Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Paris the Spring 2016 - and in the summer, 1910

The rain stopped for us in Paris... Well, not just for us, but it felt that way.

As we taxied it from de Gaulle at 10 in the morning the driver said that this was the first sun they'd seen in a while

Well, I knew.

I had spent the week before lamenting the weather forecast,wondering what to pack as I watched the wet and weird tennis tourney at Rolland Garros, with all the fans shivering in the stands, what there were of them.

But the rain stopped for us.

The sun came out in the courtyard of the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles were we stayed.

 We slept with the windows wide open, no screens.It was great!

We ate our 'big' meal at a restaurant a bit further off, with a 100 euro tasting menu which friends had recommended as being worth 'twice' that amount.

It was located on a narrow street (of course) and the garbage was piled high outside the door. Slowdown!

Quelle mess!

But it was still OK.

By the end of our four day stay, the garbage at the Mouffetard, a hop and a step from our hotel did get a bit disgusting though.

I didn't snap a pic of it. Why bother? Who wants that memory?

Whoops. No flash.

We didn't have to wait at all the Musee D'Orsay as people didn't seem to realize it had re-opened after the floods. The waiter at the restaurant lamented that he had lost 4 days of pay. The spring weather has not been kind to Parisiens. Doesn't my high school friend look like Claire Danes?

 I like to snap pictures of people looking at paintings, especially if their clothes match the work of art!

Do I look suitably shocked!

Here's a bit from the diary of  my husband's great aunt Elizabeth, first cousin to MacArthur who visited Paris in 1910, the time of the Great Flood...

August 17: France is reached. Landed at 6:30 at Havre. Spent a very comfortable night. Had stateroom to myself. Ate breakfast aboard ship. Had baggage inspected and departed.

Mr and Mrs. Suinon met me and we took a taxi to the Balzac, a very fine Hotel. Everything exceedingly nice.

Had lunch (what did you eat?) then visited the Luxenbourg Galleries, very very interesting.

In the evening after dinner we went out on the Champs Elysees and walked the Arc de Triomphe.

Paris is WONDERFUL. Much grander and everything more delightful than London!

Went to bed early. I was nearly dead. Had tea at a lovely little shoppe.

August 18th.

Very warm. Ate breakfast and then went shopping with the Seuris. Stores quite bewildering. Returned to the hotel for lunch and went out again as soon as we changed our gowns. Went to see Miss Boyd of Washington at the Contremartre (?) and then the stores again.

We had tea at Fullers and then went back to the Balzac. I ate dinner alone as the Sieuris we out. Very tired. Am going to bed.

August 19th.

Had breakfast at nine thirty and Mrs. S. and I drove Mr S to the station. He deposited his bags and then spent an hour shopping with us. We visited the Madeleine before returning to the hotel and it was well worth the trip.

In the afternoon we called for Miss Alice Boyd and took a taxi and I sailed down the Champs Elysees in great style. Had tea, visited several stores, then returned for dinner.

Dressed and then took in the Opera, Sigurd. And no good at all. The opera house was indeed grand and I was glad to have seen it notwithstanding the opera was so poor. Returned to hotel with no adventures to relate. Paris does not appear to me so wicked as pictured. (Editor's note: Go to Montmarte for a bit of wickedness! While you are there, buy some pictures from a short stalky guy called Picasso. Bring them home and leave them to your nephew in your will. )

Will soon start sightseeing in earnest
August 19th,

Went to the Russian Church and of all the peculiar services I have ever attended, this was the queerest. The singing was magnificent and the robes the priests wore were wonderful.

After the service the Russian congregation all kissed the crucifix and at the same time went down into their pockets. After the service Mr. Thomas Fair introduced himself to me. He knew all about me. He lives in New York and is in Life Insurance. We walked down the Champs Elysees in the afternoon to the Tuilleries Gardens and as it began to rain, came home in a cab. Had dinner and sat around and talked. Mr and Mrs. Bailey from Puerto Rico, Mrs. Clark, Miss Clark and Mr. Fair. After lunch, rested for a short while and then went to the Louvre. Spent most of the afternoon studying Dutch Flemish.

August 2oth.

Went out at 10 30, took the metro and got off at the Louvre, walked along the bridge and visited several picture shops, made one or two purchases (Picasso, I told you! P-I-C-A-S-S-O. Just have him doodle on a napkin.) on the way to St. Germaine Church. When we got there found out it was not the church we were looking for so retraced our steps. Finally found it and were fully repaid for our trouble. It was from the tower of this church that the signal was given for the slaughter of the Huguenots on St. Bartholomew’s Day 1572. Ate lunch and went out to Pere F?, the quaintest cemetery you have ever seen. One body is placed over another.

August 23:
Went to the Lourve in the morning. Pictures very interesting. Mona Lisa was carefully inspected, but it does not appeal to me in the least. After lunch, shopped and then drove through Parc Monceau. This park is lovely, abloom with flowers, with statuary and strollers galore. Great place for lovers and babies.
August 24th:
Started out at 10. Spent morning at Galleries Lafayette. After lunch went sight seeing. First to Musee Carnabalel. Very uninteresting except for Voltaire's chair and Napoleon's travelling case articles. All gold toothbrush in case with knives and forks, and a small one at that. Courtyard rather pretty and then proceeded to Notre Dame Cathedral.
August 25:
After breakfast visited Napoleon's tomb and was greatly impressed with it. The lights in the tomb were wonderful. Back of it is the chapel belonging to Hotel des Invalides. After that Eiffel Tower. Ascended to the first stop and saw a great view of Paris. Wonderful. The Seine divides Paris in half and this showed to particular advantage as the river boats steamed up and down. Saw an aeroplane high in the sky.

August 27th,

Morning clear and cool enough for a coat. Visited Cook’s office to ascertain about the Chateau districts. Continued down street in a taxi and shopped until Lunch time. Met Miss Lucille Howard at Rumpelmayer’s and had tea with her.

August 28th

Had breakfast at nine in Mrs. S’s room and then dressed for church. Went to St. Sulpice for High Mass and heard the best organ in Paris being played by Vidal, one of the finest in the city. Went to the Luxenbourg and again looked at the pictures. After lunch, took a taxi and drove out to the Bois de Boulogne and the chateau for tea. Saw one of the largest crowds since I’ve been in Paris. This is one of the swellest tea houses here, The Bois is lovely. Nothing could be more picturesque than this beautiful drive. Pres Catalan is located in a woodland with the most entrancing walks and a lake where one can row if desired.

The day began quite clear and cool but by night it started to rain but the moon is shining brightly now. Day uneventful. Went to the Bon Marche and Galleries Lafayette. Am sitting in Mrs. S’s room now. Bought some handkerchiefs and gloves. Am going to be early for I am to be picked up early to go to the Louvre.

August 30

Miss Howard called at three past ten and we went downtown to the bank and then proceeded to the Louvre. Stayed there all morning and saw the statue of Venus de Milo, the Tour (?)nay Liery collection and various other gems. In the afternoon had tea at the Hardoma(?) and later visited the shops. Leave tomorrow for Antwerp and also go to Brussels.

Met Gaylord Clark coming from the Venus de Milo room, first time we have met since abroad. He was leaving for England that afternoon.
We went to Bon Marche, too, but I was travelling on a budget. Might as well have been a museum to me.