Paris, France

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The Eiffel Tower is the iconic symbol of Paris France. We live in an international world. The Italian taxi driver who took us to the Rome Airport drove a Japanese car and played American rock and roll on an FM station. The Chinese driver who took us to our hotel from the Paris Airport drove a German Mercedes Benz and played Italian Opera on the FM radio (we preferred the latter). The downside of this internationalism is that the block where our hotel is located contains three Italian, two Chinese, and two Japanese restaurants when we happen to be looking for French restaurants. 

The universal mini-skirt; this one in Paris

The line for entering the Lourve is a block long on a quiet Monday morning. The front of the line is shown to the left of the face of the person with the blue backpack - way off in the distance. The IM Pei "pyramide" is shown in the background.

Inside the Lourve lining up for tickets
View of a statue of King Louis XIV A statue dedicated to La Victorie de Samothrace

A traveler behind the statue of Venus de Milo. Created sometime between 130 and 100 BC, it is believed to depict Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love and beauty (Venus to the Romans). The sculptor is unknown. 

Another traveler next to the "Dying Slave" by Michelangelo.

Just inside of the Lourve A view from the Lourve

The traveler is in the one of the rare rooms in the world that possesses four self-portraits of Rembrandt. At Elyria High School (Ohio), this traveler was taught that the "big three" in the arts were Beethoven, Rembrandt, and Shakespeare. Although the pronouncements of the teachers have not always passed the test of time, this dictum has. 

Another traveler viewing Rembrandt's Bathsheba in the Lourve

A traveler in the Marie de' Medici room of the Louvre containing about 20 paintings by Peter Paul Rubens about life of a queen of France. We saw a magnificent self portrait of Rubens in the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney Australia) that is included in this travelogue.

Another view in the same gallery

Another traveler in the Marie de' Medici room of the Louvre to give you an idea of the large size of this gallery 

Fortunately, the two travelers have had close-up views of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo de Vinci many years ago, but on this Monday it was impossible to get near the painting.

A traveler examining two paintings by Vermeer. A traveler enjoying coffee outside of the Louvre

After a hard day of touring at the Louvre, the travelers went shopping at the nearby Galleries Lafayette. This store was as busy and crowded as Macy's on Harold Square in New York or the Mast on Main Street in Hendersonville. This store was so crowded that there was a waiting line (shown on the right) to enter the Chanel boutique above within the store.

A street entertainer outside of Galleries Lafayette. Street entertainers abound in this city as demonstrated in the next photo. Like Rome, beggars also ply their trade on the streets and in the subways. 

The above photo shows a group of street entertainers at the Museum D'Orsay, which is located on the left bank of Paris France. The three in the front row are smoking cigarettes. We noted that smoking is more prevalent in Asia, Rome, and Paris than it is in the USA. We learned about the Left Bank from Miss Wilcox, an Elyria High School French teacher, who was known to swat the head of this traveler (Bob) in 1956-57 for his spontaneous remarks made in class. The Museum D'Orsay is probably the greatest Impressionist museum in the world. It has a large quantity of high quality paintings including about 50 works from the first Impressionist showing in 1874. 

The museum also contains many paintings by Monet, Manet, Renoir, van Gogh, Sisley, Pissarro, Cezanne, Morisot, Cassatt, and Sauret, etc. It also contains several Rodin sculptures (we plan on going to the Rodin Museum so look out for more). The Museum D'Orsay also contains several classical impressionist paintings include "Olympia" and "Dejeuner sur l'Herbe" by Edouard Manet, five "Rouen Cathedrals" by Claude Monet, and "Dans un Cafe" by Edgar Degas. Unfortunately photographing objects of are is forbidden, but photographing the museum per se is permitted, as shown above. Note the large train station clock in the background.

This museum was built in a railway station that was initially erected in 1900. The above photo gives an idea of the size of the station and now museum. 

In the afternoon, we went to the Pantheon in the Latin Quarter of Paris, which commemorates many of France's important people. The facade is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. 

A traveler in front of a mural by CH Purvis

The basement contains crypts of notable French men and women. A traveler in front the the crypt of Marie (born in Poland) and Pierre (born in France) Curie who were enshrined here in 1995. Pierre (1859-1906) won the prize in physics for his and Marie's work on radioactivity; he was killed in Paris when he slipped and fell in the rain and was run over by a horse-drawn cart on Rue Dauphine. Madam Curie (1867-1924) won two Nobel Prizes, one in physics with her husband and the other in chemistry. Her chemistry prize was awarded for her discovery of radium and polonium. The Curies were the first to use the term radioactivity. The Curies daughter, Irene Joliet-Curie, also received a Nobel Prize in physics. 

A Pantheon employee is setting a 70-yard Foucault pendulum in motion. The experimental apparatus consists of a tall pendulum free to swing in any vertical plane. The actual plane of swing appears to rotate relative to the Earth; in fact the plane is fixed in space while the Earth rotates under the pendulum. Foucault employed a similar pendulum in the Pantheon to demonstrate the rotation of the earth in 1851. 

A traveler in front of the crypt of Marcelin Berthelot, one of the founders of chemistry. As we go from mentor to student, there is a straight line covering 10 generations from Berthelot → Gay-Lussac → Liebig → Kekulé → von Baeyer → Fischer → Warburg → Myerhof → Lipmann → Roskoski. Nearly every chemist or biological chemist has a similar lineage as the last named person. 

A traveler having breakfast at the Hotel Lumen in Paris France. The breakfasts here are very similar to those served at the Hotel San Anselmo in Rome. Surprisingly, the Paris hotel serves prosciutto (a dry-cured thinly sliced Italian ham), whereas the Rome hotel did not. However, the Rome hotel had a most agreeable garden in which to partake breakfast that is lacking here in Paris. 

Every block in Paris seems to have one of the establishments shown above, and the French know how to make pastries and tarts. We're on our way to the Museum Marmottan/Monet.

A traveler in front of a statue of La Fontaine, a fable writer, who wrote a fable about a fox (shown above). This statue is located in a park near the Museum Marmottan.

This courteous Frenchman provided directions to the Museum Marmottan from the Subway, or Metro, and took the photo of two travelers shown below. The subways were quieter than those of New York, but they were as crowded as those of Beijing during rush hour. Unfortunately, the travelers failed to document this assertion with photos. 

The subways in Paris are quiet but very crowded at rush hour. Unlike Rome, there is little graffitti on the cars. 

Two travelers in front of La Fontaine statue

A traveler in front of the Museum Marmottan. Unfortunately, photography of the objects of art is not permitted. This museum contains the largest collection of Claude Monet's paintings in the world. It also contains Monet's "Impression Sunrise" (1872) from which the whole movement received its name. The critics were hostile toward this painting because it was too radical and the term was meant in disparagement. Now we think of Impressionism as benign and not at all radical. 

8 oz of this French beer cost about $1.20. It's not competitive with the Asheville Tourists thirsty Thursday's prices. 

The florists in Paris do a marvelous job in preparing bouquets. The above bouquet cost the equivalent of $10, a price similar to that of the world-renowned Curb Market in Hendersonville, NC.

A traveler in Tuileries Garden in Paris. The Louvre is in the far background.

Enjoying the afternoon in the Tuileries Garden How do they mow the lawn in the Tuileries Garden? Goats.
A traveler in front of a pond in the garden Relaxing some more in the Tuileries Garden
Another enjoyable moment in the Tuilieres Garden

The two photographers who took the adjacent photo "hamming it up" for the camera

At the Petit Saint Benoit Restaurant. It's said that this restaurant, which is favored by Parisian writers, has not changed since the 1930's. We probably liked the restaurant because we haven't changed since the 1930's.

This cartoon (1998) was a gift of a patron of the Petit Saint Benoit Restaurant. Since this is a family travelogue, we translate the above cartoon as "It's good and hearty at the little Saint Benoit restaurant." Surly this refers to the food. 

A traveler in the well-kept and manicured Tuilieres Garden

In front of the Museum L'Orangerie. This museum contains 8 large Water Lilies by Claude Monet each of which is about 6 ft. by 55 ft. Unfortunately photography was forbidden.

Within the grounds of the Rodin Museum. The spire in the background belongs to Les Invalides, where Napoleon Bonaparte is interred. 

Another traveler near the Museum L'Orangerie in front of Place de la Concorde
Rodin's bust of the author Victor Hugo

A traveler in the Garden of the Rodin Museum. In the background is Rodin's "The Gates of Hell."

A traveler with the Rodin's sculpture of the writer Balzac Rodin's St. Peter, who is holding the key to heaven.

Waiting in line to enter the Centre George Pompidou, which advertises itself as the most important museum of modern art in all of Europe.

A traveler in front of a Jean Miro painting from his "blue" period. Miro is a favorite of Jim and Sherryn Trescott of Macedonia (Ohio, not the Republic).

Near the exit of the Centre George Pompidou Near the entrance of another museum. 

In front of the Jaquemart Andre Museum. Unfortunately photography is forbidden inside, but the travelers saw two Rembrandts, a few Van Dykes, and a Jacque Louis David painting.

In the garden of the museum

Although we had trouble finding "authentic" French Restaurants at first, we found three in the "alley" behind the Hotel Lumen, including the Auberge St. Roch shown above.

As in Sydney Australia, we observed a lot of cocktail pickups of various sorts. In this case it was the jeune fille who was doing the heavy lifting. 

A bevy of people sitting around a pool near the Louvre entrance on a Saturday afternoon

Paris police on the Louvre beat. Note that they are wearing roller blades in order to pursue and apprehend any perps, if necessary.

In the lobby of the Hotel Lumen

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris France. There are people on the top of the church on this Saturday Evening.

People watching on a Saturday evening on the left bank

Waiting for the end of la tour de France bicycle race on Sunday 22 July 2012 in Paris

A view of the Museum D'Orsay from the Tuilieres garden across the Seine River. Note the large clocks on the right and left.

A traveler atop the Museum D'Orsay. The Seine river is below and the Louvre Museum is in the background.

One of the two large clocks in the Museum D'Orsay A view of the same clock on the left from the inside of the museum

People in Paris enjoy their ice cream as attested to by the line above, which was about 30 yards long, with people waiting to purchase a treat on the Ile of St. Louis in Paris on a Sunday afternoon.

A traveler working a puzzle while waiting for Air France Flight 1600 from Paris to Madrid.


Created 16 July 2012; updated 23 July 2012

Robert Roskoski Jr. Laura Roskoski