Belated Paris

I have been back in my country of origin for several weeks now since my European tour. In fact, I’m now having a little holiday in my home town of Townsville (the one in North Queensland, not the one from the Power Puff Girls). But I had lunch with my grandmother yesterday and she commented on how she had been enjoying my blog, but that I hadn’t finished it off properly. Feeling ashamed of my lazy re-blogging of Sarah’s posts, I thought I had better write my own account of events for our last full day in Paris.

Sarah took it upon herself to make sure that we had the best breakfast possible in metropolitan Paris. In case you haven’t realised, I live for food (rather than merely living off food) so Sarah was right to try to find me the best gosh darn boulangerie around. Unfortunately, we didn’t seem to be able to find one for breakfast (or indeed, it turned out, dessert after our evening meal) so we had to settle for a little brasserie type place.

I have not really been one to be particular about the types of food one eats at different times of the day. I am quite happy to eat pasta and chips for breakfast (as I did when I visited Japan) or Subway and sandwiches for dinner. With this in mind, I didn’t hesitate about eating Nutella Crepes for breakfast (although I did hesitate while ordering them, due to my lack of parlez vous-ing Francais). Though based on the serving proportions of the meal that arrived, what the waitress was probably asking me was, did I want crepes with my Nutella? Still an amazing breakfast though!

Bursting at the seams with Nutella, we caught the bus to our first musee of the day, the Musee d’Orsay. This was a double whammy for me, as it was an art gallery that used to be a train station! For all future trips to Paris or for any other European capitals, I am vowing to dedicate a whole day to each museum. I’m sure that Sarah would agree that the Musee d’Orsay should never share an itinerary day with any other attraction. The one thing which did allow us to get a decent go of the Musee d’Orsay was that we had museum passes that allowed up to skip queues.

Here I am, hanging out with the Oceania “continent” statue outside:

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Because I’m writing this many, many days after the fact, I don’t have my usual crutch of looking at all the flyers and maps I picked up during the day to get all the names of things right and describe places in a way that is actually geographically correct. So, to cheat, I just tried to download a map of the Musee d’Orsay. And I found this revelation on the interactive map: “The location of artworks is updated every morning, before the museum opens, based on information from the pervious evening.” I can’t believe they move stuff every night! That’s just incredible! And also a little off topic… Anyway…

We prioritised our viewing and started up on the 5th floor with impressionist paintings that I love. I got to peer closely at all the dots and blobs of paint that magically come together when you take a step away. I got to see originals of prints that I grew up with – numerous Degas ballerinas which hung at Ann Robert’s school of dance and Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette, which is one of my art teacher’s favourites and was on display in her studio. Paintings like these are like Instagram of the day (minus the duckfaces), they featured ordinary people and captured moments of their ordinary lives, making art accessible and relevant to everyone.

Then Sarah struck the Art Deco jackpot – several floors of furniture design!

As compensation for dragging me past so many chairs that I wasn’t allowed to sit on, we then got to see the Van Gogh room which, although none of my special favourites where there, was fantastic to see “live” all the same.

After a quick walk through a room that was mostly decorated in gold leaf, we left the museum to find some lunch.

I’m ashamed to say that by this time of the trip, I had changed from “try new things” mode to “order things that you recognise on the menu” mode so I had another croque monsieur for lunch while Sarah had a “halloween” quiche.
We walked through some more streets to have a second attempt at the Musee Dupuytren.

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We eventually found it after walking through a university campus pretending to be students and ringing a secret doorbell. The very enthusiastic non-english speaking curator?/custodian?/janitor? greeted us and I think tried to explain that this was a medical museum and not like a Ripley’s Believe It or Not. I handed over some Euros and we were shown through an ancient library into a room of display cases. I had suggested this to Sarah as an attraction idea wondering what fascinating curiosities might be there. Unfortunately, Sarah was a little overwhelmed by the number of real dead babies preserved in jars and her reaction was more desperate sorrow than macabre fascination. I didn’t take any photos but if you want to still see what we saw, have a look at this flickr set.

After not spending very long at all in the Musee Dupuytren we had enough time for another scenic bus ride. Unfortunately, we were sitting behind the most annoying people I had met on my trip (overtaking the racist american gay couple) who sung along with all the French songs on the headsets, stood up when we were told specifically to sit down and managed to get their phones and/or limbs in every one of my shots. Sarah took a great photo of them where the subject of the photo is still filming a video while posing:

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They did eventually get off the bus, which meant that I was actually able to take some photos in peace:

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The bus eventually took us to the Lourve.

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Our museum passes came in handy once again where we got to skip the massive queue at the entrance.

Sarah and I generally have similar tastes in the things that we like, which makes us want to hang out with each other at museums. However, it became apparent very quickly upon our arrival at the Lourve that even the best museum buddies can have different priorities. Sarah loves antiquities whereas my head is turned by religious Renaissance paintings.

We began our Lourve experience with some Roman sculptures.

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And then Sarah led me to some Islamic artefacts:

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I had been to the Lourve previously, but haven’t ventured into the bowels before. Turns out there was a castle here before.

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It was at about this point that I ran out of steam (and cold and flu medication). Unfortunately for Sarah this meant that interest in and tolerance of ancient objects was nearing zero. Conveniently, we had thousands of Egyptian relics to pass through on our way to the Mona Lisa.

We did eventually make it, after passing through some magnificent rooms and taking photos of our star signs posing together on the ceiling.

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I did even get to see some Italian paintings of the Virgin Mary. And you could be sure it was Her because She was wearing the exact same outfit in all three paintings…

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After leaving the Lourve, we had dinner around the Opera. I selected the very ambitious and exotic choice of steak and chips for dinner and in return received the appropriate amount of playful distain from Sarah and her rustic fish stew.

After not being able to find anywhere for dessert and feeling a little like the statue below we returned to the hotel on the metro and said “Bonne nuit” to Paris for the last time, at least for this trip.

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