Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More of Jenny & Gordon's Magical Adventure

Are you ready for more Paris photos? This is truly the most magical city ever; if you aren't already planning a trip, real or imagined, I can only wonder why not?

These first few photos are from our cruise down the Seine which passes all the highlights beginning with Gordon's favorite, the Notre Dame.

Our cruise was timed to span daylight to dark to take advantage of the most spectacular views. And all the more romantic.

No doubt I was told the name of this spectacular statue, but there are literally hundreds of spectacular statues all over the city -- on top of buildings, beside buildings, and like this one which flanks St. Alexander Bridge. I refer to it as "The Pretty Bridge, i.e."Gordon, did you get a picture of the Pretty Bridge? Are you sure? Are we too far away? We aren't too close are we? I really want a picture of the pretty bridge."

"Are you sure you got it? I don't think you got it -- try again."

"But that was with a flash... are you sure you got it?" I don't think he got it... but it's such an exquisite bridge, white draped with gold garland flanked with pillars, dotted with statuary. Even if he'd gotten it, a picture could never be quite the same.

The Paris convention Center, taken here on the ground on the way to the cruise is a dazzling building with an enormous glass roof. You can see part of the roof behind the horse statues a couple of pictures up. The roof is so predominant that it became my landmark of choice, as in, "No, Sweetie, we haven't crossed the bridge yet... follow there's the glass dome -- that's where we're headed."

The most famous landmark of all, the Eiffel Tower, was glowing a rich otherworldly, jaw-dropping blue after dark.

One place you could not see the glass dome (or the Eiffel Tower) was from the St. Ouen Puces (flea market). Located in the gritty underbelly of Paris, it felt like we'd taken the Metro to a world apart. The area surrounding the flea market was run down and dirty, yet you walk down the street to vendor stalls that feature pricely bronze and marble statues, crystal chandeliers, antique furniture. Exquisite things are settled next to junk, trash is piled beside treasures.

Most items were far far too expensive to contemplate... and frankly many of them were just too big. There was one ceramic rabbit soup tourrine that called to me... In the end I opted to not fret over a china bunny for the rest of the trip.

I did pick up a few pieces of lace -- nothing very remarkable about it other than the lady who owned the stall seemed kind... and desperate.

This inventive fellow seranaded the lunch crowd. He played Frank Sinatra tunes before passing his leather purse in lieu of a hat.

More inventive still is this guy who has made a strolling grill right there in his shopping cart. Nestled inside the cart is a charcoal stove. A wire wrack is suspended over the cart -- on that wire wrack are a dozen or so ears of corn cooking away. This is especially for the American tourists -- Europeans don't much fancy corn... it's mostly reserved as pig food.

This shot was irresistable -- after several days in Paris, after the flea market and just before we were to leave, it seemed wise to run a couple of loads of laundry. It looks like most American laudromats -- rather than putting coins in the machine of your choice, the coins are deposited in a single repository (there on the left) and you push the number of the machine you want to run.

And here we are in the courtyard of our hotel dining on bits of fruit and cheese, meats and wines, breads and crackers and a pastry or two gathered fron shops and markets for our dinner. This is how we ended most of our days in Paris. (Much as I don't look happy in this picture, fact is, I really really was -- the Chinese tourist who snapped this shot happened to get me at a bad moment. Oops.)