We head out to Bordeaux tomorrow. The past two days in Paris have been excellent. Yesterday was our trip to Monmarte. Being fans of Amalie, we were hoping to see some of the places from that film, as well as the Moulin Rouge and the cathedral.
Before hand we checked the small tour book that we have been using, which has been excellent so far. (Frommer’s Paris Day by Day) It gave us a nice loop to follow with sights, and we added a note that the Salvador Dali gallery was there as well. Dovetailing nicely with our Amalie plans, the start of the tour was the Abbesses Metro metro station, which was one of the sights from Amalie. It is also the last remaining Art Nouveau Metro station with it’s glass roof intact. Neat.
We wound up the hill to catch the birthplace of cubism at Bateau-Lavoir, and continued up past the windmills and small shops, until we finally met what we had been hoping to see our entire trim, our first French Mime. We darted into a creperie to avoid him, and hid there until he moved on and could no longer turn us to stone with his gaze. We continued our tour with a renewed sense of caution, and made haste to the Dali gallery.
I have never seen more melted clocks in all my life.
It was wonderful. You really appreciate the absurdity and beauty of Dali’s work when you see so much at once. He really had some spectacular sculptures as well as paintings and had some really odd themes that occurred over and over. The elephant with spider legs was a favorite.The standard tour spotted with rain followed, with the Church, art galleries, and shops all providing excellent cover from the weather.
We actually ended up on the wrong side of the hill and had to metro back over to see the Moulin Rouge and the Cafe from Amalie, sadly the Cafe De 2 Moulins, has suffered the same fate that the Cafe from Twin Peaks has suffered, it looks nothing like it did before, and is overpriced and nasty. We left, only to find a much nicer, overpriced cafe across from Moulin Rouge.
After parting with far too many Euros for not much at all, we metro’d back into the center of town, and hit the Louvre. Actually, we ran quickly through and managed to cover almost half. We were fortunate that the daughter was wearing her Heelys, (those shoes with the wheels in the heel) and we were able to just drag her along. When you hear folks say that they didn’t see much because they just skated through the Louvre, well we actually skated through the Louvre. The floor in the Denon wing makes a cool clicking noise.
We finished the day with a late dinner at Les Deux Magots, Hemingway’s old hangout. Most books call it overpriced, but compared to our meal near the Moulin Rouge it was quite reasonable. And very tasty to boot. After a bottle of wine and some cognac we staggered back to the Metro and hit the hotel close to Midnight. This pretty much killed the last of our jet lag.
I awoke at 10:30 the next morning, the wife and daughter were already up and snagging food from the buffet downstairs. We decided to make a day of the remainder of the Louvre, and headed out.
This was much easier that hitting it at the end of the last day, and we stopped for Coffee at our local shopping street Rue Mouffetard at one of the cafes that dot the place. I was finally able to get SIM cards for our phones across the street, where the local girl told me that lots of Americans come in for SIm cards, but forget to get their phones unlocked before they leave the states. I had no such worries, as I am a world-class Phone Phreak.
We finally hit the Louvre around noon, and were able to start touring the second half. We did this until close to 5:00, and admitted defeat and left. We left with a pile of photos and video that we will use to bore friends once we return. We also learned:
- Sculptors really like to carve penises.
- Models in the Renaissance really could have used a few rounds on a StairMaster and some sit-ups.
- Greek men seemed to have larger breasts than Renaissance women.
We walked a bit through Paris and stopped back close to our hotel, on Mouffetard again, and a Fondue restaurant called La Fontaine. This is located next to a spigot in the wall of a nearby building that was apparently the local source of water for the neighborhood. It is still running.
This is also where we found our first waiter who did not speak even broken English. This made us rely on our broken French, which worked enough to get us fed, and fill our order of wine twice. Once again, great food.
We are now packing to drive down to Bordeaux tomorrow, which should prove interesting. Thank God I drive like an madman, else I would never fit in.