Friday, January 3, 2014


We first saw the top of the Eiffel Tower from street-level at the Arc de Triomphe, poking the tip over the rooftops and thought, that can't be it. It doesn't look like it. Then we saw the thing we've seen our whole lives.

Right up on it.
We were taking an open-top bus tour, the drivers of which were on strike though we noticed that our driver one day was a striker the other day, so how does that work? Basically it meant that there were people in bright jackets blowing whistles at the buses, letting us know where the stop was among the millions of people just like us, gawking at Paris' wonder.

Statue on the Pont Alexandre III, near the Grand Palais
Christmas decorations on Champs de Elysees
Plant shop near Notre Dame
Foyatier's Cincinnatus (1834) swingin' it in the Jardin des Tuileirs
Museum-wise, the Centre G. Pompidou and the Louvre were hit. So many things I've seen before but never seen up close. For instance, (left) Matisse's Figure decorative sur fond ornemental (1926)

has never personally had anywhere the impact on me that (right) Man Ray's Ingre's Violin (1924) has until I saw them in person. There, breathing the same air as stupid old me, Matisse crams the whole world of pleasures into a frame and sets it on fire, altering the atmosphere with its frgrance. Man Ray's photo looks like a cute tattoo idea.

The sunset view from the Pompidou escalators is maybe the most profound thing I saw there, starting at the rarefied heights and sinking to where the pipes come up from the ground. You want to hold your breath, like going through a tunnel.

Inside the pyramid at the Louvre
You know what's in the Louvre so I'll spare you except to say Mona and Venus are both very special, deserving the gravitational pull they possess. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

A thing I didn't expect to be as thrilling were Robert Wilson's video portraits of Lady Gaga installed throughout the museum.

I am already a big fan of Robert Wilson and I'll give Gaga her props, but I really did not expect that these pieces would hold up against the greatest of antiquity, and they do. This is actually a video. A crane flies by every once in a while and she closes her eyes and when she opens them, like you know she will, your heart stops like you just kissed someone you aren't supposed to.

We did Paris on a budget so we had to suffer the charms of the neighborhood boulangerie for nearly every meal.

I don't even know it's name but if you find yourself at the Best Western near the Arc de Triomphe,  turn right out the door and then left.
One evening the boulangerie was closed and I stumbled onto the quintessential Paris market street.

Like I said, magical. Paris lives up to every breathless statement made about it. It is crowded as an ant pile, but when you are the ant, you are only interested in the queen before you.

From the Centre G. Pompidou escalator

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