Paris - Maleny - Murwillumbah
|Pierre in front of my office|
|Jodie and a ghost in our apartment|
|Outside guard - The Louvre|
|Inside guard - The Lourve|
So where have we been and what have we done? Well, we are staying in a very welcoming loft style apartment in Rue de Rochechouart, almost at the base of Montmartre and a short walk from Anvers Metropoltian station. The apartment is a very funky, modern style, self contained one room, perfect for a couple and kids. It is set back off the street behind a large courtyard. Tastefully fitted out in black, white and silver, it has a shower that does everything but sing to you. The kitchen is a useful galley style with Miele fittings. The sound system and entertainment unit are by Bang and Olufson (my fave) with the speakers hardwired into the walls. The shelves overflow with dvds, cds and books to cover every taste and the fridge is full of goodies that you can use and replace. All you need do is flip open the suitcase and go or relax.
In the Louvre I followed the Mona Lisa arrows. Jo asked me what is it that is so special about the Mona Lisa. Why did I think I had to see it? I haven’t really got an answer for that question. Except that for fifty years or so I have seen photos of the Mona Lisa, heard people talk about it and seen movies made about it. Maybe it is purely that Leonardo da Vinci was one of the most remarkable minds in our short world’s history. Lots of people go to see the Berlin Wall, Gallipoli, Auschwitz, the battlefields of France and the crater of the Twin Towers in New York. I’m not totally sure of what takes people to those places either. But after seeing the Mona Lisa for myself, I am convinced that such a small piece of art work that can bring millions of people from all over the world together for a moment, in a joyful way, to look at her beauty, to have their photos taken in her presence, is indeed a wonder to behold, and I am glad I made the effort. Saturday was Louvre day. Thirty five thousand pieces of art is a big effort though I can’t say I looked at them all. Jo loved the Botticellis’ and they made her day as much as the Mona Lisa made me smile.
|Arc de Triomphe|
|Lady with a cat|
Last night we tracked down a Pizza restaurant in Montmartre that Jo read about online, called Pomodoro (http://www.qype.co.uk/place/363328-Pomodoro-Paris/photos/2059815). We gave it 10/10 for food quality, ambience and service. Check pizza photos in this blog. Today lies ahead as I pack up my computer and thank Pierre for the use of his great cafe space. Outside the square is full of artists plying their trade and tourists looking for an original piece of art at a bargain price.
|Pomodoro Pizza - Montmartre|
|Jodie jumping for Amelia|
|A cold day at the tower|
Tuesday was Mig’s last day in Paris. We took a coffee and cake stroll up to the top of Montmartre, going to the cafe I thought was Amelie’s, only to find it wasn’t. Still we had a good view of the activity in Tertre Place and the pastries were up there with the best. We weaved our way back to the apartment via our favourite bakery in Rue de Rochechouarte to claim a final breadstick for another delicious home made lunch before Mig caught the airport bus.
|Now THAT'S a slice|
That afternoon Jo and I found our favourite art in all of Paris at the Musee d’Orsay. The d’Orsay was a formerly a part of the Gare d’Orsay train station. We couldn’t take photos inside so I recommend you have a look at it on www.musee-orsay.fr. Almost every contemporary artist we had ever heard of was to be found in here. There were a lot of those wow moments coming into a room to see a piece of artwork that you had only ever had the opportunity to read about in art books. The jewel in the crown was a combined exhibition of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, covering the period when they hung out together in Arles. The colour, texture and style of these two artists together was such an enriching experience for me it brought tears to my eyes. That they both had their personal struggles on the planet but were generous enough to leave a legacy of beauty to endure all time.
|Vincent and me - d'Orsay|
|Jo with new Amelie hairstyle|
|Amelie with friend|
|Cafe de 2 Moulins (Amelie's cafe)|
The downsides of Paris? Well if you avoid the Pigalle sex strip at night and the overcrowded suburbs of unemployed immigrants, you probably won’t see them. But I can assure you they are there. There is a dis-ease and unrest concerning multiculturalism in Europe. And here in Paris, almost a hidden feeling of wanting a white France to somehow magically reappear. With at least forty percent of the population being a mix of French-Africans there can be no going back, but only forward in a more accepting way. The streets of downtown Paris were closed to traffic one afternoon while marching dissenters moved a motion to ‘Send them back to where they come from.’ . If that were to happen French culture would die and France would disappear from the map.
|Boy with a cat - This is the Paris I love!|