I have had many delicieux meals so far in Paris. The irony of this post is that I write it sitting in a “greasy spoon” of very poor quality and poor tasting food—tourist trap! Cest la vie!
The subject of this post in NOT the one bad meal, but one spectacular meal I enjoyed last night! The scallops I ordered for the main course were so perfectly seared that after I cut each one in half, I had to glare at the middle in awe at the perfection, prior to each bite! It was an extended, glorious, extravagant meal! The story of how I found this perfect and beautiful —and very French!— restaurant is amusing, and will follow. First, the experience...the food!
Please click "Read More" link to right, belowslideshow...
My temporary flats in Paris. The first two nights, I stayed in Quartier Latin, which I really liked, south of the Seine and a few miles from Louvre. The last two nights I will spend further north, in Montmarte, near Moulin Rouge haha. Very different neighborhoods!
...which means” Where to begin?”
And yes, perhaps the beginning is the best, for even there is where I started, however late.
The weeks leading up to my departures have, of course, been crazy busy. I must have been tired (surprise, surprise!) for I slept until nearly 1pm today. By the time I woke up, nursed my exhausted body in the bath tub (oh thank you, tub-tub-tub!), and figured out how to get to the Louvre, ride the bus, get a bus ticket, locate the Caravaggio in the Louvre, and enjoy my cafe creme and thé Earl Grey, it was 5pm! So I ubered to the musee and prompltly felt overwhelmed. After asking directions 3 times, and receiving them in English each time, and getting lost three times (I excel at following directions, navigating, and have a keen sense of direction; I was receiving very poor, contradictory directions), I looked up and saw The Fortune Teller over the right shoulder of the Louvre docent, as he was pointing far down the hall away from the painting!
Please click the link, "Read More", below the slideshow...
“Woke like this”
... and no it ain’t pretty LOL
Must’ve been tired... went to bed at 10pm and slept til 1pm...!
French milk is delicious!
Cafe creme, hot bath, and then...
“Musée du Louvre, je viens!”
Here I come Louvre!
I can read French pretty well (at least a menu LOL) and when I listen to my translator app, I can mimic it “tres bien”.
The waiter did not scoff; he understood everything I said, even questions and declarations about my first day in Paris “Mi premier jour a Paris, et super!”
I hope all your kids are taking Latin: my years of Latin have served me well in Europe: I have easily learned Spanish (Spain/Tex-Mex, Mexico), French, and Italian, though Portuguese was harder! The indententations of language learned in HS and Uni remain as I learned Hangeul (Korean) and now Potonghua (Mandarin)!
Yes, yes, yes... now to the subject of this post: Caravaggio! Ah, sigh. I fell in love with the works of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio during my first art appreciation class at Uni. That simple, basic class opened doors of creativity: I began to paint with oils, experiment with color and drawing, and began to read, read, read (oh, surprise) about the “great” artists. My favorite, out of many rococco-stylists became MMC; his utilisation of darkness, made keen by light (though others say it the other way around), entranced me. I can stare for an hour at his work; seeking what hides in each refraction and reflection, each painted eye screams in silence its secrets to me, each drop of water - or blood - claims from me its individual recognition of existence, and all the chiaroscuro envelops me heart. I have yet to understand why and how a painting can bring me to tears—yes, there is the surface understanding of beauty and awe at talent. but the deeper resonance of an artist’s soul connecting to mine is what I cannot fathom, centuries-dead artists, at that.
Retracing my steps back to Art 101 (haha), I am viewing for the first time, the work of MMC, and I am in love with chiaroscuro and the force of his hand. Through the decades, I have seen his followers at the Chicago Museum of Art, print versions inside magazines... but the real-thing? The work of his very hands? YES! First, St. Francis of Assisi in Ecstacy at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT; at the Uffizi in Firenze, Italia: Medusa, and The Sacrifice of Isaac, and Bacchus; and years later—right under my nose, at the Kimbell in Ft. Worth, TX!!--The Cardsharps! I may have passed several of his works at The Met in NYC, but that would have been prior to my knowledge of him, having visited while still in Uni. And now, not a grand finale by any means, but grand in all respects, I will see yet another MMC at Musee deu Louvre! OMG, I am finally visiting the Louvre! And I will stand in front of The Fortune Teller! In fact, I will stop writing this and go now!
Did I mention I am so grateful to be in Paris, to visit the Louvre, to visit Victor Hugo’s apartment... to...to...to...
To live this life! Merci!
Je suis reconnaissant de vivre cette vie!
I arrived along the streets of Paris a la Uber; amid snow flurries and spattered graffiti along an ugly highway beyond Charles DeGaulle. Without surprise, the airport was difficult to navigate, though I flew through customs as fast as we flew to Paris (metaphorically, it took less than 5 minutes, not 7 hours, LOL)
This morning (it was, afterall, morning somewhere), I awoke as we crossed over the Celtic Sea, feeling refreshed and rested and my body clock set to Paris time! Later, we flew over the serpentine of the Seine, with its iced, white-frozen-froth banks—it was a winter cappuccino scene. I slept as I had hoped: falling asleep quickly (thank you to the overdose of melatonin) and sleeping through the flight. I awakened an hour before touch down, with time to come back to consciousness, wash my face, eat a snack (what’s dinner?), and drink copious amounts of coffee.
My temporary holiday-home is lovely: a full library (why I chose it?? Pictures of books!), hygge, but a bit chilled. Hopefully the radiators will do their work by the time I return from my lunch/dinner. Matteo, a friend of the host greeted me and gave me a tour and instructions— quite kind of them to speak English to me. I feel irresponsible and rude for not having prepared my language skills.