Wednesday, October 7, 2015


I had the good fortune to spend a week in Paris with my dear friend E.  I was on my way to an art retreat in the southwest of France, and decided to spend some time in the city. (please stay tuned for a full report of the retreat!)
We rented an lovely apartment through Haven in Paris and could not have been more delighted with it.  This was the view from our window.
Haven is Paris is SUCH a better choice than AirBnB, if you are looking for the quintessential Paris apartment experience.  This one had most of my pre-requisites: floor to ceiling french doors, ironwork, moldings, a bath, and an elevator!
It was a perfectly pretty setting for two girlfriends to spend a week.
Because it was ideally situated - cheese, fruit and wine were easily acquired across the street.
The street was literally one block from the Seine and Eglise Notre Dame - but so removed from tourists - it really felt like we were residents.
In a five minute walk - we were here - in the middle of all the action on Ile de la Cite and the impressive Notre Dame.  No hunchbacks in sight....
Here is a closeup of the magnificent doors.
Here is the lovely Saint Chapelle with its extravagant stained glass windows, which is also on the island. We enjoyed a lovely classical concert here one evening.
When you cross one of the bridges from the island to the Left bank, you can thousands of locks which lovers attach to the railing as a special memento.  There is actually more than one bridge which has locks, and i hear the city is not so thrilled with them - the weight alone is damaging the bridges!
It is a lovely spot, however, for a wedding photo op.
Along the Seine you can find les boites vert - the green boxes.  they are owned by les bouquinistes, or vintage booksellers.  
Prices were high, but i was able to find two lovely french books with illustrations to use in collage.
We hopped on a hop-on-hop-off bus and took a tour of the city.  This is the arch at the entrance to the Tuileries gardens, from the Louvre.  Or visa versa !?
So we strolled along the Champs Elysees, listening to the song, Champs Elysees to arrive at the monstrous l'Arc de Triomph. this is my lovely friend E.
Here is the Opera Garnier.

We didn't go inside - but this is a model.  Gee i probably could have cropped this pic and pretended that we did!
FYI - not an accident.  just normal merging.  Seriously.
Just an example of the stunning ironwork around the city.
Not a Roman ruin (although there are some in Paris) but the l'eglise de la Madeleine.

I never seemed to tire of the ornate scroll work facades.
Or gates
Or doors
More doors.
Or the unbelievable number of stunning sculptures literally EVERYWHERE. 
This one on the pont Alexandre.
 And of course - the Eiffel Tower.  Since we were on a double decker open air bus, we were able to get some nice perspective shots.  The sun was just perfectly placed.
 And down the road - Les Invalides - basically a veterans hospital, with one very important vet....Mr.Bonapart himself is entombed here, among others.
 The Grand Palais has its own interesting ornamentation.   This is one of 4 monstrous bronzes. the complex is vast, with a huge glassed ceiling - as you can see here:
 Woah! This was not current day, as you can undoubtedly assume.
as the bus circled the Paris highlights, we got another perfect view of the Eiffel tower from the Champs de Mars.
On to Montmarte - and the iconic windmill of the Moulin rouge.
A few changes in the last 100 years - but still going strong!
Ahhh - Sacre Coeur.  So majestic.  took a taxi up, but thoroughly enjoyed the walk down.
The beautiful mosaic inside.

and this delightful carousel at the bottom!
The infamous book store on the Left Bank.
One evening we enjoyed a delicious meal with Francoise from EatWith.  
It is a website that can hook you up with a home chef for a tasty meal, with 6-8 other guests.  We had a lovely time.
And a picture she took of me with her signature French chicken!
This is the Medici Fountain on the vast grounds of the Luxembourg Gardens.
It looks exactly the same as it did in the this vintage photo by Eugene Atget (Found in a Taschen picture book i have at home, and was also on display in our apartment)
here's E by the huge flower vessel.
Which also looks exactly the same as it did 150 years ago.
here is a not so glamorous view of the Pantheon with a crane and scaffolding.
Atget had a much nicer view.
Cobblestones and bike 
E and I at an outdoor bistro cafe. 
Did i mention the pastries?  or the fresh baked croissants?
Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our Paris adventure.  Stay tuned - next blog post?  what is inside this building...?

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