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Published: November 4th 2018
Paris is slowly crawling into winter.
It’s still a month away, but the cool chill in the wind, and the turning of the leaves to red and amber, tells me that winter is close. The leaves are holding onto branches for as long as they can, before floating to the ground, only to be trod into the damp paths, kicked around and played with by children, or scooped up by the many workers vacuuming the streets and parks, keeping Paris clean.
Like Spaniards, the French love a cigarette, and happily drop the still burning butts at random, continuing an age old French tradition. You are never far from the smell of cigarettes or diesel fumes in Paris. Even the smallest cars are often diesel powered, adding to that fragrant, toxic cocktail of Paris. On a brighter note, this is offset by the patisseries and bakeries enticing you with their sweet, spicy aromas, to stop for a coffee and pastry. The Camino weight loss program, walking, has been tested heavily and has failed in the past week. It just proves, it’s hard to lose weight, and so easy to regain it.
I should still fit on the plane home
though, and I am conscious of the airline weight allocation theory that I put forward days ago, although that was under the stress of being ripped off by Vueling. Move on , Steve, move on.
Another little sensory treat yesterday occurred when a young woman accosted Tim and I , okay, she approached Tim and I, outside one of the many fragrance boutiques, and pressed a sample stick in our hands. This was a welcome promotional ploy, and I’d say my perfume had grassy origins, infused with musk and cinnamon, with just a hint of delicate rose. But that is just my interpretation; I’m sure we all see these things differently.
I still have that stick. Sue will be surprised to receive French perfume as a gift when I arrive home.
Today it’s slightly overcast and cool, but considering the raging storms and devastation occurring in Spain and Italy, we are very fortunate to step outside into dry streets.
Rue Mont Orgeuil has been a busy market since the 13th Century, and was where all the seafood from the northern ports of France entered Paris. Today the range of specialty food shops and cafes divide the
fashionable clothes and oddity stores, and this Sunday it’s typically busy. We bought our freshly cooked sausage, ash coated spreadable cheese, and bread for lunch, then stopped at a cafe, had a coffee, seated outside facing the street as the French like to do, judging and observing the public at large, as the world strolls by. I’m happy to report that not all Parisians are fashionable, or particularly well groomed, and they often have a glum look about them as they hurry down the walkway. We are doing just fine.
We started out late today but were only intending to see two museums; the Arte et Metiers, a museum of technical and trade advancements in France, covering power, communications, construction , transport and scientific tools, and the Pompidou Centre, the 2nd biggest collection of modern art in the world, after New York.
While I enjoyed the first museum, and saw many displays I understood and can relate to, the Pompidou Centre was breath taking. We only had time to visit the collection from 1905 to 1960, but you could spend days there to do it justice.
I don’t claim to be an art buff, but it blows
you away to view this art, some that I have seen in different media, and here it was, in the flesh so to speak. It ranges from very conventional , right down to the surrealist, Dadaist and cubist styles that you either love or hate. If you read the rationale behind them all, it does make sense, although that still doesn’t mean it’s to your taste.
The amount of pictures I took today is ridiculous so I have made up a few compilations and added some alone, just to provide a sample. Same with the first museum. In between visits, we managed to find a small area on the long table in the gardens of the Art et Metiers that pigeons hadn’t pooped on, and cut up the bread, sliced the sausage, and spread on our cheese, to produce a much needed lunch.
Late in the day I watched the sun go down over the Eiffel Tower from the 5th level of the Pompidou Centre, before walking to the famous Notre Dame Church.
This is a centrepiece of Paris, and a landmark to get you bearings by. It’s now heavily guarded by soldiers, but their presence only
The Wisdom Of Albert Einstein
‘Life is like a bicycle. You need to go forward, so you don’t lose your balance.’ How true.
reinforces the importance of the area and provides a sense of security to visitors. A false sense of security in some ways.
After sunset, the Cathedral lighting casts soft contoured shadows over its caramel coloured walls, and the slate roof cuts a sharp silhouette against the deep blue night sky.
We crossed the Seine to visit the Shakespeare and Company Book Shop, the largest English book shop in Paris. Situated in an interesting old building on the Seine, this treasure trove of books has thousands of titles, a unique reading corner with a cosy timeless loft where you can sit and read instead of buy, and warm timber features and shelves, all supported by white marble crazy paving floors. It was established in 1919, closed by the Nazis for ‘promoting ‘ the wrong values, but reopened after the war, and looks like being around for some time, if customers are any guide.
After a late start to our day, and a busy 8 hours spent on our feet, I was happy to walk to the Marais, and eat dinner at a highly regarded Jewish restaurant, Chez Marianne. It’s a squeeze to fit into the tight table space
and I don’t think you would ever feel alone there. The tables are close.
We ate the mixed plate for 2, and finished up with sweet, scented mint tea. The food was delicious, the toilet was up the tightest spiral staircase I’ve ever climbed, that flexed and bowed as you reached the middle, and the restaurant had a warm feeling that was reinforced by the red and crimson decor and dark timber wine racks highlighted by colourful leadlight lampshades.
Two metro trains later and we were home.
Tomorrow is Tim’s last day here, we might head over the river again, but he has a train to Luxembourg at 7pm so it will be an early night.
Ciao for now, goodnight.
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