Paris – Day 2 – CAR FREE

A pillow, I needed a pillow, so we got to go shopping —- into a nearby department store we went. Le BHV- it was easy to find soemone who wanted to practice English and we walked out with a few hand towels and ( as I write this the next day – a fabulous pillow case…crisp!!! It is amazing what a difference a good pillow and case can make.

Lucky for me there was the English because I was completely unprepared. After 2 weeks of learning how to ask for a carafe of water in French I am still slipping into Spanish to say si rather than oui, and I have no idea what anyone is saying. I am moving closer to deciding to do French immersion, or can I just wake up and find I have experienced French conversion.That would be so much easier! We have been toying with the idea of spending our first year ( or 4) of retirement on a barge in France, Holland, etc etc… sorry.. the pillow – I am happy.

And from the 6th floor, behind the pillow section, you can sneak out an unassuming door to a terrace and have a view…

On our walk over we passed the building where the movie was projected last night, I think it is the tourist center…. Another unbelievable ornate building. The ravings, the sheer quantity of statues. We got caught on the inscription Liberte-Ecalite-Fraternite. Is it Egalite? As with so many things, once we noticed here we began to notice it other places. And on the next inscription it was.

We wandered according to my Paris Guide book, Paris In Stride…I have been very happy with it. Off the regular tourist path but still getting you to the good spots, and as you can see, ,manageable maps.

Of course stopping for lunch of Xiao Long Bao, at Petit Bao, where the service was good, the rice was good, the spinach and dumplings were fine. You can see in the photos the small crowd of people waiting for tables as we sat out and ate in our little Chinese Paris bistro. it’s what we do.

Its so interesting to me… like the place the night before there is an instructional chart on how to eat your Xiao Long Bao… Brad does the pour in, like they show. I am a slurped outer, thats how I learned to do it. As you can see, if you are a novice and just pop it in you can get into trouble.

The search for the greatest Soup dumpling continues. This was not it. Taste was fine, soup was weak, and it did have a good thin skin…just not IT.

It was another full day and I have so many things to say about it.

Car Free – Whooppeeeeee. If you can travel at will I am now the worlds largest proponent of catching a car free day. There is nothing like it. It was not absolutely or completely car free but it was close enough that the streets were full of people walking. I now its a new trend and I have to say it is marvelous.

Favorite Street – OMG, if you know a better one tell me. I will continue searching but this was pretty good. We stumbled onto it at 15,000 steps as we approached home and when I googled it , it turns out to be a beloved but touristy spot. Why not today? perhaps all the tourists were running around to the free museums.

Well. Lucky us because without the cars or the tourists we were free to wander RUE SAINT LUOIS EN L’ILE and I think it could be my new home – I tasted cookies and mints ( which were fabulous) and part of me, a large part, does really like to oogle the sweets and the pretty windows. And this little street was just my style.

CONSTRUCTION- The thing that I may have discovered that I think might be the reason people love Paris more than other major cities is the complete lack of construction. The skyline isn’t overtaken by cranes. Funny because there was an article in the New York Times this morning about how unhappy the Parisians are with their mayor because the city is under so much construction as she attempts to reduce car traffic and redesign street to be bicycle and pedestrian friendly ( of course I applaud her efforts). But coming from NY and London I keep thinking how nice it is that there is so little construction.

It’s amazing that nothing here seems higher than 7 or 8 stories and as far as I can tell there is very little that is new. Thats why I think people love it. It’s pretty, its constant, there is nothing towering over you. There are also plenty of wide open spaces everywhere and here where we are, along the river, there is plenty of open space.

I don’t see a single sky scraper…lovely

The Pompidou Center – we didn’t go in because of the long lines ( its a free day for museums in Paris – Did we get this right or what?). The center is an incredibly interesting looking building, from all sides, and as we cut through a plaza on the side – an art pond! Or would you call it a pond of art?

nearby… in addition to the lego store were a small abundance, if you can have such a thing, of things I had to snap a photo of.

Picasso Museum – We did go in and I have developed my own theory about Picasso. Understand, I have never been a fan and I know very little about art. But I think he was confused because he was on the LGBTQ scale… in the Q category. I think he couldn’t make sense of his own body and that’s why he was always painting bodies askew, to reflect his inner, inner something.

The idea came to me as we meandered through this vast collection. I loved the way to was set up but there was very little in the way of explanation of any individual piece and to be honest, I didnt think the introductory wall paragraphs did a very good job of explaining what you were really seeing, next time I think we will get the audio guide.

Anyhoooo, Below is the painting that convinced me about this body confusion. I see this as a self portrait. He is the artist holding a pen and painting the distorted body he feels. Brad says I am crazy, I maintain if I had a PhD and I wrote it in an article I would be quoted on the walls.

Jeune fille dessinant dans un intérieur

As for the museum it was pretty interesting. Housed in a repurposed 18th century hotel the outside remains much as it was but the inside has been completely converted. Smooth white walls, almost cold, but effective as what you see, and only see , is the art. And plenty of it. There are also a number of works by his friends and peers that are said to have belonged to him. These I liked very much. Whoever designed the space did an amazing job of shuttling you up and through with out ever actually directing you, and once you finish at the top, ou are sent down the 5 or 6 flights of stairs with no option to hop out and see anything again unless you want to start at the beginning and see it all all over.

Dogs- I wish I had started taking photos when I first started noticing the dogs. First of all, they are mostly off leash. You walk down the street and the dogs are walking a few paces behind someone. The person does not ever appear to turn around and the dog seems to keep up. We saw a massive dog at the Louvre rubbing himself down on a grassy hill and then statues of ladies and their dogs. At the Picasso Museum I finally snapped one of the carvings in the courtyard. See… dogs front and center. I don’t think I have seen that many places. I will be keeping an eye out to see if the trend continues.

I even see Pablo sketching a dog… and I think this might back up my theory.

Eclairs – I have never loved the eclair, things may be changing- Le Eclaire De Genie. No photo can speak the 10,000 words necessary to describe how gorgeous they are.

Brownies- it figures doesnt it that I have to come to Paris to find a great brownie . Chocolate, a bit fudge, WITH walnuts. Hure, on or near the Saint-Louis in the Island… I tried to google the address and came away with this.. a blog on sweets – could it be true?

I am not sure what you were supposed to see here. There were signs pointing the way in and a lovely explanation about those deported during WWII, but aside from a garden there didnt seem to be any monument. According to the website FRANCE REVISITED – “At the back of quiet little park, steep stairs lead to a high-walled triangular courtyard where the Seine can be seen flowing toward barbed iron. A first-time visitor might think that itself is the monument before noticing a narrow passage formed by two blocks of stone leading into the memorial crypt.” I think the stairs were cordoned off the day we visited – this is a must return to sight.

HERE JUST BEFORE SUKKOT THE LULAV AND ETROG FOR SALE ON THE STREET

If it really is about to be Sukkoth then I hope to see a few French Sukkos going up in the next few days.

Loved the escargot pastry. also from the mystery bakery Hure.

Dinner was around the corner and fine. Everyone was American, I suppose we need to get a bit more off the beaten path but we were tired and it was good. Two doors down from Shakespeare bookshop. Once fortified we wandered home through the backer streets adn saw a few places tottery. Its hard when your time is limited and you are running yourself ragged. SO in addition to the plan of retiring to the barge, I am hoping that while I am transitioning from homelessness perhaps a long stint here would be fun.

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