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Published: August 26th 2011
I love Paris in the spring time…… We are in Paris!!!! Here’s what we saw and did.
Day 1 Thursday 7 July
Stayed in a gorgeous hotel set in Sorbonne University and a 2-minute walk to the Luxemburg Gardens. Hotel is absolutely divine and given us the best bed & pillows plus working air conditioning equating to providing us with our best sleeps we’ve had so far on the European leg of our trip.
We arrived from Spain via flight after 6.00pm so quickly got settled and headed out for quick reconnaissance of our neighborhood including the Saint Michel and Notre Dame churches, River Seine and then had a nice little bite to eat at the quintessential French bistro in Saint Germaine followed by wander around the Latin Quarter restaurant district. FYI the name of this area comes from fact that the language spoken at the Sorbonne was ‘Latin’. Voila.
Day 2 - Friday 8 July
Day two after a wonderful deep sleep, we hit the tourist checklist of museums – In over 8 hours of walking and viewing we covered a fair chunk including the following:
We visited the CENTRE POMPIDOU -
MUSÉE NATIONAL D’ART MODERNE and viewed over 1,500 works.
FYI this is the only museum in the world that offers an overall view on the 20th and 21st century with a historical journey beginning with the founding fathers of Modern Art (Matisse, Picasso, Duchamp, Kandinsky, Ernst, Warhol, etc.) and carries on to the latest contemporary artists.
Also the Centre has some revolutionary architecture
The striking building of the 20th century, designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. Renzo also did the ABN Ambro building and residential apartments in Sydney (overlooking the Domain/Botanical Gardens).
The top floor opens out onto a wide-open, far-reaching view of Paris, featuring the Sacré Coeur, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Pantheon, and Conciergerie.
Our thoughts: Some of the works were beautiful and no doubt would have been very bold at the time they were first viewed but have to say that we didn’t receive a ‘SHOCK’ from the more recent works, they were interesting but nothing so avant-garde that they took your breathe away.
Then we visited the Tuileries gardens, to visit the MUSÉE NATIONAL DE L’ORANGERIE. This is a fully restored museum invites visitors to discover or rediscover in natural daylight Claude Monet’s
vast collection of Water lilies, as well as 144 works from the Walter-Guillaume collection (Renoir, Cézanne, Modigliani, Matisse, Picasso, Derain, Soutine etc).
Another wonderful experience and the comment of the day was Dave saying when we saw Monet’s Water Lilies’ painting was “It’s a bit amateurish”.
We finished the day with an amazing meal at a bistro
Les Papilles, which was arguably one of the best meal we’ve had on our European leg. It was 4 courses starting with a sweet potato soup, slow roasted port belly with herbs, vegetables & beans, fromage course with blue vein cheese and prunes concluded with an amazing caramel chocolate mousse. We sat up at the bar rather than a table which was more fun – we had a great view of the activities of the staff, owner and guest. The place was humming with two seating’s and they turned away at least 15 people in the time we were there.
Day 3 – Saturday 9 July
I can’t believe I’m getting to run/walk each morning in the Luxemburg Gardens – they are so beautiful full of activity including the gendarmes’ / police patrolling the palace and garden gates, the off
duty policemen running around the park in their uniforms, the locals and tourists jogging / walking; mothers taking their baby strollers out for walk; individuals reading their books and papers overlooking the many beautiful flower beds, people practicing their tai-chi etc etc
Today was another big-ticket day on the tourist front with the visit to the MUSÉE DU LOUVRE. We have been before but this time we opted for audio headsets with choice of guided tours including “The Masterpieces” (incl. Mona Lisa, Sphinx, Venus de Milo) and the “The Italian Masters”. We split up so we could check out what interested us. For example I spent bulk of my time in the Egyptian, Roman and Greek section along with history of the Louvre itself. We hooked up later to the ‘The Italian Masters’. After 6 hours we called it quits.
Day 4 – Sunday 10 July
We rose later and enjoyed a leisurely brunch at a local bistro then headed off to join the hoards of visitors at the MUSEE D’ORSAY. We saw key pieces of the impressionist period (1848 – 1914) including paintings, sketches, furniture, sculptures by artists including Cezanne, Renoir, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh,
We then headed over the TOMBEAU DE NAPOLEON aka the Tomb of Napolean. It was very impressive and ornate to match we think the size of the ego of this man.
The site was busily being prepared for Bastille Day celebrations on 14 July.
We then walked over to the EIFFEL TOWER to get some photos, we had visited in 2002 but today we would have no chance to enter, as the crowds were massive. We instead got to see French riot police managing a demonstration of not really sure who/what it was about.
Then on our long walk back to the hotel we were treated to masses of rollerblading Parisians hitting the streets with a police escort and followed by 4+ ambulances. Pretty cool.
We had dinner near Notre Dame at an organic vegetarian restaurant – Not bad.
Day 5 – Monday 11 July – Free day
Not much on the docket just some Shopping (window); Dave had his hair cut (tres short); Brunch; Pre-dinner drinks followed by
dinner in Latin Quarter at a restaurant that was roasting various lamb, chicken, port, beef on skewers in their restaurant windows
Dessert on the banks of
the Seine river of Turkish pistachio cake
Day 6 – Tuesday 12 July – Transfer day today so enjoyed our final Parisian breakfast in the midst of thunderstorm & downpour of rain before heading off to Orly-Paris airport for short flight to London-Heathrow.
We just stayed at a nearby airport hotel as we had early am flight to Toronto-Canada to catch. G’day Gov !!!!!!
Wed 13 – Off to Canada today YIPPEE - we’re excited to see the Elias and chill out for few weeks at their cottage north of Toronto.
We had a yummy English breakfast at the British Airways 1st class lounge – bit of hot porridge & fresh berries – scrumptious ........ahead of our 8 hour flight to Toronto.
Signing off now from Europe (for now). We'll be in Toronto Canada for 4 weeks.
Kisses R & D xx
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