Sunday in Paris
Had a great evening last night in a small town not far out of Paris with friends from my Camino in 2008. I was made very welcome. Liliane cooked a Basque recipe and we looked at some 2008 photos. Then I had a small but sufficient experience of traffic on the motorway on the edges of Paris, before we headed onto a quieter road that took us past the forest and chateau of Vincennes and the statue of St Louis.
I slept very well again in my quiet hotel room, longer than I intended. (Will need to set the alarm on Tuesday morning to get to the airport at the proper time!)
I had decided to head to Notre Dame to hear the music at the Gregorian Mass and it didn't disappoint. The French seem to have an endless supply of excellent cantors to lead such events, and the organ music was exciting.
Next I rediscovered how many kilometers one can walk as a tourist in a city like Paris. I began in the Quartier Latin, where I had some lunch, then took to the banks of the Seine and headed to the Musee de l'Orangerie.
It's been third time lucky for me to see this treasure trove of art. In 2006 it was closed for renovation, and when I arrived in Paris this time it was closed because of a nearby Sarkosy rally. But this time I even hit the 'free' Sunday. And I so loved seeing works by Renoir, Picasso, Gauguin, Cezanne and other Impressionists. And to see some of Monet's waterlily paintings was very special and humbling. It almost seemed like the old man was still there, noticing the play of light on the pond as it changed each day.
I arrived back in my hotel room in time to catch a bit of the Tour de France on the tv. Then wandered around Montmartre with the evening tourist hordes. I am clearly in tourist land when the most common tongue I hear around me is American.
Now I am watching Spain vs Italy in the European Cup final. Spain are 2-0 ahead at this stage. To my non-expert and probably biased eye, it seems to me that Spain are showing more determination, teamwork and control- and Italy are hoping individual flair and some dramatic effects for the referee will win the day.
One day left for some Parisian exploring...
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