Paris: last day

31 08 2007

The last day in Paris was a flurry of activity trying to see if anyone knew the fate of the missing bike box, trying to procure a cardboard box, looking for packing material.  We finally got everything sorted by around 4.  The guys at Bastille Cycles were pretty helpful in getting us a box.  Jim and I walked in and I said that I didn’t speak French, the one phrase I have got down in French, to which the owners replied, “sure you do, keep going.” There were some touch and go moments, but we managed to get a box and some spare cardboard and hefted it back to the 20th Arrondissement on foot.  Jim and I met up again at 4 to head out on the town and enjoy a little Parisian life to distract us from the impending hassle of the transit through trains and planes the next morning.  We went shopping in the Marais then hit falafel center for a taste test of the best falafel in Paris.  Our decisions were mixed; Jim favored the crisp falafel balls and well mixed assembly of Las Falafel, though I was a fan of the more flavorful eggplant and heavier tahini at Chez Marianne.
Well sated, we went for a whirlwind tour through the Louvre, which is open late on Wednesday.  We strolled through the French and Italian painters slowly, enjoying more the people watching and the setting sun pouring through the Louvre’s west windows and casting long shadows down the exhibit hall.  At 9, we’d reached the end of the hall, in the southwestern most corner of the palace and realized that we’d have to hurry to get back to see the museum’s crown jewel, the Mona Lisa. Getting to her late gave us the advantage of a small crowd and we both hit the room and initially focused on the other works.  I was first drawn to the enormity of the Wedding Feast of Cana.  I approached the Mona Lisa with slow reverence and was immediately struck by the difference.  Where all the other portraits we’d seen in the museum either looked away or stared forward absently, the Mona Lisa gazed out intently, almost inviting you to look longer.  She stood in stark contrast the massive Christ figure opposite her in the Wedding Feast of Cana that stared blankly, inhumanly forward as though both transfixed and bewildered by the gaze of the woman opposite him.
From there we sprinted to the northern European painters to take in a quick Vermeer and headed back to the apartment, stopping to pick up beer, to pack the bikes.




One response

4 09 2007

I have one comment concening the falafel. L’As du Falafel and Chez Marriane do indeed need to be tested in a certain order. I am concerned about how your falafel ranking was conducted and I am not sure that, indeed, as mentioned, the two are comparable, as they are two different falafel genres.

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