"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" Paris, November/December 2015

Reply
#1 Jan 1st, 2016, 17:38
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#1
In the words of Charles Dickens ("A Tale of Two Cities"): "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." We had chanced to arrive in Paris a couple of days before the fateful 13th November events.

In the following weeks, Parisians continued to live their lives, but with the knowledge that we were doing so with one eye permanently open to the threats and the other eye defiantly behaving as normal.

The streets this mid-November to mid-December were empty of tourists, and the museums were just empty. For those with the luxury of an unhurried visit, it was possible to walk everywhere without bumping into the usual crowds and to savour exhibitions and art shows. The decorations were a trifle muted, as were last night's New Year celebrations, according to press reports today, 1st January 2016.

But some surprising behaviour on the part of the usually surly officials, especially those who were taking care of the COP21 Climate Talks. These photos will testify to the Christmas spirit prevailing this year in the City of Light.

At the Gare du Nord
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 1.00.56 PM.jpg
Views: 1114
Size:  60.3 KB


Chatting to a cop during the COP
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 1.05.08 PM.jpg
Views: 1136
Size:  57.6 KB
#2 Jan 1st, 2016, 18:04
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#2
Plunging now into the atmosphere, here is a foggy picture of the Eiffel Tower
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 1.27.46 PM.jpg
Views: 606
Size:  62.0 KB


along with some shots of the usual suspects

Place du Tertre, Montmartre
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 1.30.12 PM.jpg
Views: 626
Size:  68.8 KB


The Sacré Coeur at Montmartre
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 1.33.31 PM.jpg
Views: 581
Size:  56.4 KB
#3 Jan 1st, 2016, 18:20
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#3
Not only did politics plunge us into gloom, but a dear friend of ours passed away very recently, after suffering a brief but painful incurable illness. Rest in peace my friend. And also rest in peace those who perished in the 11th arrondissement in the attacks. Friends of friends were killed and it is not possible to meet Parisians without hearing of more. Paris is a very small city. The only positive to come out of all this is a sense of solidarity.

We went to visit an appropriately named exhibition at the very little visited Musée de la Vie Romantique (the Museum of Romantic Life). The paintings were on the theme of "Effroi", loosely translated as "Horror". They were largely depicting scenes from the French Revolution and horror stories of that epoch. We were almost on our own in the museum. The premises are home to souvenirs of Frederick Chopin (the composer) and George Sand (the writer) who used to attend "salons" here, hosted by the owners of the then private mansion, and the paintings of the writer mix with the musical souvenirs of the composer. It is a delightful place to while away some time. The garden, replete with roses, is a great place to sit and contemplate. Unfortunately, the cafeteria was shut for repairs.

Directly opposite the museum we joyously discovered the former home of the famous Greek composer, Yiannis Xenakis.


[pics coming up shortly]
Last edited by theyyamdancer; Jan 3rd, 2016 at 12:40..
#4 Jan 1st, 2016, 18:42
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#4
A plaster cast of Chopin's hand
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.01.15 PM.jpg
Views: 583
Size:  36.1 KB

(originally displayed at the Carnavalet Museum)
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.01.45 PM.jpg
Views: 590
Size:  88.0 KB


A painting of the rose garden
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.02.19 PM.jpg
Views: 560
Size:  56.4 KB

The rose garden as it is today
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.02.33 PM.jpg
Views: 550
Size:  54.3 KB

Commemorative plaque opposite the museum, on the rue Chaptal
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.03.50 PM.jpg
Views: 580
Size:  67.2 KB

Xenakis lived and worked in the neighbourhood. It reads: "born Greek, resistant, political refugee, composer - he lived in this house from 1970 and died there in 2001 - he composed, wrote and worked in his studio on the rue Victor Massé from 1960"

Nowadays the rue Victor Massé is full of shops selling musical instruments.

We are not far away (physically) though a million miles away (artistically) from that famous nightlife hotspot, Le Moulin Rouge:
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.19.05 PM.jpg
Views: 546
Size:  62.8 KB
#5 Jan 1st, 2016, 19:01
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#5
Here is a shot of Xenakis' family home.
Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.23.16 PM.jpg
Views: 566
Size:  54.6 KB


This neighbourhood, in the 9th arrondissement, is known as "La Nouvelle Athènes" (New Athens) due to the architectural style of its buildings, and many are preserved in their full splendour. From the Place St Georges to Pigalle, this is an area of contradictions. It is famous (infamous?) also for its nightclubs, its sex shops, as well as its small museums. There is also the Musée Gustave Moreau, which I have yet to visit, on a nearby street. He was a famous symbolist painter.

The day we chose to go for a ramble was spectacularly sunny. (Actually we visited Chopin's neighbourhood twice, once to locate the Museum of Romantic Life, and again to visit the exhibition.) So after seeing the bright lights of the Moulin Rouge at the adjacent Place Blanche, we climbed up to the Sacré Coeur via the rue Lepic. On the way up the steep slope, on the rue des Norvins, we encountered this art work:

Name:  Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 2.30.03 PM.jpg
Views: 582
Size:  53.9 KB


Prizes for those who tell me what it is !

I am joking. It is a sculpture entitled Le Passe-Muraille (he who walks through walls), depicting Marcel Aymé, the writer.

You can read more about it here:http://www.coolstuffinparis.com/le-passe-muraille.php
#6 Jan 1st, 2016, 19:51
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#6
The advantage of taking the rue Lepic and the rue des Norvins to reach the top of the hill at Montmartre is that you can totally avoid staircases. We watched a family with their kids lugging a huge Christmas tree up the slopes. Once we had admired the views across nocturnal Paris from the crest of the hill, we planned to dive straight back down via the long flights of stairs directly below the cathedral of Sacré Coeur; but they were shut for security purposes. Thus it so happened that we came down via the Eastern flank of the Butte (hill) of Montmartre and plunged straight into the Goutte d'Or neighbourhood. It is the African/Arab area of the city. It takes its name from a white wine which used to be produced in the nearby vineyard of Montmartre. Goutte d'Or means "drop of gold".

On the rue Myrhha we passed a small shop selling fish-head curry. Mr theyyamdancer was tempted to try it... but decider not to...

Later on our nostrils were assailed by the delicious aromas of mint and coriander - it was a shop entirely devoted to these fresh herbs and nothing else.

After a small interlude being lost, we ended up in the Indian/Sri Lanka neighbourhood where we stocked up on tea.

We decided on a whim to continue our walk to Belleville. Whilst on the way, we crossed the café "A la Bonne Bière", recently reopened, whose terrace was again full of customers.
#7 Jan 1st, 2016, 20:18
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#7
I have just added a link to my post # 3

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musé...Vie_Romantique

For those who are confused - additional notes -
George Sand was Chopin's lover. She took a male pseudonym as a writer.
Moreau is totally unknown. To me also.
Aymé also. Totally unknown. ... but not any more!
I had to look him up.
Xenakis is more famous to Greeks. Mr TD's' family had connections to Xenakis' family, via a mutual friend.
#8 Jan 1st, 2016, 20:55
Join Date:
Oct 2015
Location:
Ahmedabad
Posts:
1,989
  • Earthian is offline
#8
Great narration and attention to detail. Enjoying your TR.
The fresh mint and coriander comment brings back memories. We rented an apartment in the 8th arrondissement and we had a grocer just round the corner. We used to visit him everyday and it so happened that on the last day, we needed just a few things and did not want to stock up unnecessarily. We picked up some veggies and a small helping of coriander and mirchies. The shop keeper upon understanding the issue, gave the coriander and mirchi gratis.
Manna from heaven for a Gujju and an Ahmedabadi to boot!
#9 Jan 1st, 2016, 20:58
Join Date:
May 2009
Location:
delhi
Posts:
3,051
  • cityMONK is offline
#9
Great thread and great voyage to Paris.
Very nice Photos.

A Very Happy New Year.
Papaya is a Vegetable and Tomato is a Fruit
#10 Jan 1st, 2016, 20:58
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#10
Interesting!

Fresh mint and coriander can be a bit thin on the ground in the 8th !

But to have them thrown in to your purchases shows remarkable goodwill. Sometimes free parsley is proferred at the fishmonger.
#11 Jan 1st, 2016, 21:01
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by cityMONK View Post Great thread and great voyage to Paris.
Very nice Photos.

A Very Happy New Year.
Thank you.

A Happy
New
Year
to you
too


#12 Jan 1st, 2016, 21:09
Join Date:
Oct 2015
Location:
Ahmedabad
Posts:
1,989
  • Earthian is offline
#12
Gujjus are known for trying to stretch the dollar or the Euro here. We enjoy maximising value. I used to go for a walk on the stretch of land in the middle of the Seine. Forget what it is called. On my return, i used to come back home via the Eiffel tower ( in fact walk underneath it) Best of all, it was free!!
#13 Jan 1st, 2016, 21:10
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#13
The Île aux Cygnes?
#14 Jan 1st, 2016, 21:20
Join Date:
Oct 2015
Location:
Ahmedabad
Posts:
1,989
  • Earthian is offline
#14
Just checked on the map. Seems so.
Just curious: Why do you say that it would be difficult to get coriander and chillies in the 8th?
#15 Jan 1st, 2016, 21:22
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
Location:
over a 'wine-dark sea'
Posts:
16,378
  • theyyamdancer is offline
#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthian View Post Just checked on the map. Seems so.
Just curious: Why do you say that it would be difficult to get coriander and chillies on the 8th?
Because it seems mainly an area of offices not vegetable shops!

But of course it depends where exactly.
Reply

Similar Threads

Title, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views Forum
"Emirates" Now flying out 12 times in a week Nov 10th, 2009 21:02 0 1087 Kolkata (Calcutta)
Worst week in Chennai in recent times? Oct 29th, 2008 14:17 10 1885 Chennai (Madras)
NY Times: "A Passage to India" by Suketu Mehta Jul 20th, 2005 10:38 58 6331 India Travel News and Commentary


Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2018
Page Load Success