It is stifling hot in Paris – about 20 degrees hotter than when we first arrived in July. It’s supposed to cool off on Tuesday, the day we fly to London. London is also hot at present and will benefit by the cool front moving in.
Yesterday we revisited the Musee d’Orsay to see some of our old favorite paintings and see what was new. They are still in the midst of remodeling, so the exhibits are a bit mangled. A special exhibit of art and architecture surrounding the turn of the 20h century had a few pieces of interest, but mostly it wasn’t very exciting. The Impressionist pastels that we loved so much are no longer on display. Many other works also weren’t available. The new floors are set to open later in October, so the works are probably already hung in their new space where no one can see them. At least the museum is air conditioned.
It was very hot walking to and from the Metro. We stopped for a while in The Tuileries Garden to enjoy the shade and the birds flocking around the pond. It was cooler under the trees. On our drive north from Provence we noticed that the trees became more yellow and brown as we approached Paris. The advent of fall was most evident in The Tuileries Garden. The chestnut trees simply turn an drab brown and then the leaves fall off. There were piles of leaves ready to be whisked away by the efficient public employees who maintain the park. We haven’t seen any colorful leaves in the countryside or in the city. It must be the types of trees that grow in Europe aren’t as colorful.
In the evening JP invited us to go with him to a vegetarian Indian restaurant in the north part of the city near Gare du Nord. We took two subways to shorten our walk and arrived near 7:30 at a little restaurant that was filled with happy eaters. Luckily one table was open and we grabbed it. After some serious deliberation we ordered and the food arrived soon. It was delicious! We shamelessly stuffed ourselves.
After dinner JP suggested that we walk downhill to the old north gate of Paris and catch the Metro there. It was a longish walk after our afternoon trip to the museum, but we agreed. We walked through the south Asian district with shops and restaurants filled with people speaking Hindi, Urdu, French, English, and other unidentified languages. The spicy aromas wafted across the sidewalk. Large groups of people gathered in front of particularly popular restaurants or night spots. It was a delightful walk. The gate is a imposing structure built in 1673 to set the city limits. In years after that it was also used as a toll booth to tax merchants bringing wares into the city for sale. Now it sits in the middle of a broad avenue without a use other than marking history.
Today we did an initial packing and weighing of our bags to determine what we need to readjust, send home in a box, or jettison. It looks like we’re in pretty good shape. The items we sent home from Ireland and those things we’ve used compensate for the new things we are taking home. The only difficulty is that we still will have three bags each to lug through the airports.
Tomorrow we intend to take advantage of the free day at The Louvre. (First Sunday of every month.) If we wait until midafternoon we think the lines will be short and we can have enough time to see the things we want to see. That’s our plan.
Next stop London.