A week in Paris was like going down our hotel’s spiral staircase; it seemed to go on forever until you realized there was actually an end to it. Two more days and we’ll packing our way back home.
So, we parted our way after the meal; she headed back to hotel her job, and I was about to travel alone for the first time in this city. Where to go? The choice was obvious.
Traveling alone in a foreign city, I felt as if time moved slower, actions louder and emotions amplified.
A nursery was just next door. Obviously photography wasn’t allowed within the building.
I paid my entrance fee of 6 Euros at the reception on the ground floor. Exhibition rooms are located on the first and second floor, and a relaxing space on the third floor. Perhaps this was as close as I could get.
I was grateful to witness one of Irving Penn‘s monumental work on the exhibit. The Small Trades was a series of portraits in the early 50’s of skilled trades people dressed in their work clothes and carrying the tools of their respective trade from Paris, London, and New York. Newspaper seller, fishmonger, fireman, waiter, rag picker, contortionist, seamstress, brick layer, chimney sweep. You name it. The subjects were intriguing and the prints were breathtaking.
To name a few – Guy de Maupassant the novelist, Samuel Beckett the playwright and André Citroën who founded France’s Citroën automobile factory.
My mobile rang – she’s done. Enough of arts and history tour. Time for Angelina Jovie (no typo).
The service was excellent, as the waiter kept checking with us if there was anything we needed. With no wine, the meal at Le Malakoff costed us 69 Euros. We’ll definitely come back again some day.
Day Five was the day that Jovie had started to work. Since we covered roughly the same places on the day and the subsequent, I’ll combine them together in a single post.
That was where we had our breakfast together with Derrick, Crono and Tze Pen. Little chatting, little planning. Back in the hotel, while they worked on their stuff, I kept myself occupied with online surfing. It was noon time when Jovie was done with her job.
We dropped by at Musée de la Mode et du Textile (Museum of Fashion and Textiles), part of Musée des Arts Décoratifs. The fashion museum boasts a huge collection of costumes, fashion accessories and textile as well as work of celebrated modern designers such as Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Raoul Dufy, Sonia Delaunay and the embroiderer Rébé.
Finishing the museum, we exited into Jardin des Tuileries, the formals gardens that were laid out in the 17th century, and later restored and filled with striking modern and contemporary sculptures.
The anti-climax of the day was when they discovered that the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays! Blind spot – the guidebook says it is open 9am-6pm Wed-Mon (to 10pm Wed, Fri). Judging by the number of people, we were not alone. So we hung around the area for a while.
Shopping was the next item on the agenda, and we headed to Boulevard Haussmann. I helped myself with the street outside the malls.
Shakespeare and Company is literary landmark – a small, cramped but wonderful bookstore located in the 5th arrondissement, in Paris’s Left Bank. Definitely a must-go for book lovers. I purchased a copy of An Inner Silence: The Portraits of Henri Cartier-Bresson, complete with the bookstore stamp.
We completed our round-trip as we landed back the Louvre.
Recovering from my flu, we started the fourth day late in order to rest more. First objective of the day was to go to M.A.C Pro Store at Rue des Saints-Pères. But first, we had to have lunch.
Started to rain soon (again!) after our lunch. Chilling wind pierced through our jackets as we pushed on to our destination.
Easing into a comfortable sofa seat near the store’s heater, by the window, I allowed myself to dry up. With the only French magazine available flipped through twice, cover to cover, I could only fiddle with my camera and study the street outside.
As Jovie finished her first adventure of overseas stockpiling, we moved on to the next agenda of the day, the Panthéon.
Story was, King Louis XV was sick and vowed that if he recovered from the illness, a prestigious church dedicated to Saint Genevieve will be built. Obviously, he recovered. The design of the new basilica was entrusted to Jacques-Germain Soufflot, who planned in Neo-Classical style. Completed in 1790, the church was then turned into a pantheon, a location for the France’s good and great with the Revolution underway.
As it was our Day Four (with 6 more days to go), we decided to purchase the 6-day Paris Museum Pass at 64 Euros that allowed us free entry for unlimited time to over 60 museums and monuments around Paris. In comparison, an adult entry ticket for the Panthéon costs 8 Euros.
It’s getting even colder than it looks as the wind blew mercilessly. The convertible has decided to unfold her rooftop.
The Crypt covers the entire area under Panthéon building. Many French notables rest here. Amongst them – Voltaire,Victor Hugo, Pierre & Marie Curie, Louis Braille, Alexandre Dumas, Louis Pasteur. Their spirits could be roaming around.
We were more or less decided to try Léon de Bruxelles for dinner. Since there was a branch nearby, we took a slow walk there, observing the street, the people, their life and whatnot.
Cooked with wine, 17.90 Euros with slice of salmon and bread as starter and fries. The mussels are unlike anything we have eaten in Asia. They are super tender and sweet and rich in taste. There were at least 40-50 mussels in the casserole.