Category Archives: Paris

Ouch!

So I haven’t told you what I’ve been up to for months?

Actually, I have, but I went to Instagram for that. Sorry.

It’s just that I am busier than the police allows 🙂 and need my words to earn some money and pass exams.

For the record: I am now officially old. In December, I invited my husband to a trip to Paris – to see a few museums. Jep.  And it’s not just that: I cannot help but recommend the City of Science and Industry, Gallery of Evolution, Gallery of Mineralogy and Geology and Gallery of Paleontology (MNHN) wholeheartedly. In fact, I sincerely hope to see them again soon. Fans Of All the Light We Cannot See will understand 🙂

Here is why we were so happy there, in a nutshell:

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Moyen Âge. Delicious Veggies. The Two Towers. Not to mention the gay marriage haters.

The Musée national du Moyen Âge was Hubby’s idea which I approved of straight away because he simply has a talent for suggesting interesting sites and I’d be stupid not to pay attention.

Also called Musée de Cluny, it turned out to be well-worth seeing: despite being all borderline cranky and passive aggressive about the preponderance of Christian arts and objects presented (also, no coffee so far but a bundle of holy people, some of them headless) I soon realized it was a great place to take photos in. Whenever allowed, of course. But even simply observing everything carefully was a pleasure, too.

The museum is full of quirky, sometimes funny and often very intriguing objects, like stone heads of (pre-Christian) kings:

52 kralji

24 cluny(you know: a Talking head, aka Hear no evil, see no evil))

25 cluny(a much worried prophet)

26 cluny(a catering services employee)

53 figa(the Medieval Origin of the world)

54 bishop(an Erased bishop with a questionable style)

55 family(The Son getting on his father’s Nerves)

And many others (wall tapestries with speech bubbles – the very beginnings of the cartoon art? And the Lady and the unicorn tapestries? 🙂 We didn’t get to see those, they were closed for public)

– – –

We still had some time left after that and the sun was shining, so we walked towards the Eiffel Tower, buying some lovely food in a small shop (sweet cherry tomatoes! dried fruit, cookies, zero coke) and reading the sprayed on sentences under our feet, telling us Mommy and Daddy are the best but two daddies aren’t and neither are two mommies. MEH. 😦 Someone clearly had an acute case of writeritiss, but not a clue.

At the feet of the Tower I commanded 😳 a vaguely familiar beggar to go away and then we had our pique-nique. Here’s a photo for our eager American friends reading this, though I guess they know me by now, even better than I do:

58 sonnenbrille

– – –

Paying 15 euro for a get-on-get-off-as-you-like boat ride on the Seine must have been one of our better ideas – we both love water vessels and Paris gets even more interesting from this fresh point of view. One can even take photos of both Eiffel towers:

28 2 ajfla(our captain was a lovely young lady, a fact we both appreciated)

– – –

The same pub on Rue St. Martin as yesterday, only this time I ordered an omelette (okayish) and a salad (divine: even the proof they cut the veggies themselves was there: the very heart of the lettuce head).

Actually, I was so happy with our stay there I overtipped the nice serveuse who accepted my French with such persistent calm 🙂 and then pretended I didn’t understand her protestations too well. 😆

– – –

The next morning we watched a group of real men utter obscenities at a drag queen, Paris stank of piss once more and though we didn’t want to, we locked our baggage at Gare de l’Est and visited Galleries Lafayette and Printemps. Just to have something to do. Then we ate at the train station and I was already fantasizing about all the good food I was going to cook when we get home, about our clean bedroom, coffee and SWR2 in the morning …I was also somewhat unwell 2 days after having returned and needed much effort to get better, though that potato soup surely helped. And our own wholemeal bread. And basil growing proudly on the window sill.

In other words, though we still have a few good reasons to visit Paris (aerospace museum, Versailles), we are not “getting back together” any time soon …It is not a good idea to visit Paris when overworked and without any wish to go shopping, but hungry for information (on history, art etc.). Information, you will get, first class, most of it. But everything else about your visit will make you even more tired, if not planned and chosen properly or if you feel the need for some things that simply aren’t there.

No Place For Old Meese.


Stealing A Picture In Musée D’Orsay. Also: A Child Gets Stolen.

Let me start with a warning: this is a blog by a person whose views on art are so peculiar that she seldom visits galleries, mentions favourite painters to make a good impression on you, seriously avoids theatre and classical music concerts (especially of the religious kind), opera and musicals and whatnot.

You know, someone you might call a cultural banause if your language has the expression all made up and ready to go (doesn’t matter this is not the whole truth and I am not going to bother you with any details – suffice it to say I went to Tate Modern only to have coffee, back in December, because I wasn’t in the mood for art) …

Anyone reading on? 😯

Having thus confessed my sins, terrible for a woman, do let me tell you about a magnificent art museum in Paris. Some time ago, Jana made me all curious with her comment about the Musée D’Orsay: I had never heard of the place before but wanted to see it right after having wiki-ed about it.
19. century up to early 20. century paintings? Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec? YES, please 😀

And Hubby agreed.

Jana, thank you for half a day damn well spent! 🙂

– – –

If I had wanted to, I could have taken loads of photos of people taking photos where none were allowed. Mostly, they were standing near signs forbidding photography. But I didn’t because that would mean taking photos of works of art as well and I don’t do that if someone says I am not supposed to.

– – –

“What do you think you are doing!?! Can’t you read!?! It says No photos here, right there, on the sign you are standing at! So stop taking photos!”

I turn around, surprised and slightly shocked. I am the only person so far who got severely scolded by a security guy for taking photos.

“But I only wanted- … The café …”

“Don’t you see the sign? Now put away the camera.”

There is a nice bear in front of the cafeteria we had our lunch in (supermarket-quality salad and white bread cheese sandwich, pain au chocolate with coffee, what else) and I didn’t notice it was a part of the exhibition and not a piece of decoration. Also, I had taken a fancy to it.

I could feel my hubby’s laughter bubbling up before I saw it so I whisked him away to watch other things. I tried to spoil his pleasure at all those too-perfect-to-be-true boobs (SFW) painters thought they had seen in real life so many decades ago, but he was enjoying himself and basta. Luckily, at least Gustave Caillebotte had envisaged MY needs … Ha!

Next I went and (appropriately, as I think) re-named that famous Courbet (SFW, maybe) as Pussibild, then I admired some Art Nouveau furniture and many, many, many good paintings afterwards. *sigh*

– – –

After having bought a Coke (Zero) instead of coffee (coffee machine Kaputt), we crossed the bridge and tried to get lost in the Tuileries Garden, to finally catch some sun. We even found some lovely deckchairs and lay there, doing nothing. Till the rain came, of course.

“Let’s go to the Centre Pompidou. Last time I bought some lovely Paris T-shirts nearby, maybe they have some new motives.”

They didn’t, but there was some serious commotion going on: a terribly frightened man was running around and asking everyone: “Have you seen my little daughter?!?!” I don’t think I had ever seen so much fear in somebody’s face before … REAL fear. And the daughter was nowhere to be found (I think of him often and hope she was just playing somewhere nice and came back).

– – –

What we needed next was a beer. So we got us some famous Danish brew and just sat the rest of the afternoon away, in a nice pub where they speak French with everyone, till it was time to return to our tourist silo aka cheap hotel.

I wasn’t ready yet to confess how much I wanted to go home right then. We had 2 more days to go …

51 erotic bridge

(Erotic Bridge by Victor Gingembre)

51 Rue St Martin

Rue St. Martin


The Wonderful Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. Also: bad salad and white bread overkill. And: Moose discovers a culinary delight she’s never heard of before!

The biggest science museum in Europe. And wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

 …

Sleepy. Cranky. Should feel happy cause someone left 2 euros in the vending machine at Château Rouge, an amount that I have used for an energy drink, but the sight of a young boy trying to grab a young Asian girl’s bag while the doors of the metro are closing reminds me where we are. In Paris. In “no-coffee-so-far-but cigarette-and-piss-stench” Paris. In “yes-we-lie-about-the-quality-of-our-offers” Paris.

Well, something tells me I am still going to enjoy today’s museum a lot.

It’s just a train station …

38 stalingrad

And that’s where one of the best museums I have ever seen is:

36 porte de la vilette

 

37 znanost

This is an exhibition of Finnish industrial design highlights. Yes, Finnish. 🙂 Unfortunately, I didn’t wear my beloved “Koli Finland” T-shirt that day.

They also had an exhibition of some very modern clothes, mostly from newly invented materials.

The boat dress was more or less a joke, though it does float:

30 boot kleid

The inspiration for this dress came from Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire:

32 engelkleid

A dress and a cleaning rag in one piece (aka catalysator dress):

31 katalitikkleid

A Cloud Dress (made from a particularly light material):

33 wolkenkelid

And many more.

We also adored the mathematics section, optical illusions, I learnt for my exam in the economy exhibition (I did!) and we discovered a few things about ecology.

35 ekonomie

34 autodisk

But the best part of the day arrived at 14 h: Planetarium! We didn’t know there were audio guides for that, too, so we listened to French instead. What we saw was enough, anyway. WOW. Just: WOW. I can’t tell you how much I loved the illusion of being lifted from our planet and dwelling among the stars, the planets, in front of the swirl that is our Milky Way … Even kids kept quiet most of the time. I can hardly wait to check the planetariums (planetaria? planaterii?) in our neighbourhood (Mannheim) … WOW.

And since I’ve been complaining about the food so much: at the museum café, we got white bread sandwiches with tasteless cheese (meh) and supermarket salads with chicken (he) and ham (me – I knew it would be easy to pick out the ham cause they only put it on top).

While I do appreciate a baguette or puff pastry from time to time, I need to avoid eating too much of the stuff because my tummy says BÄH quite soon. It’s a home-spoiled tummy and it hates wasting its capacities for bland industrial food.

So at the end of the day, when we got back to our hotel room, tired (I had to carry my bag all of the time because we needed to take our valuables with us) and hungry, we had to give the supermarket across the street another chance: better safe than sorry or cranky …

Which was how I finally discovered some absolutely delicious food: Tyrrell’s VEG CRISPS. DAMN yummy. And so very English …


Walking in Versailles. Also: Bad News on the Metro.

“Well, the Château is really beautiful and I really loved the Grand Trianon. But…”

Hampton Court is more beautiful and interesting.”

“Exactly. Even though the English might have tried to copy Versailles, just like everyone else.” 😯

45 versaj

45 grand trianon

“Oh, I love the Gardens! Do you think we could come back some time later, possibly when the weather is nicer?”

“Yes, why not. 🙂 We could stay in a hotel in Versailles, it seems to be a nice place.”

“What I also like about Versailles, is not having to smoke passively all the time. And the piss stench is nowhere to be chanced upon.”

“Yes.”

47 jardin

50 kanalizacija

“How’s your omelette?”

“It’s OK. Nothing special, just OK. And your salad?”

“It’s actually the same one as yesterday in that dirty restaurant near Gare du Nord. So yes, I like it. But…”

“But they offer much better food at tourist locations in London.”

“Exactly. Don’t think I’ll ever forget the veggies in the Tower.”

“Oh, and my chicken in the British Museum. And that pie at our pub near the Thames … 😯 .”

49 restavracija

48 restavracija

Luckily, my DocMartens helped me survive the long walks quite nicely, though my neck and my arms hurt a bit because I carried so many things with me – something I am not used to, carrying a huge bag full of life-preserving stuff. I felt well enough to suggest we search for a bookstore at the station St. Michel, which is on a Seine island. I wanted to search for comprehensible French translations of books I already knew. It was really a good way to spend some money in a way that mattered: I got The Casual Vacancy and American Gods. Also a fridge magnet and a pencil case with the Metro plan. Nice. Good enough to keep me from breaking down for the lack of sleep and all the subsequent overdoses of coffee.

“Shh – wait a minute! I think they are saying our train isn’t going to leave this station because an abandoned piece of luggage has been found at Château Rouge. “

“Château Rouge? This is where we wanted to get off, isn’t it?”

“Yes. It’s because of the new law that demands action with suspicious luggage and which wants us to leave the larger pieces somewhere else because no one wants to store them anymore.”

So we hurried towards the exit where a slightly nervous employee wanted us to leave the Metro station, like, yesterday. There was water pouring down from the ceiling and we never found out why we had to leave so fast.

So we walked. From St. Michel to Château Rouge and then some more. Clearly, the situation called for some nice Belgian beer from the nearby supermarket. After which I could finally sleep.


Day One: Montmartre. Also: First Batch of Bad News.

The evening before we left for Paris I cleaned the flat into a more respectable form: it is something I always do, in my role as Mme. Provincial, before we depart to spend some time at some other place. To broaden our minds, make photos and buy T-shirts. And return to some home-made comfort after that.

We were still tired the next day, but that didn’t matter at first, since we could simply sit and watch the much-soaked fields hurry past the TGV windows, my mind churning idly. Sitting’s underrated. So is a good sleep. And one can never get enough sun.

“Just leave your baggage here and come back in an hour – the rooms are being cleaned right now.” The nice guy at the reception had to repeat the part about cleaning a few times before I remembered what nettoyage actually means. Yes, we learn such words at our local folks’ university, but I forgot. I did manage to apologize for my bad French in a ridiculously correct French sentence, though. 😯

So off we went, through the slum-like, dirty, stinky, smoky, loud streets leading to and from our hotel that looked much better on the internet. “It’s all my fault”, I thought,” my spirits sagging, “I proudly invited him but couldn’t really pay a lot for a hotel room. Last time, the same stingy amount bought us a shabby but clean room on Bd. de Magenta and it was OK. This time, it looks and feels sort of dangerous. But then, people who pray at the mosque next door won’t have time for bad deeds, will they.” Self-directed sarcasm didn’t help my mood, alas.

Diverting my gaze from the tripping waiter who let the obligatory baguette slices fall on the floor and spread in all directions and brought us a new batch much later I had the sound mind to protest straight away at what he served me (as I am going to do from now on whenever brought garlic, btw): “NO. NO, NO, NO.” I said a bit too firmly. “This is not the salad I have ordered.”  “But-” “NO, my salad is without meat!”

Off he went, checking the menu, mumbling in French. OK, so maybe I did want to punish him for having simply covered fresh food stains on our table with two paper sheets, one of which had stains of its own, but I had seen the prices and I was NOT willing to pry away those damn bits of  cooked ham straight from the supermarket before being allowed to eat my salad. Nope.

When I finally got my Nord Parisienne, it was surprisingly good. That was some good news at last. My hubby found his chicken average, nothing to enthuse about there. Well.

Our room was more than shabby and lacking too many things, but the beds looked clean and newish. “Let’s get out of here”, I suggested, and off we went. To Montmartre. Tired and not really happy about how things turned out.

39 paris nord

40 koruza

To put the touristy part into a nutshell: Montmartre‘s OK, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica is OK, too, nothing more, nothing less. Funny thing was we expected to see the Eiffel tower from the tallest hill in Paris straight away, but it didn’t happen, because it wasn’t visible from our side. When in Paris, you actually don’t get to see the Eiffel tower all the time, a lesson to remember.

The proof is in the p-… picture:

41 no eiffel

A Montmartre artist posing for tourists:

42 yes eiffel

After that, we waded through many streets selling cloth to too many hurried women and landed on Place Pigalle, accidentally. Not a bad outcome.

Moulin Rouge:

42 moulin

An apple without a snake:

43 apfel

Ruling Ladiez:

44 damen

Then we went back to our hotel. I tried so long and so hard to get some sleep that I must have fallen asleep from all the effort. Outside, people were chatting, laughing and fighting, there was water flowing through the hotel walls and I was very tired.


No, I Don’t Like It. Paris. (But it was still worth it.)

1 treppe

2 okno

3 ubahn

4 mraz

5 happy feet

6 versaj

7 versaj

8 versaj

9 trianon

10 trianon

Continue reading


Oh no, you won’t travel light …

Zwischenablage01