Friday, December 26, 2008

Paris Notes

Chocolate souffle with deep overkill chocolate sauce from a silver serving boat at The Souffle on Boulevard St. Honore.
Avocat de Navigator--fresh avocado with brown sauce poured over it--what, I thought? Brown? But it was superb. This at the Navigator on Rue de Gallande.

Little yogurts in tiny glass jars--creamy and delicious


Pastries and unsalted butter--going into a swoon now

Creme fraiche

Something called Iles (islands) de ?????? in a sundae dish at the Galeries Lafayette cafeteria.


Mona Dearest

That guy Pablo and his buddy


St. Denis, patron saint of Paris, beheaded with a sword at the top of Montmartre, but who then reputedly walked for two miles preaching a sermon. You've really got to know your stuff by heart if you're going to try that.

See what I mean?

Winged Victory

Venus de Milo

Others have said it before me, but you could walk for days in the Louvre (or as they say on Monty Python, the Louvrah) and never take it all in. A better idea might be to sit for an entire day in one room and try to absorb it. This appeals to me. Get one thing right, you know? I love the portraits gazing down, faces from a time long past that are still with us. Thanks to my recent Rosetta Stone training, I was able to read the descriptions of the paintings and most (well.....) of the newspaper. As far as comprehending what was spoken to me, um, that's another story for another day.

Most streets are identified in this manner and you'd think it would be easier to figure out where you are.

I'm on the corner of Rue Such and So and Rue Whatever. So why doesn't it show on the map? I'm near the Grande National Palais of Grand Grandness. I'm standing in front of it, but which way is that on the map? If I go this way, I could end up going dead opposite of where I want to go.

WTF are we?

Things are so much more understandable in our room at the hotel.

And our hotel was wonderful, the Mayfair on Rue de Rouget Lisle, half a block off the Rue de Rivoli and quite near Place de la Concorde where you can stand and imagine the guillotine slicing down.

Incidentally, I love the bathrooms in Paris. Even in restaurants and department stores, they are very private. the walls go up to the ceiling and down to the floor. Plus they flush with great force, making me think of the sewer scenes in Les Mis. Jean Valjean, are you down there? I did walk past the Victor Hugo house, but was late for something and lost and my feet were aching. I must have walked five miles a day minimum. I did not have comfortable shoes either. My choices were uncomfortable or less uncomfortable and I rotated them as the days went by.

The time change is daunting--six hours for this East Coaster, worse for people coming from the west or midwest. Every day I thought I was waking up in the middle of the night and it was like 10:00. Also I don't care for that military 17:21 hours or whatever. I am the one standing in front of the clock counting off on my fingers. OH OKAY, IT'S HAPPY HOUR. And speaking of that, take my advice. If you do not wish to feel like merde in the morning, do not drink a bottle of wine with dinner. Especially do not have champagne cocktails before the bottle of wine. The Today Show, if you could see it, quickly becomes The Today Show With a Stupefying Hangover.

How's that for wisdom? And how's this for an artistic photo?

Sacre Coeur a little cockeyed, no? A little syncopated, yes? More and less than you thought somehow.
And so Paris was that for me: baroque and rococo, filigreed and curlicued, embellished, turreted, and elegant. But at the same time down to earth and deeply evocative of a proud history. It is more beautiful than I could have imagined. I nod my head and tip my (new) hat.

A bientot


At 1:50 PM , Blogger Kay said...

Love it! Thanks - I want to go! Your daughter looks like you - or you look like your daughter ...
Again, thanks for the descriptions of a wonderful city, leaving me hungry for mousse, yoghurt and art. (Again, LOVE that crimson beret.)

At 2:20 PM , Blogger Becky Motew said...

Thanks, Kay. The beauty of it just sort of sinks into your bones and skin. You feel it. You as a poet would really love it and say it better than I.


At 2:22 PM , Anonymous contessa said...

Oh, B, these are fabulous photos and descriptions. I'm so envious!

At 8:48 PM , Blogger sandman1 said...

Your quip about headless preaching makes me chuckle... great glimpses into your trip do indeed make us all jealous! And such a beautiful, inscrutable smile on the Mona Lissa.


At 11:05 PM , Blogger Becky Motew said...

Thanks, sm.


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