Monday, September 19th–Paris

Late morning; Sully wing at the Louvre and the Pavillon de l'Horloge; the statue of Joan of Arc; flowers and leaves on the trees; the Orangerie; snack run to Aux Desirs du Manon, Franprix, and Starbucks; dinner at the Auberge de Venise Bastille

Grand Hotel Malher



Tonight would have been a good evening for the two hour night bus tour, which left about twenty minutes ago.

Since I wasn't doing a whole lot today, and everything is basically within a 45 minute walk from my hotel I took the morning off and skipped breakfast downstairs. It was raining when I woke up when my alarm clock went of at 8:30 AM but stopped sometime between 9:30 and 10 which is when I got moving.

I did indeed do what I had thought I'd do last night. I walked down to the Louvre and even though I wanted to go to the Sully wing which is at the end closest to the hotel and could enter the complex there I had to go all the way through to the central courtyard with the pyramids there and enter via the main entrance.

As usual I found my way over to the elevator and headed on up to the top floor. The Sully is even more confusing than the other wings because it's a full three sides around a courtyard so I went down the perimeter of one floor and back down the other side then went down to the next level and so on. It was quite reassuring to occasionally be able to look out a window and see either the building directly across the courtyard or across the courtyard to the main courtyard with the glass pyramids.

I quite enjoy the Sully (a different URL) quite a bit especially the basement part where you get to wander through the remains of the medieval fortress which are pretty damn impressive bits of engineering and are also quite beautiful. As soon as I walked into the entrance to the bits of the medieval Louvre down in the basement I remembered walking through it when I was there last time. I loved the rest of the Sully wing as well. I found the Egyptian collection which I really like and followed the signs to the Venus de Milo which didn't have that much of a crowd around it today. The new exhibition, the Pavillon de l'Horloge about the history of the Louvre through its various and varied historical phases is of course quite well done.


I of course walked past the lovely gold statue of Joan of Arc down at the far end of the Louvre from the hotel at the corner of Rue de Rivoli and Rue des Pyramides on my way down to the Jardin des Tuilleries and accidentally found where I need to go Friday morning to check in for the day trip to Vaux le Vicomte and Fontainebleau (I knew it was in that area but wasn't actually looking for it when I went past it). I kept walking down the street side of the park looking for a place to have lunch and checking out the rest of the souvenir shops along the street. I found a restaurant whose menu I liked but when I wanted to sit inside I was told I had to go up the stairs to the next floor and left. I went back the other direction to the same creperie where I'd been before and had another lovely galette with spinach, cheese and an egg, the crepe with salted caramel sauce for dessert, and a glass of their very good cider.

I know my family probably thinks it's quite amusing every time I mention the contrast between when I was last here in Paris in the dead of winter over Christmas and New Year's and now in mid-September before the leaves have even started turning but it is really quite different. I have very clear memories and the pictures to back them up of being able to see the architectural details on the buildings around wherever I was because there were few leaves on the trees to block them. Yesterday, for instance, when I was sitting on the bench looking at the Eiffel Tower I could barely see the huge legs through the leaves on the trees when I saw them quite clearly and distinctly when I was there last. The same was true when I was walking through the Jardins des Tuilleries today. When I was here in the middle of winter I could walk down through the center of the park from one end to the other and see the buildings along the park quite clearly but today the trees were still covered in leaves which block the view. I loved Paris in winter and being able to clearly see the amazing and wonderful architectural details as much as I love seeing it with flowers and leaves on the trees.

I enjoy the Orangerie quite a bit but since it's one of the smallest museums here in Paris it really doesn't take me that much time to get through it. It's not a failing on my part to admit my brain isn't wired for art the same way it is for a lot of the other people I see in galleries and museums who can stand there rapt in attention to something I don't see or care about. My reactions are "OK", "Nice", "I like that", "I really like that", with "I'd like to be there" or "I wouldn't want to be there" for landscapes, with "I'd go for a beer with him" or "I'd like to go out with her" for pictures with people in them or sculptures of people. For instance I do like quite a bit the two galleries at the Orangerie with Monet's phenomenal paintings of water lilies but I best appreciate them by standing pretty much in the middle and looking at each of them in turn for a couple of minutes and moving on.

I took the Metro back from the nearest station to the Tuilleries to Saint Paul, stopped at Aux Desirs du Manon for a small bag of madeleines and a couple of other pastries, the Franprix for a small container of mixed berries, and a Pepsi to mix with a shot of rum sometime, and Starbucks for an iced coffee before coming back here to my room around 4:30 PM and had the coffee and a couple of madeleines while sitting out on the garden wall on the courtyard.

I enjoyed the rest of the very quiet afternoon, stretching out to read and watch something streaming on my Kindle Fire. I might have even dozed off for a bit. Around 7:30 PM I went out for a walk and to find somewhere to have dinner. The evening was quite lovely and I still wasn't very hungry yet so I had a bit of a wander along the way.

I wound up finding a lovely Italian place on the same street as the Frog Revolution I went to earlier this week, Auberge de Venise Bastille, where I had their three course menu with a dish of different preparations of different vegetables for an appetizer which was quite good, a lovely mushroom risotto, and a delightful chocolate mousse for dessert along with a small bottle of beer and a bottle of sparkling water.

It was just after 9 PM when I got back here to my room and it's now almost 11.

Let me start my plans for tomorrow at the end first, then go back to the beginning. I have my second to last and last concert at Notre Dame tomorrow night at 8:30 PM so I plan to have dinner somewhere near there around 7 PM. If the weather is as nice tomorrow after the concert as it was this evening I might go take one of the night cruises on the Vedettes du Pont Neuf since their last cruise is at 10:30 PM.

I plan on spending the latter part of the morning and the afternoon visiting some more places in Paris I haven't been to yet, the Petit Palace/Musee des Beaux-Arts, the Grand Palace and its science museum the Palais de la decouverte then walk on over to the nearby Musee Jacquemart Andre.

At least those are my plans for tomorrow so far.

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