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

Friday, February 26, 2010


It aint over til it's over. 

I'll give you the punch line and then backtrack – we're still in Paris, or sort of.

We arrived at the airport – perfect citizens – a few hours in advance – only to be told that our flight had JUST been canceled because of NYC weather. 

After several hours of traipsing around Charles de Gaulle airport on free but inefficient airport shuttles, we have arrived in the cheapest airport hotel to be found – I was a little dispirited – after all, I'd already said my good-byes to Paris, and they had been hard good-byes. One friend a few weeks ago back in New York, when she heard we were going to Paris, said, “I cried when I left Paris.” Well, so did I. But don't tell anyone. 

But I have to say that when we finally found our hotel (it turned out there were 2 others “on campus” with the same name, hence the confusion although everyone acted as if this confusion had never happened before and again just shrugged their shoulders as they did at the bank last week. France is great at some things, and not so good at the customer service thing. 

Anyway, once we stepped into our room (or even before, starting with the lobby and the friendly, amply endowed receptionist) we felt happier. Our room – with its large double bed and its real bathroom suddenly looked like high high luxury – there is even a flat screen TV and free WiFi. Although we really loved our little Parisian pad, it was a squeeze and now that we have re-entered normal Western life, a bathroom you can swing a mouse in feels fabulous – like we've been camping for a couple of weeks. 

But before the punchline, before we found out we'd be spending an extra night in France, we did a few things that you  haven't heard about yet. I don't know if anyone is still here, but I'll mention a few things.

Yesterday we went to the local pharmacy to take a picture of Thiery and Lucienne only to find out that he had left for a week's vacation in the States. This made me very sad, that we had missed him, but today we went back and left him a note and I hope we shall hear from him again.

Yesterday, thinking it was my last day in Paris, which it really was, I began by going to the Louvre, feeling now very at home there after Fred's quick intro the day before. I knew where to go to the bathroom without paying, where to hang my coat, the fastest way to get a ticket. I went straight up to see Rembrandt, and found him way up on the top floor off in a corner gallery. I looked mostly at several of his self-portraits.

It's interesting. I've been reading about how when the Impressionists were still unrecognized how much trouble they had with the French academy who set the standards of good painting. The Impressionists wanted to paint scenes from everyday life and this was completely unacceptable by French standards. But you look at Dutch painting from the 1600's and there is plenty of real life there. 

I only stayed long enough to enjoy the Rembrandts and two Vermeers and thought I'd better leave before Louvre Fatigue set in. I found my way back down to the street on escalators that gave me vertigo and then went on the hunt for Jenn's chocolate shop across the river on the Left Bank, a very enjoyable walk. It was the only real rain of our stay and I picked up a couple of plastic bags from a souvenir shop to protect my camera.

View from a window high up in the Louvre -- see my Eiffel Tower in the misty distance? 

Bought the chocolate and realized I was just a few steps away from the coffee shop Les Deux Magots which has so much history that I thought I'd better sit there for awhile to rest up a bit, plot my next move, and say I've stepped on the holy ground. 

I drank a lovely hot chocolate and took pictures of people passing on the sidewalk and watched a drama going on between the waiters of the place and a man outside who wanted to bum coins from the customers. The waiters were a snooty lot so I stole a menu and called it even.

Off to the Edward Munch exhibition in a new gallery near the Madeleine over on the Right Bank – a wonderful extensive exhibition that really showed how Munch tried many things – painting, drawing, engraving – I took many pictures there – though this time the crowd was thick. The only time there were too many people for the space provided. 

This one hit me the hardest, "Nude Crying"

And then it was time to go meet Fred back at the house – but on my way to the Metro station my eyes fell upon the Tuileries, the palacial gardens I had not yet step foot in. The sun was just beginning to go down, the rain had stopped hours ago and it was warm and Springlike, and my last night in Paris. 

So I sent Fred a mental text, saying I would be late, and walked languidly through the gardens, watching Parisians enjoy the fountains and the space and the evening light too. I walked along the Seine until it was almost dark and then came home.

The Tuileries

French Dogs Meeting Up

Fred and I chose the most typical French brasserie in our own neighborhood for a wonderful very French dinner, and then we took off for the Eifel Tower – pictures of which you have seen.

I wanted to show you pictures of the carousel that we rode -- bright lights at the foot of the Eiffel straight out of Fellini, and of course more photos of this and that, but there must be alot of people in this hotel on the WiFi because the pictures at this point are taking FOREVER to load, so I will sign off and Fred will get online and check what's going on with Health Care Reform. I am so sorry about David Patterson's announcement today.

Over and out. For now. love, m


  1. This trip has been full of life. Ha! Serendipity and all. :-D

    I love the "Nude Crying" painting. Wow.

    I wonder if Thiery is in NY? hehe (I think it is Thiery that is the 2-legged and Lucienne the 4-legged?)

    I'll check back to see when the wings take flight! I've enjoyed the cyber travel and photos!

    ~carol :-)

  2. Dearest Marta,

    I have so loved following you on your adventure...I can't get enough! Every day I check to see if you've written something new! Okay, okay, so maybe I check more than just once a day.

    I wish you safe travels on the way home, and can't wait to see you when you return! This Atrium has missed you! But today I played, loudly, the soundtrack to Amelie and thought of you.

    "The waiters were a snooty lot so I stole a menu and called it even." --- this made me laugh out loud.


  3. Marta and Fred,

    Brava, Bravo!!! What a wonderful voyage a Paris! Thank you for all your sharing and daring and caring....

    Eager to see you!


  4. Thanks, guys, so super great to know you're there! m