Versailles.

Today up early and on my way to Versailles. All very easy. I just walked two blocks to get the train and I was on my way with a train load of others in the rain. 

It took about 40 mins and I thought I was clearly going to avoid the crowd by going on a Friday – a lower crowd day. Not so. I had per bought my ticket so was ready to hop to the front and found the queue already a mile long. It was raining and cold and I could sympathise with the whining children in front of me. 
Finally got in and the crowds were almost unbearable. We shuffled through and I tried to enjoy myself but it was hard. It eased a little around the fantastic hall of mirrors but not much. I revived by having tea at Angelina, the famous Salon de The.  Then I strolled the large galleries of art before deciding to tackle the gardens. I went out and it was raining and cold so I decided I had seen some great gardens already and Marie Antoinette’s house at the far end of the garden I would look at in movies. I had seen it in 1977 so perhaps it was the same? 

I got the train back to Paris as I had another Opera at 7.30 and I wanted to look my best – not all wind blown. 

Got ready and this time took the metro and got there early so went across the road to look at the special Art exhibition set up in the gardens opposite the Opera House Bastille. Some great art and some way out art. 
I then found my seat. Amazing but no one at the door to check you in? The bell had just gone and not an usher in sight.
Anyway my seat tonight was in the 2nd row, 2nd balcony. Great view. Had a lovely lady from ” the village of Montmarte” as she so charmingly put it next to me. She was elegant and lovely and then her friend arrived and they were both charming. They told me a friend had moved to Brisbane but “it did not agrees with her. She was scared of zee snakes”. I told them it was not unusual to find snakes in the garden, but we were used to them. They looked amazed. 
Then the young man on the other side joined in and I had another new friend. He was on his own as his wife was away and doesn’t like Opera. He was about 30 and was very sweet. I spent interval talking to them and they were all really lovely. The Opera -“Daughter of the Regiment” – was really good. It was a great production and my new friends told me the director and the conductor were well regarded. It was a good production but was in French as were the subtitles – not a word of English, so even though I knew what was going on I missed a lot. There were quite a lot of spoken lines as it was a fairly light opera. One particularly good solo – by the heroine who was to be separated from her new love – brought tears to more than a few eyes. The lady next to me sobbed and was mopping her eyes for several minutes after. The French are so demonstrative! Not usually! 
It ended happily, as all operas do, and down came the French style crowd and cock a doddle dooed . It brought the house down. 
I took the no 69 bus home past the Louvre over the bridge with the view of the Eiffel Tower down Bve St Germaine and I was home.  

All Saints Day.

I have been very quiet since my day of indulgence! But only on this blog . . 
In fact I have been very busy tying to get to the end of my “must do” list for Paris. 

After Wednesday night out by myself I took it slowly again on Thursday and, as it seems to rain every day, I allowed myself a little read in bed before hitting the road. 

I just finished reading “The Submission” recommended by Jill and I loved it. Check it out. It’s about an architect who wins a competition for his design for a memorial for the site of the 9/11 disaster. It’s full of controversy and I really enjoyed it. It will be referred to later in this blog. 
Anyway, it kept me busy this morning until I got myself ready to hit the road. What I love about Paris is the enjoyable walking. I walked a new route and found myself in new areas as I walked to the Rodin museum. It’s in a charming street near  Invalides. It only took me half an hour and I saw lots of interesting things. It was very quite out as today is a public holiday and everyone was sleeping in. By now it was only 10.30 so I wasn’t that late! 
The Rodin Museum is a wonderful place and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t been before. It is located in the old hotel Bodin where Rodin and some other creative souls lived and created. It has a new entrance to the grounds where some of the major sculpture are housed and then you can move into the gardens to view the famous “Thinker” and “The gates of Hell”. 

                                         I think it’s called the Eiffel Tower

                                        Where did I leave my clothes……?

Then you enter the Hotel itself with more wonderful work. His work is magnificent and, having read the book The Submission,  

I was reminded when I read about a competition Rodin entered and was the subject of great controversy when the jury to select the winner couldn’t agree. Very similar to the book. Anyway he became famous bought the beautiful old hotel and donated all his work to France . But the French being …..well French, took some time deciding if they would accept. We call it playing hard to get. 

I kept walking to Invalides and admired its grandeur, and moved on to Champs de Mars to once again admire the Eiffel Tower and then wander back along the route the no 69 takes along Rue St Dominique. I got home by the time the rain started again and rested the feet for an hour before heading out again . This time over the Pont Royal and through the Tuileries. A it was a public holiday everyone was out. I saw the crowds playing games, walking hand in hand, sliding down slippery slides, sitting on the same green chairs I saw in the Luxembourg Garden, drinking wine, playing cards and chess and generally enjoying being out.

Boys will be boys.
This time I didn’t stop. It was much cooler and I was on a mission. I hurried along Rue de Rivoli, past Place Vendome and all the high-end shops and into St Madeleine’s church  where I wanted to hear the organ concert. I stayed for about 45 mins of heart stopping, ear deafening, organ playing to a very diverse crowd.

St Madeleine’s

I then enjoyed window shopping and it may have been a public holiday but all the rich were out in the top-end shops and most people around me were carrying bags! Oh how they loved the luxurious bag here in Paris. With the name clearly on show. Prada, Gucci, Armani, Choo. You name it and the Russians, Chinese and assorted other rich people were toting them around. I tried to maintain an air of mystery as I rubbed shoulders with them – at the windows.

Which one for home?
I shouted myself a glass of wine and slipped home around 8pm for a meagre dinner of quiche. I greeted the team of workmen on my arrival home. I may not have mentioned but the team are working on the unit I share the landing with. There are 3 very polite men there from 8 in the morning till 8 at night. Someone must be paying them a lot to finish and they tell me they be finished on Saturday. They greet me morning and night and make me feel very welcome. Not to mention safe and watched over. 
Off to bed with a new book – Robert Harris “Fear”. Hope I don’t scare myself.