Saturday, September 18, 2010
I know I've been making it sound as if we're a couple of wounded sparrows, incapable of doing anything, but it's not exactly like that. Although we've had limited energy we have been doing one or two things a day. It's Paris, after all.
We went over to the Palais Garnier Opéra box office with friends to get tickets for a ballet later this month and then wandered over to Place de la Madeleine, where we decided, on the spur of the moment, to indulge ourselves in a late lunch at Caviar Kaspia. This is one of my favorite indulgences, I must say. Years ago Gene and I spent a rainy afternoon in the Russian jewel box of a restaurant on the second floor, eating blinis and salmon caviar and drinking ice-cold vodka. Ever since it's been a special treat for us, as it was again this time. We always have the same thing and oddly enough, although it feels like a splurge, it's no more than a more ordinary lunch somewhere else. Let's keep it our little secret, OK?
Another day we went to one of the free concerts produced at l'Eglise St-Merri by the group Accueil Musical. Sitting in this pretty church listening to Chopin and Schumann while the late afternoon light moves across the stone walls is another one of our secret pleasures, particularly as the musicians are very good and it's entirely free. They pass a basket, and a contribution is welcome and well-deserved, but there's no pressure at all.
Another day we decided to try a short visit to the Louvre, but fortified ourselves first with a good lunch at the Villa Lys in the Palais Royal garden, where we sat outside watching kids play. These two were taking full advantage of the Daniel Buren sculptures in the forecourt of the Palais.
There's a small collection of what used to be called "primitive art" at the Louvre, with its entrance at the Porte des Lions. Originally established by Jacques Chirac as a precursor to the opening of the Quai Branly museum, this collection is beautifully displayed and worth seeing, particularly if the Quai Branly seems too daunting.
Leaving the Louvre, we passed the Tuileries Gardens and crossed the Seine to walk home. Below us was one of the tour boats that ply the river. We waved. They waved back. It was a lovely day.