Sunday, August 23, 2015

Europe 2015 - First Stop - Paris

Bon voyage

My son, David's, adult life has begun in earnest.  He lives and works in El Paso now and, next year, will be even farther away, in San Francisco.  We felt that we needed to grab this opportunity to take a trip together before his life gets busier and more full.  We went to Europe for two weeks and I'll remember the special time with him forever and forever.  

We looked up from the window of our room to see the sky and look down and see this.

Hotel L'Academie 's recent renovation managed to preserve the old feel that I love while adding a contemporary element that appealed to David.  The staff is incomparable. They made Paris seem warm and welcoming.  Not an easy feat.  I love Paris for its history.  I don't go there hoping to be liked.  Well, I always hope to be liked, but I don't expect it in Paris.  Parisians are surely warmer and less judgmental than they appear (Michele and Fabian are certain proof of it.) as Americans are more cultured and less bumbling than I appear, but my ego takes a beating in Paris, so I appreciated every smile at L'Academie.

The manager, Patricia, whom I consider a friend, was on vacation during my visit, but she rolled out the red carpet before she left. She upgraded our room to what must've been the best in the hotel and she's probably the reason everyone from the kitchen to the reception desk treated us as if we were special.  L'Academie was our favorite hotel of the five, no question.

Where did he get that crooked smile?

Homage at The Door:  Versailles pilgrimage complete

I finally got to show David my favorite paintings.

My son with a young Louis-Philippe

The Director of Amis de Versailles was very helpful and gracious and even invited me to visit his office, so we could meet, but there wasn't enough time.  He mailed my Amis des Versailles membership renewal to my hotel, so I'd get it in time.  Had he not, we'd have had to get in line with, I'm not kidding, thousands of people waiting to tour the château, instead of slipping past the rope without a moment's delay.  It's not who you are, it's who you pay.

I'm kind of an uptight prude, but that's not why I didn't appreciate the new exhibit, Dirty Corner, in the gardens of Versailles.  I like symbolism and meaning, find art almost empty without it, and wouldn't have disliked the work for its message whether I disagreed with it or not.  I just thought it was unattractive.  (I guess that was part of the message.)  Apparently, according to the article, a graffiti artist felt similarly.

Standing in front of the grotto (where Marie Antoinette was when she was informed that the women of Paris were marching to Versailles) and the Pavilion.  He's not a French history fan, but he knows when to humor his mother.

Elissa agrees.  
Axel Fersen must've trotted over this bridge near the Petit Trianon.  Assuming it was there in 1780s.  He had no way of perceiving the role he'd play in history.

I loved this addition to the gardens.  A huge, concave mirror that reflected the sky on one side ...

and, convex, the crowd on the other.

Le Coupe Chou - every year a dinner with someone I love.

Lost luggage was, essentially, the reason I had to cancel coffee with Fabian, Count Axel Fersen's descendant, (and much more).  Besides the fact that seeing Fabian while wearing leggings and an oversized shirt, that I'd worn on the plane and for four days and nights after, wasn't the image I'd like to present, the complication of walking all over town looking for clothes and sitting on the phone with United made our already tight schedule even tighter and something had to give.  I sacrificed my long anticipated visit, so David and I could spend the day at the Pompidou Centre.

What's Paris without a skull?

David and my Paris sister-in-law, Michele, are kindred spirits.

Last night in Paris:  dinner and Eiffel Tower with Michele


Micah said...

These pictures make me so jealous.

Madeleine Doak said...

Think of it a dry run for our trip.