First order of the day was to take my bags over to my Airbnb and check out my new digs. It was only a 6 minute walk over there. My apartment was on the third floor and the well-worn wooden staircase inside the block reminded me of the place I stayed in Sicily. It was quite creepy, but the apartment was fine and gave me a good view of the igoings on in the apartments on the other side of the narrow street.
Anna put on a pile of laundry and we head out to the Bois de Boulogne. From the Metro station the park appeared to me basically an avenue of trees with pleasant footpaths. We were fortunate with the weather and though a bit wet underfoot we had bright sunshine. Eventually we came to an area of activities including a little railway.
My immediate idea was to take the train through the park so that we would know what there was to see.
I hadn’t done my homework! But we discovered that the train doesn’t go through the park, it just connects the activity centre in the park to the Metro station. We had lunch at a lovely cafe full of photos of inventors and a lot of their inventions were on display in glass cabinets. It was delightful. Outside a floral clock was full of purple winter pansies.
We headed over to an enormous glass and steel building. It reminded me of the Lowry centre in Salford and the museum of Rock and Pop in Seattle. The other place it reminded me of was the amazing concert hall in Los Angeles that I’d been to at a MTAC conference and with a bit of digging around we found out that it was the same architect, Frank Gehry.
The art museum opened in October 2014. More than 1million 400,000 people visited the Louis Vuitton Foundation in 2017. We didn’t go in because we wanted to see the other attractions in the park but it’s definitely on my ‘must see’ list next time I go to Paris. It’s designed like an enormous ship with billowing sails.
Moving on we found ourselves in a farm with sheep and goats, old looking farm buildings, including an apple press. All rather incongruous with the ritzy apartments lining the edges of the park. There was a bird house, too, with some spectacularly colored birds including a scarlet ibis. A nice feature of the birdhouse was the back wall which looked like the apartment buildings lining the park but were, in fact, cut tree trunks.
We left the park aboard the train. It was great fun doing this with Anna: something that we had done with our children when they were just little kiddie winkers. Next stop for us was the Pompidou Centre. I had it in my memory that just outside the centre was the glass pyramid but no, that’s outside the Louvre. The fountain with the treble clef that I photographed with icicles in 1984 is no longer there.
It looks as if the square in front of the centre is under construction. At the top of the Pompidou centre the walkways are covered in perspex making photography difficult. Although we’d timed our arrival to coincide with sunset the sky was too cloudy. We did peak into the very upmarket restaurant on the top floor and surreptitiously took a few quick photos of the table with their single roses, not encased in perspex. All very romantic.By the time it went dark we found ourselves outside the Hotel de Ville, Paris’s city hall, and we had a lovely dinner outside, again, right opposite the ornate floodlit building close to the Seine. Then it was time for me to return to my Airbnb and Anna went to meet Cez, arriving from Liverpool at the Gare du Nord.
There was no TV in my new place so I spent the evening watching various documentaries about Paris on my phone! One done by Griff Rhys Jones was full of interesting facts that I’ve incorporated to this blog. Here are just a few:
Hitler thought Paris was too beautiful to bomb
There are 40,000 public monuments
70% of bread is made by hand compared to 3% in England
On average there’s a bread shop every 100 metres
Lack of bread was a major cause of the French Revolution
The street and gutters are cleaned by swilling them out each morning at the touch of a switch
There’s a graffiti eradication squad for racial and sexist messages
Paris is the richest city in Europe
The indoor shopping passages which we’d admired were built to allow rich people to shop during the rain
Most office workers are given luncheon vouchers to make sure they eat properly
Paris has the highest proportion of singles in Europe.