September 5

Welcome to PARIS! This is the living-room of our flat that was built in 1790(!), in the 6th arrondissment...across the river from the Louvre and Notre Dame, down the street from the Musée d'Orsay, 40 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower.
(PS, Yes, I had a very good flight!)
On the taxi ride in - Oh Look, ART! and Bicycles. They have an extensive bike rental program and I totally plan to try it some day.
Our neighborhood is called St-Germain des Prés and this is 'our' church, the Eglise St-Germain des Prés, the oldest standing church in Paris.
We considered eating dinner here...
...and here, but no, tooo crowded, tooo expensive, tooo tooo.

So we ate in a less famous pub/brasserie which was delightful and tasty, and then went back to our house to chill and to try to stay awake until it was at least 9pm local time.
September 6

Windy and Darnelle went off to do something else but I just HAD to do the Sunday Street Art tour since this was my only Sunday without people coming and/or going.

I used the Metro and it was easy-peasy.
RNST did the masked girl and is big on 'pow' images, and SOBR did the dancing girls.

The guide, Virginie, was fabulous - so knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

She helped me with almost all of the identifications since despite her constant encouragement to remember this name and that name, I can hardly remember any name.

FROM THE WEBSITE I'm putting it all here so I can remember:

"Join Underground Paris for a walking tour of the city’s newest street art neighbourhood , the 13th Arrondissement, and discover Paris’ large-scale murals by French and international artists."
More of SOBR's dancing girls.

"The 13th Arrondissement on the Left Bank (the south side of the river Seine) has since 2010 been commissioning artists from the street art culture to go ‘big’ on social housing, putting out a vote to local residents to decide on what gets painted. Our tour of the 13th visits a number of these big works, as well as introducing you to the thriving local underground street art scene."
Sampsa who took to the streets in protest of the law in France which prevents people from downloading free music.

"On any one of our walking tours, you will see works by Shepard Fairey, C215, Vhils, Seth, Borondo, Miss Tic, and Speedy Graphito. The larger works we encounter are largely thanks to a friendship between a local art gallery and the mayor – contemporary art enthusiast Jérôme Coume – which was also the spark that led to the 2013 spectacle, La Tour Paris 13, an ephemeral exhibition in which over one hundred French and international street artists occupied a tower block marked for destruction. Not long afterwards a number of new murals were commissioned in the same district for Nuit Blanche, Paris’ annual overnight art event."
Artiste Ouvrier.

"The Parisian East, the cradle of the French revolutions (1789, 1830, 1848, 1870), and traditionally the richest territory for fans of the urban arts to explore – and where the Underground Paris project has primarily been rooted – doesn’t have the drab 60s high-rise architecture that predominates in the 13th, and because of this relatively lower architectural value, unique conditions exist here for the propagation of large-scale commissioned murals. Meanwhile, the underground street artwork we look at is highly ephemeral, so the tour is constantly changing."
Eric The King (is EZK) who did the little storm trouper.

"Sanctioned street art like any public art, is made to fit with the dominant political, social, and cultural agenda, and ‘contemporary urban art’ (street art on canvas) has become big business, with big murals acting like giant billboards for the artists. On the tours we like to try and formulate questions about these topics to better understand this new global art movement!"

I found the name of an artist who had work represented but I didn't happen to include any here - Julien "Seth" Malland - he's the one with the large spray painted children looking away.
Jace did the yellow character called Gouzou, the same character I later found on the Pont des Arts but it might be painted over already. Someone else put the smurfs in the picture.

Every one of these walls has a full story about the individual artists, the themes, the techniques.
le Diamantaire.

This artist positions his diamonds in places where you have to look up see them and are then delighted by a view or even just the sky. He's also got the idea that even poor places have wonderful things about them.
From "As temporary as the medium is, French artist Philippe Baudelocque enjoys using chalk and white oil pastels to draw large murals of animals you can find all across Paris. Each one is created from a multitude of fragments filled with geometric patterns and starry patterns. The fragments themselves swirl and outline areas such as the protrusion of a shoulder blade or the furrow of a brow. Against the matte black background on which the animals are painted, they almost appear like constellations in the night sky."
Jana and JS did the paste-up.
Our guide Virginia who is a big fan of the artist Miss.tic.
Virginie says Miss.tic came first!

More Miss.tic. I don't know which came first, the face looking down or the woman on the bench but they are I think communing with each other.
Stencil by Kaira.

Ooo la laaa.
Speedy Graffito did the logos and Miss.Tic did the woman.

Street art has historically had a political component as well as embodying the night-walker daring of an illegal activity.
EZK streetart...I think this image is one-of-a-kind in his oeuvre...Jeff Koons' dog making friends with Keith Haring's dog...but what does it mean...
More chalk art from Philippe Baudelocque. Jeff Aerosol and Jace did the lower half.

The work below is a collaboration of two guys whose names I'll get from Virginia even if she shakes her sweet finger at me for not remembering.
The mark says C215 - Wiki says: "C215, is the moniker of Christian Guémy, a French street artist hailing from Paris who has been described as "France's answer to Banksy"."

Why C215? It seems no one knows.
Here's Shepard Fairey of 'Hope' and 'Andre the Giant' fame on your left.

On your right, C215 did the cat.
The Metro bed looks like it's being held up by lamp posts.
Borondo, called Les 3 Ages.
EY, a woman, did the big picture and Levalet did the paste-up.

I love that guy hanging from the post although the painting above it is the real draw.
The dynamite guy is a Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils, and it's Jana and JS on the right.
This is Les Frigos, the old refrigerating station, that has become the last 'free zone' for artists.
Also in the free zone, I saw this guy, his name is Eran, working and went over to find out if he was going to paint over the cat. No he said, the cat gets to stay.
After being out on the road for more than four hours you can guess what I was thinking about. I stopped in here for a beer and a chance to use the necessaries.
Dinner! at our around-the-corner sandwich shop Cosi.
A side street on the way home.
September 7

Windy and Darnelle considering the map. We didn't get out of the house until afternoon and then slowly we walked...
...past the Pont des Arts where they had to take the fence off the bridge and replace it with plexiglass to keep lovers from adding more locks to the fences and sinking the bridge.

They did a nice job of repositioning the fences along the river's edge.

So, past the Pont des Arts and on to...
...Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. This is a clip of a very high place...
...and this is another clip of another high place.
The Rose Window. The line to get in looked imposing but it was a five minute shuffle to the entrance.
The line to climb to the top was another matter, more than an hour's wait, and on top of which Darnelle didn't want to do it so we decided to pass for now.

They've changed the candle lighting hardware since last I was here. The pope.
It was pretty inside.

The lines at Sainte-Chappelle were imposing too so we just went to a nice late lunch!
Ah, a lovely bride, who can resist a lovely bride ready for her close-up.
On the walk home along the river these guys in Place Saint-Michel welcomed the visitor to...
...this place, "a masterpiece of French neoclassical architecture."

The Institut de France where, according to Lonely Planet: "...created in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu. It's 40 members, known as the Immortels, have the Herculean (some say impossible) task of safeguarding the purity of the French language."

That idea totally makes me L.O.L!
KAITLIN and LILLY - do these look fun? They have them in coin-purse shape too, and maybe some others. What do you think?
September 8

Versailles! Brigitte and Knut!! WOW!!!

Brigitte and Knut were passing through France making their way down from their home in Antwerp to their home in Portugal so we had this chance to get together.
Tricky business...
The Hall of Mirrors...
...and its ceiling.
We had tickets in hand and got there as early as we could based on my slightly delayed arrival and rushed through the throngs to get to the Hall of Mirrors in hopes of a nice picture.

The mirrors are 'original' meaning dark so the sparkle is not so commanding.
We saw as much on the inside as the crowds would allow and then we went outside...
OUTSIDE was AMAZING. The modern artist Anish Kapoor had several piece installed for a four month run. Two of them were reflecting surfaces and blew us AWAY. We went NUTS with photophotophoto. I might add another couple when I have time.

The other two pieces were big and interesting, they had their moments, but we weren't as slack jawed-awed as we were of the two reflectors.
This had just happened on the 5th. Here's some comments from a French publication:

"Officially known as "Dirty Corner," the giant steel funnel that artist Anish Kapoor himself has described as "very sexual" was covered in anti-Semitic graffiti in white paint, said Versailles president Catherine Pegard.

"Phrases such as "Queen sacrificed, twice insulted" and "the second rape of the nation by deviant Jewish activism" covered the sculpture by the British-Indian artist.

""This act of intolerable violence against the work of an international artist shocks and saddens me," Pegard told journalists after inspecting the damage."

They had an excellent guide standing there to field questions and share the sadness felt by everyone associated with Versailles that such vandalism should happen at all. The artist himself had decided not to have it removed.
Everyone EVERYONE who looked at this piece stood in slack jawed-awe, not just us, and when we unslacked our jaws we smiled and smiled. I have never seen so many smiles at an art exhibit.
From the Versailles website: "The Apollo Fountain

"A fountain (the Swans Fountain) already existed here from 1636, under the reign of Louis XIII, which Louis XIV decorated with the impressive and celebrated group in gilded lead representing Apollo on his chariot. The work of Tuby, after a drawing by Le Brun, it is inspired by the legend of Apollo, the Sun gold and emblem of the king. Tuby produced this monumental group between 1668 and 1670 at the Manufacture des Gobelins, and it was then transported to Versailles and installed and gilded the following year."
Isn't she lovely.
Called Hameau de la Reine, the Queen's Hamlet and built for Marie Antoinette, this village was a "series of rustic garden constructions", all quite fabulous. Wiki will tell you all about it.
And here's me there!

Statuary abounds.
I haven't found the story of this guy yet but I do like it!
The Latona Fountain with Latona herself crowning the tiers, originally placed in 1670.
Anish Kapoor's other reflecting piece. On one side it's looking to the sky and on the other side you can see the palace.

The fourth work was a huge whirlpool which didn't ask me for a picture.
The other side.
Me and Brigitte in the camera of the people taking a selfie of themselves in the reflection of the palace.

Yes, I set it up.
Goodbye Versailles, you were GREAT!
We had an early dinner in a perfect little bistro with folks crowded around to instruct us in the finer points of the town of Versailles.
A story that happened here:

A tourist came into the café and asked 'which way is the train station?'. The proprietor said 'Bonjour'. The tourist said 'ah which way is the train station?'. The proprietor said 'Bonjour!'.

The tourist looked confused. The proprietor said 'in France we begin with Bonjour'. Formalities count in France, and it's so easy, just say 'Bonjour!'.

(a waiter)
Goodbye Brigitte and Knut - see you sooner rather than later I hope!

September 9

The morning ritual of the ladies putting on their face.

Darnelle, Windy
Back at the Pont des Arts where the city took down the fences covered in love-locks and put up these solid walls. I met the artist on Sunday's Street Art tour...Jace...the city must have commissioned this work.
One of the many Many amazements of the Louvre.
Even if you have to stand in line for who knows how long and even if you have to eat your lunch from a paper bag while you stand in line you don't want to miss the heartstopping smack in the face that is Sainte-Chapelle on a sunny day.

In more than one guidebook you will find the advice to try after 4pm for shorter lines which worked for us but I suspect the effect would be much less compelling without the sun, so if it's sunny, get in line.
You can see on the left where it isn't sunny but...
...the sunny side will knock you over.
Really, remarkable.
OK, last one.
There were plenty of other things to look at too, like a whole doorway of these (no, no, no, don't you do it) but the glass is so overwhelming it's easy to miss.
Staring up in wonder.
September 10

It's Windy's birthday, and it's a big one. I won't tell you how big but it's 65.

She's a huge fan of the Impressionists and so for her birthday we made a trek out to Giverny to pay homage to Monet. That's his house in the distance and this is his lily pond.
Another view of the house and the pond.
From the internet, Monet's house under different circumstances.
One of the paths leading to the house. It was cool how all the gardens were tall and wild.
You've seen this willow in many of his paintings...
...for example here...
...and here is an example of the lily pond.
The picture is of Monet in this very studio.

There was also an interesting museum and many cafes and shops along the one small street in the little town of Giverny, population 517.
Happy Birthday dear Sister!

That's Windy's birthday art that she took on her phone and that's her birthday Kir and Wine Cocktail. She said it was all a dream come true.

We got there and back on the Metro and the train and the bus and the bus and the train and the Metro, and so much walking. It was an adventure worth having.
September 11

This is Darnelle's friend Tony from back in their college days. They haven't seen each other in more than 30 years Tony having made Paris his home for decades.

Tony hosted us to a wonderful tour of the Latin Quarter and the only sorry part was that Windy was too sick with a head cold to join us.
We began with a couple of legs on the bus and then headed through this very gorgeous market. So gorgeous in fact that there was nothing to do but... Oh my it was a splendid lunch. Perfect, really.
Then on to Tony's friend the chocolatier where we ate 'the best chocolate in the city' and delicious it was.
Strolling to our next destination we passed this five piece jazz combo (I think there's someone behind the woman in black) with the lead taken by the flute. I loved it of course.
The Arenes de Lutece, a 2nd century Roman amphitheater now used primarily for playing boules and this game, petanque.
The winner!
A welcome to the Musee National D'Histoire Naturelle.
It was sunflower season at the Jardin des Plantes. This public space is home to a number of museums (Geologie, Paleontologie, Grande Galerie de l'Evolution) and a zoo (Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes).

The garden's greenhouses.
La Mosquee de Paris where we sat in a beautiful covered patio and drank mint tea and ate North African/Middle-Eastern sweets.

You can barely see the minaret behind the building but it is very ornate, "art deco in the Moorish style".

And get this, they have a hammam! and I am so looking forward to going back there for a scrub!!
An example of four different tiles in one photo. The tilework throughout was what you'd expect of the central mosque in a major capital city.
The Institute of the Arab World "a visionary example of the 1980s architecture".

We didn't actually go in to see the fine collection but rather made a straight run for the...
...roof! Wow, views. Notre Dame, yes. But there was one view that you could only get a peek of through the glass and the access was locked.

You know me, I just had to get in there because...
...look! The Eiffel Tower! This woman agreed after... well... a little cheerful begging, to take me in.

She said 'do you know why I'm taking you?' and I said because you're nice? and she said well, yes, because I want you to go home and tell your family and friends that all Arabs are not terrorists.

I know that, but it seems she didn't know that I know that, so I got to take this picture of the Eiffel Tower!
The building is clad in these wonderful shapes.

From Lonely Planet: "Inspired by traditional latticed-wood windows, the building blends modern and traditional Arab and Western elements, with thousands of mushrabiyah (or mouche-arabies, photo-electrically sensitive apertures built into the glass walls that allow you to see out without being seen).
Next stop, Shakespeare & Company, the stuff of legends. Wiki has plenty to say on the subject.
Just goofing around. We passed by the Sorbonne and the Pantheon, for another visit.
Ahh, another view of THE Notre Dame.
Public transportation, my favorite. Tony told us about how to finesse the bus system, how the bike rentals work, about the electric cars you can rent, and bought us some more tickets.

Thank You Tony for a GREAT day and a perfect end to our first week in PARIS!
September 12

Ingalill was supposed to be winging her way to PARIS! but No! Air France cancelled the flight because the truck driver who was supposed to drag the plane away from the gate instead broke the landing gear.

No parts, no more planes, cancelled flight. She's due to fly tomorrow and be here the day after. Safe Flight Ingalill!

It was raining all day so we didn't do much, did some laundry, grocery shopping, had a deeelicious restaurant meal, caught up on my pictures, it was lovely.
HomeEurope • France • '15 Sep: Paris! week 1 w/Windy and Darnelle

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