jeudi 8 septembre 2011

Week X, Back in Paris

Louvre under restoration, with watch

Building wrapped in steel

Perrier shrubbery

Tutu wedding dress
Wednesday, 17 Aug, Carolee took the long way home from the Alliance Francaise and caught some curiosities with her camera.
Nebbish tombstone in Montparnasse Cemetery
     Thursday, on a class assignment to find clues here and there on the left bank, she discovered a remarkable tombstone by Niki de Saint Phalle (as she learned later) in the Montparnasse cemetery.
I made it back that evening by train through a severe thunderstorm in Belgium.  The central station in Antwerp has undergone a major renovation.  Trains now come in underground at three separate levels to an immense open hall with a dramatic escalator leading up the middle.  The 19th century building on top is essentially unchanged.  Great escalator ride!
Community garden

Marche d'Aligre with schoolkids


Huge book store
     Friday we took it easy but discovered a community garden nearby, filled largely with flowers.  Our daily activity is recorded with a picture of our local farmers' market and lunch at home.  An afternoon stroll took us over by the Jewish section in the 4th, where we discovered the largest bookstore of remaindered art books I have ever seen.  The name, in the picture, is not a bad pun in French.  We later discovered it's a chain.
Alas, Cavaille-Colle is gone.

Guimard Metro entrance, artists' studios (large windows)
     Saturday we knocked around Montparnasse a bit.  Emerging from the metro at Denfert-Rochereau and passed by the entrance to the catacombs, which had an immense line waiting to get in.  One attendant, seeing me hobble along, made to let us in ahead of the line.  Well, it would have been insane to try it, we figured. with tight stairs and low passages likely.  The first part of our plan was to see if the 14th offered a neighborhood as filled with amenities as ours in the 12th, but maybe a little cleaner.  Indeed it does!  There were great shops along the pedestrianized portion of the Rue Daguerre, where I had stayed 20 years ago for an astronomy meeting.  We liked it a lot.  Turning onto the Montparnasse cemetery we paid our respects to a few famous dead people.  Among others was the grave of a famous French organ builder of the 19th century.  A few blocks away we found a building especially built to house the studios of some early 20th century artists.  A couple of blocks away we found the equally famous restaurants they met at - La Coupole, La Rotonde, La Closerie des Lilas.  But it was hot and by now we were glad to call it a day.
Apartment blocks above Parc Andre Citroen

Rusty steel statue Seine-side

Giardino segreto, Parc Andre Citroen

Side garden, Parc Andre Citroen

Lavender, Parc Andre Citroen

Passage among side gardens
     The next day we went for something well off the beaten track - Parc Andre Citroen.  This large and modern park was built on the site of the former Citroen Auto Works.  It was conveniently located for us at the far end of our local Metro line.  The designers did a remarkable job of taking an odd-shaped large parcel and turning it into an open main park, mainly grass and walkways, but nestled against it were smaller sections of park, each with a distinct character.  I supposed they must have steeped themselves in the design of old Italian gardens, which are, well, sectional: you might have here and there a bit of your geometrical French design or large wooded spaces in the English manner, but the point was there'd be a number of small sections each with a distinct character.  I'll let the photos do the work, just above.  One curiosity worth mentioning was a very large tethered hot air balloon in the center, and rides were available for a price.  We never saw it go up, which is a bit of a shame.
Carolee, pre-souffle

Seine, storm, boats from Pont Neuf
     Monday was my birthday, so we went out for dinner at La Cigale Recamier, on the Impasse Recamier in the 6th.  We indulged in their specialty - souffles.  Carolee had the Forestiere (mushroom) and I had Gorgonzola.  Dessert was a caramel souffle,  Lovely setting.  We couldn't let the evening go quickly, so we decided to walk a while in spite of a gathering thunderstorm.  We headed directly for the river and walked first past the Academy of France, then to and across the Pont Neuf, where Carolee took a pretty picture.  If memory serves me, we caught the #76 bus on the other (right) bank.
     Tuesday, the last day of this week, is a blank.  Must have done something.

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