Saturday, June 7
Sunday, June 8
Monday, June 9
Tuesday, June 10
Wednesday, June 11
Thursday, June 12
Friday, June 13
Saturday, June 14
Rodin Museum, Montmarte, La Samaritaine, Bateaux-Mouches
Thursday afternoon around 5:15 p.m., we arrived at the Rodin Museum
only to find that they stopped admitting people at 4:45 p.m., despite what our
tour book said. This was a result of the strikes, which caused the museum to
close early. Since our 5-day museum passes expired on Thursday, we pleaded
with the person at the entrance to let us in on Friday, as long as we promised
not to use the expired pass anywhere else! When we arrived Friday morning,
some brief discussion ensued over the additional writing on our passes, but
ultimately we were admitted.
The museum was actually Rodin's home. There are a number of works inside, as
well as an outdoor sculpture garden. Inside were works documenting his
relationship with his muse and mistress,
Camille Claudel. After their
relationship ended, it drove her to an insane asylum, where she was confined for
the last 30 years of her life. You can read a little bit about her
Montmarte is the higher of the two Paris hilltops. We followed Rick
Steves' tour for this one. We began by walking through a street full of
souvenirs and thrift-store-priced clothing - it reminded us of
Filene's Basement. Instead
of walking up a gazillion steps, we rode the Montmartre Funicular which takes you
to the top of the hill where
Sacré Coeur stands.
Behind the church can be found the only remaining vineyard in Paris.
The Cabaret Lapin Agile ("agile
rabbit") is just down the street from the vineyard. On the left, you can see the
fading poster of the rabbit jumping out of a saucepan, with a bottle of wine in
his hands (paws?). In 1997, Steve Martin wrote a book
Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays,
and the play Picasso at the Lapin Agile was performed in theatres around the
Rick's tour took us past Renoir's house, into a park and past the now burned-out studio
where Picasso used to work. Carol was getting tired and we decided to split up
at this point, agreeing to meet at La Samaritaine. I walked her downhill to the
area where the Metro stop was supposed to be, then headed back uphill to the boulangerie to resume the tour, which of course continued downhill from
Picasso's studio - I had walked back uphill for nothing (well, I did go into the
boulangerie to buy a Perrier). So back downhill, past Picasso's studio (in
case I had forgotten where it was the first two times), and I finally reached
Van Gough's former place.
There are only two windmills left on Montmartre. One is at Le Moulin Galette (on
the left) and the other is of course Moulin Rouge (on the right).
After finishing the walk (I avoided the seediness of (?) street), I met up with
Carol at La Samaritaine, one of the two major
department stores in Paris. Since she had a hard time finding the Metro station
near Montmartre (it wasn't where the map said it was), we ended up arriving only
a few minutes apart. It was nice that the Font Nord Metro stop sends people
directly into La Samaritaine (just like
Filene's Basement, hmmm...). We
arrived at the rooftop cafe about 45 minutes before closing (sound familiar)?
The upper terrace was closed, so the only way to get a "view from the top" was
to eat something! Carol and I did a little gift shopping here, including
visiting their "Pet Shop" (don't the French have a real French word for this?)
where we got some more toys for Toonces and Timmy. We
found this store much more "accessible" than
Printemps, and are glad we went there second.
This Palais restaurant is located in the northeast corner of the (?).
There is a fountain that has several sculptures of, shall we say, Rubenesque
ladies in their bathing suits, dancing in the water. The restaurant terrace was full
("Complete") so we ate inside. Several potential diners left in a huff
when they couldn't get terrace seating. At a nearby table, a woman, her husband
and their dog dined. Yes, people do indeed take their dogs everywhere in
Paris, even to the point that restaurants have water dishes for their
four-legged customers. The dog was very curious about the wine storage around
the corner. He sat up on the table several times. We didn't have any problems
with this, since our cats tend to do the same thing sometimes.
To close out the evening, we took an hour-long Seine boat cruise with
Bateaux-Mouches. We boarded
the 11 p.m. cruise (as it turns out, the last one for the evening). We
sailed up (down?) river and turned around at Ile St. Louis. We continued
down (up?) river and turned around at the Statue of Liberty. Paris truly
is the "City of Lights". We saw lots of people lining the shores of the Seine -
musicians, dancers, one fire juggler, people just hanging out (and two people
who mooned us!).