Paris...Encore...

Trip Start Jan 28, 2013
1
Trip End Feb 04, 2013


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Where I stayed

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Monday, January 28, 2013

It's always a pleasure to come back to Europe...even though the main purpose of the trip was business for my dearest husband - we like to balance business with pleasure whenever possible...the main destination of the trip was London, but we could not resist revisiting beloved Paris...if only for a few days...


 
This was actually our second visit to Paris in less than a year...last time was in May 2012, as a part of our relatively long trip to Europe...back then we started in Berlin, flew to London from there, then took a Eurostar to Paris and Thalys to Brussels...I haven't written a blog about that trip yet - such a procrastinator! - and here we go again, back to Paris...

We arrived very early in the morning on Tuesday (29 January) and left by Eurostar for London very late in the evening on Thursday (31 January)...so it gave us almost 3 full days in Paris...definitely not enough (but is there such thing as "enough" when it comes to Paris?), but we tried to make the most of it...despite it being January, it wasn't terribly cold - just overcast, and gray, and rainy at times...but on the plus side - there were less tourists (even in Brasserie Lipp - a place quite popular with tourists for its colorful history - I could hear no other but French speech)...


 
Once again we stayed on the Left Bank...actually in all our trips to Paris we stayed on the Right Bank only once - in 2006...once in a while we talk about next time staying in a different arrondissement of Paris, but we invariably return to the 6th, somewhere near Jardin du Luxembourg - it feels comfortable and familiar there, almost like home...besides, the location is convenient in many respects and not that far from most places we usually want to revisit...

On the first day we went to Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris to see the exhibit "L'Art en Guerre, France 1938-1947: de Picasso à  Dubuffet"...it was interesting, but not necessarily in the "do not miss" category...still, we had a good time...and we actually walked there - all the way from our "home base" in the 6th to the 16th...part of our walk was through somewhat more "touristy" places - like Tuileries...or Pont des Arts where lovers attach padlocks engraved with their initials and pierced hearts and throw the keys into the Seine river...



Anyway, the funny thing  - there was some scam going on in and around Louvre/Tuileries area where a gypsy-looking person would pretend he/she just picked a gold ring from almost under your feet and offer it to you (presumably hoping to get some money out of you one way or another)...strangely - both locals and non-locals seemed to be targeted equally...but the locals would (at most!) shrug and briskly walk away...non-locals (like us) had nowhere to hurry, walked leisurely, stopped often to admire a view or take a picture...and so - we seemed to be somewhat more likely "targets"...

By ring # 3 this whole scam became quite amusing, and we joked about the streets of Paris being littered with gold rings...but past the third ring I decided to inform the scammers of their place: "Oh, a gold ring - really! You are # 5 with a gold ring today!"...believe it or not - we had a total of 7 (!) such encounters within barely 20 minutes it took us to get from Pont des Arts to the furthest end of Tuileries...some of the scammers were good sport about it and would say something funny back, others looked disappointed, still others didn't waste any time and would go straight to whichever passer-by happened to be near...it was silly, but almost entertaining in its own way, like a street show...



On our second day in Paris we started with Beaubourg (Centre Pompidou) - to see one of the biggest Salvador Dali retrospectives in more than 30 years...the retrospective opened in November 2012 and will run until March 2013...in March it supposedly will move to Madrid, and - depending on how long it stays there - we might even see it again, since we are planning to be in Madrid in September...we enjoyed this retrospective a lot and spent the whole morning there - it was big, interesting and fun...then we revisited the permanent collection...time went by fast...and then we just walked through Paris...we didn't have any specific plans and nowhere to hurry to, so we just walked...deep into Marais...past Hôtel de Ville...to Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité, past Notre Dame, past the Latin Quarter back to St. Germain...had dinner, walked some more and - not wanting the evening to end - lingered over yet another glass of wine at a lively neighborhood café...it was a wonderful day, the kind that makes you desperately long for Paris the minute you leave this city...



But unfortunately we had to leave the next day...our Eurostar departure to London was scheduled late in the evening, so we practically had a whole day in Paris...we quickly packed, left the luggage at the hotel and decided to walk to Les Invalides...Les Invalides - The Military Museum that contains Napoleon's tomb - is probably one of the places you would want to visit at least once; strangely though - in all our visits to Paris we never managed to find time to do this...I am glad we finally did go - the museum has quite an interesting collection...



On the way to Les Invalides we practically stumbled upon Aristide Maillol museum...so of course we went inside...in addition to the permanent collection, they happened to have 2 temporary exhibits - a sizable and delightful exhibit of Canaletto's Venetian works ("Canaletto à Venise") and a small but charming exhibit called "L'univers Pixi d'Alexis Poliakoff"...Poliakoff was the founder of PIXI - a company that makes little figurines...apparently this year was the 30th anniversary of PIXI, and so - the exhibit was devoted to the occasion...



We ended the day with a long walk...Pont Alexandre III to the Right Bank...past Grand Palais and Petit Palais...via Faubourg Saint-Honoré to the Place de la Concorde...back to the Left Bank and all the way into the heart of St. Germain... 

What is it about Paris that makes long, leisurely, aimless walks such a pleasure?...even in winter, even when it's raining...oh well, I think it shall remain a mystery...still...can't wait to return...Je cherche toujours…mais je n’ai pas encore trouvé plus belle ville que Paris...
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