Paris Journal 2006

Wednesday, August 16

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Above and below, parts of  Delacroix paintings that are located just inside and to the right in the Saint Sulpice church.


The interior of Saint Sulpice.


Font sculpted by Pigalle, in the Saint Sulpice church.  Notice the crab on the lower left part of the font.

Two days ago, we walked with our friends Carol and Ron over to the Saint Sulpice neighborhood to show them the apartment we will be renting in September and to see both the Saint Sulpice church and Saint Germain des Prés.


I was amused by all the postings of dismissals of various pieces of fiction by Dan Brown, from The DaVinci Code.  Clearly this church in particular was really not amused by his book.


That day we did have good weather, so I did take the camera along and managed to take some amusing shots which I will be sharing with you during this next week.


The feast of the Assumption was yesterday, the 15th, so finding restaurants that are open has been a challenge.  We ended up dining at La Gauloise for a second time with Carol and Ron.  But the specials had changed and we were able to have the gigot d’agneau (lamb roast) two nights ago.  If you ever see this listed as the daily special at La Gauloise, don’t miss it.  Same with the travers de porc (barbequed pork ribs) I make a point of checking the specials at this fine old establishment every time I walk past it.


I thought that with the extended holiday weekend, we would have a break in the construction noise.  But the workers have continued to slave away every day on the building next to us.  The entire store on the ground level has been gutted and a new façade is being applied.  The workers are hurrying to complete the job before the “rentrée” (beginning of September, “back-to-school” time).  We’re a bit concerned because it looks like rather ordinary plywood is being used on the façade.  We’ll see if it delaminates in the next few years.


Yesterday, we went on another marathon walk with Carol and Ron.  We started by walking over to the Tuileries, which Carol had not seen.  We went into the Jeu de Paume where the exhibition was a retrospective of the American photographer Cindy Sherman.  We decided not to go in and pay the entry fee, but we enjoyed looking at the art and photography books in the bookshop.


Then we strolled up the rue de Rivoli for a couple blocks.  I think Carol enjoyed the bustling retail activity there, although it annoys Tom.  Next we showed Carol and Ron the vast and elegant Place Vendome. 


After I assisted an older American couple by explaining how to get change and buy métro tickets, we boarded the super-fast, ultra-modern number 14 métro line at Pyramides and took it to the end, the Bibliotheque stop.  After gawking at the massive, towering modern national library, we showed Carol and Ron the new pedestrian bridge named for Simone de Beauvoir, with its view of the new floating swimming pool, the Josephine Baker, and the right bank section of Paris Plage (the Paris Beach).


We heard interesting music coming from the lower level of the Simone de Beauvoir bridge, so we decided to descend and check it out.  It was a small band playing rapid folk dances on traditional instruments.  French people who knew their folk dances were dancing away.  I thought they must be professionals, but it seems they were just people out walking around, enjoying the day just as we were.  Do all French people learn traditional folk dances in school, I wonder?


The bridge brought us to the beautiful park at Bercy.  We enjoyed the park, but it did start to rain on us so we took cover under a wisteria vine growing on an arbor.  That wasn’t exactly dry, but it was okay.  Then we went into the retail shops and cafés at the Bercy Village.  After checking out the pet store, we claimed an outdoor table at the Nicolas Café a few minutes before they started serving.


Waiting was a pleasure because there was music being performed by a couple of students from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris.  This was one of a series of concerts featuring such students that take place on summer evenings at the Village.  We heard a jazz duo featuring vocalist Chloé Cailleton and keyboardist Armel Dupas, performing works by Gershwin, Ellington, Jobim, and original compositions.


After a very light and restorative meal, we strolled around the church Notre Dame de Nativité de Bercy and found our way up to the Promenade Plantée, the beautifully landscaped walk on the top of a former elevated train track running from the Jardin de Reuilly to the modern opera house at Bastille.  Carol and Ron seemed to especially like this part of our marathon walk.


At about 9:30PM, we boarded the number 8 métro and went home.  I was so tired I fell asleep on the métro.  That’s a first for me.




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