July 6, 2014 – Paris.
From my journal:
Took the bus to La Cité and got a big coffee at Patisserie Paul on Boulevard Saint-Michel. Walked the ‘historic Paris walk’ (R. Steves). Saw Notre-Dame from the outside. The lines were huge, in the thousands, which discouraged us from going in. We left the flat without our rain gear, so we went back to our room and returned. Bought an umbrella, as we had left Marc’s on the bus. We went to Shakespeare & Co., which was cooler than I expected. I think I spent an hour in there, in part because I thought I was shopping a used section upstairs for some small, old keepsake volume, when in fact I was browsing their library! I had selected a volume of Milton – sermons. Laura had found “Poems by Captain Noah,” and at checkout I grabbed a S & Co blank notebook. I’ve been trying to think of a special purpose I could give it – writing ideas, or a publication ledger.
The ex-pat writers who frequented this store inspire me – not only due to their talent and breaking new ground – but because they exercised a new freedom to experiment, to be different, and chart a new creative course without anyone’s permission – although they also needed a certain degree of acceptance and encouragement, if only in their own circle. I feel a need and desire for that kind of freedom. God willing, I will live and work in it.
We walked toward the Orsay and the rain increased. We got quite wet. Along the way we happened upon a Protestant church just letting out and chatted with a young couple for few minutes. We also ate some lunch .
At the Orsay (Musee d’Orsay) the line we thought was for ticket was several blocks long, and did not seem normal. We stood for at least an hour and the rain soaked us through. Once inside we realized the reason for the lines: free admission!
Oh, I was in heaven. The last part, the fifth floor Impressionist collection is a dream. I love them all, but am especially fond of Sisley and Pissarro. A superb collection that delighted me beyond description.
We went back to our room to eat and take a nap, as we planned to be up late. We took a bus up to Montmarte, where we walked from the Cemetery at Rue Josephe de Maistre up to the Basilica.
There was a party atmosphere as we joined the crowd to watch the Paris nightfall. I love the area around the Consulate, but we didn’t linger. We bused over to the Trocadero and viewed the Eiffel Tower. It was after midnight by then. We walked toward the Tower in the hopes of catching a bus or the Metro, but we soon learned that the Metro had ceased for the night, and we couldn’t figure out the bus, so we hailed a taxi for home.