Thursday, September 15th–Paris

Rainy morning; Orange top up; metro to the Louvre; Denon wing; snack run to Franprix, Aux desirs de Manon, and the Swiss ice cream place; another Asian dinner; walking to the Church of St Ephrem for a piano recital and back home by cab; brief moment of panic backing up last week's photos

Grand Hotel Malher



It started raining about midnight last night and didn't stop until sometime after 11 so I really wasn't in a hurry to do anything this morning including having breakfast downstairs or anywhere else or taking my clothes over to the laundry. I just hung out here in my room until the rain had stopped. The temperature dropped at least 10 degrees F than it had been yesterday so I brought out my long pants and long sleeve shirts this morning.

I basically only did two things today. I went to the Louvre for the first time this trip and went to a wonderful concert this evening.

Before I took the metro from St Paul down to Palais Royale/Louvre I stopped of at the Orange cell phone store on the corner to top up my phone's account (I think next time I'll go back to the larger store further down the Rue de Rivoli since more people seemed to speak more English there, but we got the job done). When I had lunch at the café down near that end of the Louvre earlier this week I had noticed what looked like a very nice creperie across the street so that's where I went for lunch today. I had a very good galette with egg, bacon and cheese then a sweet crepe with salted caramel sauce for dessert, accompanied by a tasty glass of cider.

I've mentioned before my plan to visit the Louvre wing by wing, basically taking the elevator up to the top floor, walking all the way around the perimeter to where I started, then going down to the next level and doing the same all the way down to the exit. Today I started with the Denon wing Why? Well, mostly because it was to the right as I got off the escalator in the grand lobby.

I did see the two main attractions, the Mona Lisa with all the other people waiting to get to the front of the mob for their selfie in front of the picture (with my camera I could get a good picture from off to the side and got a good one of the crowd in front of the picture) and the Winged Victory of Samothrace, both from across the stairwell and from right next to it. Since I didn't get to the Louvre until about 1:30 there were lots of people there as well. After a couple of hours even I get tired of constantly having to work my way around couples, families, and other larger groups and just want to get the hell out of there. I did, however, find myself in a couple of areas I don't remember having visited the last time I was there. I still didn't find the Gallery of Apollo or the Venus de Milo but I did find the galleries in the lower levels with the Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities and the ones with the Islamic art and carpets all of which I enjoyed very much possibly because they were less crowded than the upper levels.

I was rather annoyed because the only exit I could find took me the long way around through the Louvre's underground shopping mall, the Carrousel du Louvre, which was very nicely done and has lots of top quality shops and restaurants but I just wanted to leave.

I wanted to come back here to my room and just hang out for a bit before I had to leave again to have dinner before tonight's concert so I took the Metro back here. Before I came back to my room I stopped by the Franprix for some more fruit salad and juice, at Aux desirs de Manon for a couple of eclairs and at the Swiss ice cream place for some ice cream I ate out on the courtyard patio by my room.

I stretched out to read and may even have dozed off for a bit. At just about 6 PM I wanted to make sure I had the e ticket for tonight's concert on at least one of my phones and when I was checking that I saw that the concert was actually at 8 PM and not at 8:30 as I had thought. That still gave me enough time to go around the corner to one of my usual Asian places for all the ususal reasons–pretty good food, not expensive, and fast–and for the lovely walk across the Seine and along Boulevard St Germain to the Church of St Ephrem.

(The continuation of typing this narrative was briefly delayed while I gave myself a brief moment of panic. When I left this evening I left my real camera behind thinking I could always take pictures on either of the two smart phones I had with me, although the walk to St Ephrem was so pretty I would have taken lots of pictures if I had my real camera. I did take a couple of pictures once I got to the church, which is a very lovely, very old and rather small church with amazing acoustics–more on that later. Once I got back here I emailed the pictures from the smart phone to myself and when that message arrived I wanted to save them to the folder for today's pics on my laptop. Not only had I not created any folders for this week but I didn't see anything on the hard drive for later than September 5th which resulted in the moment of panic until I checked the memory card in the camera and saw that all the pictures I'd taken since 9/5 were still there. Continuing these notes was further delayed for the time it took to copy the pictures from the camera's memory card since that is a big demand on the laptop's memory and processing. Copying them to my backup USB flash drives which I am doing now is mostly merely time consuming so I can get back to my notes.)

St Ephrem (a different URL this time) is an 18th Century Syriac Catholic church built on the site of a 14th Century church. The church regularly holds concerts featuring musicians who are either students of or graduates from the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et Dans de Paris, many of whom are also winners of major competitions.

Tonight's concert was a lovely solo piano recital from a young man (20s to early 30s?) named Pascal Martin who doesn't seem to have a Web page but is on YouTube. The program included a piano sonata by Mozart, followed by "Five waltzes", a Berceuse, and a piano sonata all by Chopin and a bit of Debussy for an encore. I'd never heard any of the pieces before and enjoyed them all very much since they were great pieces of music performed very well.

To save some time because it was almost 9:30 I walked down to the Boulevard St Germain and took a cab back here, and started typing these notes almost as soon as I got back.

I don't have anything on my schedule until the evening of Sunday 9/18 which is when I have my tour of the Eiffel Tower. Coming back in the taxi after dark reminded me I still want to take a night ride on one of the open top tour buses and maybe a night cruise on the Seine as well. I might do at least one of those tomorrow or Friday. Other than that I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow, maybe go to at least a couple of the museums here in the immediate area of the Marais. It's now about midnight, time to finish my cider and send this off to Michael, Tim, Renee and Kelly and get back to backing up my most recent pictures to the USB drives.

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