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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 26, 2012

Two things planned and both accomplished!

My plan for today was to get myself to the Sacre Coeur  basilica and then find a little cluster of Passages (I think the French say "pah-sahge" sort of) one of which was supposed to have a miniature store.  So, with my metro tickets in hand I set off across the city a fair distance this time.  I think my one train went by six stops before it got to mine and then the other one was maybe 2 or 3.  When I came up from "down under" what should greet my eyes but a merry-go-round, an open-air antique-type market, and yet another of the 144 original metro entrances.  And it's different from the one I posted the other day for Chris, so here's a picture of it:
Gosh, what if I metroed so much that I came across all 144 of them!  This is a pretty one, I think...

I looked around a little at what was happening but I sure didn't need any of it, didn't have any room in my luggage or at home for any of it, and certainly didn't need to spend the money on any of it.  So, being quite close to my destination I decided that first I would have a pot of tea and a pastry cause all I had eaten before I left was a small banana.  Had that and I could be wrong, but so far, it doesn't seem to matter where you get the pain du chocolat pastries that I love so much - they are always delicious, be they from a nice artisan patisserie or from a fairly pitiful little place like I went to this morning.

Walked on to Sacre Couer and was certainly as impressed as I'd thought I'd be when I first saw it.  It is a truly beautiful building.  Very white and sits way up on top of  the summit of Mont Martre (mountain of the martyrs cause guess who was beheaded here?  St. Denis - that's right!)  I'll have the full story on him by the time I go home. :)  This is the highest point in the city and you can go even higher by climbing the tower, which I did not do.  The climb up from the street wasn't bad either because some of it was just a sloping path, some of it was those very shallow, broad steps that you can take a step or two on between actually going up a step and the rest that was actual stairs were also relatively shallow.  So I didn't suffer terribly.  Plus which, stopping every 5 feet to take another picture always helps (and no, I'm not posting all of them).  But here are the ones I am posting and you'll see why I took so many - this stunning building and a spectacular morning weather-wise.   And there are some that aren't of the basilica... 


 I find that I've become completely captivated by French little ones - they seem so content and amiable and aware somehow.  I have yet to see a child anywhere with an electronic game in his hand!  I'm sure they have them but when they're out and about, they're watching what's going on just like their parents.  And they talk to each other.
 Lots of lovely garden areas everywhere also - I took the side paths as much as possible to avoid the crush of people and hucksters with all their junk.
 And it's built using a stone or marble that calcifies so it will always remain white.

I'm curious about the stained glass in the church because it looks pretty modern to me.  The church was completed in 1914 and I wonder if the windows were added at a later date.  Haven't googled that yet.  And no pictures allowed of course, so just this one and...

 this one which is in what I guess we learned yesterday is the choir area behind the altar.  This is looking up into the big dome.  Most all of the wall art here is mosaic.  And this one is one of the largest in the world.
 That white building in the back of the picture is on the street where you start up.  And actually, that whole area is already higher than the rest of the city.
Try as I might, I simply couldn't find the Eiffel Tower although I do wonder if it might be what I've pointed to. I cropped most everything away in the picture below but still don't know - I think it's sort of where it would be.

 There's another pointy thing down there - that obelisk I took a picture of while I was still at the hotel.  But it's nowhere near that high.  And that's the only other pointy thing I remember seeing in that vicinity.
 And more of the same, I know - but this time I was going down. :)

On the way back to the metro station, I came across more miniatures!  This is a perfume shop in a perfume shop window.  And the next two are little shops selling angel stuff in a shop selling angel stuff.  So many miniatures I've seen but will soon have a sad experience to relate.

I took the metro to as close a stop as I could get but I was still some distance from those Passages I wanted to find so got myself pointed in the right direction and walked.  And until my feet fall off, I always enjoy that because there are so many buildings, windows, whatever that you always end up seeing and thinking "oh, look".
A beautiful corner building and I was wondering why it was so dressed up with 4 statues marching across the front.

Still don't know why for sure, but at one time (and maybe still) it was obviously the home of "La France" a "the evening journal" if I'm translating correctly.
And just another corner building - so decorative!
And if I hadn't been walking would I have ever known that Franz Liszt lived here  I don't think so!  My poor children sat through many sessions of me playing Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2 (or 5 or?)  I did love it.

Actually, all this building viewing took place after I had found at least two of the Passages and had my sad disappointment.  There were actually 2 mini stores in one of them - one of which a woman on line had told me was just the same old stuff you see anywhere but the other she said was fairly special.  So I went into that one and they had some miniatures, but to me it was still just the same old stuff.  I was hoping for some little "treasure" type, hand-made things.  There are several (that I know of) exquisite miniature websites and blogs on-line from French miniaturists and even though a lot of what they show is what they're creating, they must have somewhere that they purchase things.  Anyway, the Passages are neat - they're covered arcades that go from one street to the next one or even longer.  The second one I went in was almost totally cafes with a few art gallery type places here and there.

So, back on track now.  As I walked I was trying to think how I could take the metro home and avoid the one stop that had given me so much trouble last night cause I seemed to be heading for the Louvre again and I didn't want to end up getting on the same route home this time. Found a bench and sat down to rest my poor feet and take a look at my metro map and figured out a path I could follow if I could find the metro station.  So continued walking and deciding that when I got to the Louvre I would go in that fantastic underground mall, go to Starbucks and see if they had ICED tea - nowhere here does.  So a couple more pics...

Had to take this picture cause I loved the street name.  It says"cross small fields" which I don't think is near as much fun as what I thought it said which was "cross of the small champions"!
I sure wish I new what this building is.  The roof looks like a spaceship.

I wandered around in the mall for a bit cause it's just pretty darned fantastic and one could easily spend most of the day and a whole lot of money there.  Oh, and I went ahead and bought a ticket ror Wednesday when they're open late again - now I just have to remember to do it Wednesday! Then went back outside to that garden area of the Louvre where I was last night and wandered a bit further into it and - surprise - there was the Tower looking very far away in the pictures - it actually looked quite good "in the real".  And lots of sunbathers again.

 My plan is still to try and get there relatively early tomorrow morning (Sunday).  Then I'm not sure what I'll do for the rest of the day - maybe find a park somewhere and sunbathe in the shade!

 Don't know that I'll get a good picture of this ever because it's been swamped with people both time I've been there now and this is the back - I'm not sure if there's a place in front where you can get far enough away to get it in the frame cause that's where the pyramid is.
 Beautiful flowers...
 Are they lupines maybe?
 This grass was a much richer green and flawless - like a golf course.  But look at all the huge crows - seems an odd place for them.
Not just quoins on the corners, but decorative quoins!  Ah, those kings...

And, folks that is it.  This queen is going to bed!

Bon soir!


Christopher said...

Looks like another glorious outing... Sacre Coeur look splendid in your photos---what a pity, no photography inside. Makes me happier and happier the cathedral in DC allows photos! And that metro entrance with the glass roof is fantastic. What a stunning visual city... beauty and ornate flourishes everywhere. Glad you found the passages; one of them (when I researched online) really reminded me of the Huntington Arcade next to your building!
Enjoy the Louvre... are you going to St. Denis (church where "gothic was born") this week?

Mary Lynne said...

Di in AZ sent a comment: The white basilica was absolutely awe inspiring!!!! Loved the pics as usual.

Marlene in CA sent a comment: Tomorrow we visit the Eiffel Tower? Today's sites were fun. Love that Taj Majal looking white building! A good climb to it, Mary Lynne.

Thanks, ladies - it was a good day.

Mary Lynne said...

Chris - I'll check into the St. Denis church - I knew there was one that had that claim - to be the first church built in the Gothic style. But it's difficult keeping track of all these churches. I know there's another one I read about that has all its original stained glass from like the 13th century or something - I think maybe that's Chartres - could do a day trip there...

And yes, as I wander around the city, I think of all the incredible photography you could be doing here. :)



Elga said...

Sorry about the mini shop, but the fair next Sunday should more than make make up for that disappointment ;-)

rosanna said...

Did you find the mini shops?
You were very close to Lea Frisoni's shop in Rue Trois Freres while you might go to Pain d'Epices in Passage Jouffroy. Mostly commercila bits but also something pretty. Have fun, I'm coming on 24th June, too late to meet you.

Josje said...

Ah Sacre Coeur....so beautiful! Had my wallet stolen on the steps there once, with my return train ticket in it! Ay!

The tall pink flowers are not lupines but foxgloves (Digitalis) or 'Thimble herb' (Vingerhoedskruid) as they are called in Dutch. We have to love that, don't we?!

Mary Lynne said...

Thanks, Josje! I have no idea why I thought lupines - I don't know if I've ever seen a lupine. :) So that beautiful flower is part of a very deadly plant I guess.

And, as we say in the states, Rosanna - what a bummer! We seem to be like ships that pass in the night - close but never meeting. :) And yes, Pain des Pieces was the one the woman had told me about and it was fine but no artisan type things that I saw. I may look for the other one you mention. I have a little list of stores I'd like to visit and should take the list with me to refer to me when I'm out.

And, you're right, Elga - the show next weekend will be wonderful, I bet.

Glad you folks live over here. I have comments from you waiting in the mornings and then comments from the states waiting in the afternoon when I get home.

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