Friday, 31 July 2015

Part-time in Paris: Gustave Moreau and train travel to Milan

Last day in Paris I went to the Gustave Moureau museum which was supposed to be amazing. 
It has a famous staircase, which I once found on Pinterest and saved for "future restauration plans".
Many of you might recognize it. There are several floors in this museum, on the top of which there are two airy galleries.
Come here when it opens to avoid tourist stocking.
And take as many photos as your soul wants!
I am a huge, huge fan of interactivity possibilities in exhitions (not including the possibility to ask the guides something, which is very important too). Here, they were two: to flicker through a gallery, the one you see above, and to hold charts in plastic and walk around with to find out more about each painting.
I of course had questions. So many in fact, and specific ones, that the guides on the top floor made an internal call (it was an old phone with a handset!) to the bottom floor and there they had prepared books for me marked with pink post-its with the exact explanations I was looking for. Thank you again!
Maybe I was too focused on that my train to Italy would leave in four hours.
Or maybe I should be more into mythology and biblic events. I also dare to draw a parallel to my experience in museums in general. I did in the end not find Moreau's home and studio superb in the end, but do go there to experence it and come back to me if you think otherwise.

 And off I went to buy dinner for my train travel and so landed my first luxury hand made post card in a spiritual shop.

I then walked along Seine and nearly missed my train to Milan, as only the front part the train on the station would take off - not the part closest to me. But I made it! Best part was when the train slowed down and I could read a sign saying "CASCADE 450 m" in the woods. I turned to my neighbours, a large company of teenagers from Northern Ireland, and told them there would be a waterfall to the right. "A waterfall?" said one of the guys in doubt, as there only were leaves to be seen, and put his cards down. And in that moment, the forest made way for a rather big open place - with a waterfall!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Paris continued: Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil, the Eiffel Tower and Sarah

Squeezed inbetween two hot guys (I almost introduced myself; the Parisian métro gives so many opportunities to date - in theory it iz amazing) I went to the west of Paris to visit Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil. I touched a plant that looked like a cousin of aloe vera, upon which I cut my left ring finger on it and I was really, really, hoping it was not poisonous. (It probably was not, as I am still alive.)
It was nice, no doubt, but I expected more. 
The fish were bored; one of them was styling in front of the others with its fins. Goldfish do not have an excessively short memory, that is a myth, but how does one entertain a fish? Does it like being entertained? 
Some orangerys have recorded fake sounds of birds, but these were real. First time I have ever seen a bird hanging only by one foot to reach food, amazing sight.
(Little did I know that I soon would be seeing wildly growing plants of this kind in Italy.)
I also wanted to visit Musée Cognacq-Jay, for which I had to cross the town, and crossit again for my rendez-vous at the Eiffel tower with Sarah. "Let me know if you made it", M. said (he predicted I would not.)
In fact, I decided last minute to not go to the museum and take the bus instead to get to see more of Paris. I waited for what, 50 minutes? Half of that time, Sarah was staying around the corner waiting for me. But we made it - meeting without texting each other!

She surprised me with a picknick, and with the very light and handy wooden equipment to eat from and with. More guys with rifles passed by. Some policemen were haunting illegal salesmen of minature Eiffel towers that came running. 
We also took a lot of photos of the Eiffel tower. Here I commented: "but my bosom looks so big!", upon which she replied "that is the best part".
Sarah is a very cool and calm person in general. If there would be a fire in the middle of the night and one would have to quickly leave the building, she would just put on a pair of sun glasses and calmly walk out (I asked).

We then headed to the Grand palais, which only has an exhibition coming up in September (not really counting the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibition on the corner, because this cool roof top was not in use).
Petit palais was open, though.
I of course went straight to the postcard shop, simultaneously trying to take artistic photos using the glass potential.
We still wanted to get a closer look that glass roof though, so we went back to the Grand palais that has a café.
Note that the two bags to the right is all the bagage I had for one week's vacation. Also note that the scarf is a life-saving, sun-protecting agent.
We were not sure what to say about the café. The serrano ham was delicious and the other meat stuff okay, the tea was great, the view good, but the service was a bit out of hand and the prices were just symbolically high. I guess a bit more humbleness from the people around would increase the experience.
But all in all, not too bad.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Paris continued: erotica and other tourism events (warning to sensitive readers)

I met up with Aliénor for a coffee in a café that does magic managing everything in one small room. In Sweden, any inspection would have closed it down long ago, but whatever, putting ice in drinks with the hands and handling with money inbetween without washing adds spices to life. (The image has nothing to do with the café, do not worry.)

While waiting for Aliénor (in France: always add 15-30 minutes to the meeting time), I found a nice bakery called Aux Désirs de Manon ("to the wishes of Manon"). It is just outside the metro station St-Paul. I keep forgetting what the difference between a quiche and a tarte is - one contains eggs somewhere, one does not - so I had one of those with squash, which is really, really good.

Nearby, there is also an old museum (for free) about old parts of Paris and a library, biliothèque Forney, in a really cool building (think of that castle in Disneyland in Paris) that was built about five hundred years ago.
I thought I had not been on île de la cité before, but I indeed had. Notre Dame looks much cooler from behind, as you see. 
I got a phone call from a friend who did not know that I was in Paris, and timely, the church bells started ringing and a boat crammed with tourists and a guide witht a microphone slided by as an explanation.
Walking went on! Art pieces like this can be great - but do also expect some brutal honesty.
Sorry for a bad photo - but it is controversial and fun at the same time. Found at Musée de l'Erotisme. Seven floors of sex related stuff! I was hoping to find some inspiration for the love novel I am writing for a competition. One important insight is that for example Europeans tends to associate sex with shame (just think about the word - "losing virginity", how stupid is not that?), while people in the other parts of the world cherishes it as something important and great (of course there are always exceptions). 
I do not recommend the museum, but every place has its lovelinesses. The nuns were one.
This is the other.
And I really liked André Barbe's clever drawings, I even considered buying one. (Barbe = beard in French.)
In the evening, three of us met up for dinner at Les Galopins in Antony. My dish was called "the return of the fishing", as I remember it. Cozy place, tasty food, nice staff! I tried to avoid dessert. My diet seemed to mainly consist out of pastry anyway. I really wonder how the French do it - how is it possible to eat something sweet and pastrylike every single morning?!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Jardin du Luxembourg, a hidden romantic café and Coworkshop

I kind of set on the agenda to visit as many Parisian parks as possible. My source of information, a blog, displayed an autumn or spring day in this same garden, with romantically fallen leaves. Jardin du Luxembourg is a beautiful place, no doubt, and so was the model, but I now know that the blog in question is hardcore photoshopped.
Some guys from the gendarmery with FAMASes in their hands hing around to protect the senate (which is the building you see here). I stared at one weapon in particular, which seemed so misplaced beacuse 1) the guys holding them looked so chilled out and 2) there are flowers in the park  and rifles do not exactly add to its beauty 3) the park is used like a stadium (so many runners circulate the area!). And believe it or not, but the carrier of the rifle smiled at me and said: "Bonjour!"
More of the senate.
Even more of the senate.
Less of the senate.
More of my new favourite flowers.
It was now time for me to visit Musée de la vie romantique, so I started walking in the wrong direction. I quite soon realized that the names of the metro stations are not that important - you just keep walking till you find one, and change underground if the station was not located where you wanted to be. In return, you get to see more of the city.
I had expected the museum to decribe the evolution of love, but behold:
it is about the Romatique as an epoque. George Sand's life is mentioned, for example. So even though the museum was for free (some claim it takes away the right to complain), I was disappointed.
The bonus is that there was a hidden café!
Not crowded at all, and very quiet (as in, no cars or large groups of tourists - there is a kindergarten with happily loud kids on the other side of one wall).
Quite known by the French themselves. A good place if you want to do some work on your computer or write on a novel. (Did not ask about wifi, though.)

If you want to be sure about wifi, I found a place called Coworkshop which is like a café-like office close to the big train stations Gare de l'Est and Gare du Nord, also near the growing BOBO-quartier of the Saint Martin Canal. (Bobo = bohème and bourgeouis, French for "hipster", a trendy person that likes organic food and stuff.)

Monday, 27 July 2015

I am back!

Hi! Long time no seen :) This is me with Italian jungle as dropback. Can you see how sunburned I am? I did not even know I could get this much colour! With plenty of internet again, I have a lot to share from my trip(s). I will try to post something new every day for the coming week.