Posted by: kdeversblog | September 25, 2017

Last Tango in Paris

Our four days in Paris were packed with so many wonderful experiences from stunning art to endless gastronomic delights. I found myself exclaiming gleefully over every meal, glass of wine, and snack.

Since we both enjoy the quirky romantic comedy, Amelie we decided to visit some of the sites that were in the movie. Click this link for movie info. Amelie movie

We made sure to use the Abbesses subway stop where Amelie saw the musician playing. The cafe where Amelie worked, Les Deux Moulins was smaller in real life than it appeared to be in the movie and the bathroom, also featured in the film was teeny. In the bathroom, a window display was crowded with Amelie memorabilia. I highly recommend the movie if you haven’t seen it.

Then it was off to visit Ron Bowen in his art studio located at the foot of Montmartre with a sixth floor view of the hill leading up to the Basilica.

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It was a pleasure to visit with Ron, an American expat who studied art in Paris as a young man then moved to the city permanently in 1970. It is a remarkable story of courage and innocence. He didn’t know anyone and had only his compelling knowledge that Paris is where he should be as an aspiring artist.

It was obviously the correct choice since he has been very successful and is well known for his clear and selective approach to scenes that are laced with shadows and subtle value changes. Check out his website to see examples of his work. Ronald Bowen art

We took him to lunch at one of his favorite cafes nearby where I had the best fish and chips I’ve ever had (sorry Burgerville!). John and Ron had duck and it was a great way to finish our visit with Ron. The French tend to serve fries with many of their meals, here they are called “frites” and they really are delicious.

Since we were near the Basilica Sacre Coeur we wound our way up the hill for a quick visit and saved some steps by taking the outdoor lift. I was especially glad not to have to climb more steep and seemingly endless stairs. The Basilica is young by French standards, only 130 years old, but it proudly stands on the highest point in the city.

Notre-Dame Cathedral was one of our last stops in Paris. It was dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, that’s why it is called “Our Lady.” The building was begun in 1163 and completed two centuries later in 1345.

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This medieval wonder is beautiful and while the work was supervised by Master Masons, the people who lived in the area did the actual work.  Huge stones were hauled from distant quarries and a 30-foot-deep trench was dug to lay the foundation. Workers walked on treadmills to lift the heavy stones up, one by one.

Notre Dame is an impressive landmark and we saw it during our boat ride down the Seine as well as on foot.

Our Paris visit wouldn’t be complete without some wonderful jazz to enjoy and John found the perfect show. We were the first people to arrive at the intimate cafe called Sunset/Sunside. The trio of singer, pianist, and clarinet player offered emotional and heartfelt renditions of Billie Holiday favorites.

It was a delightful show and the performers were obviously having fun on stage making beautiful music together.

It was sad to think of leaving Paris, but we knew there were wonderful experiences ahead. We had our farewell dinner at a unique and stunning restaurant called Le Train Bleu. It is situated at the end of the train tracks, the food and presentation was superb, and the staff were friendly and attentive. The decor can be distracting because it is lush and ornamented but that’s just part what makes the experience so much fun.

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The next day we said good bye to our delightful Airbnb apartment and took an Uber to pick up our rental car. It is a modern Citroen, perfect for traveling the narrow roadways and comfortable.

We had the perfect location in the St. Germaine area of the Left Bank for exploring the town, and John did a masterful job of planning and navigating us to our destinations.

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Next stop, the glorious pure Gothic Chartres Cathedral.


Responses

  1. Le Train Bleu was overwhelming. And what were those pink capsules in the mousse?

  2. Any chance you could post a map with pointers on it? I actually thought you had already left Paris.

  3. It’s nice to see another angle of our trip as well as your quality layouts and photos. It will be a challenge not to plagiarize your commentary and insights!

    The driving was a mixed bag. You probably saved me from some serious scrapes, but I am also a terrible driver when I have a passenger in the car. I am the same way with scuba diving.

    At least we made it to Marseille in one piece! Thank you Monster beverages, as toxic as you may be, for keeping me awake at the wheel for the long hauls.

    So here I am in Barcelona catching up on three weeks of blogging negligence. It has been nice to take a break and see how things are progressing on your side of the Blogosphere. I’ve been throwing down quantity where you have the quality covered, and that leaves me with a lot of gaps for filling.

    Even with all of the work ahead, I should imagine it feels good to have so much material to draw from, and as you progress, to re-engage the adventure as you go. Once completed, I think you will wonder at the considerable breadth of experience for the relatively short amount of time invested.

    Those magical places provide a lifetime of memories and experience in what will seem like the blink of an eye.

    Except of course, canoeing down the Gardon river which was truly a nightmarish eternity. One that I am happy to say yielded one of the best photos of the trip courtesy of Madame Devers. Something for you readers to look forward to in later installments: A magnificent shot of the Pont du Gard, the best preserved and grandest of existing Roman aqueducts.


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