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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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May 23, 2012

Tuesday's report and I'm almost caught up!

I've posted so many posts late and given them 2-day titles that I hardly know where I am!  But now it is Wednesday going on 6:00 p.m. and I'm sitting in the park area outside my apartment (which I can't report on til Wednesday's post) because being on the top floor of the building and facing west, it got pretty darned warm.  But out here it is delicious and finally a blue sky with plenty of sunshine.

Not so Tuesday morning.  It was still really chilly and grey and looking like rain.  But it was Musee d'Orsay day so full steam ahead.  First of all I had to walk in the opposite direction of the museum to find the FNAC store which sells tickets to museums and events.  It's totally an electronics store, but for some strange reason on the third floor (of course) you can buy tickets.  I bought a ticket that combined entry to the d'Orsay and the l'Orangerie for a slightly lower price.  I thought I would do them both on Tuesday.  But I discovered after I had bought it that l'Orangerie is closed on Tuesdays so decided I would do it Wednesday before I moved to the apartment.

Walking back now towards the museum, I decided it would be a good time to take some pictures of the very ancient church that is at the intersection by our hotel.  I think I mentioned it in an earlier post.  This church started out as a Benedictine Abbey in the 6th century!!  I read somewhere that the only thing remaining that is that old are some marble columns but all the columns I saw were painted and in bad repair so I'm not sure if there is anything from that long ago.  But it is obviously ancient.  I don't understand at all how churches, abbeys, cathedrals, etc., worked way back in the beginning - I think they served much more of a purpose than just a place of worship.  I read the article on it on Wikipedia and though interesting, I still don't understand it very well.  The pictures I took are disappointing - the church was very dark but had very glaring lights anywhere there was something to see so between the two extremes, it was tricky, but here's what I have:

 Took this picture to give a view of the flying buttresses.  If nothing is original to the original building, then I suppose these aren't either, but they have to be old.  They not as elegant and beautiful as later ones, do you think, Chris?  Just very functional.
 Now the steeple is said to be one of the oldest still standing in France.
This was probably the nicest chapel(?) in the church.  It is in pretty bad shape throughout and apparently is in the process of some massive renovations.  They were working on it while I was there and looks like they have been for a while and will be for who knows how long?
And it's pretty massive too...
And this is probably the plainest chapel in the whole place (I think all its windows have been destroyed and blocked in) and it's St. Germain's chapel!
I thought the organ with the soaring ceiling over it was beautiful.
And, January, I don't know what all this says cause it's Latin, but Descartes is buried here.  Who knew?
I couldn't figure out if this was a monument to someone or a tomb.  Either way, quite impressive.

So finally off to the museum.  By the time I got close, it was at least lunch time so I had a bowl of soup to fortify myself and went and got in line.  Yes, for all the talk about advance ticket holders just marching right in, the ticket line was for us was quite long - they snake the lines back and forth like security lines at the big airports and this one snaked about four times before you got in and went through their security.  But glory be, they had a brochure that was in English with a map to kind of guide you.  There were no photos allowed as I found out when I took one and immediately got the error of my ways pointed out to me.  The whole rest of the time I was in the museum, I saw people taking pictures everywhere and every now and then one would get caught but not too often.  But the only ones I took after that were ones where I was pointed my camera at things outside the building and mentally daring them to tell me I couldn't and then finally at the end of my visit finding a way to take a picture of the incredible clock that I'm sure was the station clock back when it was a railroad station.
 I managed to get this one taken right after I came through the entrance.  I'm assuming the glass roof and the rosettes on these upper walls were part of the station.
 This is the one I got caught on and I was taking it because it's not a painting - it's a tapestry.  Thought my on-line petitpointers group would like to see it.
 Close up of those rosettes...

 I enjoyed the museum and saw quite a few paintings that I recognized which is nice somehow.  They look like what you've seen pictures of but somehow it's special seeing the real thing.  The d'Orsay takes up where the Louvre leaves off and is pre- and post-impressionism apparently.  At least that's what I read.  I'm not an art history major so don't really know all that much about the different periods.

I know this isn't much on the museum - it was a museum, I enjoyed it and was glad I finally got in, I finally found out there were escalators which sure helped and I was very tired when I got done!   There was this incredible open-sided view of the Opera Garnier - huge with all the stage mechanisms, the audience seating with the boxes, and all sorts of other grand and not so grand rooms for who knows what.  I, loving miniatures, was delighted, of course.  Later after I had been upstairs and came back down, there it was again and there was no tour group this time so I went to look again and discovered that what I had thought were large tiles on the floor in front of it were actually thick glass tiles and underneath them was a miniature section of Paris.  I didn't recognize any of it but I would assume it included the Opera Garnier.  And I realize I lied - I also took pictures of that, along with everyone else who was doing the same!

And I loved this.  There two of these on either end of the building facing the river.  And they're still keeping time!

And last but certainly not least, the absolutely gorgeous clock inside the station.  I was at the other end of the hall when I took it and zoomed in some but then cropped a lot away to get a more detailed picture and it's made it a little fuzzy.

And then these are the pictures I took looking out of various windows here and there while I was inside:

And this isn't even on the front of the building - I don't know that it would be visible from the ground at all.
 Just more ornamentation but I was looking for pictures, darn it!
And the Louvre as seen from that huge clock window pictured above.  Every time I see the  Louvre I am blown away by its size - and it was a palace - a home, I guess you'd have to call it.  Unbelievable!
And this is a very hazy picture of Sacre Coeur, definitely on my "want to see" list!  It was way off in the distance but stands on this hill so was just visible.

When I came out to the plaza in front of the museum, I took a few pictures out there.

Also heard piano music and went in search of it.  There at the foot of the very broad steps leading up to the entry plaza was a guy at a kind of beat-up looking piano!  I'm pretty much positive it wasn't a full 88-key keyboard but he was sure getting the music out of it.  Quite a crowd had gathered so I sat down to listen to (and to rest my feet!)  Pretty soon he was joined by another man with some type of horn - not a saxophone although it had that sound and not a clarinet at all - maybe January can tell me what it was.  They sounded just great together and guess what?  I decided a video was in order! :)  So just click HERE

I got back to the hotel, rested up a bit and packed a bit, then went back to Monoprix and got a baguette and a sliver of Brie cheese, came home and ate a goodly amount of that and finished up the half bottle of wine that Heather and I had never finished.  Then I got everything I could pack that night packed, and settled into bed with my book.    Oh, and while I was packing (and blogging - that's right, I forgot about that activity), there all of a sudden was wild drum beating outside so I went to have a look out my window at that and it was one guy beating a bongo type drum and two other guys doing incredible sort of acrobatic stuff.  It had a slightly martial arts look cause they would swing their legs over each other and then tumble away from each other and it was really wonderful to watch.  But by the time I decided to quit long enough to get my camera for another video, they finished, put their shirts back on and disappeared.  Very short but very good. :)

And as far as I can recall (which isn't saying much!) that pretty much was Tuesday.  Wednesday it will be the Musee des l'Orangerie and my big move!

Bon soir!


Jamie said...

Ok first of all how much wine did u drink before seeing the tumbling martial artists! Love the photos especially that tapestry at the museum. Worth being scolded. The video of musicians was great. Can't wait to hear about the new apartment. Talk to u soon

Mary Lynne said...

Honest, I wasn't drunk! I think sometimes (like that group in Nice) the street performers are in aid of something or protest of something or whatever and just go from place to place, do their thing and move on to the next busy square. Although the piano and "horn" guys were definitely street entertainers - they even had CD's you could buy.

Christopher said...

I'm glad you went to the old church---I was wondering about that place! It looks quite old, with much of it being pre-Gothic (all those round, Romanesque arches, for instance.) The apse end with the flying buttresses looks early Gothic to me, which could put that part back to the late 1100's, early 1200's. What was the name of that church, by the way?
I have a photo friend who just returned from Paris, and we've been discussing in our group the complicated photography rules that the Musee d'Orsay has... apparently, their rules change (or have changed) frequently. Right now their website says no photography in the galleries, but the folks who have been, wondered if the main hall/public space is considered one of their galleries... the guy who was just there wasn't stopped, but another friend who went it 2010 was stopped, in that same place... Sigh. But yes, what a marvelous building/former train station... such a great re-purposing of building, rather than tearing it down!
Looking forward to hearing about Wednesday!

Mary Lynne said...

I'm pretty sure the church's official name is Abbey of St. Germain des Pres (in the fields). But it also comes up in a google search as just St. Germain des Pres Church.

And the policy right now is NO PHOTOS!! at d'Orsay. They pointed the sign out to me after they caught me and I truly hadn't seen it - one is too busy gawking to notice signage. But the sign had symbols of everything not allowed (cameras, phones, tripods, videos, etc. all with lines through them.) At Notre Dame this morning (a little teaser there), their sign had the camera with a line but the words "no flash" were added so I took pictures til my shutter finger was tired!


Christopher said...

That IS a teaser... looking forward to the next post(s)!

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