How You Know You Are in Paris

Besides the Eiffel Tower, there are signs all over the place that say, “Paris”:

img_1864 Here is a literal sign, one for the metro. So iconic.

img_1859 Medieval architecture popping up unexpectedly.

img_1863 Inviting restaurants. This one is Ralph Lauren. Expensive but I think I will try it one day, just not the fifty euro hamburger.

img_1846 Unexpected art here and there. This looks like the shadow of a tree but it’s painted on the side of a building. Wonder why?

This and That

As is often the case when I’m in Paris, I have a mix of photos of various things and places.

img_1822 I love this typical Parisian facade and the leaves turning golden in the sun.

img_1828 I’ve always liked this exterior in the Left Bank.

img_1829 Stairs just inside the door of an old hotel.

img_1834 Look at this dapper gentleman. It wasn’t until I looked at it later that I realised that he was wearing shorts, perhaps knickers of some sort.

img_1845 An elegant window.

img_1840 This graffiti made me laugh. I imagine there are few women left in the western world who are clueless about their “marital duties” but it was the case in Queen Victoria’s day. It must have been a shock to a lot of women. I would say this is true now about all that marriage entails in other areas-finances, compromise, just living with another person, especially of the opposite sex.

The Orsay

One of my favorite museums is the Orsay. I especially love Impressionism and you can find just about every famous artist represented here. Part of the art is the museum itself as it is an old renovated train station full of interesting details.

img_1793 At the opposite end of the entrance is this cutaway of the Garnier Opera House. It shows how small the concert hall is compared to the rest of the building. I’d love to get a behind the scenes tours there one of these days.

img_1799 There are two huge clocks showing the time from outside but you can also get this incredible look at it from behind along with a view of Paris outside.

img_1803 Happily, they allow photography inside once more. This is by Cezanne.

img_1805 Degas. It was considered very controversial when first exhibited.

img_1806 This was controversial too, I guess because it showed common workers without shirts working. I just love the light. Note the wine bottle next to the worker on the right.

img_1810 A look at the restaurant in the museum.

The Spectacular Second Empire

 There is an interesting exhibit at the Orsay Museum called the Spectacular Second Empire 1852 to 1870 which gives a look at was called the “fête imperial”, an era of pleasure that was corrupted by wealth and sent many people who protested into exile, such as Victor Hugo, and 6,000 into prisons. A strong economy and a stable imperial regime resulted when Louis-Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon I, was elected the first President of the French Republic in December 1848 after a life spent in exile in England. His wife, Eugenie, became a fashion icon and championed the luxury goods industry and helped make Paris the entertainment capital of Europe. For example, she used Louis Vuitton for her luggage which led to his world wide fame. Charles Garnier’s new Opera House, the most famous and spectacular monument in Haussman Paris done during Napoleon III’s time, is an example of the massive redesign of Paris. The first department stores were opened during his reign, Bon Marche in 1852, followed by Au Printemps in 1865. 
 On display are some of the furniture, porcelain, and jewellery used or worn by the couple. There are many paintings on display as well. In the early Second Empire, few artists could compete with the artists Ingres and Winterhalter but during the 1860’s a new generation of painters emerged-Manet, Tissot, Degas and Cézanne-who made their name with full length portraits.
 The Second Empire ended with the defeat of France in the French-Prussian War and the capture of Napoleon III and the couple spent the rest of their lives in England and are, in fact, buried there.


A painting of Eugenie.


They had a son who slept in this elaborate bed, the most expensive piece of furniture made during this period worked on by many French artisans.

img_1783 Napoleon III.

img_1782 Some of Eugenie’s crowns.

img_1785 By Manet, Picnic on the Grass. It was rejected by the French Academy and instead put into le Salon des Refuses, an exhibit for more unconventional paintings such as this. It was controversial because the men were of the day it was painted bringing into question the nude woman, perhaps a prostitute? Anyway, it is pretty famous these days. I don’t know about you but I often go nude when on a picnic.

An Easy Lunch

I was at a new to me street in Paris, Rue Daguerre, which is very similar to that street made famous by Rick Steves called Rue Cler, but without tourists everywhere. There were lots of places to eat and, especially, lots of places to buy food to take home-an easy lunch.

img_1608 Roasted chickens ready to go. I never buy them like this because they could have been sitting for a long time. I don’t like the taste or texture of chicken if it’s not hot off of the rotisserie.

img_1609 Potatoes roasted beneath the chickens.

img_1610 I saw that Mont d’Or cheese is now for sale. It’s wonderful baked in an oven and served with ham and bread but you can have it as is. Most French have cheese after a meal.

img_1611 Mushrooms have arrived with Autumn.

img_1612 Figs are everywhere.

img_1613 All of the sudden, there are plums too.

So there you have it-an easy lunch.


Inside Job

There is a red door on a little street on the Left Bank that has a special interior. A friend and I were sitting across the street a few years ago and saw a tour group enter and leave. When we asked the waiter about what was inside he gave us the code to get in. I’ve shown photos before of the circular  courtyard and how I wonder how the rooms are shaped that face the courtyard. My friend and I decided to enter as we passed and this time, a man was also entering and he let us into the courtyard which is usually blocked by a gate. We were there in the right place at the right time.

img_1594 Looking up from the courtyard.

img_1600 The gate that usually bars the way.

img_1595 As you can see, the angel has lost its wing being exposed to the weather.

img_1597 There wasn’t an elevator and the man who let up in climbed these stairs to the top, six floors.

img_1602 Nearby was this pretty oval window.