Paris Through a Window by Marc Chagall, 1913, by way of A.M.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Feb 24

Ok gang, Thursday morning – hate to say these words but it's our last full day. I am waiting while Fred takes a shower, then my turn, then out we run. I didn't write yesterday, so I'll catch up & be on my way.

When we left off the camera was battery-less, but I had made contact with a photographer blogger living somewhere in Paris with whom I exchanged a nice flurry of midnight emails about where to go for new battery. That's where I headed first thing yesterday while Fred headed back to the Louvre. 

I threaded my way through the smallest streets I could find – the photography shops were just about a 10-minute walk from our little place – and succeeded in finding not someone who would cheerfully re-charge my battery for me, but someone who would cheerfully sell me a re-charger, which means I now have a Canon battery re-charger with a plug that works in France which must mean I'll be coming back to Paris many times.

I came back to the pad, this time without consulting the map which made me feel like an old-timer, plugged in said charger and pondered. Do I hang around the neighborhood, waiting for the recharge or just take off? I took off. Fred & I had a plan to meet at 3 at the Louvre, though plans are tricky things without cell phones.

I wanted to go back up to Montmartre. I've been reading a book called “The Private Lives of the Impressionists” and Montmartre often comes up for where they lived and/or had studios. So I wanted to see it. 

It's far away, further than I'd realized. One mistake and 4 metro trains later I emerged – I hardly had any time b/c of the Fred plan, so I raced through Montmartre and its little museum. But I was so glad to be there and get at least a tiny feel for the place, its steep slopes and the way it overlooks the spread of the city. I kind of felt like it was the Woodstock of Paris, a place apart from but close to the city, a place for artists. I hope to return there.

20 minutes late, but found Fred in the Starbucks of the “Carousel” underneath the Louvre and underneath the glass pyramid – an underground world of shops, much of it lit by the glass pyramid above. I wanted to see the paintings that Fred had found especially moving. He said they had been the highpoint of what he'd seen in Paris so I wanted to see, mostly so I would know what moved him, not necessarily because I expected to have the same experience. Plus I wanted an introduction to the Louvre that everyone says is so overwhelming. Some people even told me to skip it all together.

So up and through we went, big light airy galleries. People, but not impassable by any means. I saw the Mona Lisa today. It was yesterday, but I had hoped to begin this entry with that sentence: I saw the Mona Lisa today. It's quite an event. It's hard to look at it as a piece of art – for me it was just such a big occasion to see the painting I'd been familiar with pretty much all my life. And yesterday was the day I saw it. Again, maybe about 3 rows of people in front of me, but not a madhouse by any means. 

Fred and I looked at Italian painting. He showed me the Titian he loved, and the Andrea Del Sarto paintings, and one other Leonardo. And we looked at Raphaels and some Botticelli. My favorite was an Andrea Del Sarto one where everyone looks like a real person with real concerns – the Virgin Mary looked like she had real problems to overcome, Elizabeth looked like an older woman. 

We weren't there very long, but Louvre Fatigue began to creep over me, so we didn't prolong things. We headed home and then back out, this time to Chez Omar, a well known couscous restaurant just a block or two from where we live. A lively place and the food was really good

 – and then to wrap up our evening we Metro'd over to the Opera and Place Vendome, just to look, hoping maybe that the English bookstore on Rue de Rivoli would be open but it wasn't, and besides its window was full of books about money and business and economy so I feel no compunction to return.

Today, I may return to see the Rembrandts at the Louvre. I have to go get Jenn's chocolate. And I want to photograph Thiery and Lucien at the pharmacy. Otherwise, I shall wander most likely – so great to have the camera back in operation. I felt blind without it. 


  1. Hi Fred and Marta!

    After a romantic meal in Montmartre, or a show at the Moulin Rouge, strolling the neon-lit streets of Pigalle...the red-light district is safe, if not pretty, and there's a museum to accomodate all the midnight wanderers out looking for a cultural nightcap before heading back to their own private boudoir.

    Spread out on 5 floors, the Erotica Museum titillates with artworks and objects from the 5 continents and spanning several centuries. A collection of Belle Epoch brothel is particularly fascinating.

    Musee de l'Erotisme
    78 boulevard de Clichy, 18th
    M 18th, Pigalle or Blanche
    Tel. 01 42 58 28 73
    Open daily 10am-2am

    Might be a last minute curiosity.

    "Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant." -- Henry Miller

    Have a safe fun trip home!



  2. Have really enjoyed your trip to Paris. You've given me some ideas to follow up next time we are there. Have a safe trip back home.


  3. Dear Kathy & Heather -- Kathy, thank you for the inspiration -- though we were a little tamer on our last evening -- we did consider the MR earlier, but it's very very pricey~! Thanks for your good wishes, Heather. Hope we meet next time!! m