Bon Appetit!

Trip Start Jul 15, 2010
Trip End Aug 03, 2010

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ed's walking limitations is causing us to vacation in a much lower gear than what we’re used to doing.    I have even been accused last year by my own parents of "…marching us through Paris more than Rommel marched the Germans through Paris."  Initially I was having a tough time with this sort of low key stuff since I prefer to “see it all” with every visit I get.  But, I’m starting to get into the low-key groove and Paris is a good place to do that.

We got a lazy start to the day finally having breakfast at the café around 10.  Since Ed can read a decent amount of French, he’s purchases “L’Equipe” (France’s sports newspaper) every morning with breakfast to read the 6-8 double pages of articles about the TdF.  I people watch all the folks and their dogs walking up/down rue Cler past our café while I munch on my croissant and drink my café crème.  After Ed finishes the articles I get a verbal synopsis of the stories from him.

Today’s goal is to visit at least two of the three museums that I’ve picked out.  Plus, based on time there is another spot that I really wanted to visit.  I didn’t tell Ed ahead of time because I thought he would think I was nuts (well, at least more than he already thinks).  I wanted to go to 81 rue d’Universite, here in the 7th arrondismont of Paris (see the picture…I made it!).  This address is the apartment where Julia Child and her husband Paul Child lived when they were transferred from China to Paris after the end of WW2.  They both worked for the U.S. government on “confidential matters” during the war.  After the war they were married and Paul was given an assignment in Paris.  Julia never cooked before moving to Paris and I truly admire her ability to continue to reinvent herself throughout her life and in her career.  Their apartment, “81” or “roo d’loo” as they called it was the beginning of her career and her life with Paul.  While it is still a personal residence, I really wanted to make the pilgrimage to the place where it all started for her.

The first museum, Musee d’Orsay, is my personal favorite in Paris.  Ed has not visited it before.  I have to thank BBC for writing a Doctor Who episode just recently about the Doctor and his companion visiting the Musee d’Orsay and seeing a Vincent van Gogh collection then going back in time to visit with van Gogh.  If it wasn’t for the show I really don’t know that I could have gotten Ed there.  He carefully looked at the van Gogh collection and tolerated some of the other Impressionist paintings by other artists.    Without trying to overwhelm him with “that art stuff” I told him a secret about Pointellism.  Pointellism is a style of art originating during the Impressionistic period where the artist painted little tiny dots of color to form the detailed picture.  It’s really rather remarkable and is best seen by stepping away from the picture so that it gels together, not viewing it up close.  The secret it… cannot take a decent digital photography of that style of art work.  Because a digital camera takes the image and transfers it into pixels….how would a digital camera pixilate a painting when the painting starts with pixels?  The end result?  The pixilated photo of the pixel equals a blur.  I bet a few of you out there really dug that (I know who you are)!

Next we went to the Musee l’Orangerie which houses the original enormous Monet waterlily works.  Just sitting there in the two elliptical rooms viewing those 8 pieces of art is a vacation in itself.  The cool blues and greens of the water….the perky pink and purple waterlilies….and the dark and dreamy willow trees that frame the scene.  Just lovely.  Monet painted these pictures at his home outside of Paris in Giverny.   If the weather holds out, I hope to get to Giverny on Monday to see his original home, art studio and the famous water pond and water lilies.

We stopped at Angelina’s Salon de Tea for lunch but did not have her world famous hot chocolate.  It was a hot and sunny day today and we were happy to have tons of water and a Coke Zero.  After lunch we went back to the hotel and watched the last hour of the TdF.  We didn’t think that Andy Schleck would gain any time on Contador today so unless a miracle happens and Contador’s bike has a mechanical problem before the 3 km cutoff with none of his team mates around to give him their bike, then Contador wins tomorrow.  It is a TdF “standard” or “manners” that no one really challenges the Maillot Jaune (yellow jersey) on the final day….unless there is some sort of riding issue.  At least Andy will come in second and will win the white jersey for the best young rider. 

Following the end of today’s stage we did some shopping on rue Cler.  Everyone is a specialist here and has their own little shop:  a butcher, a baker, but no candlestick maker, instead a shoe cobbler, a leather mender, the pharmacy, the post office, the fruit and vegetable man, the crepe maker, three cafes, the newsstand, the chocolate maker, the cheese store and the wine store.  We made our way in and out of the little stores to buy water for our room, meds and tissues to assist Ed with a developing cold and some fruit to take with us tomorrow to the TdF.  In the end, we parked ourselves at an outdoor table at the Café Marche for a few hours and relaxed with the rest of Paris on a Saturday night.  There were a few glasses of Panache (for me) and rose wine (for Ed) and finally some dinner for both of us.   Tonight is about resting, for tomorrow we do what we’ve previously said we’d never do…..stand on the Champs Elysees in Paris to watch the final leg of Le Tour de France.   When did we lose our sanity?!!!
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