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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Farewell to Paris

Our experiences on the Paris Metro had been really positive this year and last; seemed kind of like subway-lite compared to NY. The countdown clocks show the time before the next two trains arrive, and we had never waited more than 5-6 minutes or so. But on Monday, coming back to our hotel during the afternoon rush hour after a busy day around town, we ran into a delay. Didn't have to wait too long for the aggrieved train to go by empty, but the next train was pretty packed. Got on anyway, and it only got more crowded as we went along.

Finally, we reached our stop, where we needed to navigate through the mass of humanity. Say what you will about New Yorkers and the subway system. But if someone needs to get off, people will make way, no matter how crowded, and even if they have to temporarily step off the train. But the people here were firmly standing their ground! Good thing that another woman was getting off in front of us, otherwise we wouldn't have known if it was OK to forcibly push our way out. I felt like Shonn Greene behind the Jets offensive line looking for a non-existent hole!

Sadly, we are now at the airport, as our stay in Paris is over....but it's not the end of our travel. We're flying outta here, and will awaken Thursday morning in Stockholm, Sweden, where we'll be through Saturday. Of course, it's just sheer coincidence that 'NHL Premiere' will coincide with our stay; we'll be attending opening night for the Rangers as they face the Los Angeles Kings at the Ericsson Arena on Friday night. :-)

Having been in Paris last year, we did a lot of things that we "had" to do, which left us free to simply walk around and explore. One never knows what he/she can find when rounding any corner - the narrow alleyway streets, the fabulous quaint courtyards, the unexpected parks and squares, statues, the intricately beautiful designs on the buildings and balconies; architecture of simple homes as high art. There doesn't seem to be more than a handful of residences more than a few stories tall. That's one of the reasons why the Eiffel Tower is so impressive, the way it literally towers over nearly everything else in town.

Of course, we did repeat a couple of things. The Louvre is a must, though it was really distressing to see the feeding frenzy of photographing having spread from the Mona Lisa into the room containing the works of the French masters of the late 18th century such as Jacques Louis-David (whose massive The Coronation of Napoleon is an art gallery all in itself) and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Kinda feel as if the French have given up and abandoned their treasures to the wolves. And we also returned to the Musee d'Orsay (where photography is thankfully prohibited), where there was an excellent temporary exhibit of (mostly) British works from the late 19th century called Beauty, Morals and Voluptuousness in the England of Oscar Wilde. Got distracted there and had to rush a bit through the permanent collection...indeed, a portion of it is unfortunately temporarily inaccessible due to construction. However and thankfully, not the two Manet masterpieces, Olympia and Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (Luncheon on the Grass) .....absolute musts to see anytime here as far as we're concerned, and worth the price of admission themselves.

Another cool museum we made it to was Musee Jacquemart-Andre, a former private residence whose late 19th century occupants apparently had nothing better to do than travel over Europe and acquire fantastic art. There was also an exhibit of 15th Century Italian art (Fra Angelico) which was just insane! Most were portraits of the Virgin Mary with her baby, who, though I'm not much up on religion, I believe turned out to be a person of some significance.

So, we have lots of pictures to share, which I'm just so sure you're all dying to see. That will have to wait though until later, as I only get 15 minutes of free wi-fi here in the airport so I really have t


jk said...

My favorites are Musée Gustave Moreau and Musée de l'Orangerie.

Your boy Avery was cut and will not be joining you for the opening night festivities.

Alan Mann said...

^^And I brought my Avery t-shirt to wear to the game too!