Europe 2011

Paris: 11-19 June

We has eight days in Paris, and saw many things. Most of them are on this page, but there are separate pages for the Père Lachaise Cemetery and the Musée du Louvre.

 

We got to Paris, dropped our car at Gare du Nord, and took a taxi to our apartment in Montmartre. The view from the living room window was lovely by day ... *

 

and by night. †

 

Roses on display outside a flower shop in Montmartre. *

 

Montmartre stairs by night. *

 

We travelled extensively on the Métro. *

 

Sunday morning was fine, so we went to the Bastille Market. *

 

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From there, we went to Place des Voges, entered from the south by this impressive gateway. †

 

The centre of the square is grassed, with people sitting and eating their lunch. Or lying down and kissing. *

 

One of the art shops on the square had this version of Batman. Difficult to photograph through the window, and already sold. *

 

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Then to the Promenade Plantée, a disused train line converted into a park above and art studios below. It is straight and level, and so is much used by urban runners. *

 

The next day, we went right to the eastern end of Métro Line 1, to the Château de Vincennes. *

 

There is a soaring St-Chappelle which, like the one in Paris, was built to contain part of Christ's Crown of Thorns. *

 

 

 

The ceiling boss, beautifully restored. *

 

 

There were statues in the grounds, including this one of a man wondering where he left his clothes. †

 

Then into town to revisit the Palais Royal courtyard and garden. *

 

The Palais Royal arcade: courtyard to the right, shops to the left. *

 

The Palais Royal garden, *

 

A very Parisienne cafe in the garden. *

 

We wanted to have lunch at Angelina's on the Rue de Rivoli, famed for its chocolate, but there was a long queue so we went to a nearby café, returning later to buy one chocolate each. *

 

Then on to Place de la Concorde, with its modest fountains ... *

 

an Egyptian obelisk ... *

 

and the Paris meridian line that was once a rival to the Greenwich meridian. *

 

Then quickly past the Champs Elysées, and home. *

 

Another day, we used the Paris Greeter service to meet Catherine, who showed us around the 15th arrondisement where she had been born. This is a view up the Seine from rather further downstream than the usual tourist haunts. †

 

The Statue of Liberty given to France by America. A bit smaller than the one in New York, it faces west in the (approximate) direction of America. *

 

Art Deco decoration on a building in the 15th. †

 

Statues over a building entrance. †

 

The church of St Christopher, built with assistance from Citroën from iron and pre-cast concrete panels, softly lit inside with walls covered in paintings done in coloured wax on fabric. *

 

On this visit to Paris, we wanted to see some of the less-visited sights. So one morning, we headed off to explore some of the "passages"—shopping arcades from 100 years ago. This is Passage Verdeau. *

 

Passage Panorama. *

 

Old "graphic novels" on sale in Passage Verdun. *

 

The elegant Passage Vivienne, where Lynn bought a Salvador Dali paperweight. *

 

On the recommendation of Lynn's sister, we visited the Musée Jaquemart-André, a gentleman’s home filled with the treasures he and his wife had collected. Entry was through the garden. *

 

The wintergarden and the music room. The house could accommodate around 1000 guests for parties. *

 

The very elegant staircase. *

 

Bust of Catherine de Médici. *

 

A fresco by Tiepolo that nicely fits an area at the top of the stairs. *

 

Another place on our list to be visited was Père-Lachaise Cemetery. We weren’t in search of famous graves particularly, but wanted to see some of the monumental statuary and get an idea of the place. It was very peaceful unless we crossed with a tour group, or got to Oscar Wilde's grave, shown here. We took quite a few photos and they are on a separate page. †

 

In nearby Belleville, we found a street with many graffiti; although it paled in comparison with the Mission area in San Francisco. But we had a nice lunch in Belleville at a very traditional bistro. *

 

After lunch, we looked for the dragon, the last work of Chinese artist Chen Zhen. It was not easy to find near Quay de la Gare, but worth the hunt. *

 

A magnificent beast, coming out of the wall in the first photo, and diving repeatedly into the pavement. *

 

We did do some of the obvious tourist things. The queue to enter Notre Dame was long, so we looked from the outside. *

 

The weighing of souls on the tympanum. Lynn likes the ones where a devil is trying to tip the scales. *

 

It could be argued that the back of Notre Dame is more attractive than the front. *

 

Charming houses on the Île de la Cité. *

 

Then on to the Île St Louis for ice cream at Berthillion. *

 

Just down the street is the church of St Louis en l'Île. Last time we visited, some nine years previously, the interior was filthy and there was netting slung below the ceiling to protect people from falling plaster. Now it has been completely restored. *

 

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We spent half a day at the Louvre, and took so many pictures that they are on a separate page. *

 

In the afternoon, we took a bus from Pigalle to Gare de l'Est and wandered along the Canal St Martin. *

 

A boat coming up in a lock. Behind is the entrance to the tunnel that takes the canal below Bastille to the Siene. *

 

As it was our last night in Paris, we wandered over to Restaurant Astier, an old-established bistro not far from Place de la Republique. It was quiet when we arrived, but soon filled up and a good time was had by all. *

 

To finish off, a few miscellaneous scenes around Montmartre and Paris. This is a Wallace Fountain in Abbesses square. There are fountains providing drinking water all over Paris. *

 

The entrance to Abbesses Métro station. The canopy looks pretty, but it does not belong there. The company that built the line through Abbesses did not use the art deco features found on most of the other lines. The canopy was at Hôtel de Ville station, but was removed when it was in the way of a car park entrance. *

 

Montmartre street with windmill in the background. *

 

A station on Métro Line 14, with fully automated trains and doors on the platform edges. *

 

Oysters, anyone? *

 

Sign for the café at the Gare de Lyon, where we had coffee before leaving Paris for Dijon. *

 

Copyright © 2011 by *Lynn Booth or †Nick Booth. Please contact us if you wish to use a photo.