September 17, 18, & 19 2015
We haven’t had a trip where the adjustment to a new time was this difficult. I think the rainy, darkish cloudy days contributed to that. But it hasn’t kept us from exploring our own neck of the woods, the 7th Arrondisement.
Central Paris is divided into twenty municipal districts, called Arrondissements. The 7th, on the Left Bank of the Seine is one of the more popular ones. Within its boundaries are the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) and The Invalides, where Napolean is entombed. My sense is that it’s a relatively new area, with buildings dating to the 19th century and newer for the most part.
Thurday, Friday and Saturday were frustrating, since we’ve both been eager to start exploring the city some more, but we are tiring easily. But as I said, we’ve taken time each day to do some exploring of our own arrondissement. All the travel books say you should take a boat tour of the Seine. You get a first-hand look at all the great landmarks along the way and it gives you an idea of what you want to see. On Saturday, we had planned to do that, but just got too tired. However we did make it over to the dock of the company we’re interested in, Bateaux Parisiens, and got information about going the next day, on Sunday.
On Friday, we were planning to go to the Rodin museum, but we encountered rain, some bad news about the museum, and a couple of misunderstandings. We had seen something about a Papal Visit that included the Rodin, so when we arrived, a nice lady outside the museum mentioned something about only the exhibition hall open along with the gardens, and something about the Vatican. We assumed that had to do with the Pope and his visit to the museum, and that some galleries were closed for that. So we opted out!
Only when we got back to our apartment did we realize that the Pope did indeed visit the Rodin Museum . . . . in Philadelphia! But we also discovered that about 100 of the major works, including “The Kiss” and “The Hand of God” were in Rome at an exhibition at the Vatican. In addition, the ten galleries in the museum are all undergoing a three year renovation and reopening (naturally) three weeks after we leave town! But there is indeed an exhibit of the remaining Rodins, the best they have there, in the exhibition hall, and the garden, which includes The Thinker, The Gates of Hell, and other great bronzes, is indeed open. So we will return. Maybe it’s good we didn’t get in on Friday, given our rather tired state.
Saturday night we did have really good pizza (yes, pizza) at a place on the Avenue de la Bourdonnais (Street names can be very long here!) One big difference we’ve experienced here in terms of restaurants is the incredible number and variety of privately run establishments owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs. Little family ‘mom-and-pop’ places with small staffs. There must be chain restaurants somewhere, but we haven’t seen any except for a rather forlorn looking “Pizza Hut” carryout operation around the corner. Otherwise, they’re just locally owned and operated pubs, coffee shops, bakeries, brasseries, and more. Most are quite reasonable, and if you really want top quality, you pay for it. Some of the places listed advertise a pre fixe menu of several hundred Euro (not including wine).
So by Saturday night we had seen a lot but not actually done much. Hoping to get some real sleep, we stayed up late watching some of the news channels on our TV (that’s all you get in English language) just to stay awake, and hoped for better results. I’ll let you know in the next installment if the grogginess continues.