Saturday, May 2, 2015

More memories

Another rainy day in Paris. Well, it wasn't so bad until late in the afternoon. We actually walked on dry ground most of the morning. We decided to go back to our old stomping grounds on the Rue de Rivoli near the hostels where we stayed with Waring groups for so many years. The first stay was in 1987, we think, but there have been too many to count. During those trips we usually entered the Metro at Saint Paul and did much shopping at the various stores nearby. 

Things had changed a bit.  There are always stores and restaurants that go out of business. The Eglise looked much cleaner than I remembered. We walked down to the Hotel de Ville and spent time reading some of the excellent posters and biographies of women who had played important roles in the Resistance during World War II. 

Our destination was a restaurant that had been given as a recommendation. It was on a little side street not far from the Pompidou, but although the web information said it was open from 12 to 3, the doors were closed and the lights were off.  There were many other restaurants to choose from, but when we found that Le Chant des Voyelles had Ailes de Raie on the menu we looked no further. This is one of Peter's favorites. They squeezed us into a little corner table, and the waitress was unusually brusque, but the food was good, and I remembered to take a photo of the raspberry Charlotte.

From there we headed to the Louvre. It was actually a bit late for the expedition, but the advantage was that the lines were not too long. It has been many years since I went to the Louvre without a student group, so we had to find the real entrance and buy real tickets.
 It took about 15 minutes in the security line and while Peter stood In the ticket line, I tried out my Visa card in the machine. It worked!  These new cards with chips work much better here in France. 

We visited our favorite paintings, and managed to get in a good two hours before closing time. We said hello to my favorite Ghirlandaio, the grandfather with his golden haired grandson, and the Virgin and Saint Anne and the Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo. Then we found our way across to the Dutch Masters. 

The Lacemaker by Vermeer is so tiny. We had to wait for a large group of Japanese to leave before we could get close enough to see it.  
Rembrandt's Bathsheba was on a trip to London, so we misses her, but I was deeply moved by the portrait of the aged Rembrandt. It is a portrait for the older viewer. I look forward to more Rembrandt in Holland. 

We had time for Hals and Van Dyke, even some Rubens. On the way out we stuck our heads into the room with the French Renaissance miniatures by Clouet.  When we arrived at the entrance the floor was swarming with all the visitors ejected from the different wings at closing time. 

By the time we were done it was after six and we wanted to be at Notre Dame for an organ concert at 8. We briefly considered going straight to the concert, but we were too wet and tired.  We had about a half hour in the apartment for some bread and cheese with a cup of tea before heading out into the rain again. The concert was a treat.


We walked home in the rain and happily split a beer after we took our shoes off.  

Tomorrow is our last day in Paris. 

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