Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Week Six – Tuesday February 8, 2011 – Day 37 - Espace Fondation / Champs-Élysées

Visited REHAB, l’art de re-faire at Espace Fondation EDF (a green power company) located in the 7th arr. The exhibition was recycled art from the current time back to the 1970’s. Some interesting art in an interesting space. It looks like a recycled train building on a pedestrian street with a lovely garden at the end of the street, overlooked by interesting architecture apartment buildings.

Walked a bit on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées 8th arr to see how the other 3% are living.

Got provisions for dinner - cooked pork loin at the charcuterie, some cheese, and John saw some Mousse au Chocolate Artisanale at the Fromergerie. Oh my god it is good. Ingredients_ eggs, chocolate, butter, no sugar with an expire date of five days from now!
We have eaten out infrequently. It has been expensive and not great. The food we get at the shops and at the marches is wonderful. We talked at dinner about what it would cost to have a great meal in Paris – at least $300 each we think.

Week Six – Monday February 7, 2011 – Day 36- Musée Cluny 5th arr

What a beautiful day in Paris, sunny skies and warm. Went to Le Musée national du Moyen Age which is located in two buildings - the gallo – roman Therms (baths) dating from the 1st to 3rd century, and the L’Hotel de abbes de Cluny dating from the 15th century. This museum houses the Lady and the Unicorn, a series of 6 tapestries. It really is stunning to see such an iconic image in real life, and this is the oldest architectural site in Paris and a preview of Southern France.

Week Five – Sunday February 6, 2011 – Day 35-Year of the Rabbit

Went to the Chinese New Year parade (Year of the Rabbit), in the 13th arrondissement, location of the largest Chinese population in Paris. Stephanie met us with Mathis and a friend. Started out with a photography meet up group but it was way too crowed to be in a large group. The best thing about our location was the firecrackers hanging in front of the Chinese store. Lots of big noise and smoke! Glad I got to see other meet up members’ photos because mine were not shot with a telephoto and we were in the crowd. Fortunately it was a short parade and we went with Stef and the boys to eat at a bustling Chinese restaurant in the area.

Week Five – Saturday February 5, 2011 – Day 34 -Le Corbusier in the 16th

We attended a “Meetup” walking tour of masterpieces of major Parisian architects of the 19th and 20th century, notably Guimard, Sauvage, Perret, Stevens and Le Corbusier. “Meetup” member Sylvie, who did a fantastic job, led the tour, which focused on buildings in the 16th arrondissement. Not all Meetup groups are worthwhile but this is the second time we have attended this PIYP Meetup and the experience and the people are great. We also visited the Maison Roche, a house built by Le Corbusier, for a Swiss banker to house his art collection. After a long day of walking and photographing, we stopped in a café to rest with the remaining Meetup members and tour leaders Sylvie and Sab.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Week Five – Day 32 - Jeu de Paume - Tulleries

It rained hard last night so everything is wet today, although it is not raining now. Went to Jeu de Paume for a photography exhibit of work by Andre Kertesz, and video exhibit articulated around personal experience, anecdotes and testimony. Walked in the jardin des tulleries, a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. Created by Catherine de Medicis as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564.

Week Five – Day 29 - Aubervilliers

We road the 65 bus from the Gare de Lyon to the end of the line at Marie d’Aubervilliers. John hates doing this (he doesn’t like the bus) but I love it. I could just randomly ride all bus lines and enjoy the views out the window. It was a long ride, with lots of construction delays, for the extention of the RER, as we approached Aubervilliers, which is a suburb of Paris in the northeast. We got a coffee in a café in Aubervilliers that was a horse betting scene. It was very colorful and interesting but I was too timid to photograph it!

Week Five – Day 30 - Canal Saint-Martin

It has been very cold the last two days. 3°C/ -1°C or 36 F/ 31F. A few snow flurries yesterday, and some patches of frozen stuff on the ground. Although the cold does not bother me, and I am still not wearing my heavy coat, it does eliminate lingering outside. We walked the Canal de St Martin in the 10th arr. Canal Saint-Martin is a 4.5 km long canal in Paris. It connects the Canal de l'Ourcq to the river Seine. By the 1960s, traffic on the canal had dwindled to a trickle and the canal narrowly escaped being filled in and paved over for a highway. Today, the canal is covered from Rue du Faubourg du Temple to the Place de la Bastille, so the connection to the Seine is from the North not the South. Would have loved to have seen boats coming through the locks but did not.
Had dinner with Stu Ballin (the brother of Kirk Ballin from Roanoke) and his wife Ann, who live in the15th arrondissement, on the 30th floor of a building with magnificent views of the Eiffel Tower.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Week Four – Day 28 - Marché Monge 5th arr

It’s a nice day out, some sun and crisp. Didn’t feel like spending time in the catacombs with other Cite artists so we went to the Sunday Marché Monge (Metro: Place Monge) in the 5th arr. It is on the left bank of the River Seine, is the Quartier Latin, (a district dominated by universities, colleges, and prestigious high schools). It is an easy ride on the Line 7 Metro in front of Cite, and a very nice marché. I like it much better than – Le Marché spécialisé biologique Raspail on Boulevard Raspail – that we went to two Sundays ago.

Week Four – Day 27- Taxi Tram

I had booked the Taxi Tram (6 e each) before we left the states and fortunately got an email reminding me of the monthly tour to explore the art areas outside of Paris. http://www.tram-idf.fr/ We took the metro to the huge roundabout at Place d’Italie in the heart of the 13th arrondissement to meet the bus. This area is Paris’s largest Chinatown. We drove out on the avenue de Choisy, which turned into avenue d'Ivry. The streets were lined with interesting Asian restaurants and shops. I want to go back there to explore. We were returned to Metro Porte d'Orléans in le 14th arrondissement that is on the edge of the Montparnasse district. On our return we bought wonderful macaroons to take to dinner chez Stephanie & Patrick tonight. I would go back there just to buy the macaroons again.
On the tour we visited the working class area of Vitry-sur-Seine about 11 km south-east of Paris, and went to the Municipal Gallery Jean-Collet, which was showing the work on paper of Pierre Buraglio & Damien Cabanes. Also there was a collective sponsored exhibit upstairs showing interesting sculpture. I found the street art in Vitry-sur-Seine to be very impressive.
Next we went to Juvisy-sur-Orge, a higher end suburban neighborhood, about 30 km south of Paris. We visited l’École et espace d’art contemporain Camille Lambert. The exhibiting artist, Marine Joatton, was there to talk about her work.
After a quick stop at the Cite, we left for Stephanie and Patrick’s house to meet up with Stephanie’s sister Pati, and Stephanie’s friends Richard and Christine for another lovely dinner chez Stef & Patrick. The metro is so crowed on early Saturday night that there is barely room on the trains, our return about 1 AM was much more comfortable.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Week Four – Day 25 - 19th arr

Went to the covered marché in the 19th called Marche Secrétan at 33 Avenue Secrétan. We took Metro line 7 in front of Cite and then changed to line 7 bis. Although my list said it was open all day, it was closed when we arrived.
Understandably, lots of shops close for a 2 hour lunch, so we walked around a bit and discovered the Lac et Parc des Buttes Chaumont, which was built in 1867. It was kind of a weird, and intriguing place. It is the largest, most hilly and least touristy park in Paris. We walked to the top of the hill, which overlooks the north of Paris with the Montmartre hill right in front of you. The park has a 'temple' which is reached via a suspension bridge. The neighborhood is a bit run down and so is the parc, but a nice surprise and views.
Walked back to the marché but there was only one vendor and not very nice produce, so we visited the shops along Avenue Secrétan. Had a stand up coffee in a café (it’s cheaper but I’m usually too tired to stand), visited a Vienna Pastry Shop, a butcher, an Italian deli, a vegetable grocer, and a hardware store where John bought an Italian espresso maker. John loved the one that Robin and Duncan used.

Week Four – Day 24

Opened the paint tubes today! It felt good. Only got a little paint on myself.
Went to a vernissage before dinner at Yvon Lambert at 108, rue Vieille-du Temple in le Marais. It is a good show - called The Unbearable Lightness of Being – representing both the title and the themes represented in Milan Kundea’s book, with a whole list of artists including Bill Viola, and Louise Bourgeois. My only complaint was that the Veuve Clicquot, which was served, tasted like cheap Champagne. http://www.yvon-lambert.com

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Week Four – Day 23

• Had a visit from Stanley and Karen Lewis this morning. Bill White told them to check out the space since we were here. Stanley was the artist in residence at Hollins University last year.

• At our 2nd visit to the Covered Marche St Quentin, we bought some boudin blanc, which is a culinary specialty of Belgium. It is a white sausage looking item made with chopped white meat (poultry, pork, veal), egg, bread and seasoned milk. Yum and no preservatives.

• Walked the outdoor sculpture park on the banks of the Seine in the 5th arrondissement. Musée de la Sculpture en Pleine Air, 8 quai Saint Bernard, Square Tino Rossi, 75005 Paris. On the way stopped into Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation, across from Notre-Dame. It was moving and beautifully done, as all of the many memorials for holocaust victims that we have seen in our short visit in Paris.

• Visited a Wine Shop in Ile de la Cite, Nicolas, which opened in 1822.

• There are boats on the river now, the water level was too high before today.

Week Four – Day 22- Geneve

6:30 AM Robin took us to bus near her house to get to Train Gare for the train home to Paris. As we approached our building John and I both commented that Paris felt like home. Dropped off bags, went to G20 for food, did laundry, took nap, and I am still tired from the weekend. John wants to go to Pau, in southwest France for a few days to see if we like it there. Not sure that I would want to live outside of Paris.The photo is our building - we are in the middle, third floor from the top! See our laundry in the window!

Week Three – Day 21 - Geneve

Ate, drank, drank, ate. Dropped Steve off at Train Gare. Went to lunch at Bruce and Mariangela’s lovely house in a village north of Geneve near Lake Léman. (daughter Alex, dog Chopin). Lunch was artichoke risotto, salad, antipasti, and desert pastry. We drank lots of impressive wines from Bruce’s cellar, including two kinds of grappa.