Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Paris - Parc Georges Brassens

One of the nice aspects of Paris is that the temperature goes down a little about 8pm and it is rather nice to take a walk. We looked on the map and found a park called Parc Georges Brassens only a few blocks away so we headed off.

As I walked south along the street to the park I turned back to see this sky and cloud.

Yet another interesting apartment building.

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We arrived at the park to see it had the usual sort of trees you find in a lot of French parks.

I'm not sure what this mound of paving stones was for, but there it was. When I looked up the wiki article, I was surprised to see the park was constructed in 1985 which perhaps explains why the mound of useless paving stones is there.

Modern playground with the soft artificial floor similar to playgrounds in Australia.

The rocks in the background were interesting.

No doubt kids were supposed to climb all over them but they were absent when we were there.

The park is on the site of a former abattoir and I believe this is one of the buildings from that period.

Quite a few people were laying on the grass enjoying the cool of the evening.

There is a large pool in the center of the park.

A couple of fountains.

At the main entrance are a couple of bovine statues marking the former use of the park.

It is August and a lot of the cafes and restaurants close down in the less touristy areas.

The sky view as we walked back to our apartment was just as spectacular as before.

How many Smart cars could you fit in this space. Two? Three perhaps?

And then a somber note.

The blog with no photos - Musee d'Orsay

For some years now, Marianne has wanted to go to the Musee d'Orsay, so we took the Metro there and lined up with a few hundred people outside in lines that snaked back and forth. It was like going through immigration at a major US airport like Newark, NJ (EWR). After about 45 minutes we got through the door into the museum to discover the cause of the holdup was just two security gates you had to walk through, each with its guard checking bags.

There were plenty of counters for buying tickets (9 euros) so that didn't take long at all. You would have thought somebody had worked out where the bottleneck was and increased the number of security gates. The museum is certainly making enough money from ticket sales to afford them.

There is a reason for the title of the 'blog with no photos'. The museum prohibits taking photos. Quite a few people were ignoring the signs and were happily snapping away, particularly with their cell phones. It's a great pity that they have this rule because the building itself is spectacular. No doubt years ago when it was a train station it was grimy and smoky but now it is cleaned up and a joy to be in. The huge clock at one end of the main hall is absolutely magnificent. 

Marianne and I separated and agreed to meet at the miniature Statue of Liberty which is in the main hall. I have to admit that my knowledge of art is pretty limited but I did recognize quite a few of the major names. The problem with this museum is that it is full of Art Majors who have come to see the paintings they studied at college. Let me tell you, there are a lot of Art Majors out there, most of whom have their sights set on this Museum.

It was very crowded. Not enough that you had to have sharp elbows but all the famous paintings had huge crowds around them. You got a glimpse of the painting from a distance to check it off on your list, and then you moved on. 

The Museum should have been named the Pierre Bonnard Museum since his stuff was everywhere. I see on the Museum website that they have 339 of his works, well I reckon all of them were on display.

After a while, I started to look at the traffic flow. There are a couple of areas with the really famous stuff like Monet and Van Gogh, Degas and Manet etc. The former coupling are on one level off to one side in relatively small rooms. The others are up on the top floor in a larger area that I almost didn't find. The map the museum issues is pretty useless. When Marianne and I met I asked her what she had thought of the Salle de Fete. She had missed it. There is no logical path through the building, which considering the French are the most logical of people, is rather strange. Perhaps the logic is that you have to miss things and come back on another day.

Since photos of the more valuable paintings are all over the web, you have to wonder why they have this policy. Security? Don't make me laugh. Many of the rooms with really valuable paintings had no security guards at all. Just hundreds of people almost falling over the precious objects.

By now you are probably getting the impression I didn't like anything there at all. In fact there were lots of things I enjoyed seeing but I will mention just three. 

The first was this by Amaury Duval who I had never heard of.

The second was a cutaway model of the Paris Opera. I now want to do the tour of the real thing.

The third was the aforementioned Salle de Fete.

For some reason or other when Marianne and I agreed to meet at the Statue of Liberty, she did not see it and thought we were to meet at another statue that she could see down the hall with its arm raised in the air. We both duly arrived on time, I at my statue, she at her statue. Eventually she wandered down the hall and found me. I used the waiting time looking at the people from all over the world wandering up and down. Most of them were in the twenty to thirty age group. There were not too many children and thankfully no huge groups of school children.

If I went back again I would definitely do the reserve the day before thing and print out my ticket to go in the fast entrance. I would also go about two or three hours before closing time in the hope that most people had come in the morning.

Paris apartment buildings - they are all the same

After dinner on a pretty lazy first day in Paris we went for a stroll around the neighbourhood. While we were walking Marianne mentioned that our exchange host Krisztina had remarked that all the apartment buildings look the same. That got my attention.

As we walked along Rue de Vaugirard, I took a photo of each apartment building across the road.

A bit of construction for light relief. We then turned into a back street.

The variation is amazing. Once I started taking photos I included virtually all the buildings that I could reasonably include. Most of the modern buildings are pretty ugly even though they look ok with a zoom lense, but the older buildings are a treat for the eyes.

And as a reward for getting all the way to the end of the blog, you get a 2CV. They used to be common but now they are rare.