Saturday, July 24, 2010

Paris! Paris! Paris!

After Italy, I took a flight to Paris and I was so proud of my navigating skills, as I got to my friend Taneka's house without a glitch. Um, hello. I love Paris! I didn't think I would. Which, perhaps is the best kind of love. That first night we walked around her neighborhood, a bustling and beautiful spot in the heart of Paris. We walked to the Seine and found a cozy Mexican restaurant for dinner. I fell asleep while watching "How to Catch a Thief"The next morning it was pouring rain, so we headed to the flea market (puce de la porte de vanves) via the metro instead of bikes as planned. So much good stuff!!! I need a house to put it in quick! Well, I enjoyed myself regardless that I couldn't actually get anything. That afternoon, I took at long walk to the catacombs. The line was mad long, but I waited in it.... for over two hours. Once inside, I expected to have some sort of emotional reaction, but I didn't. Maybe it's all those episodes of "Bones" I have been watching. It really was fascinating. I was mostly struck by the quantity of remains. I had always heard about it, but it didn't actually sink in until I saw it for myself. Also, the symmetry. All the bones were laid out like bricks, stacked for stability but the ending result was something very methodical, organized and symmetrical. Ick! In a way, that this was done, but, perhaps, more ick, that we (I) stand in long lines and pay 8 euros to see it?!?After, I took the metro to the Eiffel Tower and for a walk along the river Siene. It was a lovely evening, the place was bustling with tourists and I was pleased that one of them asked me for directions! ha! That night, Taneka and I walked around the neighborhood Marais. With drinks at a cute bar, L'perle. We saw a bum, with a unique MO. He sat perched with his two dogs.... well, just, here is the picture. Anyway, it totally worked. I bet he makes mad money!! We made dinner back at Taneka's.Sunday, we took bikes back to the flea market, because of the rain Saturday, we felt we would see more on a Sunny day and boy did we, there were like 3 times as many sellers, and the place was packed even at 9 in the morning. Taneka's roommate, Slavko got lots of good stuff, and I enjoyed shopping with someone else's money, ok, not really, but, I did get to put in my 2 cents here and there. He and Taneka are thinking about staring a resale shop in London. Fingers crossed for them.
It was a lucky coincidence, but that Sunday (1st of the month) was a free museum day, so I took myself to the Louvre. AND. My good cheer at said luck was squashed. It was soooo crowded, the line wrapped around and around. So, trying to come up with an alternative plan, I asked a guard how late the museum was open, and due to a lack of my speaking French, she misunderstood me, and pointed me to an alternative entrance, so, I walked right in. Really. No line. It was great. But, man, it still was a crowded museum, especially to see the Mona Lisa. People are crazy about seeing that, and I don't even think it is about the painting itself, I think it is just because it is famous. It was such a weird frenzy, and I couldn't even get within 10 feet of the thing. I wandered around the museum, allowing myself to get lost and just see what I see. I enjoyed the Egyptian, Mayan, and the Roman and Greek sculptures that were in better condition than those I saw at the Antalya museum (meaning, they still had their private parts - apparently no puritan Christians had gotten to these). I also really enjoyed the works from Iran, something I had never seen before and really never even thought about.
After the Louvre, I walked through the Tuileries Garden and made my way to the Museum of Arts, Crafts, and Design. I didn't have enough time to see the museum, so I hit the gift shop, they had an awesome book store, organized by subject. You want to look up chairs, or lighting, or window treatments.... they have a section for that here. It was great. From there, I went to the fair grounds and rode the farris wheel. Great views of the city! And, no line! I had a nice time there, people watching. The kids especially were so cute. I watching this little girl kick two big boys asses on the rock climbing wall. Yeah! It was a glorious day in Paris and I am not even done yet!That night I met up with Taneka to take the train out to the Buttes Chaumont Park, which she accurately described as kinda like central park but all on a big hill. It was beautiful, and there were lots of people out enjoying the warm evening. Plus, it was off the beaten path from the tourist hot spots! From there, Taneka and I went to the African neighborhood in search of dinner, being Sunday, it wasn't so easy. After walking for quite a while, we wandered into an Indian place. We both agreed that although, good, it wasn't quite like any Indian food we had ever had.

The next day, I hit up Shakespeare and Company book store and then to Notre Dame to meet Aly. Yes, Aly! It was such a treat that her vacation lined up with my trip there! We had a great day together. We met up with Taneka at a famous falafel place.... King Falafel. Wandered around there just kinda having a fun girly day.... shopping, ice cream, and sitting in a park chatting it up. Loved the shop "Merci". There are so many beautiful clothes in Paris, and I was really good. I didn't buy anything.We then went to the Pompidou for the Lucian Freud show. But, first a drink on their spectacular roof. (!!!) Lucian is one of my favorite painters from college when I was into figure painting. I had kinda forgotten about him, and I was glad to be reminded. We all loved his work, and quotes. We saw another show on display "dreamscape" which was at least in part about Coney island and well, we all kinda looked at each other with the oddity, 3 Brooklyn girls in Paris looking at an exhibit about Brooklyn. We had rose wine back at Taneka's and made plans for the next day.The next morning I slept in and then took the metro to Sacre Coeur. It was a beautiful place, set up on a hill with a nice view of the city. Out front a quartet was playing and I got a little weepy. Dang, I wish I was a musician. From there, I went to the arch de triumph, the place de concord to see the 3000 year old Egyptian obelisk, and back for another stroll along the Tuileries. I picked up goodies for meeting the girls and our picnic at the Eiffel Tower! It was "epic" as Aly called it. We stayed for hours, drinking wine, bread, olives, and waiting for the lights to come on! It was was beautiful.