Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 18, 2013 The rest of day 1 in Paris

I wisely slept for a couple of hours until about 2 pm. I could have slept longer but Paris was calling. I got up groggily, dressed in some relatively stylish duds - that's a whole other story - my friend Kathy Benner who make fabulous silk goods loaned me some pretties to bring along on the trip so I'll rival the femme fatales in Paris. I wasn't sure where to head but decided to go to the Musee Marmottan. I went there many, many years ago and was blown away by he round room full of huge Monet waterlilies. I decided it would be incredible to see them again. It just so happened that there's also an exhibit by a woman painted, Marie Laurencian, whose book Chris gave me for Christmas because he liked her backgrounds and thought I might learn from them. The museum is in an old mansion, for lack of a better word, with spectacular parquet floors with beautiful patterns on them, etc. it's furnished with furniture from the past, some of which belonged to the richer Impressionists like Berthe Morisot. There are paintings by many famous Impressionists like Morisot, Monet (primarily him) and Renoir. The painting the movement was named after, Impression - sunrise, is there along with some really wonderful waterlilies and Japanese bridge paintings. Seem of them are so full of paint, they are abstract, kind of like Turner's paintings became as he aged and couldn't see so well either. Seems like that happened to a fair number of artists. It was a real gift having several hours to wander through the gallery looking slowly and thoroughly at the paintings. I took a lot of notes. That's how I make up for not having anyone with me to talk to about things! I share my thoughts with myself then I'll go back and think about them more later, like on my blog.
I enjoyed the Laurencian exhibit a lot. I hadn't read the book he gave me - just looked at the pictures -so it was good to learn more about her. Apparently she played with the big boys like Braque and Picasso. Her paintings tend to be of slender women with thin faces, a bit like Modigliani, but their skin is always very, very pale, and her colors are muted greys and pastels. I like her self portraits. Sorry I can't post a link to her work. It's worth checking out. I don't know how to do it though from he on my iPad.

After thoroughly enjoying the museum, I went to the park across the street and delighted in watching kids play on the merry go round and in the sand box, etc. there seemed to be more nannies there than moms or dads, though I did see one US dad in his suit with his three kids who called out to him constantly. Minor crisis when the youngest had to poop and the public potty was closed. I suggested they use the bushes like the dogs do, then I realiZed that that's what they do in China, not in Paris!

I made my way to the metro station but never quite made it to that one... I looked in the shops and stopped in a cafe because I was parched. I wandered into a homemade chocolates shop to smell the air. Wow. Wow. Wow.
As I left the shop, I noticed the Eiffel Tower in the distance and decided to head over there. I walked through lovely streets full of very expensive goods. This is the shishi area of town. Very little cost less than 100 euros, especially clothing. I did see some furniture that was less than 100, but barely any clothes or shoes! I guess the Parisians wear their fortunes on their backs. They definitely look like a million bucks.

I stopped and bought a baguette to carry under my arm so I could feel like I belonged - most of the people I saw were doing the same. I also went to a speciality meat and cheese shop and got some cheese I've had and liked in the US. I haven't had any of them yet but I look forward to a midnight snack.

I got to the Eiffel
Tower just a bit after sundown, but there was lots of light left and plenty of people wandering around standing in line to take the elevator to the top -or the stairs - I thought about doing the stairs since I no longer had my suitcase to haul up with me! But I'll wait to see if Laura wants to go. I climbed it when I was here on a choir tour after college, it was fun and kinda thrilling ,but I think I'd rather see other things instead.

I wandered through that area taking pictures as the sky became more and more dramatic. I wandered down a busy street/boulevard thinking I'd find a metro eventually. I did but first I wandered into an interesting venue. I saw some art hanging on a shop wall that interested me. There were Buddhas outside the building. It appeared to be a travel agency. I tried the door - it opened so I went in. They were having some kind of reception with wine and food. No one looked askance at me despite the fact that I had my broken-in-two baguette under my arm and my cheese in my other hand. I made my way through the substantial crowd to the table and asked for a glass of wine, I said blanc ,but got rouge. It was quite peppery tasting, interesting... It went well with the bamboo shoot-herring appetizer I tried. Vinegary. There was also a creamy looking thing in a glass. I tried one. It was perhaps creme-fraiche, though I admit I don't really know what that is, with layers of relish interspersed making it very festive and pretty looking. I thought someone might approach me to ask why I was there, but the only person I spoke with was the man who took my wine when I put it down so I could concentrate better on my creme-fraiche and not drop my baguette and cheese. He was very apologetic once he realized what I was saying was accurate, though that didn't happen until his partner pointed his own wine out in another place on the table. He was pretty intent on getting his wine!

I felt quite bold going into the reception and joining in. I doubt I would have done it if I'd been with someone else. That was one of the interesting parts of the day - occasionally taking a reading on how it was to be alone - it wasn't bad - I like my own company most of the time - though I would have enjoyed a companion more, I think. This way though I didn't have to consider anyone else's desires or interests and could move at my own speed. There are definitely advantages to each.

Speaking of companions, Laura is one her way here from the train station as I write. She should be here any second! I haven't seen her since December, so this is a lovely treat! She's here -gotta go!

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