I arrived on a Thursday around noon-ish - not too jet-lagged as I had slept through most of the flight - and made my way to the Paris Metro "Simplon"
It looks so space age doesn't it? It is also truly amazing - I literally never had to wait more than a minute for a train, at any time of the day or night (except the one time there was too many people to get on!) and SO much more elegant than the TTC!
Anyway, there David was, waiting to take me to his flat in Montmartre. My friend Maria arrived about 1/2 hour later. Maria was my roommate in University back in (dare I say it?) 1976 and we have only seen each other twice since. That evening David took us wandering to Sacré-Cœur
From the steps we had a magnificent view of the Paris skyline in the evening (which unfortunately didn't turn out as a picture - you can see it in the day here) It was a great way to settle in and orient ourselves! We also wandered around David's neighbourhood and bought treats - something the French take very seriously: cheese!
In the morning we headed downtown to have coffee in the St-Germain-des-Prés area - where Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir used to hang out. It was very bohemian in their day - in our day it is very pricey and we squeezed into a tiny table at the Deux Magots elbow to elbow with other tourists to consume a small cup of coffee that cost the equivalent of almost $10 and discuss existentialism - it was worth it!
We then headed off to the Musee de Moyen-Age, where there was a special exhibition of Celtic and Viking jewellery
They also house the famous "Lady and the Unicorn" Tapestries. It was a small museum, and a great way to spend the afternoon.
We then wandered about a bit more in the St-Germain-des-Prés area - which has some nice little boutiques. It was there I spotted the shoes! - and determined that I would come back later in the week and indulge myself!
When we got back to the apartment, Hamilton had made a beautiful meal for us, and we went out later to have an after diner port. Actually the waiter was horrified at us having our port after dinner, insisting that it was an aperitif - but in Oporto, where it's made, and which is quite near where Maria lives in Spain, it is definitely an after dinner drink! The French are such snobs!
Anyway - we collapsed after a day well spent - and headed off in the morning (Friday) for Les Halles and the Marais - starting at the church of St Eustache.
This sculpture was in the coutyard.
We then headed over to the Pompidou Centre, and went to the top to see the spectacular view of Paris
You can just see Sacré-Cœur in the back
I was also on a mission. One of the Enamel Forum list members had told me there was some enamels in a church "near the Pompidou Centre" So we had determined that we would check them all out. The major one, St Merri, was closed, but we hunted up two others with no luck (one of which turned out to be a cloister that had been turned into an art gallery - so we weren't sorry!)
We then headed off into the Marais - where we saw some spectacular architecture - like this
The streets were all incredibly narrow - but every once in a while they would give way to a huge open courtyard, that just left you gazing around in wonder
Then we hit the Place des Vosges
The square is surrounded by the covered walkways you see behind me where there are some VERY exclusive art galleries and you can pay EVEN more for you coffee than we did at the Deux-Magot! We didn't bother with coffee - but we did go into a few of the galleries, and just off the Place itslef, we stumbled on this great Music Shop that Maria had mentioned having visited on a previous visit.
We then headed back through the Marais to the Musee Carnevalet where we were happy to be indoors for a while! It was great - it covers the history of Paris from it's earliest time. Amazingly they let you take picture as long as you don't use a flash I tried to find something to interest each of the artists in my collective An Droichead And I did!
Stained glass for Brigitte, stone carving for Laura, Ironmongery for Darrell and a whole Art Nouveau jewelery shop for Brenda!
Before I left for Paris my brother and his wife had suggested a restaurant on Isle St Louis called the Sergent-Recruteur - so we had arranged to take David and Hamilton there in the evening. We had some time to kill - so we went over to the Isle and poked around. This is where the Celtic tribe the Parisii(who gave Paris it's name) lived in the Iron Age. We then went to a late mass in the eglise, and headed over to Sergent-Recruteur for an amazing meal
This is Hamilton (David's Partner) Maria, me and David at dinner. You can see who is the most serious minded!
I am going to leave it there for now - I think I have given you enough to be jealous about ;-)
I'll finish the trip in another blog later this week