top of page
  • Shelley Dark

23. Saturday in Paris

Dear travellers

You know when you’ve had one of those days where everything went just right? Today was one. Started with leftovers for breakfast of pâté de foie gras on baguette. What a treat!

I noticed a beautiful detail inside the apartment fireplace today. The back of it seems to be made of pressed tin. Isn’t it wonderful? Don’t you love beautiful things that hide themselves, like diamonds on the soles of your shoes?

And don’t you love the rubbish bin area inside the entrance to the building?

Today we didn’t allow our itinerary to get in the way of exploring side streets, taking photos, just gawking about or going into shops.

Come stroll with me. Let’s wander down the Boulevard St Germain until we hit Rue Danton, which will take us over the bridge to the Ile de la Cité. A bateau mouche was gliding by. What a beautiful day!

Look back at Notre Dame. The trees are just beginning to turn yellow.

Do you want an ice-cream at the Berthillon corner store? No sorry, you’ve just had breakfast! (I know. Spoilsport)

Past the Palais de Justice with its beautiful gates.

Let’s cross the Pont au Change over the Seine again, past the Fontaine du Palmier. See up at the top, the golden statue of the Goddess Victory on top of a tall palm trunk, a laurel wreath in each hand. Did you know it was built in 1806 to celebrate French victories in battle? No neither did I. I googled it. :-)

Isn’t Paris lovely?

We admired the Hotel de Ville and this pretty street.

What about this clever artwork on a wall? Three bathers under a shower of sparkling water.

Which way to go? Maybe the Carnavalet Museumin the Marais?

It was built in 1548 for the President of the Paris parliament, but named after a later owner. It’s one of the few remaining examples of Renaissance architecture in paris. The statue of Louis XIV in the courtyard is the only royal statue which survived the revolution.

Don’t you love the French style of manicured parterres? Maybe a bit too labour intensive for your own, but perfect here. See how they have left a bigger plant inside one parterre? Intrigued me why.

The Carnavalet is dedicated to the history of Paris. I enjoyed the section on the revolution, the Declaration of the Rights of Man, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and their removal from Versailles and their imprisonment first in the Tuileries, and then after a failed escape attempt, their captivity in the tower of the Temple.

Louis' farewell to his family, and then his execution. Can you imagine, no matter how bad the man?

and his ascent to the guillotine

The poor little dauphin who became (unrecognised except for loyalists of course) Louis XVII on the death of his father. He was very badly beaten in captivity, reputedly not fed properly, and died after two years, so young - his death certificate recorded a lymphatic disease.

We enjoyed some of the more modern paintings as well - can you pick Marie Antoinette out of the ones below? :-)

Do you like the style of the modern painter Romaine Brooks?

Isn't this a great capture of a personality. What about his hair? He was a journalist and politician and was painted by Alfred Roll in 1904. Great eyes aren't they?

A silk shoe from about the time of the revolution.

This photo I took of an attendant at the museum. It could almost be a modern painting couldn’t it?

Off we went to the Place des Vosges, searching for a jewellery shop Cally wanted to see, Cécile Jeanne. Loved her work.

Then lunch! Finally! There was a good crowd at Ma Bourgogne in the Place des Vosges, and rain was starting to fall, so we decided to stay. And the maitre d’ didn’t seem to fit the usual grumpy model. Not actually the best way to choose a restaurant, but it worked for us. Cally has been wanting a Croque Monsieur, and I tried the escargots (snails). Both a success.

Except I was given two tools to use as you can see. One spoon affair to hold the shell, and a tiny fork to get out the escargot.

I tried to get the meat out, but I had shells slipping everywhere. Frustrating. An American man at the table asked if he could help me. I was so happy! Here he is shelling. What a kind man.

The snails could have done with a bit of garlic. But delicious anyway.

I asked Cally to take a photo of my hand holding the fork and a snail. As she did it, somehow her phone slipped out of her hand and went shooting into my plate of snails and oil. Landed right in the middle. I burst out laughing, so did she. So did the American and his wife. quite noisily. I looked towards the waiter, sure he would be frowning in disapproval. No! He was laughing too, and he brought a napkin and wiped Cally’s phone for her. Doesn’t he have a kind look?

Off we wandered again, and spent the afternoon very happily. This is one of two people who were covered in aluminium cans, dancing to their own rhythm, making a beautiful rattling noise with the cans. It was very clever, and quite mesmerising. One approached a mother with two small children, who were so badly scared that they were both howling as they walked away.

Past the Centre Pompidou. I really do try, but I just can’t find any redeeming feature in that architecture.

Even an antique shop, with these lovely cups.

We arrived at the Picasso museum after 5, and found it closed. We’ll try to go back another day. On we went, past fishmongers, great doorknobs, flowers, signs, buildings, an open air exhibition of Printemps promotional photos since way back when.....

Did I tell you we had a date? One of your fellow travellers arrived in Paris today from Australia, and we had made arrangements to have a drink at 7pm at Le Meurice. As you know, it’s a grand hotel near the Louvre, part of the Dorchester chain of hotels, and it’s celebrating its180th birthday this year. Kerry and her husband Bruce were wonderful company. Kerry had foreseen that we would need to put our hands up to speak as we had so much to say. She was right. I am constantly amazed at how online friendships develop in real life exactly as you expect. Such a happy meeting and we’ll see more of Kerry while we are here.

Cally and I wandered home in the evening. It feels very safe to be walking like that in such public places, provided you are together. And of course you need to be aware of your surroundings. @paris_scribe does it all the time by herself. A couple of photos for you…

And now I'm sitting up in bed writing to you and this is my view.

Tomorrow we visit the Fondation Louis Vuitton and have lunch with JC and Monique at their Neuilly flat. We'll see what else we can fit in...

Au revoir mes petits choux! A demain.

shelley dark, writer 

bottom of page