Sunday, September 30, 2007

What's this wet stuff?

Rain you say? Rain in Paris? Oh well I guess it was bound to happen. I've been in Paris for 26 days and one of them was rainy. Here are some pictures of the rainy day we had last week. We took my mother into the city and then into the Jardins des Tuileries. Naturally I took some pictures of the gardens and flowers and trees. And I know you were dying for a better picture of Jim and my mom, so there it is. How's that?

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Carnavalet Museum

I'd heard of The Carnavalet Museum, which sounded interesting, so on the first day of my mother's visit here that's where I decided to go. It was chilly yesterday, so it seemed a good day to do a museum. We rode the 76 bus to the rue du faubourg St. Antoine just past the Place de la Bastille and walked from there the 3 blocks to the museum. This museum tells the history of Paris in paintings, interiors, and sculpture. After spending a couple hours in the museum, we walked a couple blocks from there to the Place des Vosges, where we had lunch before heading back here in the afternoon. This photo is taken from the courtyard inside the museum. The museum is in two old houses in Paris. This one was lived in by Mme de Sévigné in the 18th century I think. She is best known for her many letters written to her daughter and others. I just ordered a book containing some of her letters, which I think will be interesting to read.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Les Jardins du Luxembourg

I finally got to visit the Luxembourg gardens this weekend. Actually I spent time there on both Saturday and Sunday. The weather was wonderful and the gardens were full of people, but they are so big that there was still plenty of open space. I put some more pictures here.

We did have a little rain today around noon, but it really didn't last long. I was out shopping and got caught in it, but I had a rain hat and rain coat, so I was fine and I only had two blocks to walk anyway. I was almost home before the rain started.

I'm looking forward to Jim getting home Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Journées Européennes du patrimoine II

Day two- Sunday.

As I mentioned before, I went to see a few of the ministry buildings in Paris 7th arrondissement. This photo is of the "salle de bains du roi." The king in question is actually the King of England--George VI. Check this page for the rest of these pictures. Paris Ministries

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Journées Européennes du patrimoine

Many European countries celebrated their heritage on September 15th and 16th. Here in Paris many museums were free and other public buildings that are not normally open to the public were open for part of all of the weekend. At the chateau de Vincennes they were having a special two-day medieval festival. There was to be a dinner and ball in the evening at which medieval costumes were required. They gave a phone number to call to rent costumes. Since Jim is out of town, I didn't think I wanted to go to a dinner or ball without him, so passed on the costume. But I did want to go and see the costumes, so I went for the parade Saturday.
My pictures are here.
On Sunday I went into Paris and got inside the prime minister's residence, the ministry of agriculture, the ministy of education, the town hall of the VIIème (each of Paris's 20 arrondissements has its own mayor and town hall) and the ministry of foreign affairs. That last one was spectacular. Again I took lots of pictures, except not at the prime minister's residence, where it was strictly forbidden. I will try to get those pictures organized on a web page, and let you know when it's ready.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Le Canal St. Martin

On Friday I decided to go visit the Canal St. Martin. I knew of it first from the movie Amelie, then from Google maps, then I found these boat tours on the canal and thought that sounded like fun, so I decided to take one. I wrote about it on this page.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Le Marché

There are still public markets all over France. There is one 2 blocks from here on Wednesdays and Fridays. We arrived here on a Tuesday and I visited the market Wednesday, Saturday and again on Wednesday, so 3 times in the first 8 days here. I took the picture above on my first visit. Then I took some more pictures this week, which I have put on another page. Market photos.
I can buy most types of food at the market - produce, meat, prepared foods, cheese, but not canned or frozen or packaged foods. Also you can buy clothes, underwear, lingerie, toys, scarves, trinkets, and other things there. I need to go to a store today for kleenex, paper towels, plastic bags and milk, but I've got food in the house to last me for a while.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Famous Monuments in Paris

It has occurred to me that my readers may be expecting pictures of the Eifel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, etc. Well, this isn't my first visit to Paris and I've seen all those things on previous visits. I have been visiting areas of the city that are new to me and doing things I have not done before, so no photos yet of the big monuments. I will visit those and take pictures some time.

I have been to the Place de la Bastille and photographed the tower there. We haven't felt any rain since we have been here, but some days are sunnier than others. The temperatures have been in the 60's to low 70's every day, so just about perfect. Most days I've gone out without a sweater or jacket and usually with short or 3/4 length sleeves.

Here is the Tour Eiffel taken from the top of the Montparnasse tower. It was a little hazy the day we were there. I set my camera to take high resolution pictures and then cropped the photo when I got home.

And here is a photo of Sacre Coeur taken from the parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which I visited yesterday.

And finally another photo from the top of Montparnasse--Les Invalides.

So I hope this will satisfy those of you who were looking for more famous monuments. :-)

I did put some pictures from my walk at Place des Vosges on this web site.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A visit to Louis Pasteur Museum

We decided to try to visit the Louis Pasteur museum, which we thought was on the campus of the Louis Pasteur Institute, a bio-medical research institution in Paris.

We passed this church, which was called St. John the Baptist de la Salle. I hadn't heard of this saint before, but I liked the statue of him with the children.
Then we passed a building on our right with lots of people walking around it carrying notebooks. They looked like students. We still weren't sure where the museum was, but through a gate on our left we saw this statue, which Jim recognised from some papers he'd read.
We went into the reception area at the guard house and asked for the museum and were told it was here. The girl asked us for ID's and made us name badges right on the spot. We clipped them onto our clothes and walked into the museum. Inside we saw signs directing us upstairs. The desk for the museum was empty, but a sign said it would be open at 2:00. It was 1:55, so we waited. Pretty soon a woman came along to take our admission (3 Eu. each) and then guided us on a private tour of the museum. It started in the laboratory where Pasteur had worked. There were quite a number of instruments he had used and vials, flasks, wooden models, etc. that he had used or made. There was a recorded description in English. When the woman returned Jim asked permission to photogragh one of the instruments that he was interested in. Pasteur was the first person to recognize dissymmetry in molecules, which is what Jim's work is about. She allowed me to take a picture for his book, but I don't feel it would be right to publish it here. We then toured the rest of the museum, which was his home--bedrooms, sitting rooms, a bathroom, stairway, etc. It was all elaborately furnished in Victorian style, but they didn't allow photographs. Finally she took us to his crypt. That was incredible! She did tell me I could take a picture there. If you look at the larger version of this picture you can see the mosaic depiction of rabbits on the right, which he used in his research and dogs on the left, the source of the rabies disease and it's hard to make out but the boy on the arch is the first boy that was cured of rabies by Pasteur, who later grew up to work for Pasteur. You can see two sets of feet, two of the 4 angels who represent Love, Hope, Charity and Science. Jim liked that Science got equal billing with the other virtues.

Pasteur lies in the black marble casket and his wife who out-lived him by 15 years is buried behind the gold gate closer to the altar. She didn't think she was important enough to be buried in the same space as her husband, but she asked to be close to him and to the altar. This crypt was built after Pasteur's death and his body was moved here. There was a huge funeral for him at Notre Dame de Paris.

This is the institute that we passed across the street from Pasteur's home and the musem. I would move the picture up above, but I don't know how to do that. I've tried. I just can't rearrange the photos once I put them on the site.

Pasteur received many honors during his life-time. You should look up all the things he did. He was the first to discover vaccination and found a vaccine for rabies. He also worked with silk worms to prevent a disease that was wiping them out. And he discovered that germs could be killed by heating and that beer could be sterilized without changing the taste by heating it to a certain point. This is the process we call pasteurization, which we know better for treatment of milk. In Paris they have even named a street after him.

This is another street that we passed as we left the area, walking toward Montparnasse. We rode to the top of the Tour Montparnasse, which might be the topic of my next post.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Paris Apartment

Here are some pictures of our apartment here. We've been here about 48 hours and have already gotten to know the neighborhood a bit, but these pictures are ones I took within the first few minutes of our arrival. Here you see our 4 suitcases in the bedroom. The apartment has 4 rooms and a bath in a row all facing the street. The master bedroom is at one end, then the bathroom. This is a compact room, with a shower at the far end and a washer/dryer just inside the door under a cupboard.
I'm standing in front of the shower taking a picture toward the corner, where two mirrors come together. I don't know if I always hold my left pinkie in the air when I take a picture. Everything in the bathroom is new.

The next room is the kitchen. This is directly across from the entrance to the apartment. There was some mail here when we arrived, so the marble table is covered with mail. I'll have to get a better picture some other time. The kitchen is also compact. You can see everything in this picture. Fridge/freezer at the back on the left; sink, stove, oven on the right. It is unusual to find a kitchen inParis with enough room in it to eat. The little marble table is just big enough for the two of us and that is where we have eaten the 6 meals we've had here since we arrived.

This is the dining room. It has a very small table, which doesn't show here much. The table is 24" wide by 63" long. It sits against the wall normally, but can be pulled out into the room.

The last room at the far end is the den and my study. That's the desk where I am sitting now.

If you turn and look back down the hallway to the bedroom this is what you see. I think my wide-angle lens makes everything look a bit bigger than it is. I don't have dimensions. The rooms are small, but comfortable. I think we'll be fine here. The apartment belongs to some Americans, who are in the U.S. right now. They have completely remodeled the place, leaving as far as I can tell only the walls, floors, ceilings and crown moldings from the old place.

And finally, looking out the window to the street below. We are on the 6th (5eme) floor. Those buildings across the street are about 100 years old. I'll have to look for dates on the ones on this side. They look to be about the same though.

So that's our home away from home for the next 3 months.

P.S. After reviewing this post, I realize I forgot to resize the photos, so if you click on them you will see the very large original versions. I'll try to remember next time to resize them to a more reasonable size.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

22 hours and counting....

I'm all packed. Still have stuff to do, but wanted to finish the packing. This is a lot of stuff to get to the airport, but we can manage and we're traveling together, so I don't have to manage it all myself. I ususally pack in just the red one, so this is way more than I am used to handling. When we get to Paris there will be trolleys we can use.

Since I am taking a laptop for the first time, I decided to use the black overnight bag for my carry on. It has a handle and wheels, so though it's heavy it will be easy to manage in the airports. I put my knitting, books, computer, camera, MP3-player and other stuff in it. There's no way I could get bored on this trip with all the stuff I have with me to do.
I didn't buy any new clothes for this trip--oh wait yes I did--some underwear, a shirt and some black jeans. The French women wear so much black that I thought I'd blend in better with some black jeans. They are stretch and are comfortable too. What we did buy are electronics--a laptop and an MP3 player and guide books, maps, etc. I have been spending time this week figuring out how to use the MP3 player and downloading stuff from the web and from some CD's to the device.
We leave tomorrow about noon. I'm not even sure what time we arrive or what airports we are going through. That doesn't really matter. We just want to be able to get into our apartment and take a nap when we get there. Then we'll go out walking and shopping for food after a short rest. I can hardly wait.
See you from the other side!
P.S. Sorry for the poor quality of this photo. I would like to say I blurred it so as not to advertise the luggage company, but really I just took it in a hurry; uploaded it, put the camera back in it's case and back in the bag and then noticed that it was blurry. I promise this will be the last blurry picture I post on this blog. I can do better. I'm not a photographer, but I do know how to sort out the bad pictures and I won't post any more blurry ones.