WiFi Bad. Museums Good.

Observation 7: I love my Navigo pass. It works on ALL metros, buses, trams, RERs and even those cute Pee-Wee Herman bikes. You pay 5e to purchase the card at a Tabac store or from a Metro station with a service desk. You pay another 5e for a set of 4 (always fabulous) photo booth/passport type photos. The pass for one month was around 65e.
Observation 8: The French still hate McDonald’s and Starbuck’s (which are everywhere) but the intoxicating pull of free WiFi draws them in by the thousands. It’s hard to find an empty seat in either place.
Observation 9: Those who live in the apartment just over the first floor of 6 Charles d’Ivry should try a short separation to give their partnership a break. And to give those that live below them a break as well.
Observation 10:  French WiFi should be called WTFi.
January 312013
This being “Mexican Food Thursday”, we set out to go to our place on rue Dauphine only to be greeted with a paper sign with a penciled note that it was unexpectedly closed today. Instead we ate on the Left Bank at a little cafe that served pizzas, spaghetti and steak. We could see the tips of both the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame (opposite directions). We had been there for about 20 minutes before either of us realized that we had this special view. That would explain the high prices and the mediocre meal.
Look hard and you will find the Eiffel Tower in the background. This is where we had lunch because Mexican Thursday had a glitch.
Look hard and you will find the Eiffel Tower in the background. This is where we had lunch because Mexican Food Thursday had a glitch.
February 3, 2013
I miss David. The apartment on Charles d’Ivry is wonderful except for computer and other technology challenges. Yes, these two statements are interrelated. But I do miss him terribly. I have been sleeping with Invisible David on my left, as Real David does at home. Invisible David sometimes takes on the profile and form of two pillows. I have had to start climbing over invisible David when I have to get up at night because an ongoing battle I have been having with my bed. So far it’s Bed:2, Alison:0. I had a rather nasty bump on my head when last week I climbed into bed in pitch dark, took a wrong turn, and–I am in no way exaggerating here–I was hurled out of bed and my head banged hard against a century old wall. Climbing over Invisible David does not seem to bother him and this way I am less likely to wake up Joan and Invisible Tom.
We have been without WiFi for 3 days. I have been plugging and unplugging random things into other random things with Joan watching me. Today something I did finally worked. Joan said “What did you do to fix it in case you are gone next time it goes out”. Really!??
Yesterday we went to 3 wonderful and lesser known Paris museums:
First, we went to the Parc Monceau metro stop and walked through the park to get to the first museum, the Nissim de Camando. The home was built to house a collection of exquisite French antiques. But the museum is also is a story of the Camondo family, their rise to wealth, and their final, distressing end as Jews in World War II.  I insisted on getting the French audio guide because I really am trying to immerse. I will need to go back another day and get the English guide so that I can see it all again and hear it again in better detail.
A self portrait at the Parc Monceau.
A self portrait at the Parc Monceau.
Nissim de Camondo Museum entrance.
Nissim de Camondo Museum entrance.
This kitchen is the way it was left when Beatrice Camondo was taken with her two children to Auschwitz.
This kitchen is the way it was left when Beatrice Camondo was taken with her two children to Auschwitz.
At Nissim de Camondo
At Nissim de Camondo

After leaving the Nissim, I wanted to walk around the Parc Manceau a little more. It is a fabulous place. Since it is a “park” and not a “garden”, one can actually sit or walk on grassy areas here. I bet we saw 50-60 joggers. We got to a gate and saw another museum just outside the park. This was was free admission. It was called the Musee Cernuschi and is one of the oldest museums in Paris dating back to 1898. It houses a renowned collection of Asian arts, including the imposing 18th-century bronze Buddha de Meduro, acquired by Henri Cernuschi during his travels to Japan.

Giant Buddha at the Cernuschi museum.
Giant Buddha at the Cernuschi museum.
I used my jazzy little “Around Me” app and saw there was one more museum nearby, the Musee Jacquemart-Andre.  Here is what Trip Advisor said about this place: “Built by Edouard André and his wife Nélie Jacquemart, both avid art collectors, in the new Paris being laid out by Baron Haussmann towards the end of the 19th century, this private mansion offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore a wealthy 19th century home. The museum presents a wonderful collection of masterpieces: Fragonard, Rembrant, Botticelli… This is the only museum open seven days a week in Paris.”  Besides being a cool museum, it was a tender love story.
Before entering the Jacquemart-Andre museum.
Before entering the Jacquemart-Andre museum.
Sculpture at Musee Jacquemart-Andre
Alison taking a picture of a beautiful sculpture at the Jacquemart-Andre Museum.
Musee Jacquemart-Andre
Joan listening to information about the awesome staircase at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre.

After museuming all day we decided to try to find a shoe store near the Opera building that was suggested in a book I just finished reading. But first we had to get there. We took a wrong turn and saw the Arc de Triomphe in the distance so we kept walking toward it to take a picture for Joan’s grandson, Zane, who has a fascination about it. We snapped a picture then took the bus to the Opera. We had to find a WiFi spot to map the location so we headed to Starbucks. Once there we decided to eat at a tiny brasserie next door because it had a picture of a “tortiflette” in its window. Tortiflette is a gluten free option for Joan. However, they did not, in fact, offer tortiflette but we ate there anyway. By now it was raining and I had lost my umbrella the day before so we stopped in at Galleries Layfayette (because we hadn’t been punished enough last time). Needless to say that we never made it to the shoe store. But Joan bought a cute light jacket (because the 6 she brought weren’t enough) and I bought a new umbrella that I hope will be less enthusiastic about turning inside out than my last one.

Arc de Triomphe on a cloudy Paris day.
Arc de Triomphe on a cloudy Paris day.
This is the non-tortiflette brasserie. You can't see it well but the burgundy-haired girl has a burgundy fur hat in her purse.
This is the non-tortiflette brasserie. You can’t see it well but the burgundy-haired girl has a burgundy fur hat in her purse.

Today we left our apartment around 10:30am to visit the Porte de Vanves flea market. It was a couple of hundred vendors hocking books, art, loads of silverware odd dolls and other collectibles. I have read there is a large furniture trade at this market but didn’t see it (Again. I came here once with David and we didn’t find it then either). So, if anyone reading knows where the furniture at Vanves is, let us know.  I did get a scrumptious 5.50e pizza/drink/brownie combo when we were leaving the market but neither of us bought anything else.

Joan looking at bric a brac at the Vanves flea market.
Joan looking at bric a brac at the Vanves flea market.
Yikes! This doll is scary! I mean Michael Jackson, not the severed head.
Yikes! This doll is scary! I mean Michael Jackson, not the severed head.
This tacky dog at the Vanves flea market made me homesick for Jersey.
This tacky dog at the Vanves flea market made me homesick for Jersey.

8 Comments

  1. Nice blog. I think I am signed up now. Looks like you are having a good time. By the way it that a tree behind Joan in the one picture or is that her hair? Maury is right if that’s the case curl cream???

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  2. I looked up tartiflette and who can argue with potatoes and gooey cheese? I have heard about these museums. There’s supposedly a Picasso one near the Place de Concord, but I was never able to find it. My envy deepens.

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    1. Yes, there is a Picasso Museum in the Marais district but, alas, I understand it is closed for renovations till August. Surely they loaned se of their collection to a neighboring museum? Will let you know. So sad you can’t come see us!

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    2. Don’t think I didn’t pause when Joan, who dislikes wine and can’t eat bread, wanted to come to Paris! But she’s a trooper and is finding lots of gluten free options. We will do a blog post on what she has found before long.

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  3. AO-when we went to Porte de Vanves there wasn’t much, so it may be that the marketing is better than the product! On the small museum front, have you been to the Musee Carnavalet? I went on my last trip and really enjoyed it…

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  4. I have been searching flights but they are so expensive! My friend Theasa is having her annual birthday party in Paris on the 16th and I was thinking that made it a must because of the two-fer. Unfortunately, the flight is more than I can justify for four days in Paris in February. I am going to keep looking.

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