Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day Three

The next morning, Elena wanted to get fresh fruits from the market stalls before beginning our day, so we trooped down to Rue Cler and enjoyed picking fruits and pastries for our trip up to Montmarte. Because is was so far away...yeah right.

We were actually out and about pretty early for the market, so the stores were just opening up and getting their wares arranged for the day. We had to get out of the way of many a delivery truck.

Just look at those pastries! I beginning to think that it appears that I have a food fetish or something, but really how could you resist photographing those treats - they look like art!

Caroline treated herself to a salmon quiche and Shalyn couldn't wait and begin eating her delicious orange. Yum!

Below is one of those pretty flower shops I was talking about ealier. The owner was still getting everything set up, but it was so nice to walk by and smell the roses.

Our first stop of the day was the Galleries Lafayette. This is actually the first mall in the world. Now why on earth would we stop by a mall? Well, Samantha Brown profiled it on one of her travel shows and said that this place has a gourmet food store to die for and that it would be the perfect place to buy french chocolates and such for friends back home. So, to the Galleries we went!

The interior really did look quite elegant, but was soon overshadowed by the lack of air conditioning and huge crowds trying to get a good deal. We quickly got lost and this place isn't small, friends, not small at all.

Elena and I took a break wandering around at some point and I couldn't resist taking a photo of her poor poor feet! We had done so much walking the day before that her shoes had pretty much made a meal of them. She was a champ though, and rarely complained about it. Which is more than I can say when my feet started getting sore (all the other girls are now rolling their eyes).

We did eventually find the gourmet food store. Caroline was asked not to take any photos by a security guard, so we don't have any photos but the above, which I took of the spices before realizing cameras were banned! Don't they look awesome, though? The smell was incredible.

After the mall and me getting us lost for about 20 minutes, we made it back to metro station and were on our way to Monmarte. At this point we had realized that we were playing Russian Roulette with the metro platforms and actually stopped and read the signs to make sure we were going to the right way. Of course that didn't stop us from getting on the wrong train to Versailles, but that's for tomorrow.

Monmatre is kind of like the Loop is in St. Louis - somewhat dodgy, artsy, craftsy, and full of energy. It's also very hilly. Yay. Thank goodness for the funicular which took you straight to Sacre Coeur.

And there it is! The basilica isn't really that old - only about 100 years or so. We weren't allowed to use cameras inside, either, so this is as much as we could get.

Sacre Coeur is the highest point in Paris, so you get to see some stunning views of the city from the top of the hill. I am regretting that we didn't go back at night and see the same vista, it probably would have been beautiful.

After a small lunch at a cafe, we made our way around the streets surrounding Sacre Coeur and ran across this church.

You could take photos inside, and it was considerably older than Sacre Coeur. I wish I could remember the name just now, but I've forgotten. Regardless, it was pretty and sweet.

Monmartre has a long history as an artists enclave. This plaque (above) in the church proves it beyond a doubt.

Now we get to the good stuff - affordable original art! We had a great time walking around town and browsing amongst the art stalls. Below is a picture of the artist who's water color I bought. He was very nice and also gave me his card which gives a website address of the art collective they have online: here it is. So you too can buy art from Montmartre!

I saw numerous photos of these stairs when I was researching Paris online. They're quite picturesque, and even more so in the evenings. Their "quaintness" is somewhat ruined by just turning a couple of feet to your left, however, where the new state of the art funicular is in place to take all those lazy tourists all the way up.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of France's motto!

After leaving Monmartre, we made our way to the Musee D'Orsay. Ahhhh. Seriously people, the Orsay Museum was like a cup of fresh water in the desert. Okay, I'm overstating as usual, but this museum was hands down everybody's favorite. It was air conditioned, it was quiet and it was beautiful. It used to be a train station and the architects who retrofitted the building perserved that feeling while also making it thoroughly modern. Amazing.

Here, the works of the impressionists are on display. The Louvre stops at the neoclassical point in art history and the Orsay museum takes up where it left of. Below, you can see that each painting is given it's own breathing space and space enough for you to take it in.

Below, are some favorite paintings. Elena is a huge fan of Monet and had to get her picture taken besides some of his paintings.

The museum also has an impressive collection of sculptures. These two were our favorites. The sculpture above is Nature Revealing Herself to Science. I forgot to take a photo of the name plate for the piece below, but isn't it beautiful!?

Another bonus point for the Orsay Museum is that you can feasibly see the entire collection in less than a day. We were there for about 3 hours, I think, and saw most of the museum.

The above photo is of yet another muesum and no, we did not go in. We passed it on the way back our apartment and I just thought it was about the coolest thing ever. The plants were growing out of pockets of dirt on the side of the building.

We ended our evening at another brasserie and I am happy to report that no pears were hiding in my lamb. It was delicious.

Elena couldn't resist getting what she called "French junk food". Below is a photo of Shalyn tallying up the restaraunt receipts for the day. In order to keep the confusion to a minimum, we each took turns paying for the food for the entire day. In the evenings Shalyn would total up the amount and we would pay that person back. I was skeptical about how this would work out at first, but hey, it was a great idea Shalyn!


Shay said...

I'm glad my idea worked out so well (relatively speaking--Elena said we were totally overpaying since the tax was included in the item price--whoops!) I need your photos! They're more complete than mine...especially since I didn't take my camera to Montmartre for fear of pickpockets.

lucylucia said...

I noticed that as I was looking through pictures last night. I have Elena's photos as well. Eventually, I'll put it all on disc and you will get a copy!

Sarah M. Anderson said...

I told you, the Orsay Museum was the way to go! Glad you enjoyed it!

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

You all look so happy! The Orsay is our favourite museum in Paris as well. The building alone is worth a trip.

Isn't the prepared (take away) food in France amazing? We love buying stuff for picnics. And I forgot to say, we love sitting around that fountain in the Tuiliers. We call it "Le Place de la Relaxion". :-)

Aili said...

I love seeing the "new" pics. I guess they are Elena's, it's like a surprise treat!