Monday, April 26, 2010

Second Day

There was a possibility of a double visit today--Musée du quai Branly and Musée Rodin--but it did not come to pass. I tend to spend too much time in a museum when I get there to be able to manage two in one day. So, Musée du quai Branly won out over Rodin today.

I took the métro to Invalides and walked from there up to the quai d'Orsay and headed west. It was another glorious day, and all the gilt was shining brightly!
Here is one of the entrances to the museum, advertising one of the special exhibitions that I particularly wanted to see:
The museum's website describes the permanent collections in this way: "An unpartitioned geographical itinerary comprising 5,450 artefacts from all four corners of the world. At the end of the ‘ramp’, the long winding walkway that spirals up from the reception hall, the permanent collections area presents the great geographical regions in which the Musée du quai Branly’s remarkable collections originated: Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas. The visitor makes his way fluidly across them, taking in the major crossroads between civilisations and cultures: Asia-Oceania, Insulindia, and Mashreck-Maghreb".

I have to admit that after about ninety minutes I began to go into MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) mode! This museum is worth several return visits.

Some of my favorite exhibits were the textiles:
But the Christian paintings from Ethiopia were great, too:
And the exposition "Autres Maîtres de l'Inde" was wonderful.
Perhaps my favorite artist was Jivya Soma Mashe, with his fascinating depictions of village life and mythology in white on brown:
The museum building itself is pretty cool:
After a nice lunch at the Café Branly, I wandered back to the Right Bank and took the métro back to the hotel.
En effet, I was a tired but happy girl!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

First Day, Continued

After I left the church, I had every intention of going directly to the Orangerie, but the best laid plans must be put aside when one notices that the bright green facade of E. Dehillerin is right on the corner of rue du Louvre! One of my longterm goals has always been to visit this family enterprise frequented by Julia Child. Since 1820, as their website says, "Dehillerin distributes high quality kitchen and pastry utensils for the catering professionnals, as well as hobby cookers." I only ventured a short way into the shop, crowded with people and product, and never descended to the sous-sol. But at least I have now been inside and I even purchased a small memento: an Eiffel Tower cookie cutter.
Well, then it was time to visit the Orangerie, n'est-ce pas? Not! I got as far as the Palais Royal and felt the urge to stroll in the gardens. Many other people had the same idea since the day was so beautiful.
This fellow is quite attractive to the plump pigeons who call the gardens home:
Isn't this a wonderful position for reading?
After the gardens, I wandered into another bookstore! But finally I returned to my neighborhood and took an early dinner at Les Cascades. A very good start to the Paris sojourn!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

First Day

Beautiful! Paris is always magnificent, but especially under a sunny sky, and that is exactly what I had yesterday. This glorious weather is expected to continue through the weekend at least. The only problem this presents is that one doesn't want to spend too much of one's days indoors. I tried to balance indoors and outdoors. I started at the Forum des Halles, where I picked up my ticket for the Louvre at FNAC Spectacle. Of course, I couldn't just leave this massive bookstore without browsing! An hour later... Here is a photo from the Forum:
My ultimate goal for the day was the Orangerie, so I headed in that direction but never got there. Instead I spent some time in the church of Saint-Eustache, previously the parish church of the market of Les Halles (the vendors were moved to Rungis in 1969).

Here are just a few of the many photos I took at this magnificent church:
Colbert is buried here:
There's some wonderful stained glass:
I marveled at the grace of the stonework:
The organ is imposing:
And the painted columns and ceilings are beautiful:
And here is a representation of the removal of the vendors to Rungis:
Oops! I just noticed that my second day in Paris is getting away from me, so this post will have to be continued...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Me voilà à Paris!

No photos yet, but I am firmly established at my hotel of choice (Hotel de la Porte Dorée) here in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. It took a few days but I managed (thanks go to M. Emile at Amex in Luxor) to get a Business Class seat yesterday from Cairo. The best part was that I was upgraded to First Class! Un vrai luxe!

The weather here is wonderful--nippy but sunny--and I plan to do a lot of walking. Visits to the Louvre, the Orangerie, Musée Rodin, Musée du quai Branly, bois de Vincennes, perhaps the Musée Guimet are on the agenda. And of course a rendezvous with the coiffeur! And lots of good French wine, cheese, and bread!!

Here are a couple of photos from my sojourn in Cairo to tide you over until I've taken some photos of Paris. A cat in a window in the Eastern Cemetery:
Moi in the courtyard of the tomb complex of Barquq (also in the Eastern Cemetery):
And the Coptic Museum by night:

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Rituals

I can't remember the last time I attended Easter Mass; it was certainly well before I started coming to Luxor for the season. But last night Christian and I walked over to the Franciscan church (built in 1895) near Luxor Temple for the 9:30 service. It began as we all went out to the courtyard to light our candles from the Paschal candle (the "Holy Fire"). We re-entered the lovely little church and Mass began. It was quadrilingual--no, make that quintilingual (is that a word? maybe quinquelingual?): Latin, Italian, French, German and English! Shades of my childhood: incense (I do love incense!), blessing of the holy water and recital of our Baptismal vows, the unveiling of the Christ statue (which has been covered since Good Friday)...

And children never change: two rows ahead of us there were three little girls sitting with two nuns. The girls were all dressed in pink-and-white frocks and each one had donned a pair of either gleaming gold or silver sandals. Of course, they were much more interested in the people attending Mass than they were in the ritual itself!

Here is a photo of the church and courtyard taken just after the service ended:
Afterward, enjoying the slightly cooler night air (103 F yesterday, folks!), we strolled to the Oasis Café only to find it closed for the night. So we decided to try the Metropolitan on the lower Corniche, where we would have Nile-side seating. The cappuccino was decent, although not as good as the Oasis's iced version, and the view was extraordinary:
As we were preparing to make the short trip back to CH, we both noticed a rather bizarre life-size poster showing Sarko and Carla during their visit to Luxor a couple of years ago:
Not quite sure what that's all about but..."Smile, you are in Luxor!"

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Cat-a-combing Cairo

There are lots of cats in the streets of Islamic Cairo but they were usually moving too quickly for me to "capture" them!

These two were quite hopeful about getting some lunch:
Welcome cat?
Shopping for "antiques":
"On the bricks" in the courtyard at the Blue Mosque:
And one "ringer" at the Gayer-Anderson Museum next door to the Ibn Tulun Mosque: