Borrowing a line from an old Christian carol, I feel like today, again, I wandered and was filled with wonder …
I was tired from a busy week when I awoke today and had to deal with housekeeping chores — washing dishes and clothes, picking up clean towels and a roll of toilet paper from the rental office down the street (discovering their office is smaller by far than my humble dwelling … and a view (and review) of my “garret” lodgings is coming soon, I promise …)
Anyway, I stopped next door at the l’Ecluse wine bar which doubles as my morning coffee cafe (as long as it is after 10 am) and had a delightful talk with Zoe about her Paris and mine. Seems we share similar interests and her English is quite good, though she praises my francais, being a kind person. She is a Parisian and learned English by watching lots of old American movies. First with French subtitles, then with English subtitles and eventually with just the audio. I must admit, I find this hard to believe as her French is so good, but Jean Jacques, I think, also told me that is how he learned much of his English ….
Zoe gave me some good suggestions for out-of-the-way places to visit, two were already on my long list that is being whittled away due to lack of time, and two I didn’t know about — a follow-up will follow in the next few days as I see them. But best of all, perhaps, she energized me for the day — that and the fact that the sun was shining, something completely undiscernable from within my apartment.
I headed off first to the Cluny Musse du Moyen-Age, the one place I wanted to revisit. It is a gem and as expected I loved seeing it again. It houses the spectacular Lady and the Unicorn tapastries as well as the crumbling heads of the kings from the facade of Notre Dame. They were torn down during the Revolution and only accidently re-discovered during a local building excavation in 1977.
Zoe and I had also talked about the Bourdelle Musee which is the house of a late 19th/early20th century French sculptor. She told me how to get there and I found it on my trusty little Michelin city guide. She said that although she lives here and grew up here, she relies on her Google Map cell phoe apt to go anywhere. I discovered on my map that right near the Bourdelle museum is the former home of another sculptor I really wanted to see.
Zadkine is a Russian sculptor from the first half of the 20th century, a little know destination I was looking forward too. Brancusi’s Atelier and the Zadkine and Bourdelle homes were all high on my wish list before I left home. I enjoy sculpture and wanted some variety from the tourist mecca of the Rodin museum.
Anyway again … from the Cluny it is a long walk up St Michel past the Luxembourg Gardens into a totally non-touristed part of town. Cheryl Hubbard and the Averyt boys, you would be proud of how I find my way. In fact twice I have been asked for direction, one woman telling me she thought I was a local … and I received the highest praise of my trip from a French street vendor who went on at length in rapid French, until I explained “Je parle francais un petit peu seulement”, meaning in incorrect parlance, I don’t speak French much. He told me when I said Bonjour monsieur, it was with such a good Parisian french accent that he thought I was French …. ok, this is not a lie but it does stretch the imagination …
The Zadkine was definitely a lesser site, but very enjoyable nonetheless. My favorite sculpture (not shown here) was a bronze in the garden of the “Two Van Gogh Brothers”. I was exhausted by the time I finished and rested on several chairs meandering back though the Luxembourg Gardens. It was amazing wandering that park — there was a huge playground for the kids and a separate merry-go-round. For the men there was a great boule area and I watched it for quite a while. (The men carry a measuring tape in their pocket to see precisely who comes the closest to the little “target” ball.) There were a number of tennis courts and fathers playing with their children … and then in the distance I saw these clusters of men huddled together. Turns out as I approached there was serious chess going on and an appreciative audience peering over the players shoulders.
Lastly, as I hobbled toward home, not sure if I could make it, I rounded the corner at about 5 pm to the Place Odeon, which has been turned into an enormous open air cafe.
I finally caught my breath as I lingered over my new drink, Martini rouge with ice and a twist of orange (misreported lemon the other day, sorry).
Thanks for tagging along today, and for letting me share my day with you. What I have most enjoyed with this blog is “talking” with my friends and family. I’ve enjoyed my solo Paris journey but not having someone to talk it over with at the end of the day is difficult, so I appreciate your “ears” and your comments, all of which I savor even if I don’t immediately reply … And thanks too to my friend Brooke for being my evening “Skype partner”!
You are all truly the “wonders” in my wandering !