Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Have a Seat, Sir

The most horrible thing imaginable happened today right off the bat, at the Stalingrad Metro Station. There had been a wonderful, leisurely morning with a stop at the local patisserie for cafĂ© and croissants. We bought our 5 day transit tickets without a hitch and were off to Musee’de l’Orangerie located next to the Obelisque de la Concorde on the banks of the Seine. The train pulled up and we entered an almost full compartment. I slid into the only available seat next to a handsome, young hipster. He glanced quickly at me and then to Harvey, whereupon the young Parisian stood up and gave Harvey his seat. Balefully Harvey looked at me and said, “Oh my god, he gave the old man a seat!”

At Pont de la Concorde we spied our first glance of Tour Eiffel. The Square was circus of tourists, buses, police and local traffic. Harvey saved a Chinese man from being run over while he was taking pictures. (The French actually do get points for hitting tourists!) The Chinese couple followed us to the next light while we laughed in broken English and shook hands upon departing; the Chinese toward the Arc de Triomphe and we to the walk east along the Seine.

The Musee de l’Orangerie, which holds several of Monet’s giant water lily series, was closed on Tuesdays. Not to be discouraged we wandered across the Seine to Musee d’Orsay which had ONE MILLION people in line to get in. Not wanting to spend our day in line, it was time for a bathroom break. Now if you’ve never been to Paris, you don’t know how hard it is to find facilities. Even if you find a toilet, you still don’t know if what you will find is a hole in the floor with a string to hold onto. 50-50 chance. Best bet is to find a nice bar and order something. This we did, only to discover that they did not take credit. Having not yet found a credit exchange, we had 6 euros between us. The bill was 5.40
Fashion shoot near Musee d'Orsay

Rue de Lille runs parallel to the Seine and Musee d’Orsay. My last trip to Paris, we stayed in an apartment on this street, which at that time part of the Ambassador to Pakistan’s residence. It is now a Luxury hotel

Rue de Lille

Having struck out with 2 Museums we turned back to the Seine, strolling along the waterfront past Ile de la Cite and Ile St-Louis admiring the opulent barges that were moored to the sides. Each barge was decorated differently, all with gardens on top and lavish patios. We continued to stroll until we reached Quai de Rapee’, where the St Martin canal empties into the Seine. In the distance we could see the giant monument of the Bastille, the Colonne de Juillet. By this time our dogs were barking, so across the bridge we scampered toward the metro and a quick ride home for an afternoon nap, with the hope of an evening out in St Germain des Pres.

On the Seine across from Canal St Martin

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