Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Paris with a Parisianne

In the last few years, I have been lucky enough to visit Paris a half-dozen times. Most recently I was treated to a few days in the City of Light with my good friend who was born and raised here.

While here, I finally spend some time at Musée d'Orsay, which surpasses my expectations. And I also enjoy long walks through parts of Paris that I have never been in. These off-the-tourist-track neighborhoods are where real Parisians live, and each holds abundant delights that may be missed by tourists.

Here are some highlights:

Musée d'Orsay

Musée d'Orsay originally was a train station built for Chemin de 
Fer de Paris à Orléans and the 1900 Exposition Universelle. 
It was converted to a museum in the 1980s.

Housed in a former train station, the Beaux-Arts style building houses mostly French art from 1848-1915. My heartbeat quickens with each Renoir, Degas, Seraut, Monet and Manet I come upon. I hadn't realized that the museum also houses a large collection of Art Nouveau furnishings.

The museum is a little confusing to navigate, but we manage to speed through and see the highlights in the short time we're here.

Musée d'Orsay

Reception room inside Musée d'Orsay

Les Nubiens (aka Chasseurs d'alligators) by Ernest Barrias
at Musée d'Orsay

I think this Art Nouveau fountain at Musée d'Orsay could 
fit in my living room, oui?

Surprising streets in the 20th arrondissement

We start our second day with a long leisurely stroll into Paris from where we are staying in the eastern suburbs. We'll walk a lot today — in fact our first metro ride won't be until after dinner in the Latin Quarter.

Soon after we cross over the "périph" we come to an amazing row of houses along rue du Captaine Tarron. Just beyond this street, my friend wants to show me "la Campagne" neighborhood. This area was once part of the former commune of Charonne. When it was annexed by Paris in 1860, a quarry was here. Between 1907 and 1928, 92 homes for low-wage workers were built. Today the homes along rue Camille Bombois and rue Irenaeus Blanc are worth millions of euros. And even at that, good luck trying to buy one as they typically are passed down to family members.

Stately homes hug the hillside near rue du Captaine Tarron in Paris.

These lovely row homes were built in the early 20th century for
low-wage workers.

Check out the detail on this home near rue Camille Bombois
in the 20th arr. of Paris.

I also spy with my little eye ...

Église Saint-Ambroise in the 11th arr. was named after
its neighborhood: the quartier Saint-Ambroise.

The port at the base of Canal Saint-Martin near the Bastille

Place de la République is located on the border of
the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements. It currently serves
as a memorial to the victims of the Nov. 2015 attacks.

Sign-hangers in Montreuil

Instituit de France was established in 1795. The five académies that comprise
the Institute manage foundations, museums and châteaux. The neo-classical
building is located across the Seine from the Louvre.

The cold wind does nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for la belle ville de Paris. And to be here with such a good friend  je suis une dame chance!

Lucky me at Musée d'Orsay

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