Friday, November 12, 2010

If I were in Paris... November 12, 2010

I would probably be staying out of the way of the protestors. Oy! All France will be out, since the bill raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 is now law as of Wednesday.

It would be a good time to take a brisk walk, perhaps over in the 16th arr., in the Bois de Boulogne area. Few protestors will probably be here, simply because it is out of the way, far on the western side of the city. However, that is not to say there are not some lovely museums and sights in that area or nearby. The Maison de Balzac, home of the famous writer is here (I've never been!). The Musee Guimet, home to a collection of Asian art and artifacts. The Musee Baccarat (crystal and glass), the Musee Clemenceau, the Musee Galliera (fashion and costumes--small but stunning), the curious Musee de Contrefacon (museum of counterfeiting: I must go, next time I am in Paris!), Musee de l'Homme, and the ever-delightful Musee Marmottan-Monet, where a collection of Monet's work hides. This arrondissement holds more museums on more topics than any other section of the city!

I also love this part of the city because it is the "city" of Gigi and Paris's 19th-century playwrights and novelists. This is where the upper middle class families lived in apartment blocks. Les cocottes (some actresses) came here to show off the carriages, horses, furs, jewelry, and couture clothing bought for them by their lovers, and made the staid housewives and daughters envious.


It was a great place for rendez-vous, this "woods" on the outskirts of Paris, more refined than the Bois de Vincennes on the eastern part of town. And near the great racetrack.

And there is great walking: wide avenues with great viewing of people and buildings. After a while, the 16th is all the same, but it is always pleasant.

There is also the great walk of Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore/Rue Saint-Honore, which takes you through the 16th and down into the 1st. A lovely walk ith a 19th-century history, starting at Place des Ternes and ending near Les Halles.

Then one can eat in the inexpensive but again delightful cafe in the Trocadero Palace, entered from behind (away from the Seine). I might even walk all the way to the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de l'Etoile.

This time of year, when dark comes early and the lights are so gorgeous on the boulevards, I love to eat inside cafes and watch out through the windows. They all seem cosy, and the basic French fare is so hearty: roast chicken, onion soup, etc. Even having a simple crepe becomes wonderful, since it is warm and you are warm and the lights are so bright.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Mon Dieu - will it never end?!
    Do you know if they "grandfathered" this arrangement so that people over say, 55 can still retire at 60? I know I'd be mad. I was there for the October 12 strike, not so bad, but the rolling strikes got me.

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