Paris II

Can you guess where old Napoleon Bonaparte is buried? Who else gets a red porphry sarcophogas and and a golden dome?

dome me baby

If you get up high enough up, you can see the dome halfway across the city;  it glitters in the sun.

RIP Napoleon

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!

and plenty of cannons doesn’t hurt

Ben surveys the moat on a warm day:

a nice resting spot after the forced march

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.

the deep of the keep

Speaking of the Louvre, here’s the front door:

wash me!

Napoleon also built a stunning opera house:

La Maison du Musique

with figures in green and gold all over the roof!

Wouldn’t you love to have a spacious, high-ceilinged apartment in a building like this? It overlooks a little park near les Inválides.

pricey apartments

A typical downtown street, busy, but not too much traffic:

green cross

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!

don’t even go near this place!

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:

Paris hat shop

Parisian women here seem to like red shoes:

somehow it all comes together… kinda

I don’t think the heels go with the backpack…

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!

this one leads to Rue des Artistes

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!

how sweet is that!

It feels like time stands still in this quiet lane.

A unique style: Retro Deco?

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?

looks a lot like a Mini

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.

the deli

the fish place

fresh shrimp by the bucket!

I’ve never seen so many kinds of olives in one place!

got cheese?

don’t forget the blue cheese — goes great on figs!

a little dried fruit

And if you cook a lot, like we do, you’ll need some really good knives:

yeah, I know I’ve got a sick sense of humor!

he thinks it’s funny!

how about some flowers?

so pretty! 6 euros a bunch: about $7.50

The flower guy saw me taking pictures of the olive guy, so he had to have his picture taken too!

Gallic machismo!

And how about some absolutely irresistible pastries?

Yum!

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!!

Ben at the café on our corner of Rue de Tolbiac

Next blog up: Paris milongas and other night life!

Ciao from Paris!

One thought on “Paris II

  1. Paris in the springtime! How perfect is that?? The little car you asked about is a Fiat 500 Abarth …my neighbor has one and loves it. Sounds like between walking and public transport you’re both getting everywhere! How long will you be in Paris … and then, España, quizas?? Sigan gozando el maravilloso presente!

    Like

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