Hester’s View of Paris

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Hester posted these accounts on Facebook of the last two days of our visit to Paris. We are now home safely.

13230266_10205971031867225_4519702658844046574_nFriday, our last day. We will miss our little apartment on Rue Tombe Issoire. Two flights up a winding staircase, a cozy and comfortable studio with a tiny kitchen, right on the RER train line, which runs from about 4 am until 1 am. We got used to the rumble at night, though really never got our time change figured out, and often were both awake reading at odd hours.

Metro this morning to L’Orangerie, the museum at the west end of the Tuileries where reside Monet’s Nympheas, the huge water lily paintings. We learned they were in fact painted expressly for those oval day-lit galleries.

13267883_10205975543380010_1417951176861482700_nWe had our picnic in the Tuileries sitting in green chairs, at Dad’s request. He has a funny memory of an early morning run-in with an ardent gendarme (who may have been imbibing on the job) who blew his whistle and made Dad put back the green chairs that he had moved to a better spot. We were not hassled today.

Though we had thought we would not brave the Louvre on this trip, we had our museum passes which meant we could skip the lines, and just see a few galleries, and we were glad we did. Botticelli and Botticini, and the Winged Victory. We waved to the Mona Lisa, but bypassed the line to get close to her.

13239880_10205975546540089_6880462743891050078_nMum then took a cab home and I made my way to the home-now museum, of Eugene Delacroix, just off the Blvd. St. Germain. We are struck by how all the artists in Paris in the early 1900’s knew and were influenced by and supported each other. Many of the exhibits we saw developed that theme, and their stories really enriched our experience and understanding. I picked up dinner makings on my way home and we ate in. I then went out as I have most evenings, to the local café, Le Comptoire, for a last glass of wine and some internet time. Hard to leave!

13226659_10205967573260762_6986047649002990761_nThursday we knew we would be out late so we divided our day. After admiring puppies in the window of a pet shop in our neighborhood, we spent the morning in the Musee D’Orsay. Though Mum has walked MILES in the tunnels and stairways of the Metro, she is 83 after all, so we took advantage of a free wheelchair (chaise roulant–new word) in the bigger museums.

The D’Orsay is a museum created from a beautiful old train station, and to figure out where the wheelchair ramps are is a feat, but doable, and we got special treatment. Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Manet. A special exhibit of Rousseau. Then home for lunch and a nap. Then to the Cluny where hang the Unicorn tapestries, a favorite. From there we walked toward Ile de la Cite, stumbling upon the chapel of St. Severin, where we were treated to the organist practicing Bach! We sat quietly for a long time.

13255906_10205975542699993_3025425098946072673_nCrossing the Petit Pont, greeted at Notre Dame by a carillon of bells at five o’clock. Mum cried! I took her to the Jewish Deportation Memorial at the head of the island, which is centered around a long hallway of 20,000 lights, each one signifying a life sent to the death camps–France’s biggest shame. So moving and respectful. A pedicab got us to St. Chappelle in time for an early music concert that we so looked forward to, and it was astounding, not only beautiful, but in such a place! Dinner and home to bed, glowing.

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