Yesterday was our last full day in Paris and, though fairly leisurely, we packed a lot in. After a relaxing breakfast and conversation with Jean-Luc we hit the street. Our mission was to gather provisions for a picnic lunch. First we hit Jean-Luc’s favorite boulangerie, Tout Autour Pain, for a loaf of pain complet (whole grain bread).
Bread without cheese is like, well, bread without cheese. So we stopped in at la fromagerie for a quarter kilo of chévre (goat cheese).
Next it was on to the marché for some fruit. Finally to top it off we picked up a bottle of Bourdeux and our meal was complete.
Ann had told us about a hidden garden in the Marais off Rue de Rosier. It wasn’t too tough to find and fairly popular though not too crowded, mostly locals. We sat on a bench and had a lovely repast entertained by a very outgoing crow. I swear he cawed with a French accent.
After lunch we dropped our remaining groceries at our room and took the metro to Place de la Concorde for our visit to Musée de l’Orangerie and our Monet experience. Claude Monet painted Les Nymphéas, known popularly as the Water Lilies, during the last 30 years of his life (roughly 1886 to 1926) as his sight was slowly diminished by cataracts. During that time he produced over 250 paintings of the ponds in his garden at Giverny including the 8 massive murals displayed here. Sitting in one of the two oval rooms especially designed for them and allowing your focus to soften you can feel your blood pressure drop. The color and play of light on the ponds is truly magical. One of the crazy things is that many of the people we saw sitting there were not looking at the paintings directly but rather through their tiny screens. This is something I simply cannot understand.
After a brief rest back at the B&B we made our way to Saint Chapelle, the impossibly ornate gothic chapel on La Île de la Cité, for a chamber music concert. The early evening light through the tall slender stained glass windows lent a warm glow to the room. A string quartet and mezzo soprano presented works ranging from Bach to Mozart to Vivaldi to Bizet. A number of the short pieces rendered different takes on Ave Maria including the definitive Schubert version which was breath taking. The sound of the room was amazing. When the vocalist hit a loud, high note the echo rang around us. It was sublime.
One of the great things about travel is also the toughest. This morning, with a touch of sadness, we bid farewell to our new found friend and host Jean-Luc and boarded the train for Heidelberg.
More on Heidelberg in the next post but for now here’s the view from our lovely room at the Goldener Falke Hotel.