Wednesday, October 7, 2015

our last day in Paris

I hate playing catch-up when I'm traveling because it's almost impossible to remember everything I did on any one day.  But I have a batch of photos and perhaps I can put the event together with the picture and you can get some idea of what has transpired in the last couple of days.

Monday morning we set off to meet up with my friend Sheree who is staying over in the 5th.  We planned to either have a picnic in the Luxembourg gardens or, bad weather being the case, find a smart restaurant.  On our way we passed many, many cafés ready for business no matter what the weather.  It was already sprinkling but the tables and chairs were all set for customers.

Of course, nobody was there, but they were ready.

We walked by La Procope, the oldest restaurant in Paris.  It was Benjamin Franklin's favorite.  I was there many years ago, back in 1979 when I was living here for a few months.  First (and only) time I had pork stuffed with prunes.  A concept dish!

Across the Blvd. St. Germaine, through the school of medicine buildings and out on to Saint Michel, past the Sorbonne, up the hill toward the Panthéon to her little apartment.  We then showed her the wonderful outdoor market which was, hélas closed on Monday but at least she now knows where it is.  Back up the hill, past the apartment Mr. C and I have stayed in several times, and to the end of the street to a nice little restaurant I have walked by numerous times. 

 We sat outside but under cover of the awning and had a lovely lunch.  Alex and I each  feasted on a beautiful Salade Niçoise and Sheree had also a big vegetarian salad.  Then we walked back to her digs, I got a fabulous foot massage (and BOY did I need it).  Then we took her on a "how to ride the Metro" jaunt back to our little hotel.

She headed off toward the 7th to check out the Tour Eiffel and the d'Orsay, Alex went to shop for some cheese and crackers, I took a short nap.  When she got back it was raining so we stayed in the nabe for dinner just down the street.  Tomorrow, we decided, if it's not pouring rain, we're going up to Montmartre for lunch.

I was feeling a bit peckish in the morning, plus is was raining steadily, so we stayed in until around 2 o'clock and then decided to walk to Chartier.  We crossed the river on the Pont des Arts, the place where all the love locks are.  Unfortunately most of the locks are now gone; the weight was collapsing the bridge.  But the powers that be have salvaged part of the bridge and the locks are on terra firma at each end of the bridge.

From the Pont des Arts looking toward the Ile Saint- Louis
 After a brisk walk we arrived at Chartier, a well known restaurant that has tons of atmosphere and history but pretty lousy food.  But 'twas always thus.  I went there with my daughters 38 years ago and it's the same as it was.  It's clear you don't go there for the food but for the ambiance.  And there's lots of that.

Back to our hotel and an early bedtime for me.  I don't know exactly what the problem was today but a good night's sleep never hurts.

This morning I was up early and ready to go up to Montparnasse and the cemetery followed by lunch somewhere.  Alex I I walked over to meet Sheree, passing by these tempting goodies in the window of Carton's.

If we had a microwave we'd NEVER have to go out.  We met her down at the market and this time showed her how to find correspondence on the Metro.  Over to Blvd. Raspail and the big Cemeterie de Montparnasse.  All sorts of people have come to rest here; Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre (in the same  sarcophagus Mon Dieu!,
 Marguerite Duras, Guy de Maupassant,  Porfirio Diaz, president of Mexico, and plenty more, known and unknown.

Simone and Jean-Paul, a deux.  Hard to read, I know, but they're there!

Crypt of Porfirio Diaz (died  in Paris in 1915)
Marguerite Duras.  Pot in back is filled with pens left by admirers.   

 I don't know who Ricardo was but he was much beloved by the friends who erected this beautiful, playful memorial to a man they describe on the name stone as "beautiful and beloved friend".

This beautiful etched door and relief floral decorations leads into a tiny crypt.  Burials are above ground and the slabs over the graves can be  plain or very ornate.  There are lots of little crypts such as this one crowded into the cemetery.

After a couple of hours of wandering through this quiet and peaceful place we walked over to La Coupole, another oldie but goodie resto.  The last time I was there was in 2000; at that time it had the best creamed spinach I had ever tasted.  And it was a big, barny place, not exactly casual but not very chi chi.  Then it was bought by a Japanese company and has gone waaay up in the world.  White table cloths and napkins, lots of plates and crystal on the table, a much more gourmet menu without the good stuff they used to serve like creamed spinach, for example, and poulet frites, a fabulous Grand Marnier souffle for dessert, etc.  But there we were so there we stayed.  I would say, faut de mieux not very good food for quite a few euros.  One beautiful thing there, however, is the floor.  Gorgeous mosaic tiles.

We walked home through the Luxembourg Gardens, in amazing bloom this late in the season.  The gardens are a marvelous quiet, lush spot in the midst of a busy, noisy, bustling city.  These are the plantings in from of the Palais du Luxembourg, across from the sailing pond where the kiddies bring their toy boats.

Allée des arbes

We left the garden, took a look at the Panthéon,

said good-bye to Sheree and headed home.  We leave for Florence tomorrow and I have yet to pack up.  We have had a lovely stay here but I will be happy to be in my own kitchen cooking my own meals with an occasional "out" to break the monotony.  Next post will be from our apartment on Via Dell'Agnolo #34!