Friday, October 30, 2015

Au revoir, Paris

Fountain before Le Eglise de Saint-Suplice
Tomorrow, I bid farewell to Paris. Off on the morning train to Metz, thence to Luxembourg.

These last two days have been packed full of sight-seeing. Yesterday, I visited the Petit Palais (free admission and no line!) and viewed its collection of French art.

Entrance to le Petit Palais
Grand foyer of le Petit Palais
Woman with monkey
Paris street scene
The Good Samaritan
A Monet
Elaborate vase
"Allow me to light your smoke, Madam."
Then, this morning, I went to the Cluny Museum to see medieval art from that dark time between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance.

Medieval altar piece
Stained glass
The Lady and the Unicorn: Tapestry from the Middle Ages
More stained glass
Afterward, I took a stroll through the Jardins de Luxembourg and visited the small museum there. This afternoon I finished the day with a visit to the Paris aquarium and a walk through the Daumesnil Park.

Red piranhas at the Paris aquarium
I've spent a lot of time on this amazing journey enjoying high art. Great works of art inspire and mystify. And for art lovers, Paris is the mother lode.

Arc d'Triomphe
But Paris is more than the home of great works of art. It's a laboratory for politics, cuisine, and fashion. It's a cultural center of the world, an ancient civilization, and the former seat of a vast world empire.

Paris is not the friendliest city. People are often short-tempered and impatient. And everything here is expensive.

But, to the good, Paris is racially diverse and fully integrated. And there are many people here who are kind and good and willing to take the time to help a lonesome traveler with a tenuous grasp of the French language. And, just like people everywhere, Parisians will almost always respond to a smile and a hand offered in friendship.

So I thought I'd end this post with some photos of the people I've encountered while I've been here. Because, after all, Paris, for all its mystique and glamour, is really just the people who live there.

N'est ce pas?

Beggar on Champs-Elyseé
Friends on the Metro
Woman practicing her swordsmanship in Jardins de Luxembourg
Parisians enjoying Daumesnil Park
Chinese woman from whom I bought supper while in Paris
On the Metro
Serious security at the Eiffel Tower
Pony rides in Daumesnil Park

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