Can you guess where old Napoleon Bonaparte is buried? Who else gets a red porphry sarcophogas and and a golden dome?
If you get up high enough up, you can see the dome halfway across the city; it glitters in the sun.
What a city! So huge and attractive and full of monuments, sculptures, beautiful old buildings, plazas, fountains …. remains of old roman walls, roads, columns. Just a big WOW!! What else can I say? The resemblance to Buenos Aires is striking. Only Buenos Aires is the younger sister who isn’t quite as good a housekeeper as her big sister. Urban transportation is excellent, by the way. The Metro is clean and crisscrosses the city both above and below ground. It runs from 5:30 am to 1:30 am for night owls like tango dancers, and to 2:30 am on Friday and Saturday nights!
This is the Hotel les Inválides. It’s not really a hotel, but part of a huge complex where soldiers were trained, including stables for the calvalry. The term “hotel” refers to its past function as a VA hospital.
Everyone needs a nice deep wide moat to keep goths and barbarians out!
Ben surveys the moat on a warm day:
Speaking of perimeter defenses, we walked around the bottom of the old moat that surrounded the castle that was knocked down when they built the Louvre. The Louvre began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under the reign of Phillip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum.
Speaking of the Louvre, here’s the front door:
Napoleon also built a stunning opera house:
Wouldn’t you love to have a spacious, high-ceilinged apartment in a building like this? It overlooks a little park near les Inválides.
A typical downtown street, busy, but not too much traffic:
The neon green cross denotes a pharmacy. We had our daily coffee break at the café on the right. Here’s the famous department store, Printemps. Not much to look at on the outside, kind of a postmodern pastiche, but on the inside…. super expensive designer clothes, shoes, everything…. an entire floor devoted to lingerie! The Printemps lingerie department makes Victoria’s Secret look like a Girl Scout pop-up store. So many different labels, each with its own floor space, displays, attendants. I have to confess, I bought a few pairs of stockings that were very expensive. I have never spent so much on stockings. Am I a bad girl? I hope so!
I also wanted a new lipstick, but not bad enough to pay 40 bucks for it! Even Ben’s mom Bess has been to Printemps, many years ago. And my mom says she still wears a blouse she bought there way back when. She and my dad heard Edith Piaf sing one night in a little club, after the war.
You can find any kind of hat in Paris, or have one made to order:
Parisian women here seem to like red shoes:
but they do match the purse! When we walk around we sometimes stroll up stairways that lead to streets above, or below. Streets that have stairs can have street name signs just like other streets. This was not a hard climb for us; we do 6 flights up several times a day!
We stumbled on this street which appears to have been built, or rebuilt, in the early 1920s. So quiet, pretty, cobblestones, flowers; even room to park your smartcar!
If I lived in Paris I might consider a smartcar, just for its parkability, but that wouldn’t be very green-minded of me, would it? Sustainable urban ecology is the only way to go! But if I had big bucks, I could buy this Cooper Copy Cat…. sorry I didn’t catch the make! Can somebody out there tell me?
Parisians are quite friendly. Even with the language barrier. French drivers do NOT try to run you over in the street, like in Buenos Aires. They actually slow down and stop! What a concept! Not everybody speaks English either, contrary to what I’d heard before. Maybe in Germany or Scandinavia, but not in France (or Argentina). I just use my Spanish or Italian, that works pretty well, plus I’m picking up a few words in French here and there. Ben says I can make friends in any language!
I have to show off our Buttes aux Cailles neighborhood. We love the open air market.
And if you cook a lot, like we do, you’ll need some really good knives:
The flower guy saw me taking pictures of the olive guy, so he had to have his picture taken too!
And how about some absolutely irresistible pastries?
I took that picture at a very chic bakery downtown. Here’s a pretty nice café on our block…. but we mostly cook at home. Paris is so expensive!!
Next blog up: Paris milongas and other night life!