Une Belle Journée

When I was looking for an apartment in Paris I corresponded with a lady who lives in Paris. We made arrangements to meet and today was the day.  We met by the Académie de la grande Chaumiére at 11:00 and we spent the day together.  Anne-Francoise showed me her neighbourhood, and some of her favourite secret places.  We had a wonderful time together, and walked from eleven till six o’clock, with only three stops: for tea at the Jardin de Luxembourg, lunch at a sidewalk  restaurant beside a little square,

imageand then sorbet at the famous Berthillon Ice Cream Store.  We sat in their gorgeous little tea room and had the most delicious sorbet, I chose raspberry and peach and they were both delicious.

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We saw so many beautiful buildings and places and it was very interesting as Anne-Francoise was able to tell me all about them.  She is very knowledgeable about the history of Paris so I had my very own tour guide!  I tried to speak French as much as I could and she spoke English as much as she could and it was just fine.  We got along so well and we like many of the same things, so we had lots to talk about.

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This is the back of a fountain by the Palais du Luxembourg, and the next picture is the front.  I remember seeing this fountain when Bob and I were in Paris, but had no idea there was a back side to it as well. This is one of the many ‘secret places’ I was able to visit today.

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We strolled through an interesting flower market with lots of beautiful plants, flowers and garden accessories, and saw store that only sold orchids, big beautiful orchids of every colour and shape.

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We crossed the Seine several times and I took pictures of some of the many interesting bridges in Paris.

image imageThis view is looking towards the newer business area to the East.

We dashed across the middle of the street on one of the bridges so I could take this photo of Notre Dame.  I really think it is most interesting from this angle, as the flying buttresses that support the walls are visible.

imageWe walked mostly in the 4th, 5th and 6 th arrondissements, and we walked a lot, so I am very tired tonight, but a good tired.  I think maybe speaking and trying to understand so much French was a bit tiring too, but we managed to communicate quite well.

This is the St. Etiénne du Mont Church, du Mont means on a hill.   It is not vey big but is very ornate inside.  I never tire of these beautiful places of worship.  They are all so amazing.  This church took about 150 years to build!  Just imagine…..

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I thought this picture might give some idea of how popular motorcycles are here in Paris.  These were parked near the Pantheon, alongside yet another big beautiful building.

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I should have been taking notes so that I could remember the names of the buildings, I am afraid they all seem to have disappeared from my head tonight.   I thought this apartment was particularly pretty with all its matching window boxes.

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All too soon it was time to say good bye to my new friend.  It was a bit hard to do.  We had such a good time, and I don’t know when we will have another chance to spend time together.  Strange how it is possible to just meet someone yet it felt like we were friends right from our first greeting.

There is so much more I could write but I really need to get to bed.  Tomorrow will likely be my last time drawing at the Académie and I do not want to be too tired.  My days in Paris are fast coming to an end.  I fly home on Monday.

Luxembourg Gardens and St. Sulpice

Today was lovely, 22° and sunny with a light breeze.  A great day for exploring and wandering about Paris.

I took the metro all the way to rue de la Grande Chaumiere which is where the life drawing sessions I want to attend are held. Turns out it is just around the corner from a metro station and it is very easy to get to, just one train all the way from the Gare de l’Est, which is about a ten minute walk from my apartment. I love the metro, it is easy and fast and offers such great people watching.  The Academie was closed so I didn’t get any more information, but I will try to attend one of their sessions soon.

I decided to walk back and see what I could see, only there is so much to see that I barely knew where to look next.image

I stopped to take a picture of of some brushes in a shop window that does art restoration along Boulevard Montparnasse and then headed towards the Luxembourg Gardens.

imageFountain at Place Ernest Denis

Oops, a bit blurry.

At Place Ernest Denis I found a great fountain with horse sculptures that caught my attention.  I decided to draw, and settled down in a quiet corner, but soon the park was full of children playing after school.  They were curious but didn’t approach until one brave little boy came over to see what I was drawing.  I was then very quickly surrounded with about twenty children who wanted to see my sketch and asked questions and told me things, not all of which I understood.  One little girl very knowingly said, “ah, vous etes Anglaise”, after I said something in French.

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After finishing my drawing I strolled through Luxembourg gardens, remembering the last time I was here with Bob.  We had a picnic on the grass just as so many people were doing today. Picnicking, reading, talking, playing cards, I even saw one man repeatedly lick his girlfriend’s foot!  Not something you see everyday.

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imageParisians love their gardens and green spaces, I can’t believe how many people are out in them everyday, and the flowers are amazing.

I stopped to visit St. Sulpice, a very grand cathedral, and there was a little white heart on the ground just outside the door that seemed very welcoming,

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I am truly in a state of awe when I visit these cathedrals.  I touch the stone and wonder about all the people who have been here before me, perhaps touching this exact spot.

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Then I turned around and saw this….

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It was in a little side chapel called the Chapel of Holy Angels, that had three large Delacroix paintings, painted between 1855 and 1861.  Just below one of these huge paintings there was a chair, illuminated by the late afternoon sun and it felt as though, just perhaps, an angel was present.