A Travellerspoint blog

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The Musée d’Orsay

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Musée d'Orsay - and they are again allowing photos inside the museum

Musée d'Orsay - and they are again allowing photos inside the museum

Musée d'Orsay photos from a previous trip

Musée d'Orsay photos from a previous trip

Ed coughed most of the night so after breakfast we visited our neighborhood pharmacy for some medicine. I had a notice of a “perturbation” on our line #12 Metro so we walked over to the Palais Royal-Louvre #1 Metro to discover the station closed. Not knowing if it was part of the ongoing strikes or something else, we decided to save Vincennes for another day and walked back to the Musée d’Orsay where, oddly, there was no line. We paid for the special Van Gogh-Arnaud exhibit and entered. It was a fantastic exhibit marred only by the people who kept pushing cell phones in front of our faces. Photos are not allowed anyplace in the newly-renovated Orsay but the guards can’t keep up with all the violators. Pity. Despite the photographic mob scene, we thoroughly enjoyed the marvelous exhibit . . . Van Gogh’s from all over the world. (Postscript: The Orsay has lifted their photo ban and you are now allowed to take pictures again. Quelle relief.)

Musée d'Orsay photos from a previous trip

Musée d'Orsay photos from a previous trip

Musée d'Orsay, photos from a previous trip

Musée d'Orsay, photos from a previous trip

*****

The Angelus by Jean-François Millet

The Angelus by Jean-François Millet


After viewing the special exhibit, we found a seat to rest and then found the Millet collection Ed so enjoys. Then we went to the top floor and through the Impressionist collection, a favorite of both of ours. [Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris; tel: +33 (0)1 4049-4814; Musée d’Orsay web site]

The Gleaners by Jean-François Millet

The Gleaners by Jean-François Millet

*****

Entrance to the Musée d'Orsay

Entrance to the Musée d'Orsay


It was very late for lunch, almost the two o’clock witching hour so we walked back to our apartment and left hats and things before walking quickly to L’Empire a block away. Ed got the chicken I had had the other day and I got the daily special, pintade (guinea fowl), and both meals were perfection. I got the chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert and Ed got an amazing combination of prunes, ice-cream and passion fruit. This little café is a delight. Meals were 10.90 euros each . . . unbelievable.

*****

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in front of the Louvre

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in front of the Louvre


Stuffed and exhausted, we came home for a nap and have been watching the crises in Brazil and Iraq. The poor world is a mess right now. There was even a manifestation at our local Metro station as we ate lunch. We could hear it.

Later we walked over to the Tuileries, claimed two chairs and watched the world walk by. Life is good . . .

Posted by Beausoleil 11:11 Archived in France Tagged musee_d'orsay Comments (2)

The Château de Vincennes and the Parc Floral de Paris

Friday, June 13, 2014 . . . oops, Friday the 13th

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Château de Vincennes Main Entrance

Château de Vincennes Main Entrance


All the strikes today are on the RER so we stayed with the Metro. We got a bit more sleep last night so felt adventurous. After breakfast, we walked to the rue de Bac Metro, changed to the line 1 at Concorde and rode to the end at Château de Vincennes. The Metro line ends at the Château entrance so we walked in and found the ticket office. The Donjon is huge and imposing. Ticketed, we entered along with dozens of school kids on field trips and started climbing castle stairs.

Château de Vincennes, the Keep

Château de Vincennes, the Keep

The Chapel at Château de Vincennes

The Chapel at Château de Vincennes

A school group ahead of us entering the chatelet (entrance to the Keep).

A school group ahead of us entering the chatelet (entrance to the Keep).

Anciennt Graffiti in the Château

Anciennt Graffiti in the Château

*****

The Queen’s Pavilion beside the Chapel

The Queen’s Pavilion beside the Chapel


The château is marvelously medieval and views from it are great. No furniture but a couple interactive exhibits . . . one played music of the times . . ,. and there were several maquettes.

Interior of the Chapel with an exhibit of WWI Memorabilia

Interior of the Chapel with an exhibit of WWI Memorabilia

Château de Vincennes, the Chapel

Château de Vincennes, the Chapel

*****

Château de Vincennes in Paris

Château de Vincennes in Paris


We climbed up and down castle stairs trying to avoid small children and had a grand time. Exited the castle and walked across the courtyard to the chapel. It was modeled on Ste. Chapelle in Paris so is high and light but the windows don’t compare . The stained glass in Ste. Chapelle is much more beautiful. This chapel did have a very interesting Rose Window though. There was an exhibit of WWI posters that was very interesting. Those were awful times! My grandfather was sent to France in WWI and never would talk about it. I did see his gas mask in the attic once when helping my grandmother clean house.

The Village Tower is the original main gate of the Château de Vincennes

The Village Tower is the original main gate of the Château de Vincennes

*****

Exiting the Main Gate to the town of Vincennes

Exiting the Main Gate to the town of Vincennes

Pizza del Castello in Vincennes

Pizza del Castello in Vincennes


We left the château looking for something a bit different for lunch and found Pizza del Castello right across from the Château at the corner of ave. de Paris and rue Robert Giraudineau. We didn't get their wood-fired pizza although it looked and smelled terrific but we did order Italian and had a very pleasant change-of-pace lunch. After lunch we circled the Château to the Parc Floral de Paris in the Bois de Vincennes and spent some time exploring it. You could easily spend a full day just in the park. The Paris Zoo is in the Vincennes Park although we didn't get that far. It was starting to get hot so we headed back to the subway for the trip home. Since it's the first stop, we had the train to ourselves for a while but it was full by the time we got downtown. [Pizza del Castello, 26 ave. de Paris, tel: +33 (0)1 4328 3357; Pizza del Castello web site]

Château de Vincennes from the town side

Château de Vincennes from the town side

Parc Floral de Paris in Vincennes

Parc Floral de Paris in Vincennes

Parc Floral de Paris

Parc Floral de Paris

Maison Paris Nature in the Parc Floral de Paris

Maison Paris Nature in the Parc Floral de Paris

Château de Vincennes Chapel from the Cours des Maréchaux

Château de Vincennes Chapel from the Cours des Maréchaux

Square Jean Jaures near the Metro Station and Château

Square Jean Jaures near the Metro Station and Château

Vincennes stop of Paris Metro line #1

Vincennes stop of Paris Metro line #1

*****

Walked over to the Tuileries and grabbed a couple chairs in the shade. I caught up on my Ina Caro book and Ed people watched. As we were leaving, we noticed a group of painters so walked over to see what they were doing. They had water brushes and were all painting people from the crowds. Fun!

Posted by Beausoleil 12:57 Archived in France Tagged gardens flowers paris park chapels chateau vincennes parc_floral Comments (2)

Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis and the Poesie Fair

Saturday, June 14, 2014

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I have a sore throat and Ed a bad cough so we were not excited about touring far today. We ate breakfast and got ready, noted the transit strike is only RER and trams so we walked over to the rue de Bac Metro and it was running. We got on and took line #12 to Gare St. Lazare and changed to #13 out to Basilique St. Denis. You exit into an unattractive shopping area but there were signs to the basilica. It was a short walk and we rounded the corner to see the Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis wrapped in scaffolding. So much for exterior photos . . .

*****

North Transcept Rose Window at Saint-Denis

North Transcept Rose Window at Saint-Denis


We entered the burial place of French kings and started to explore only to discover you pay to visit the Royal Necropolis. We paid and reentered via a side door and wandered through the lovely gothic cathedral. There are two magnificent rose windows and my photo of the one in the north transcept came out well. Several of my ancestors are buried in St. Denis including Charles Martel (the Hammer) and Pepin the Short. I think Robert Capet is buried there too but we didn’t find him.

Interior photos of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Interior photos of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Interior of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Interior of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Interior of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Interior of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Recumbent Effigies in Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Recumbent Effigies in Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis


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*****

In the crypt at Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

In the crypt at Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis


We visited the crypt and all the displays there including a list engraved in stone of all the kings of France. The oddest thing was the tomb of Saint Denis which was a hole in the ground in which they projected an image of Saint Denis lying there holding his head. The legend is that he was decapitated and picked up his head and walked 6 miles with it while preaching the entire way. It's very dark and the projected image is very dramatic. Web site of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Here is another web site from England that gives information about the current restoration work on the Basilica.
An English-language web site about the Basilica

Stained glass in the crypt at Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Stained glass in the crypt at Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Projection of St. Denis in his tomb at Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Projection of St. Denis in his tomb at Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Some of many exhibits in the crypt at Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Some of many exhibits in the crypt at Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Exhibit in the Crypt of St. Denis holding his severed head.

Exhibit in the Crypt of St. Denis holding his severed head.

*****

Interior of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Interior of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis


We left the church and had a coffee and hot chocolate at a café across the street, then walked through the little park before riding a very crowded Metro back home. We left hats and camera at the apartment and walked down to L’Empire for another lunch. My entrecote is probably the least appealing of their menu choices and it was still very good. Came back and napped. We’re both wiped out from these silly colds.

Reflections on the floor of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Reflections on the floor of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Walking out the front door of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

Walking out the front door of Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis

St. Denis on the left and St. Sulpice on the right

St. Denis on the left and St. Sulpice on the right


*****

Poesie Market in front of St. Sulpice

Poesie Market in front of St. Sulpice


Later we walked across rue Jacob to rue Seine and down to the Buci Market and over to St. Sulpice. The Poesie Fair is in full swing so no fountain photos. It's covered by all the tents. I love the Poesie Fair. Once we were there and a kindly publisher gave me a free book of French poetry. I didn't have such luck this year possibly because it was very busy in the whole area. On the way home we stopped for a kir at the Café St. Germain and made reservations at La Bastide d’Opio for tomorrow after church. Fun!

Poesie Market at Place St. Sulpice in Paris

Poesie Market at Place St. Sulpice in Paris

Poesie Market in front of St. Sulpice

Poesie Market in front of St. Sulpice

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Posted by Beausoleil 11:23 Archived in France Tagged paris st._denis st._sulpice Comments (5)

The Luxembourg Gardens and Saint-Sulpice on Father's Day

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sénat from rue Tournon

Sénat from rue Tournon


Ed got Father’s Day greetings from Jean and Peg via my e-mail this morning., We walked to Paul’s for breakfast and it is much changed. The front room is now a coffee bar and standup only. A second back room has been added, quite elegant, and it serves the same delicious hot chocolate we remembered. We were eating our breakfast and a jolly man sat down beside us and asked where we were from. We told him and quickly learned he was David and lived in Paris half the year and some retirement place in Florida the other half. He’s a retired architect and very chatty. Fortunately, he’s a most pleasant 80-year-old gentleman and we enjoyed talking to him. We did discover our favorite waitress (the grumpy one) has retired. He attended her retirement party. I must admit we missed her. She was grumpy but very efficient and when you got her to smile, you knew you had accomplished something.

*****

Musée du Luxembourg

Musée du Luxembourg


After breakfast, we walked over to the Luxembourg Gardens to see if the “Josephine” exhibit is still on. It lasts until the end of the month so we’ll go soon. We continued around the Luxembourg Gardens and then walked back through the gardens heading for church. There were a lot of joggers in the gardens on a Sunday morning.

Triomphe de Silène by Aimé Jules Dalou in the Luxembourg Gardens

Triomphe de Silène by Aimé Jules Dalou in the Luxembourg Gardens

Sculpture in front of the Institut Hongrois on rue Bonaparte

Sculpture in front of the Institut Hongrois on rue Bonaparte

Shop window on rue Bonaparte

Shop window on rue Bonaparte

*****

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We walked back to St. Sulpice where the organist plays for fifteen minutes before Mass. Today was the last Mass of the school year so we had scouts marching in with flags and all sorts of ceremony. It was quite exciting. After Mass there was a marvelous forty-minute organ recital and then we walked around the Poesie Festival to La Bastide d’Opio where we had a lunch reservation. The waiter asked if we enjoyed the recital so he remembered us from yesterday when we stopped in to make the reservation. We got the 13.90 euro lunch menu. Ed had the magret de canard and I had the fork-tender lamb. Both were excellent. Ed got crème brulée for dessert and I got the hot (very hot) chocolate cake with ice cream, both delicious.

Two photos of the interior of Saint Sulpice

Two photos of the interior of Saint Sulpice

Organ built by François-Henri Clicquot and reconstructed by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1862.

Organ built by François-Henri Clicquot and reconstructed by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1862.

The Pulpit in Eglise Saint Sulpice

The Pulpit in Eglise Saint Sulpice

The Gnomon of Saint Sulpice from the Da Vinci Code

The Gnomon of Saint Sulpice from the Da Vinci Code

The Poesie Market in front of Eglise Saint Sulpice

The Poesie Market in front of Eglise Saint Sulpice

*****

Poem by Rimbaud engraved on the wall of rue Henry de Jouvenel

Poem by Rimbaud engraved on the wall of rue Henry de Jouvenel


We walked back to the Luxembourg Gardens where they’ve taken out a lot of trees and are planting new ones. We visited the 1914-18 WWI exhibit in front of the Sénat. This is the 100th Anniversary of World War I; hence, the exhibit. You can walk on it and there were families exploring with their children. I'm sure there were a lot of history lessons that morning.

We followed our ears to a piano recital. A gentleman was playing Chopin on a beautiful Bosendorfer grand piano in the park so we found a bench to enjoy Chopin in the gardens for a while. Around four o’clock we walked back to St. Sulpice for their afternoon organ recital which was spectacular.

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Sunday Piano Recital at the Kiosque à Musique

Sunday Piano Recital at the Kiosque à Musique

Not a tux, but on a Bosendorfer. Chopin in the park.

Not a tux, but on a Bosendorfer. Chopin in the park.

Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens

Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens

*****

It has been cool and a beautiful day!

Posted by Beausoleil 12:05 Archived in France Tagged st._sulpice luxembourg_gardens Comments (3)

Montparnasse Cemetery and the Luxembourg Gardens

Monday, June 16, 2014

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Another night of coughing so after breakfast, we made yet another visit to the pharmacist, whom we are getting to know quite well, and had a long discussion. Ed got a couple new medicines and some cough drops. Here’s hoping . . .

*****

Square Boucicaut

Square Boucicaut


We went back to the apartment, took medicines and collected camera and Paris Walk cards and set off. We decided to walk to the start of the Paris Walk because it was just one Metro stop from ours. We started down blvd. Raspail to the Sèvres-Babylone Metro station and started our Paris Walk there. Very few tourists, a lovely day and easy walking. We checked all the tiny parks along the way. We missed one turn but caught ourselves at rue Vavin where we stopped at a very nice paper store and bought a Merci card. We've passed quite a few art stores and it's tempting to go in all of them. We've resisted so far . . .

Square Boucicaut

Square Boucicaut

Ducks at Square Boucicaut

Ducks at Square Boucicaut

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Restaurant La Coupole

Restaurant La Coupole

*****

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We happened upon Eglise Notre-Dame des Champs at the corner of rue du Montparnasse and blvd. du Montparnasse. We looked into the church and the small garden beside it, then continued our walk and started looking for lunch. We were in a little Alsace-little Brittany area with dozens of crêperies which we don’t like so we had a bit of a search but found a pleasant brasserie at Pl. Fernand Mourlot and settled in for a very non-touristy lunch at La Liberté. Ed got a nice cassoulet and I got a confit de canard. We had ice cream for dessert. [Café La Liberté, 1 Rue de la Gaité 75014 Paris; tel: +33 (0)1 4320-9456]

Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Champs

Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Champs

Main Altar and Organ of Notre-Dame-des-Champs

Main Altar and Organ of Notre-Dame-des-Champs

Corner of rue du Montparnasse and blvd. du Montparnasse

Corner of rue du Montparnasse and blvd. du Montparnasse

*****

Overlooking it all, the Montparnasse Tower

Overlooking it all, the Montparnasse Tower


Left the pleasant restaurant to resume our walk and found another art store so we gave in and entered. I've been looking for a special yellow and the Sennelier store didn't have it so we decided this one might. As it turned out, they didn’t have my PY175 but I did buy a book and we left . . . to pass several more art stores. Fun neighborhood!

We wound our way to and into Cimetière du Montparnasse and walked through the peaceful cemetery. I got a photo of the grave of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Some of the graves here are fascinating, everything from classic sculpture to very modernistic decorations on the tombs. There are trees and art; it's very peaceful. The only jarring note is the ghastly Montparnasse Tower jutting up into the sky visible everywhere. The view of Paris from the top of it is spectacular; the view of it from the Eiffel Tower is not. I always recommend people go up the Montparnasse Tower for the view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. It's much easier and nicer than waiting in line at the Eiffel Tower and ending up viewing the Montparnasse Tower in the background. Montparnasse Tower web site

Entrance to Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris with map

Entrance to Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris with map

Tomb of sculptor Henri Laurens, his piece La Douleur at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Tomb of sculptor Henri Laurens, his piece La Douleur at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

A Pleurant (weeper/mourner) at a tomb in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

A Pleurant (weeper/mourner) at a tomb in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Three tombs at Montparnasse Cemetery and a Dancing Angel

Three tombs at Montparnasse Cemetery and a Dancing Angel

Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Obviously a pianist at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Obviously a pianist at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Very modern sculpture set in marble at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Very modern sculpture set in marble at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

A mobile and the little people in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

A mobile and the little people in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Very modern tombstone at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Very modern tombstone at Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Tomb of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir

Tomb of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir

*****

One of the Wallace Fountains designed by Charles-Auguste Lebourg

One of the Wallace Fountains designed by Charles-Auguste Lebourg


We exited on blvd. Raspail, passed the Foundation Cartier, checked their garden through the large glass windows and then found ourselves somehow at the Denfert-Rochereau Metro station. We had managed to go the wrong way, not fun when on foot. We got out the map and set off up blvd. Denfert-Rochereau to get to the Luxembourg Gardens and saw a bit more of Paris than we had planned. We stopped at a monastic shop and didn’t buy anything but did note it for further exploration. They sell all kinds of things from monasteries, including patés, preserves and music. [Monastery of the Visitation; 68 avenue Denfert-Rochereau 75014, Paris; tel: +33 (0)1 4327-1290; email: monastere-visitation@wanadoo.fr]

At one point we passed one of the Wallace Fountains we've found all over Paris. Our oldest daughter always refills her waterbottle at one of these as we pass.

Monastery of the Visitation near the Luxembourg Gardens

Monastery of the Visitation near the Luxembourg Gardens

*****

Fontaine de l'Observatoire of Paris

Fontaine de l'Observatoire of Paris


Finally arrived at the lower reaches of the Luxembourg Gardens where students just out of exams were having water fights. We managed to remain dry and walked through the gardens and fought our way through millions of tourists on rue Bonaparte and home. Tired!

Jardin des Grands Explorateurs with the Palais du Luxembourg at the very end

Jardin des Grands Explorateurs with the Palais du Luxembourg at the very end

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Eglise Saint Sulpice and the Poesie Market

Eglise Saint Sulpice and the Poesie Market

The Zadkine sculpture in front of Les Deux Magots and Eglise Saint Germain

The Zadkine sculpture in front of Les Deux Magots and Eglise Saint Germain

Posted by Beausoleil 14:31 Archived in France Tagged cemetery_montparnasse Comments (3)

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