This morning was slow and relaxed as I was a bit tired after yesterday’s drawing class and the evening at the ballet. I finally got myself out the door after noon and set out to walk to the Parc Des Buttes Chaumont which is a 25 hectare park in the 19th arrondissement. It is a beautiful place, and although it has many man made features this park does not feel as though it is in the city. Most of Paris’ parks are carefully manicured, laid out geometrically and have paved or gravel surfaces with benches or chairs. There are not many parks that actually allow people to walk or sit on the grass, which I found strange at first, but when I once I thought about the density of population in this city and realized how many people use the parks I realized that this is a necessity, or the grass would be trampled and dead.
The Parc des Buttes Chaumont, however, is a park that welcomes people onto its many grassy hills. There were lots of people out enjoying the warm day. I saw everyone from individuals relaxing, sleeping, reading, or playing the guitar, couples having a romantic picnic complete with a bottle of favourite wine, families enjoying the sun with their children to large gatherings of family and friends, sharing a meal and visiting in the sunshine.
Because it was once a quarry there were lots of hills to climb, including one up to a ancient looking little structure on an island which is also the highest point in the park where it’s main attraction can be found, the Temple de la Sibylle, a miniature version of the famous ancient Roman Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy.
Sacré Coeuer is visible in the distance from here and there is quite a good view. If you are interested, Wikipedia has a very interesting write up about the history and construction of the park.
There are also a couple waterfalls, and a swinging bridge that crosses the man made lake to the island, and lots of flower beds which have signs describing what is planted in each bed. I spent a couple very pleasant hours wandering about and then decided that I should go to St Sulpice for an organ concert at 4:00. The organist was from Thomas Dahl, from Hambourg and the music was incredible.
I sat with two Susan’s, one from California and one from Newfoundland who were two friends spending a week together in Paris. They had both been to Edmonton and St. Albert, which was rather surprising.
They were sitting in a special area with comfy red cushions and they made room for me to sit beside them. It was much more comfortable than the chairs that are used for the congregation and guests visiting the church. I was sitting in the raised box at the back of this picture, right in front of where the white statue is located.
The concert was about an hour long and I tried to draw part of the cathedral while I listened to the music, but was not very successful. I think buildings are more difficult to draw than people. At one time you were allowed up the stairs to watch the organist playing but this is no longer allowed due to security measures. A pity…
Next stop was the Marais. This was the area where I had first reserved an apartment, it was behind the red door in this picture, but the reservation was canceled because one of the neighbours was having some ‘mental’ problems and the owner was not comfortable renting her place until things got settled. I actually think that I like the area I am in better. It is further out, but it is a real Parisian neighbourhood.
The Marais has become a tourist attraction, lots of shops and bars and tourists everywhere. I went into one store and the clerk didn’t even look up when I entered. In ‘my neighbourhood’, I am greeted with Bonjour madam, and a smile.
The Marais has also become a centre for gay tourists and residents, which made for some interesting sights.
I made a friend though. This little girl ran away for her mother, whose arms were full of groceries. I stopped her and told her to go back to her mother, and actually did this in french without thinking too much about it at all! She ran back to her mom but turned around to look at me, so I waved to her. We then played peek a boo and waved to each other for several minutes.
I headed home for supper and a FaceTime chat with my son at eight. I must say that I love how easy it is to stay connected with family and friends while travelling.