Thursday, July 3, 2014

Paris adventures

July 1 – Another day of discovery and wandering

An eclectic mix accompanied by many nationalities: the two girls in the breakfast room
came, one from Ghana, the other from Cambodia. We were very late to breakfast, understandable as my friends were 9 hours behind, but it meant that I wasn’t totally hungry for lunch with A at noon. However, it had been very entertaining getting there with the one metro line down for repairs. Lunch was in a local restaurant where the textures and food were scrumptious – packaged with a small glass of wine and followed by coffee – the French way of living suits me!

Then we wandered as A showed me some of the picturesque neighbourhoods – places so quiet and sheltered that you wouldn’t believe that you were in one of the major cities of the world. Some were places of street art – and they rivalled in imagination and creativity with any other spots worldwide.

Then we headed for my favourite museum in Paris: the Quai d’Orsay. Lines are now done in the American Disneyworld fashion: back and forth surrounded by black portable ribbons – to get in took a half hour. Once inside we again queued for the Van Gogh exhibition, but as that was the main reason for this particular trip, we chatted happily as we waited. As we came out, we would still have had time to do other parts of the museum, but we were both still totally under the influence of what we had seen and couldn’t add any more without negating what we had just experienced.

Detail from across the street from the d'Orsay Museum

It was with reverence that we exited into a lovely, breezy, sunny late afternoon.
Coffee was the next order of the day and we managed to find a typical Parisian sidewalk café: we did not manage to have any pastries with the coffee.

However, a major decision to find the ice-cream parlour that she had been introduced to by her cousin just a few days before, was taken and off we went into the bowls of the earth and the metro system: meanwhile peak time, it was still bearable. Up into the St. Germain neighbourhood and success – an Italian, homemade, chemical free gelato place where the raspberry tasted like freshly picked and pureed raspberries flash frozen, where the pistachio actually tasted more of the nuts than the usual flavouring and where the dark chocolate was unctuous enough to compete with the best of Swiss chocolates (and those who know me know that I don’t say things like that lightly!). None of the usual too-sweet chemical flavours, no icicles saying that it wasn’t fresh. And, an added bonus, two bins for separating waste: one for the cups and napkins, one for the plastic spoons and cones.

A hay truck in the middle of Paris!

Someone had a great sense of humor

Separation was difficult, but A. accompanied me to the last by making sure that I got on the right bus in the right direction, thus avoiding the problem of the currently non-existent metro.  Staying above ground meant a lovely drive along landmarks and the recognition of the stop closer to my hotel than the one for which I had originally aimed.

Awaiting me in the garden were my American friends, they themselves home from a lovely day at Versailles.