Sunday, June 26, 2011

Slacking in Paris

In spite of best intentions to be on the way by 8:15, we made it out of the apartment by 8:45.  From the notebook of info left here in the apartment for guests, we knew that there was a local Sunday market.  Yesterday on our way back to the apartment for lunch, we noticed that under the elevated Metro tracks in front of the building, there were metal stall frames set up which meant the market was right there at our doorstep.  I wanted to get up early and go out there before everyone else was ready to leave for the day, but after staying up until 1:30 in the morning, it wasn't in the cards.  I had to content myself with a quick walk through the market and only stopping for an occasional photo.  It was a riot of colors and smells.
When I saw this, I thought about the fourth little piggy that built his house from baguettes.  On second thought maybe this is the French version of the game Jenga.
I don't think that I have ever seen fruit this colorful at home.  It is evident that they do not pick the fruit green and gas it to ripen.  All of the flavor in the fruit we have eaten so far has been so intense.  We had some red cherries with lunch yesterday that were not Bing cherries.  They were a little darker and very full of flavor.

I think they even polish some of the produce.  You can see my reflection in the eggplant.
JT told me to take pictures of pretty food when I saw it.  I'm hoping that this is what he meant.  This variety of tomato was totally new to me.  If we hadn't been heading out, I would have bought one to try.
Now we come to the "parts is parts" section of the market.   All the little rows of beady black eyes caught my eye in this stall.
More eyes.  I'm not sure that the photo does justice to the color on this fish.
More parts.
Hooves and ears from the little piggies that built their house from baguettes I guess.
And even more parts.  There doesn't seem to be anything roly poly about these fish heads, nor do I want to eat them up, yum.
A couple of short metro rides later we arrived at the Louvre.  Learning from yesterday's mistake, we actually looked up in our handy travel guide HOW to get to the Louvre.  It seems that you just can't find the Metro stopped named Montmartre and expect to pop up out of the ground in front of Sacre Coeur.  When you do that, you find yourself somewhere off of the map that you're carrying and you walk for 30 minutes or so using the location of the sun in the sky and dead reckoning.  This helped to account for a good portion of the 20,000 steps we walked yesterday.

As we walked into the courtyard where the famous glass pyramid that is the entrance to the Louvre is located, we saw a good sized line already forming.  Once inside, we bought our museum passes and headed off to the Richelieu wing where they house sculpture and paintings from the Middle Ages and Renaissance as well as the royal apartments of  Louis Napoleon III.

This is the handle on one of the windows.  The face measures about 1.25"  Justin and I marveled at the artistry expended on something so utilitarian.  I wonder how many people that visit this room even notice it.
This photo shows some of the objets d'arts that were in one of the royal collections.  Justin and I spent quite a bit of time exclaiming over these and looking at them from different angles.  They were amazingly pierced and multi-layered as well as beautifully decorated.
I took this photo on the way back to meet up with Bob and Hayley for lunch.  Justin had stayed on a bit longer to see the Van Dyck and Durer section.  This was a class that the museum puts on to inspire curiosity about art in children.  The teacher was dressed up like a statue and was teaching them about statuary by getting them to look at it and tell her about what they were seeing.  It was a neat thing to see.  I love the pose that I caught her in.
After lunch we went into the Sully wing to see the excavation of the medieval Louvre castle that was built in the 12th century.  At the end of the 16th century, the northwest corner of the current Henri II square was built over the older castle.  When Bob and I were last here in 2000, all that was exposed was one corner.  Now they have exposed two whole walls and also access to the donjon or keep inside the walls.  Dim lighting and no flash photos prevent me from sharing that.

We also took in quite a bit of the Greek and Egyptian sculpture.  I was experiencing some dissonance along the way between the Egyptian art and artifacts and the rooms in which they were housed.  Some how the rococo style of the rooms just didn't seem to be the best match to me.  
By 3:30 we all agreed that we were very tired and had sore legs to boot; the stairs were getting to be painful.  So we wended our way back to the entrance and climbed out of the museum.  It was a very warm day today and the air up on top gets hot and stifling with all that glass.
A few more quick rides on the Metro and we were back in our neighborhood.  The market was long gone and the debris hosed to the curbs where the pigeons were having a field day.  Another brief nap and then I cooked dinner which consisted of the country sausage, sauerkraut, baby potatoes and green beans that we bought on Rue Cler yesterday afternoon.  The apple tart was served afterwards and the next thing I realized, everyone crashed.  I'm sitting in the dark as I type, looking forward to another busy day tomorrow.  An even hotter one than today.  Who knew we'd have to leave home to actually enjoy the summer.

So, the post title.  Right.  Well, we only walked 13,000 steps today.  Two reasons for that.  1) We didn't get temporarily "misplaced" like yesterday and 2) you do a lot of standing in one place in a museum.  Especially when you are trying to translate the placards from French to English.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Hey slacker. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post & living vicariously through you. Can't wait to see where you walk 20,000 steps tomorrow. Great photos!