Friday, March 13, 2009

WEEKENDS IN PARIS......TOURISTY SPOTS..and a Guest Blogger!

Welcome to Week 4 of "Weekends in Paris!" It's me, Weef, aka Sue's daughter, and I'm this week's "Guest Blogger". This is very exciting as I've never been asked to guest blog before! So, here goes...

This week's theme is "Touristy Paris" and what better to start off a tourist's journey in the city of light than with an image of the Eiffel Tower! When the Mom and I stayed on the Rue de la Clef, our first stop after getting off the plane (and taking a nap...) was to head over to the Eiffel Tower. I don't know what it is about it, but it's just really neat and these days I've got Eiffel Tower stuff all around my home... even a giant wire sculpture of it that I got at the Pottery Barn in Soho years ago after managing to (with the Mom) fit into a cab... but that's a story for another time!





The Eiffel Tower is certainly a "Must See" if you're ever visiting Gay-Paree. But, take this word of advice-- there are ELEVATORS. Back in the '70's when the Mom and Dad made their first visit, Mom stayed on the ground and the Dad hiked up the stairs... at least until he got to the first platform when he then realized that there are *elevators*! Also, I highly recommend the Restaurant Jules Verne. It's a totally unique dining experience right up in the Tower!





Shakespeare & Co. books is another Paris institution on the Left Bank. An English language book store that has been a hang out for the likes of Hemingway and the Beat Poets, it's a fun thing to see, especially if you're stopping in across the Quai to the Bateaux Parisien...




The Bateaux Parisien is a cruise line that runs hour long scenic boat tours up and down the Seine. Or at least they're supposed to be an hour long. Speaking from experience, don't take the last cruise of the night on the eve of Bastille Day. The Mom and I made that mistake once and the boat cruise became more like something out of "Speed II: Cruise Control". But, that being said, any other time is a great time for a boat cruise on the Seine. I have been on these cruises seven times in three visits. It's addictive! And besides, where else but in France could you ride on a boat named the "Isabelle Adjani" or "Catherine Deneuve?"







One of the things you'll see if you are on a boat cruise in the Seine is the Musee D'Orsay art museum. This is the museum of impressionist art that is housed in a former train station. While it certainly doesn't rival the collection size of the Louvre, it's a must see, especially if you're a fan of the impressionists like Monet, Van Gogh and the like. Up at the top of the building are these giant clocks and you can see through to the face when you're inside on the top floor... I was able to get this neat picture of two figures in front of the clock face!






Then there's the Catacombs! Not for the feint of heart (or claustrophobic) but certainly cool. Together with the Paris Sewers the Catacombs tours are one of the ways to see "underground Paris".... the catacombs are underground tunnels where hundreds of thousands of bones of former Parisians are buried... during the plague (and other times in Paris' history) the local cemeteries began to get filled and at night, the "old bones" were dug up and relocated in these tunnels and underground chambers. It's said that during the reign of the Sun King extravagant parties would be held down in the catacombs and during World War II supposedly some of the treasures of the Louvre were hidden here as well. We visited one day with my friend from the former East Berlin, Jana (who was in the Cornell Law program at the Sorbonne) and her friend from back home, a very genial German med student. It was quite an adventure! To get out of the catacombs once you've been on the tour you have to walk up a multi-storey spiral staircase about the width of a man-hole. I honestly almost passed out and I'm not even claustrophobic. Try to get past the fact that you're walking amongst bones (which can be hard to do when you see the weird patterns that the bone-buriers made with skulls, etc.) Thank god for the Germans, had it not been for them walking behind me I would have been a goner! ;)




Vive la France! Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite! Here's an image of "Liberty Leading the People" by Delacroix, which hangs in the Louvre. Any visit to Paris has to include a visit to the Louvre, even if you only get to see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo! Anywhere you turn in this museum you'll be amazed at the beautiful works of art. If you have the chance also to hit up the Cafe Marly for lunch (on the ground floor of the museum), I highly recommend it!




The Bookinistes! On the right and left banks of the Seine book sellers have these wonderful stalls with old books, magazines and great prints. You could easily spend the whole day walking up and down the quais checking out the wonderful books and other goodies! It's a true Parisian institution.



A-ha! The Tuileries Gardens Ferris Wheel! The Mom *loves* Ferris Wheels. This one is set up near the Louvre in the Tuileries. I, unfortunately, I hate Ferris Wheels. So much so that when the Mom and I went on this one I ended up screaming at the French Ferris Wheel workers to let me off as we rolled past them. It didn't work. But, once they finally let me off, I took these pictures and Mom is up there somewhere. Sadly, my fear of heights (and more specifically, fear of falling from a great height) made me a poor Ferris Wheel companion. But Mom had a good time (at least, once I got off).



Here's Mom, in the 'Combs! Till next time we meet, next "weekend in Paris!"


19 comments:

La Table De Nana said...

Hi The Daughter!
What a great installment to your mom's Blog..
My DD honeymooned there:) A friend lived there..another also and she retuns for a visit in May and I am dreamimg of it..Does that count?

Your photos are delightful..from the old books to the clock w/ the silhouettes..to La Tour itself.

Thanks for all the tips.. Hi The Mom!

KBeau said...

Thanks for the tour. We leave for Paris a week for today. You've whetted my appetite.

Bonjour Madame said...

Bravo Weef! Fantastic post! I wanted to go to the bookstore you mentioned but wasn't sure where it was located, so I missed it. Love that clock at the museum!

Jojo said...

What a great tour. I am ready to go!

prof en retraite said...

Bonjour Weef! What a fun post! It sounds like you and the Mom had fun! Unfortunately, I would be screaming like a sissy girl on the Ferris wheel, too! Lovely photos! The bateaux mouches on the Seine are my favs, too...especially at night! Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories...Debbie

salmagundi said...

Thanks Darling Daughter for today's tour. Such wonderful memories! I still think you can not beat the Eiffel Tour for a dramatic sight. Sally

once in a blue moon... said...

you could not have found a better guest blogger, it was fabulous! i loved ALL you pics, except the creepy bones i could have done without and now i want to google the spiral staircase to escape too~

do i say cute pic of you whispering to the bones? not sure the proper etiquette at times like this~

oh i love your tour, this is so delightful seeing and reading through both of your eyes~

Linda Lou said...

What wonderful pics and info you have shared about Paris-so want to go there someday!! I definitely think the catacombs would be very interesting but a little creepy - opposite of the Eiffel Tower-thanks for the tour.

Weef! said...

Glad everybody enjoyed the tour!!! :) It was a lot of fun to get to be a guest blogger!!!

Olive Rue said...

Loving those Paris pics, Sue. Keep em coming. The clock shot is amazing. Can you bring that back for me, please? :-) Finally got you added to my blog roll! :-) Have a great weekend.

Donna said...

Hi Sue,
What a great tour of Paris. Your photos are wonderful.

Hope you're having a good weekend.
Hugs,
Donna

Lisa said...

Thank you for a wonderful tour. I look forward to the Paris Posts every week. I too hate ferris wheels, and that one looks entirely too tall!!

Lisa said...

Hi I just read your comment. I think it's West Virginia where law makers are considering banning Barbie because her looks are too intrusive to young girls. I know it's one of the east coast states and I believe it's W.V. It just kills me that we cannot be or let people be responsible for themselves. I guess if we remove Barbie, music will be the next to go. Country and Rock. Good grief I CANNOT stand the thought of listening to bluegrass, I'll poke my eyes out!!!! Have a great weekend. PS, I thought for sure, for some reason, Sophie was gonna be your guest host.

necie said...

Weef,

This is a lot more interesting than an old guide book. Well done!

xinex said...

What beautiful pictures! I love Paris. I almost blogged about it today too but somehow, I could not find my pictures. I would like to go back there. I would love to visit their antique shops too. Daughter did such a good job being a guest blogger! Is she the one going to Rome? How exciting!....Christine

Linda said...

Sue,
Hope you are feeling a little better today. Thanks (to your daughter) for this great post. I've been to every one of those places and it was a wonderful nostalgic visit for me. I know what she means about the Eiffel Tower....love it....so graceful and elegant. Beautiful post. Linda

JOYCE said...

The Daughter seems to be a chip off the old block...great writing and photos. Thanks for sharing.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Wonderful post by guest blogger daughter! I love all these iconic images -- even the catacombs which I'm sure I would have found fascinating.
The catacombs outside Rome had very few bones or skulls but we found a church that was run by Capuchin monks that had all it's walls decorated with bones of all sort in all sorts of patterns. They wanted to impress upon people that life is fleeting.

I would have ridden that Ferris wheel with you Sue! Next time take me with you :-)

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Bonjour Weef!!

I lovvveee Paris so the more you share, the better. I was only there once...with a friend of mine, then I stayed on alone for a few days by myself. At which point I conveniently forgot any French I knew and spent many hours in the comforting embrace of Shakespeare & Co. :-) I bought A Moveable Feast there and it remains one of my favorite books.

I hope to make it back someday. Le sigh.