Thursday, November 1, 2012

Paris Diary: Day Four


Barbara: Well, today we hit a few itinerary hiccups. First we went to the Hotel de Ville museum to see the much-hyped new “Paris through Hollywood” exhibit. But the lineup was at least an hour long. Since the Centre Pompidou was so close (and really top of my list this time to see), we shrugged that hiccup off and headed over. Check your schedules, people! Centre Pompidou: closed on Tuesdays! Disappointed, we regrouped quickly and realized there was one more exhibit that was also on the top of our list: the Van Gogh at the Pinacoteque.

The fountain outside Centre George Pompidou. I forgot to "do my lips".
It's closed!



Hotel de Ville

We took our time getting there as we ambled around the Opera district, admiring the gorgeous Opera House, wide bustling streets, and the impressive Eglise de la Madeleine.



And then food, of course! Stefanie led us away from the pricey restaurants that line these streets and into a square off the beaten track: Place St. Honoré. This quiet square was filled with nice shops and restaurants and we loved the look and menu of the adorable Le Pain Quotidien. Mostly organic, not too expensive (by Paris standards), and cute outdoor, heated patio. We enjoyed huge plates of clean, lighter food, me digging into an enormous veggie platter.





Shops in Place St. Honoré. Why all the American in Paris? Well, Stefanie needed a new pair of hose and this was the first source we found; and there might be a prezzie for another daughter in here somewhere....

Stefanie noted that one of the nicest things about living in Paris is the sense of “ease” she feels the people here embody. One doesn’t rush through things here. “Ou est le feu?” (Where’s the fire?”) is a favourite retort if you’re flustered and fumbling and rushing. It’s a genial reminder that you don’t have to do everything at once or at high speed. Take your time; relax! She really noticed the difference between this slower, more relaxed pace and (her sense of) the North American (or specifically, Torontonian) attitude to get there and do it faster, faster, FASTER. It reminds me of the famous quote: “Americans live to work; the French work to live.” No wonder so many people linger on patios and over meals. Where is the fire, after all?
Phil kept begging Stefanie and I to "Slow down!"-- we are very fast walkers. Stefanie, frustrated with the slow pace, finally resorted to dragging her dad (pictured here). Now he has the perfect response for her: "Ou est le feu?!"
After our delicious lunch, we headed over to the Pinacoteque gallery. They were featuring an exhibit that juxtaposed Van Gogh’s later work with the works of Japanese artist Hiroshige. Not having studied art, I was fascinated to learn that Van Gogh was greatly influenced by the ukiyo-e (or “floating world”) approach, the lines and perspectives of these illustrations, the singular eye. I knew that I loved Van Gogh’s art, but it’s always exciting to learn something new about a favourite artist, opening up my view into their inspirations and process.

After the gallery, it was time for another outdoor chocolat and people-watching (your feet do get very tired from all the walking—breaks are a must!).


Then we made our way to the Latin Quarters for the piano recital in the church. But first aperos: a glass of champagne (for the girls) and beer (for Phil) and a platter of charcuterie to tide us over. Stefanie led us to La Palette, another off-the-beaten-track-but-known-to-Parisians treasure. 

The church that hosts the nightly concerts (piano, opera, etc) is the Eglise St. Julien-le-Pauvre (St. Julien the poor) and it was first built on this very site in the 6th century! Since then it has been rebuilt a few times, but the deep sense of history is profoundly there still. Inside is dark and quiet, somber and peaceful. The rhythms of the piano concerto as it takes place, flickering lights of candles in the outside aisles, intent raptness of the (mostly French) audience, makes this experience utterly moving. Definitely worth discovering.

This photo is from the night we went but decided to wait till tonight and the Chopin recital.

Before the seats filled and the lights were dimmed.


The concert finished at 9:30pm, giving us a half hour to make our 10pm reservation at Chez Paul, the classic French bistro back in Stefanie’s ‘hood. Like most of the places we’ve been to on this trip, the building and its décor date back generations, instantly immersing you in an authentic time-capsule of the evolving life of this city.



People say we "laugh the same". I think this photo is irrefutable evidence that
Stefanie's laugh is waaaaaaay more elegant!

At midnight—after escargots, steak au poivre, and profiteroles—we said a sad (and long—I didn’t want to leave her!) farewell to Stefanie and made our way back to the hotel. 

I said we were here for five days, but the truth is tomorrow is our trip home and not a day for traipsing and eating and café-sitting. Domage. So tomorrow I’m going to share with you a few of the Paris tricks and insights I managed to cull during out wonderful trip!

A bientot!

28 comments:

  1. Praying for travelling mercies...

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  2. Barbara,

    I didn't have time to check/comment before, so I just checked all four days at once. And they look fun! And interesting, and yummy, and most of all happy!
    I have to admit, I'm more of a "London" girl than a "Paris" one, but the experiences and the fun you had make me want to go visit Paris again soon :-)

    ...I'm so glad you didn't suffer from "Paris Syndrome" while you were there. Yes, that really exists! It's a "psychological disorder encountered by some individuals (mostly the Japanese) visiting or vacationing in Paris, France". More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_syndrome

    have a safe journey back!!

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    1. It's funny how people often delineate themselves between being Paris or London people. I guess I'm more Paris, but who know why... I just read your link. Fascinating! I was pretty giddy -- does that count?

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  3. Can you imagine eating at 10pm at home? Traveling changes a person in a unique in the moment way. Loved your photos and your travelogue. Stephanie is gorgeous and you two do look alike in many of the photos. What fun to share this time with Phil and your lovely daughter in a city that offers so many things to do. Safe travels back.

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    1. Would never eat that late here! It was awesome. Felt so cosmopolitan :) It was truly wonderful to see Stef and share with her. (sigggghhh)

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  4. ce magnifique! the whole travelogue. Merci !!!!!!!!!! happy to share my photos from the centre pompidou if you'd like--I took lots of photos......xo welcome home!

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    1. Would love to see your photos, Lori! Thanks for reading and supporting xoxo

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  5. Awww You guys look sooo happy! (Love Stefanie's expressions in every pic!)You are well...Barb-adorable! :*

    I'm so happy that you guys got to meet her and have fun! You girls look soo pretty.. and you laugh the same..!!! Her laugh is elegant...your laugh is adorable! If I were there I would squeeeze your cheeks!!!! :D
    Have a safe trip! Love you all xoxo

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  6. So lovely seeing the photos and reading about your trip. Took me back 10 years to when I lived in Paris. I think your daughter will remember and appreciate this time forever. I embraced the cliche of "finding myself" when I was there, I remember sitting by the Seine and sketching for hours, wandering the streets by myself finding hidden gems, consuming cup after cup of chocolat, and so so many chocolat banane crepes! I still feel like I left a little piece of my soul in the Latin Quarter.
    The pic of you guys laughing is adorable btw. Saying goodbye must have been so hard but just start planning your next trip as soon as you get back!

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    1. Oh, you sound just like her! Isn't it lucky to have that experience. At any point in life. Maybe I still will :) It was so so hard saying goodbye...

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  7. It looks like are all are having such a great time. Safe travles to you all

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  8. Adorable and lovely.

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  9. Safe journey home from me as well! Really loved the church pictures, but I might be just a tincy wincy bit biased... It really is my kind of church :)

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    1. Ah, and if you can go there one day, you will see... Ahhhh...

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  10. What I want to know is, how does Stephanie keep the hair back off her face, short cut and all? Does she have natural wave? Does she have to use "product?" Or both?
    Hair falling into my face ... the bane of my existence.
    I bet it half-killed you to part with her. She looks like Phil; spose people say that all the time.

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    1. She is his mini-me, for sure, Kate! The hair thing? She didn't seem to fuss with it that much, iow, there must be product in there, but it also lasted through wind and walking and hats and all. I never even thought how impressive that feat was/is (tomorrow I will talk about "Paris hair")...

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  11. Barbara I love these stories from Paris! I feel like I am evesdropping as you guys shoot around Paris like in a fabulous pin ball sort of fashion! :) Dropping in so many different places in such a short visit and never worrying if your plans change. Just going with the flow in a foreign city seems so freeing and fun. Like a safe adventure with the added bonus of family! : ) Thanks for the photos : )

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  12. Awww c'est très jolie! =) I love the pictures.
    I've never been to Paris (only Disneyland :P), but I would love to explore the city.
    And since you're in Europe, it feels, as if you're here. :D
    Paris is only 700km. :)

    Bonne nuit!

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    1. It's true -- we were very close to you, considering! I think you'd love exploring Paris, Becki, especially with a good notebook and time to linger and write...

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  13. Short trip, but I'm sure it was very sweet. ahh travel itinerary hiccups; went through a few in my Scotland times. They too shall pass. Glad you had a nice time :}

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    1. I guess travel hiccups are all part of the adventure, right?

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  14. Sounds like you all had a lovely time. And I loved getting to read a out and see all the wonderful pictures. Welcome home, and thanks for sharing Paris with us, Barb!

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    1. Thanks, April! Loved sharing it with you.

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