Paris – before the kids arrive

We arrived at our apartment in Paris around 6:00 on Wednesday evening.  The apartment was in the garment district in central Paris within walking distance to most tourist attractions.  We found the apartment on and we would recommend it with some caveats.  The apartment was large, especially by European standards with two bedrooms, a large living room, dining room and kitchen.  This was not a vacation apartment.  It was the home of a young family of four who rent out the apartment while they are at their summer home in the south of France.  So it gave us a really good sense of what it is like to live in Paris, if only for a week.   The apartment was very comfortable, albeit a little shabby around the edges.  The location was superb with a vast selection of restaurants, bars, grocery stores, clothing and shoe stores right around the corner.  It was also located on a street that was home to a group of “ladies of the night”.  We had been warned about this in advance so it was no surprise to us.  It was actually rather fascinating to observe the routine of these ladies, many of whom were old enough to be grandmothers.

Our first night was spent getting ourselves oriented, picking up food in preparation for the kids’ arrival, and exploring the neighbourhood and a little further afar.  We loved the location of our apartment as it was in a very lively, dynamic neighbourhood, just around the corner from the Metro and within walking distance of the Louvre, Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay, and many other tourist attractions.  It was a thrill to walk along the Seine at dusk, to see the Louvre, and to wander through the Tuileries Garden; these were places I have read about and seen in movies and now here I was in person.

I’m in Paris, baby!

First glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
It would be another 
couple of days before I got a closer view. 

We visited the musée Rodin the next day.  Auguste Rodin was an accomplished sculptor, who achieved fame and notoriety while still alive.  He had a vast collection of his own sculptures and drawings as well as several paintings by famous artists like Renoir and Monet.  He donated his complete collection of art to the French government on the condition that the government create a museum in the Hôtel Biron to showcase his work.  It was in this hotel where he lived and worked from 1908 until his death.  Incredibly, the government did not accept this generous offer immediately, but took many months before making a decision and then it took several more years of squabbling before the museum became a reality.  Sadly, Rodin had died in the interim amidst all the bickering and didn’t see his life ambition realized.  Today, the musée Rodin stands as a lasting legacy to the remarkable accomplishments of one man.  The museum (along with a second site just outside Paris at Rodin’s old home, the Villa des Brillants at Meudon) is home to a collection of over 6,600 sculptures, 8,000 drawings, 8,000 old photographs and 7,000 objets d’art.  Many of Rodin’s sculptures adorned the beautiful, tranquil gardens surrounding the museum.

The Thinker, by Rodin.

Later that day, we discovered an inspiring photo exhibit tucked away in the corner of the Tuileries Garden called “Through My Window” by the photographer Ahae. Over the course of two years, Ahae took no less than a million photographs—all from just one window of his studio—recording the countless episodes that took place within his view amongst the creatures with whom we share our planet. It was selections from these photographs that were on display.  What I found so amazing was that the scene outside his window did not appear at first glance to be all that special in and of itself, yet the photographs that were taken are simply stunning.

In the evening, we attended a concert held in  Sainte Chapelle, renowned for its stained glass windows.  The venue was intimate – only 12 rows of seats – and the two musicians (violin and harp) played an eclectic collection of classical music.  Outside, it poured relentlessly throughout the entire concert. 

 We did a lot of walking on that first day and really broke in our new “city” walking shoes.  What a great start to our trip.

Category: Europe, France
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2 Responses
  1. Angus says:

    Offered to take Janet to Paris for her 50th but couldn’t make it work because of her heart problems and restrictions around health insurance. One of these days I want to go there but not without Janet.

    • christina says:

      Hi Angus
      I don’t blame you for wanting to see Paris with your wife….it is a very romantic city. Hopefully you guys get there one day. Are you back from China?