Sunday, September 25, 2016

First day in Paris 24 September

It was a gorgeously warm day, our first full day in Paris. After making coffee I headed off for our neighborhood open-air market along rue de la Chine and rue Belgrand, about a ten-minute walk. I picked up a few fresh vegetables and a rotisserie chicken for later in the weekend. Mostly I just savored the wonders of open air shopping -- reminding me of what a treasure we have in the Fulton Street Farmer's Market back in Grand Rapids.

Susie and I went to our nearby Franprix to pickup a few items for the apartment and then off to Père-Lachaise for an hour or two stroll. . . It’s a short 10-minute walk from our home.

We returned home, changed clothes and about 2pm left the apartment and headed for the right bank of the city and the Musee Rodin. Our objective was two-fold: first, to see the remodeled museum and second, to meet up with a friend, Diane T. from Oregon. We first met Diane perhaps 10 years ago, in Paris while we were all traveling, and have met up a couple of times since, always in Paris.

Arriving at the museum a bit later than we had planned Diane was already inside. Although there was a bit of a queue before long we were found Diane. It was as if we had just seen each other the day before. What a wonderful thing to renew friendships, eh?

Strolling around the interior of the museum – stifling hot and full of lots of bits and pieces and I mean “bits and pieces” of sculpture, most by Rodin and a very few by Camille Claudel. In fact, the museum itself was a major disappointment. Aside from the heat inside the building – no air conditioning was part of the refurbishment apparently – the entire central garden outside was completely covered, as were numerous statues. What they were doing is impossible to say although the museum had posted signs at the entrance apologizing for the “embarrassing installation” in the garden.

But people were still queuing up in the hot sun as we left.

The three of us strolled for a bit just enjoying chatting and catching up on our lives. Eventually we stopped for an aperitif at a small café just across from Sainte-Clothilde Church. We sat outside, of course, and while Susie and Diane chatted I ran across to the small park in front of the church soon after the church bells started ringing. There were two sculptures that interested me, one was a young woman reading to a young girl (by Delaplanche) and the other was Cesar Franck playing the organ. In fact Franck, who is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery, was for many years the organist at Sainte-Clothilde.

The bells kept on ringing and ringing and I soon discovered why: there was a wedding in the final stages. I peeked through the crowd in front and caught a few glimpses of the bride and groom. What a gorgeous day to be married.

After leaving Le Square Café we heded off to stroll the trendy rue Cler before dinner.

That evening the three of us dined at a wonderful little restaurant, La Billebaud. Waited on by a charming man working the front in this cozy space all by himself, we all three thought his attitude professional and yet very amiable. It turned out that the three of us ordered the same dish: sea bass on a bed of potato puree with cream of morel mushrooms. For dessert I had chestnut ice cream with Armagnac and prunes. (No, I don’t know I ordered it, either, but it was good if too sweet for my taste.) Delicious food.

After dinner we made our way to the Metro and bid Diane adieu and au revoir. She returns home in two days but will be back in Paris next September. Maybe we’ll meet up again – let’s hope so.

back side of the Hotel Biron, Musee Rodin

Claude Lorrain looking on as Susie and Diane chat.

the central garden under cover

across from Sainte-Clothilde


Cesar Franck being inspired by the angels

Square Samuel Rousseau




inside La Billebaude

soufflé glacé au Grand Marnier

moelleux au chocolat, crème anglaise

Pruneaux à l'armagnac, sur crème glacée au marron

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