Paris Deux

Day two in Paris, we rolled out of bed just in time for lunch.  Harper wanted crepes, ’cause we had only had them twice the day before, so we went to a creperie near the hotel.  Again, why?  Say it with me … proximal eating!  Plus, again, it was cute, offered great people watching, had tented outdoor seating, and was soon filled with French people.  Success!
Penn was seriously in need of nourishment 🙂

It came for all of us in unbelievably delicious crepe-form.  Crispy buckwheat crepes filled with farm eggs, French cream, salty ham, chicken, ratatouille, cheese, spinach, and sausage.  Yum!
And, then, because one can never crepe too much, the kids split an ice cream crepe filled with bananas and Nutella 🙂
We then waddled our way toward the Metro.
Here’s a great picture that captures all that’s awesome about Paris:  a woman in a helmet, fur coat and 4 inch studded heels riding a mega-scooter on the sidewalk and through the crosswalk.  J’aime!
Our eventual destination was the great Stravinsky fountain outside the Centre Georges Pompidou.  We didn’t have time to visit the museum, but even the inside/outside of the place is a work of art.

The buildings surrounding the fountain have begun to take on their own art of various levels of grafitti skills.  The contrast between the make-do gallery and the older structure beside it is lovely.

What you cannot see is that the courtyard to the right of Harper is filled with schoolboys whose teacher is clearly running them back and forth to wear them out.  It wasn’t working.

MoMA is in the heart of art everywhere 🙂

My spiffy new M&S flat booties with some massive French leaves.
In the Metro station on the way to the Champs Elysees, Penn found Le Hobbit!
And, we were again above ground.  Look it’s Charles de Gaulle and the Grand Palais!

And, there’s one of the world’s grandest boulevards, turned into a tacky Christmas bazaar.  C’mon Paris, shouldn’t you expect more of yourself?

What was truly great about this stretch of Winter Weirdland was how hodge podge and random it was. Here’s the spirit of the season as conveyed by a fake horse.

By a brightly colored psychodelic hippy happening complete with a swinging Santa and a little person dancing Santa.

By animatronic pandas.

It truly went on and on like that for blocks.  Incroyable!  Then, just as it started to misty rain, we got to the Place de la Concorde.

We carried on in the seasonal weather through the lovely gates to the Tuilleries.

The beauty of the gardens was more stark than lush, but it was still beyond cool to be wandering through the former royal gardens.

For a while, we watched a game of cat and mouse between the police and the gangs of (very and almost comically) aggressive souvenir hawkers and (likely) thieves.  BTW, the mice are winning.

Our own mice decided to play in the hedges outside the Louvre and had a ball chasing each other through the non-maze.

By now both chilled and a bit damp, we entered the Louvre through the less traveled Carousel entrances, which let us see the lovely holiday lights in the mall below the museum and the inverted mirrored pyramid that echoes the one above ground.

The Louvre is magnificent: huge, consuming, overwhelming and filled with treasures you’ve read about your whole life.  It’s impossible to see it all, so we picked some idiosyncratic “must dos.”  The biggies, Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, of course.

We practiced our statue-game playing.
Then, some proximal eating 🙂  Baguette sandwiches and roasted chicken chips for all!

And, the super ostentatious Napoleon III apartments, which defined conspicuous consumption in a wickedly cool way.  Our favorite part was the arms race of chandeliers from room to room.

The notion that someone lived in these rooms, sat in chairs contemplating these ceilings or that view (even before the colorful lights) is just too extraordinary.
We managed to catch both the Musee D’Orsay and the Louvre on their late nights, when they’re open past 9 pm.  At the Louvre, our visit also coincided with that of Les Jeunes Ont La Parole students.  So, they were stationed at various works of art, prepared to engage visitors in discussion.  As with all students, the results were mixed.  At one work, the students had come prepared to sing and play songs of the Renaissance, teach them to the visitors and even teach some dances of the period.  

At another, the student did a great job of explicating this bizarre and famous painting, “Gabrielle d’Estrees et une de ses soeurs.”  Harper’s not buying it, though.


But, the student assigned to the Code of Hammurabi was a bit less certain–even though the Code is anything but undecided on pretty much everything.

It was time to bid adieu to the Louvre, so lovely and luminous in the cool night.

Part SuperEPCOT Future World

Part SuperEPCOT World Showcase

All inspiring and breathtaking in its vastness!

And, with that, Paris day two was over.  (Well, we did eat a late meal at Paris McDonald’s–the most tastefully decorated McDonald’s we’d ever seen.  It even sold macarons!)  From the open window of our hotel room that night, we could hear drunken Frenchmen singing and breaking bottles.  Ah, Les Halles, plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. Au revior, Paris.

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