Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 6 - 9

We made it!

We left Shreveport on Monday morning, May 5 and landed in Paris around 8:10 am.  And have been going non-stop since we arrived.

Here are some images so far that show a bit of what we've been doing and and experiencing and learning.

Tuesday, May 6:
Getting ready for lunch, within the hour after arriving at the Hotel Marignan.  We're eating outside at the Cafe Montebello, next to the Seine River and Notre Dame.  Everyone is still a bit foggy from the jet lag.

Back at the Hotel Marignan lobby, waiting to get our Metro cards prepared.  Roland Keniger, owner/manager of the Marignan, is on the left, helping us get everything organized.  Emily and Jesse are holding up pretty well, so far! 

 Andrew, Dakota, and Paul are holding on tight in the Paris Metro -- the fastest 
way to move around the city as we head for Montmartre.

 A quick stop at the Moulin Rouge and Pigalle we before we head up the hill
 to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. 

After a good hike, we made to the top to see one of the best views in Paris.  

Wednesday, May 7:

At the Cluny Museum, the National Museum of the Middle Ages, one can find 
medieval stained glass, Roman ruins, and the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.
  At the Cluny, Saro stands before the chopped-off heads of Biblical kings once
 a part of Notre Dame's main entry (during the French Revolution these figures 
were thought to be kings of France, so off with their heads!)

 After the Cluny, lunch at a bistro on the Place de la Sorbonne (the Sorbonne is one of the oldest universities in the world, dating back to the 13th century).

Discussing politics at lunch -- on the site where the same type of discussions
 took place in May '68, during the student riots in Paris.  (Centenary students, however, were NOT burning cars or throwing cobblestones at the police, like the French students of '68.)

Up the hill south of our hotel about eight minutes away, around the corner from the
Pantheon and Hemingway's first home in Paris in the 1920s, a typical street scene
of students socializing.  The steps where Owen Wilson waits for the car to arrive
and take him back into the 1920s in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris
is about 100 yards straight ahead from this spot. 

Thursday, May 8:  

Today was Victory in Europe Day, a national holiday in France (celebrating the day 
World War II ended in Europe), so students had the morning free for themselves. 
At lunch we went to one of my favorite restaurants in Paris, Chez Jafaar, 
a Tunisian restaurant near the hotel.  Couscous with poulet (chicken) 
or merquez (spicy sausage) seemed to be the favorites.
 Though the orange sherbert served in a frozen scooped-out orange
for desert was pretty popular, too!

On a wet and windy day we headed for the Musee de Quai Branly,
the newest of the grand  museums in Paris, a museum that celebrates the
arts and culture of the non-Western world.

Not far from the Branly is the Eiffel Tower, which is seen perhaps
most spectacularly from across the river at the Trocadero and
the Palais de Chaillot (the site of the infamous photo of Hitler
surveying what he had conquered after the Nazis entered
Paris in 1940).

The Palais de Tokyo, one of Paris's most adventurous settings for contemporary art, is a short walk
from the Trocadero, and near the underground highway tunnel where Lady Diana died
tragically in 1997.  We walked through/participated in/were surrounded by one of the 
most evocative installation/environmental pieces I've encountered:  Thomas
Hirshhorn's "Flame Eternal" -- a multi-story, multi-room setting filled with used
tires, furniture plastered with packing tape, styrofoam cylinders (and more!) 
for anyone to draw on, cut up, carve into, or create with, in any manner imagined.
Bruce carved something like a death mask/ghost-in-the-styrofoam-machine creation
straight out of David Lynch by way of Michelangelo. 

We were all mightily impressed  (and he wasn't the 
only Centenarian who left his/her creative mark in this museum/gallery).

Friday, May 9:

 The lower chapel at Saint Chapelle (which Louis IXth built in the mid-13 century to house 
the Crown of Thorns and other Christian relics).  This smaller chapel was used by those 
who lived in the royal palace, of which this was a part.  

The upper, or King's Chapel, at Saint-Chapelle (it's good to be the King!). 
This Chapel contains one of the largest groupings of medieval stained 
glass in the world. 


The gates to The Palais de Justice, (the main Paris court complex, which stands between
Saint-Chapelle, background left, and the Conciergerie, off to the right out of sight).  

The Hall of the Guards, a large medieval meeting/living space
in the Conciergerie next to Saint-Chapelle.

Outside of the Conciergerie, on a bridge between the  Île de la Cité and the Right Bank.

After the Conciergerie, we moved to the Louvre, where everyone ate at the underground food court, then began their visit to the different galleries (this picture shows only a portion of the whole building). 

In the early evening we all met back at the Marignan to go by bus to the Bateaux Mouches, one of the many boat companies that give tours on the Seine:

And some of the sights we saw from the cruise down the Seine:

The Pont Alexandre III (Alexander Bridge), perhaps the most elegant bridge in Paris,
 dedicated by the Russian Czar Nicholas II to open up the Paris Exhibition of 1900.
 (The final scene of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris takes place on this bridge.)

A rather exquisite penthouse apartment on the Left Bank of the Seine
overlooking the Louvre on the Right Bank. 

A view of Notre Dame from the backside, looking back towards the west and sunset. 
 The flying buttresses are clearly visible in this shot.

 The Musée d'Orsay is one of the most spectacular exhibition spaces in Paris.  A former train station, it houses a mid-to-late 19th century collection of paintings/sculputure/decorative arts.  One can find paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Renoir, and many others.

The boat ride ends by passing the Eiffel Tower, glowing 
brightly against the evening sky.



  1. Loving your blog, sir! Next time you visit the King's Chapel at St. Chapel, look for the stained glass with the mother pelican feeding her young with drops of her own blood—the basis for Louisiana state flag.

  2. I meant Sainte-Chappelle...