restaurants with outdoor seating, we could have been in Cincinnati. Not worth going, IMHO.

Paris By Mouth Cheese Tour. Wow! We don't usually take tours, per se, but this was a great choice for us. Both of us are cheese lovers, but have been a bit intimidated by the vast variety available in France. What to choose when the cheese trolly comes around usually leads to some random eeny-meeny-moe pointing, followed by an immediate permanent expulsion of the names from my memory. (Of course part of that memory loss is probably due to all the wine I just drank.)

Anyway, we booked well in advance and met the small group, limited to a maximum of six, in front of a wonderful fromagerie, one of the Androuet group, on Rue de Cambronne in the 7th. There we saw an incredible array of cheeses. Our guide, a very knowledgeable American young lady, began explaining the varieties and subtleties of French cheese and picking out a huge array of types. She also asked about our favorites, and included them where possible. My favorite is the fragrant Epoisses, and she got a whole box, as they don't sell portions of the really runny ones. After those many pieces were wrapped we walked to a wine shop, La Dernier Goutte (The Last Drop) where we took over the back room and spent a long, long, time sipping wine, learning about and trying different cheeses. Heaven! It was rather pricy, but worth every cent, IMO.

Musee de Erotisme. We heard about this Erotic Museum for a long time; even walked by it a couple of times on other trips. In fact, I once suggested to our traveling companions that we go in, only to be treated as if I had proposed doing naughty things to barnyard animals. It is only a block from the Moulin Rouge, and we always assumed it must be really sleazy. We still were interested, and when others reported that it was worthwhile, we decided to take the plunge.

It is in a narrow building, and consists of seven stories of erotic art. Most of it is truly that; ancient and modern pieces of art relating in some way to sex. Much of it comes from ages and cultures that regarded sex as a fun part of natural life to be celebrated, not hidden. Religion came along and screwed those concepts up for a lot of cultures, but art still found ways to depict what was on everyone’s minds.

What surprised me most, I think, was that the collection was not pornographic. Oh, sure, there were a couple of TV screens showing the beginning of motion pictures that depicted dirty old men in knee high black socks doing questionable things to other people, but it was mostly on a much higher level than that. Of course if erect phallic symbols offend you, you had better not go, because there are more peckers in that building than I have seen in my long lifetime. We were glad we went, but it is not on our “must see” list for next time.

Baccarat Museum. We visited this museum before but, since we arrived a bit early for our lunch reservation at the Crystal Room, did take another quick tour around. A true fairyland of crystal in an incredible old mansion. This time, as last, we had the place essentially to ourselves. A visit here is time well spent, IMO.

Albert Kahn Museum and Gardens. A delightful trip out of the heart of Paris to Boulogne-Billancourt. On another rainy morning we hopped on the Metro for a longish ride out to the end of Line 10 to Pont de St-Cloud. We much refer the bus, but that would have taken ages to get there that way. RATP said it would take around 40 minutes, with no changes, by Metro, vs. well over an hour by bus, with two changes.

The Albert Kahn is a mansion on the Seine built by a chap who traveled the world taking photographs, and entertaining friends at his mansion. The mansion has a collection of his photographs and a history of his life, is splendidly maintained, and rather boring.

The photos and his history was interesting enough for a half hour or so, but the gardens that his put together in which to stroll with his friends is a wonderland that could last all day. He created a number of different forests on his property that are visited by paths that lead from one natural wonder to the next. We arrived just as a shower had let up, and walking the paths through the murmuring bamboo of the Japanese village, or the dripping needles of the pines, or across the meadow where a magpie was busily doing magpie stuff was just enchanting. We stood for a long, quiet, time just gazing at the giant carp in the pond, and two turtles slowly nuzzling each other on a rock. The place was almost deserted, and we had many of the trails to ourselves.

We were reluctant to leave, but hunger started making its welcome demands and we went to look for a place for lunch. We found it at Brasserie Jean-Baptiste in the nearby circle by the Metro station. It had started to clear, but it was a bit chilly so we ate a very satisfying lunch inside, and discussed where we might go from here. I Googled “Museums near Boulogne-Billancourt” on my iPad, and a Museum of the 1930s showed up not too far away. Google also said it was only 1.1 km away and we could the take the nearby Line 8 from the Marcel Sembat Metro station back to Republique. The sky had cleared, I had a beer in me, so off we went.

Isn't the internet neat?

We strolled at my shambling pace down Rue Morizet and it was obvious we were not in Paris anymore. The streets were wide, tree lined and clean. Seemingly happy, well dressed people strolled, not rushed, by us. All in all it seemed a very pleasant place to live, and made me wish I had more time to visit other parts of France.

The 1930s Museum is housed in a modern building, obviously built for the purpose. The lower very open and spacious lobby was filled with an exhibition of local artists, and also held both a small restaurant/snack bar and what probably were community meeting spaces. The rest of the building was devoted to, as one might expect, art and subjects relating to the 1930s, a time of vitality and innovation in France prior to the second world war. The top floor had an interesting temporary exhibition about the development of aviation in the early days. I wouldn't think the place worthy of a special trip to see it, but for us it was a welcome bonus discovery on another well spent day.

As we walked toward the Metro station we passed the Marie where a wedding had just taken place. All of the wedding party in black suits and and guests dressed in their best were milling around on the sidewalk, hugging bride and groom and each other. The bride was wearing a spectacular dress that stopped Annette in her tracks, snatching for her camera. It was white, with a train and lots of ruffles, which is what caught Annette’s attention. It was also completely backless on a spectacular young woman, which is what stopped me in my tracks. The instincts are still there, if not the capability.

I'll end it for today and get back to some of the yard work I have neglected while away. More later.
nukesafe is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 05:06 PM
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Hoping to get in on a tour with Paris by Mouth when we are there in December. We weren't quick enough last trip but they are letting us knoe when they open up dates in December. They have several tours we are interested in.
denisea is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 05:29 PM
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Nukesafe, really enjoying your report. Very entertaining! Thank you!
powhatangal is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 05:35 PM
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Nukesafe: I'm saving this to keep inspiring me that I can still travel at 83, and DH as well, at 85. I so want to go back to Paris. thanks for the wonderful report.
taconictraveler is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 05:41 PM
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Nukesafe, you are delightful!
latedaytraveler is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 06:53 PM
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I could listen to you all day, Latedaytraveller! Please tell that to my wife.

nukesafe is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 07:21 PM
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Loving your report! The Albert Kahn Museum and Gardens was on our list for this trip, but we didn't make it. Next trip, we will.

BTW, I am quite familiar with Anacortes as my mother lives on Lopez.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 09:32 PM
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Nukesafe, love your observations. By the way, you don't look a day over 55!
Treesa is online now  
Jun 13th, 2014, 09:08 AM
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Old picture, Treesa.

nukesafe is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 04:52 AM
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I'm just catching up on this and want to say you two always have a great time, and you, nukesafe, have a rare gift for writing about it so that we enjoy it too.

Is there more? I hope so.
Coquelicot is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 07:35 AM
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I, too, am just catching up with another great nukesafe trip report. There are quite a few things on your list that are still on my "Paris Next Time" list, so really looking forward to future installments. How about a report from Mrs. N about her visit to the hammam?
MaineGG is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 08:21 AM
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This is wonderful! Thank you and wishing more trips to Paris for you and your lovely wife.
gomiki is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 11:43 AM
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OK, here is the last of my comments on the places we went and things we did.

25th Des Ateliers d'Artists de Belleville Studio Tour. This was a real find! Our friend, Claude, the Paris Greeter friend with whom we had lunch earlier in the week, casually mentioned that there would be that annual tour of the artists' studios in her neighborhood, Belleville, the coming weekend. Belleville, as you may know, used to be a section of Paris inhabited mostly by skilled workers, artisans, who supplied Paris and the rest of France with jewelery, furniture, leather goods, textiles, art, etc. When mass production destroyed much of their market, the workshops were taken over as housing, but a great number were grabbed by artists for studios and living space.

Today, a lot of artists still maintain studios and/or small galleries in the area and invite the public to visit once a year. Lucky us! There were 123 artist studios open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and we were able to visit a sizable number of them before my legs and lungs called a halt.

The neatest thing about the tour is that it gets one past the plain door. By that I mean that you get to see what lies on the other side of many of the nondescript doorways that one passes as a tourist. In Belleville I can tell you there are wonders hidden back there! Many of the portals we passed led to interior courtyards that were little oases within the city, filled with gardens, plants, benches and tables for outdoor community dining and discussion. Some of the spaces had been saved from development by artists seizing and squatting in the premises until the City gave up and allowed artistic cooperatives to flourish. Some doorway, of course, lead to private living spaces tucked away under the eves, that are also used as studios to turn out very serious art. Some reminded us of the proverbial “starving artist's garret”, with a hot plate, cot, and paint spattered walls behind the easel; canvasses stacked in the corner.

Many of the artists spoke enough English so we could talk about their work, which pleased both us and the artist, I like to think. We saw and spoke to one artist whose work spoke to me, and when we visited the main office of the Association we looked for her stuff. Each artist had prepared and submitted a work to the Association to be put up for sale to support the tour. Some of the three dimensional artists gave small pieces, and painters each did a small, about eight inch square, painting, which were put up on an exhibition wall. I spotted her style immediately and grabbed a young lady and told her I wanted to buy it. As the little red spot was on the label, indicating it was sold, another person in the crowd said loudly, “Merde”! She said she was three seconds from buying it. All of the pieces went for the same €45 each, and I would have bought more of them except all the others I would have wanted already had red dots on them. Some of the artists' works sell for really big bucks so €45 would be a give away price. I don't care if mine is really valuable; it whispered in my ear and now it is mine. That was my one “big” purchase in Paris. Each of us allow ourselves to splurge on one big thing each time in Paris, and that was mine. Oh, I did buy a scarf as my only other purchase, but that was because it was chilly and many other guys were wearing them. It felt right in Paris, and I had fun trying different ways to wear it. I would probably feel funny sporting it here, but we will see when Winter comes again.

We had great fun touring the hidden artistic wonders of Belleville, and highly recommend it to anyone who likes art, would like to see things most tourists never glimpse, or are just nosy, like us.

Hammam Pacha. Annette loves steam baths and massages, so she thought to have a Turkish Bath in Paris. While I was at the Army Museum imagining myself slaying a dragon with one of those swords, she went off to a Hammam. She will have to write a part of this report if you want to know more about the experience. All I know is that she sat in various unbearably hot steam rooms, soaked in pools, got abraded with a scratchy abrasive glove using “black soap”, got massaged with oil, and came home looking like an incredibly smooth skinned greased pig. The rest is cloaked in mystery for mere males.

Musee Arts Decoratif. This amazing collection of all sorts of decorative arts, housed in a wing of the Louvre, remains one of our favorite places in Paris. This was our second visit, and we still have not been able to see all of it. It is simply swimming in incredible examples of furniture, jewelery, clothing, stained glass, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum. An almost sinful assault on the senses. One purpose on this trip was to seek out any glass art they had on display. We had seen the ancient and modern stained glass on exhibit, and looked at it again. We finally found a display on the 5th (I think) floor of the tower, hidden behind more central display cases, and facing one of those walls with the semi-circular windows. There were about a dozen pieces of blown, cast, and kiln formed art, including a couple by American glass artists; a blown piece by Dale Chihuly, from our neck of the woods, and one of Toots Zinsky's stringer bowls.

Rue Montorguiel. We have heard about Rue Montorguiel innumerable times as a market street without peer, so we thought we should visit it on the way to Arts Decoratif. It is, indeed a lovely quite upscale market street. Crowded, high priced, and stuffed with incredible edibles. We walked up one side, and down the other. Went into a few shops. Left quite impressed, but I don't think I will do my grocery shopping there.

Fashion Saturday at the Bristol Hotel. Annette likes fashion shows, and had gone to one, by herself, at Galleries Lafayette on our last trip to Paris. I like them not so much, but when she said she would really want me to share the experience with her, mentioned that there would be high tea, munchies and Champagne -- and it would be her treat – I was in.

I must admit that it was a lovely experience, even for this crotchety old bird. The Bristol is a truly elegant hotel. Huge marble lobby with lounge chairs and sofas in which one could take up residence. Doormen snapping open doors for you, putting guests in limousines and moving luggage like a well trained army. We were a bit early; having planned to lick windows in that snazzy part of town. It was raining pretty steadily, however, so we settled down in the lobby of the Bristol to wait, and read our books on our iPads. We were decently dressed enough that we were not taken for homeless, so were not tossed out.

The event is held in the Castellane Room, a chandeliered wonder that smacks of Versailles. It happens once a month on a Saturday, at 2:30, and features a display of a different high fashion designer each time. This time it was Herve Leger. The huge room is set up with small tables for two around the outside of the room, with similar tables surrounding a central island. After tea service the models parade around the room, stopping to turn, pose and allow the patrons to look at the gowns.

I can't really comment on the outfits, except to say they looked spectacular, and very expensive. I can comment on the models; they were spectacular and probably very expensive. All six of the models looked the same. Except for hair color they could have been clones. Lovely tall people with long straight hair; not at all the emaciated stick figures I expected but uniformly slim attractive young ladies. Clearly feminine, but none of them would have had Dolly Parton's problem of having to sleep on her back.

After we saw a large number of gowns, a special desert, created by the Bristol's chef, Laurent Jeanin, was served while some of the ladies went to clothes racks holding the gowns on display to examine the creations, and perhaps order some. Annette, bless her heart, stayed seated.

I'm sure we did other things, and went other places, but the above were the things that made an impression and which I thought might interest others planning trips to the most alive (IMHO) city on the planet. As I said, earlier we did not try to hit a great number of spots and physical limitations made thighs go slowly. However, looking back at the list it seems we did hit a respectable number of places. The great thing about Paris is that the supply of fascinating places seems almost endless.

So many places, so little time! Oh, if I was only 82 again!

In the next section, probably tomorrow, I'll finish my report by giving some impressions on the places we ate.
nukesafe is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 12:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,681
Still loving your report. We may have to try to plan a trip around the Des Ateliers d'Artists de Belleville Studio Tour.
Kathie is offline  

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