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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday, 1 August, 2008: A South African in Paris

Now what does a South African do in Paris?

I spotted the Eiffel tower against an early morning sky as the shuttle bus drove me into the city at 7 am.
In the distance the grey-white Byzantine dome of the basilica of Sacre-Coeur could be seen where that same afternoon I would stand once more in awe of the mosaic ceiling depicting a triumphant risen Christ surrounded by apostles, saints, clergymen, popes and the nations in postures of adoration. I love the mosaic of St Peter holding his keys and accompanied by a cockerel to remind him of his human frailty. And I am so pleased the artists, Marcel Magne and Luc-Olivier Merson, included a handsome dog among the heavenly crowd of worshippers!

I roused some sleepy pigeons at the Opera House on my early morning exploration.

The magnificant Opera House..

The foyer at the Opera House and the giant chandelier with the ceiling of the auditorium painted by Marc Chagall. His modern art coexists happily with the baroque splendour. Of course, each time I turned, I glimpsed the Phantom lurking just behind my shoulder...
A little shopping...this is not a monument - just the interior of La Fayette's department store.

But for the real thing, I chose the Place Vendome where the big names like Chanel and Cartier jostled for my attention.

A chocolatier for something sweet...
or a necklace or two to tuck into my travel bag...

Diamonds set by Cartier are a gal's best friend.
On Sunday I attended St Michael's Evangelical Anglican church where I was welcomed with great warmth. Thank you, Isobel!
After church I strolled up the Champs Elysees.

At the Louvre I saw the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. But I still think my all time favourite art musem is the Musee d' Orsay housed in the old railway station on the Left Bank. I viewed the work of Renoir, Degas, van Gogh, Millet, Cezanne, Manet and Monet, to name a view.

Bridges over the Seine...

...and artists on its banks.















The grim conciergerie where Marie Antionette spent her last days. One of the towers, the Bonbec tower, was a place of torture and in the Courtyard of the Twelve those condemned to death in 1793-4 were assembled in groups of twelve before taking their last ride to Madame Guillotine.
I had a three course Sunday lunch at a tiny sidewalk cafe on the Left Bank in sight of Notre Dame. The simple meal was served with such elegance and care over a period of two and a half hours. No rushing a Frenchman at his food! When presented with a choice of five desserts, I selected the creme caramel. "Aah," the waiter sighed, "A good choice, madame!"

And so it was.

18 comments:

Barbara Martin said...

Your post brought back wonderful memories of past visits to Paris. Beautiful photos.

willow said...

Eleanor, welcome back! The bloggyhood just wasn't the same without you! Wonderful, wonderful photos. I especially love the Chagall ceiling in the opera house!

Tracy said...

Welcome home, Eleanor! Your travel guide of photos is marvelous--feel we were right there along with you--such beauty at every turn! I've not been to Paris yes...one day! Thanks so much for sharing highlights of your trip. Happy weekend settling in home again, and basking in the glow of your holiday ((HUGS))

Susan said...

Welcome back ! Ah Paris one of the world's most beautiful and civilized cities. The food, the architecture, the food ...

Poetikat said...

What lovely photos! Your commentary is inspiring and evocative. I truly felt like I was on tour! (I have been to Europe and France, but never Paris.) One day, perhaps.

Kat

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ooh, thanks for the tour! Paris is so beautiful and it looks as though you has a marvelous time. I'll look forward to seeing more of your travel photos. Welcome Home!

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Welcome home Eleanor . Oh it looks like you had a wonderful time. The photos are excellent . I wished I could go someday .

Mary said...

Welcome back Eleanor - missed you so much but just knew you were having a fabulous visit! Your great photos prove that happened - Paris is such a wonderful city.

I agree about the Musee d'Orsay - my favorite also. My granddaughter Jasmin and I were lost in there and found ourselves on a back stairway - it took us to a fabulous collection of Thonet bentwood furniture and amazing architectural models!

There's so much to see in Paris - I need to spend a month there - the short visits have never been enough.

Hope you're rested - awaiting the Firenze photos now!!!! Hope your presentation went well too of course.

KarenHarveyCox said...

Oh my Eleanor, what a trip and your photographs speak to the joy that you must have been enjoying. I adore the inside of the Opera House. So happy that you had such a wonderful time. Blessings, Karen

Dee Dee said...

Eleanor, I think your whole vacation was an incredibly good choice, from beginning to end..You selected the best of the best to visit. Your photos were all amazing...sounds like a dream vacation...Missed you while you were gone...welcome back sweet friend :)

Mary said...

Oh Eleanor, what fun! I had such a good time seeing Paris through your eyes. Thank you so much for a wonderful post!
xoxo,
Mary

Carrie said...

What a marvelous time you've had in Paris. It brings back such nostalgia of my visit as a graduate student.
It is good to know that you are well and enjoying your trip.

LL said...

Wow! A South African in Paris---I love it. What glorious weather you had to enjoy all the treasures of the City of Light. Thank you for this tour....reiterated to me once again how the French do it all with such style. Oh the fun of imagining going to the Opera House there and wearing a sweeping floor length gown....

I enlarged the photo of those chocolates....ooh la la, Paris is "tres expensif!"

So glad you saw and did so much on your journey.....

Ms.Daisy said...

Oh, Eleanor! What beautiful photos you brought us! I visited Paris in 1985 and there was too much to see and not enough time!
I loved seeing it again through your eyes!

~Jean

Betty said...

Eleanor,
Thank you for the beautiful glimpse of a famous city so far away....Betty

Janet said...

Ah creme caramel is one of my favorite desserts of all time. Excellent choice ( although I am pretty sure it was a tough choice)!

Janet

Paula said...

Beautiful photos!

Rhondi said...

Ah, Paris. Who can't love it? It somehow just draws you into it's beauty and wonder. I love the Musee d'Orsay too. Thanks for the wonderful memories it brought back.
Rhondi xo