Tuesday 19 March 2013

Another Weekend in Paris - Day 1

As I mentioned in my intro post , we were staying in a slightly different area than is usual for us and I must say were quite pleasantly surprised by it. We were on the edge of what most tourists would consider "central" Paris, but it was still very easy to get around - a metro stop literally at the end of the street or a very pleasant, if a little long, walk into the centre of town.

On the first day when we woke to beautifully sunny skies, we opted to take the walk. Stephen had already scoped out an exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo that he wanted to see, so we decided to take our time getting there.

And even though we were a bit off the beaten track, as you can see the beaten track wasn't that far away.

After another few minutes we came across this really lovely little church (Église Paroisse Saint-Honoré d'Eylau) and decided a short stop to look inside was in order.

It was a really stunning blend of neoclassical and modern Byzantine influenced architecture. I particularly liked the use of mosaics. One of those great little random moments of beauty. A reminder that no matter how many times you've been somewhere, there's always something else to discover & explore

A little further along we were already in well trodden territory.
All I can say is there's a reason that the Eiffel Tower is so frequently photographed - it's a truly elegant construction from almost every angle.

One of the things I love about Paris is that they very willingly give homage to other countries' leaders that they respect or who helped France. Gives me warm fuzzies to see so many great American leaders and thinkers given pride of place on the capital's streets.

And around the corner from there was a really colourful little market, selling mostly food, but some other bits and pieces. It was clearly a regular occurance and well frequented by locals. I love walking through markets to get a feel for what's in season or looking particuarly tasty. While I didn't manage to get a picture of it, the seafood was absolutely incredible. So much that later that evening, we both opted for fish for various courses based solely on what we had seen in the market. One of these days we really must take a longer trip and stay somewhere that we can do a bit of shopping & cooking.

And a French market couldn't be complete without cheese, like this enormous round of comté. I love French cheese. Yum. On this occasion, however, Stephen pointed out that as we were still in the early part of our day, it was probably best to refrain from purchasing said cheese as it would not be in the best condition after spending all day in my camera bag. *sigh*

From here all we had to do was cross the street to the Palais. We had a great discovery when the staff told us that due to our hotel being a current Corporate sponsor, our room keycards got us in for free! Woo hoo! From there we made a beeline for the Soliel Froid exhibit of works by the incredible Julio Le Parc that Stephen had identified earlier. Neither of us were familiar with Mr. Le Parc's work before this, and we enjoyed it immensely. It gives the phrase "painting with light" totally new meaning, and I couldn't help but think of the "chromalume" from Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George. We preferred the early parts of the exhibition much more than the later half, but still it was all fascinating.

A riff on the usual "hall of mirrors" - a small room where strips of shiny mirrors were hung and rotated freely as you walked through them. Fantastically fun and disorienting.

One of the things that I really liked about the exhibit was the interaction between light and movement - often your own (like the work above), though occasionally through "set pieces" like the one below.

Even his most beautiful pieces had a slightly industrial, haunted edge. This one was like something out of a steampunk nightmare.
Great play on light and shadow.

And many, many more. If you find yourself in Paris sometime between now and 20 May 2013, I highly recommend the exhibit.

We took a quick lunch in the museum cafe, and then couldn't resist being back outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. After the dismalness of a London winter, I needed the sunshine.

And apparently I wasn't alone! Tourists and Parisians basking in the sun on the terrace outside the Palais de Tokyo.

Another shot of the tower as we crossed the Passerelle Debilly bridge

As wonderful as it was to be walking along the rive gauche, we decided to head back to the 16-eme and take a meander through the Bois de Boulogne since we weren't sure when the next time would be we'd be staying in that corner of Paris.

A map of our (somewhat meandering) route. You can see where we got a little bit lost at the beginning (towards the bottom of the map) and ended up instead in the botanical garden before needing to backtrack. Ah well, it's not a true vacation if you never get a little lost right?

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyHike

We only really got to see a small proportion of the park and look forward very much to exploring the rest, perhaps by bike. A good excuse to finally try out Paris's bike share scheme, perhaps?

Roller blades & a stroller.

And it wasn't just people out and about, some of the local wildlife also decided to bask in the warmth
Bunny rabbit! Yes, little rabbit, we can indeed see you.

From there, we sat in a cafe for a while with hot drinks and perused one of the local newspapers (Stephen helped with some of the more complicated turns of phrase, but it was good practice for my French) while people watching (one of my favourite Paris past-times) Then back to the hotel for some down time before dinner. . .

Next post, dinner at L'Entredgeu.
As always, the above is just a smattering of the photos I took. You can see the full set of pictures from the trip over on my flickr page.

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