Another morning in Paris, another start to the day with the delightful pain au chocolat at Le Meridien’s breakfast buffet. That and the tasty blood orange juice were my two favorite morning treats. I wish that US orange juice was made out of blood oranges. They have so much more flavor.
Again, on Tuesday, I was on my own again for most of the day. I decided that I would spend the morning a little bit farther from the beaten tourist track, because when I came to Paris, I said I wanted to visit Parks and Cemetaries. Aside from a quick walk by the Cimetiere de Montmartre and a quick stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries on my way to something else, I had failed to accomplish this. So today, I decided to head over to the northeast side of Paris and go to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont and Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise, where I could pay homage to Marcel Proust, Moliere, and Edith Piaf.
When I arrived at Buttes Chaumont, there was a light rain falling, but the Park was seemingly quiet, green, and serene. That is, it was quiet and serene until I noticed dozens of primary school children, all about five or six years old, out running through the park, apparently in their physical education class. They all screamed as they ran. Oh well, I infinitely prefer screaming French five year olds to lousy, American tourists any day. Here are some pictures of how beautiful that park is:
After exploring the park and its environs, I went to pull my cell phone out of my bag so I could check the time. Because I was supposed to meet David at 14:45 that day, and I lacked a functioning watch, I needed my cell phone so I could make sure of the time. Unfortunately, it was the day that I left my cell phone at the hotel. So, I was faced with a decision – continue on to Pere Lachaise and go retrieve my cell phone afterwards, giving up my visit to the Musee D’Orsay or go back to the hotel and give up my trip to Pere Lachaise. Since it was beginning to rain harder, I decided to forgo Pere Lachaise for the time being (there is always my next trip to Paris), and go back to the hotel before heading to the Musee D’Orsay. Of course, I probably could have gotten by without having my cell phone to tell time, but that would have required me instigating a conversation with someone else, which still put me in dire fear, even for asking a simple question.
After retrieving my phone, I made my way to the Musee D’Orsay. Wow. What a line. It was easily an hour and a half wait to get into the museum, and it was raining. Waiting in the line, I noticed my first college sweatshirt that I had seen in Paris – some guy wearing a University of Utah sweatshirt. About five minutes later I saw another guy wearing a Utah State sweatshirt. Leave it to those Utahans.
About 45 minutes into waiting in line, I realized that since I already had bought a four day museum pass, I didn’t have to wait in line and I could go through the reserved entry door. Although I should have realized that forty five minutes ago, I was just happy to get out of the line and go through the door because I had only made it about halfway through the line.
The Musee D’Orsay’s collection contains many of the paintings that most people commonly think of when they think of France. Its collection is focused only on the years from 1848 until 1914 and is pretty much divided into pre-impressionism, impressionism, and post-impressionism. The Musee d’Orsay is located in a converted turn of the century railroad station, so its main hall is open and full of light.
It is significantly smaller and not as overwhelming as the Louvre, which is definitely a good thing. It also houses some of my favorite paintings including, Renoir’s “Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette” which he painted in Montmartre.
It also was the home of this van Gogh work which I didn’t know before but is now one of my favorites because I love the cascading waves of green and blue paint.
I particularly enjoyed the exhibition on Art Nouveau design and decorative arts as well.
The museum also contains Rodin’s “Gates of Hell”, plenty of Degas’s ballet paintings, and more nude routund ladies which again, do so much to boost one’s self-esteem. All and all, I loved the d’Orsay.
After the d’Orsay, I had to hurry up to the Opera where I was to meet David at 2:45. He had a break from listening to his French focus groups, so we were going to do some shopping in the Opera district. David bought a shirt, but all I bought was some delicious chocolate. I realized that I had forgotten to learn how to convert my US size to French sizes and I didn’t want to ask anyone about it and seem like a dumb American tourist. Oh well, the last thing that I need to buy is more clothes. Next time I am in Paris . . .
David and I had a late lunch at a bistro on the Boulevard des Capucines. Then, he had to head back to work, and I did a little more shopping to pick up some things for my new house where I am moving in a few weeks. I have decided on a new decorating scheme, so I found some little accents for my kitchen that should be nice.
I went back to the hotel to drop off my bags and take a quick twenty minute power nap. Then, I decided upon an evening walking tour of Montmartre. Even though I had already been there once, I decided it would be a lovely way to end my Paris experience and also try to find Le Cafe des Deux Moulins, where Amelie worked, which would make my brief Parisian trip complete. I had a guide book which featured an excellent walking tour of Montmartre which would take my by some of the buildings and studios where artists such as Van Gogh and composers such as Eric Satie lived and worked.
As I began my walking tour through the narrow streets surrounding Pigalle (home to many of Paris’s famous sex shops and cabaret acts) I saw this on the street:
I really wonder what Provo means. Was it a gang of tough BYU study abroad kids marking their territory? I guess I will never know.
My path wound around up and down the Montmartre hill. I deviated from the suggested walking tour route hoping to find des Deux Moulins. Where could it be? I continued to walk and walk, until my feet no longer felt like they were a part of my body. I still couldn’t find it. I stopped off at a pastry shop to buy a treat for David when he got home from work. I window shopped at cute boutique stores that I wished were open so I could buy fun Montmartre skirts. I kept walking. Finally, I decided it was not meant to be, so I headed up La Rue Lepic, towards the Blanche Metro stop. Then, in a moment, there it was before me – Cafe des Deux Moulins:My Paris experience was complete! I headed back to the hotel, and made it back by 9:00. David arrived shortly thereafter, preparing to make some conference calls for work. This is why there are no pictures of David for the past two days:
This is the way my feet looked after I made it back to the hotel.
We woke up the next morning and had to say goodbye to Paris. It was a sad day, and to add to the sadness of the day, the hostess for the breakfast buffet sat us at a table that didn’t have pain au chocolat. It was a sad, sad day. We made our way to Charles de Gaulle airport and spent some time in the Red Carpet Lounge. We then said goodbye to Paris.
Here we are once again enjoying the comforts of business class on our way to Washington DC.
In DC, I said goodbye to David, who had to stop there fore work and transferred to my Seattle flight. This was of course, after the wretched experience coming through immigration and having Customs and Border Patrol people yelling at everyone. I missed France already.
Wow, writing this has made me sad all over again for having to leave Paris.