Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Isabel's Paris, part 2

Still on the bus with Isabel, the morning of Wed. the 18th.  The city highlights, continued:

  • We got a view of the Pantheon, there in the Latin Quarter, where many famous folks are buried.  Isabel mentioned Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, and Madame Curie [has poor madame never had a first name?]
  • There on our right, we note a wall still pock-marked with bullet holes from 1944--"traces of liberation" of the city from the Germans.
  • Isabel talked quite a bit about Dan Brown and his novel, The Da Vinci Code, and of course, the movie version.  She said that while people here did love the book, parts had to be cut for this audience, since not all the details were quite so accurate that they could past the scrutiny of the natives.  Though everyone was happy with the 25,000 euros per day that the film makers paid to rent the Louvre
  • We passed Luxomberg Park, the most expensive area of Paris, where a scale model of the Statue of Liberty could almost be glimpsed through the trees
  • in the area Little Geneva, we noted the Cafe du Flores, where Sartre pondered our becoming (though no time for Tonya to have a coffee or wine there); here a spot where Protestants were massacred in 1577; there, Manet born; here, the Rue de Beaune, where the real d'Artagnan --that captain of Musketeers, lived; and many amazing details of the career and events from Henry IV, which scribbles on folded scrap paper bouncing along in the back of the bus could not capture
A couple Isabel quotes to wind this up:
"We don't hate Americans--we hate everybody."  Consolining, I suppose.

And, "Paris is a city of perspectives of buildings...[for the buildings] speak to each other."  This, incredibly so, and hard to write up.  So often, one avenue or vista opens to another, and the visual forms interact.  This a process that has taken not only centuries of construction, but fairly ruthless destruction of anything that interferes.

I would observe from this admitted chaos of notes, that the seeming chaos for us, naive American travelers, comes from layer upon layer of history, incident, culture, from a long, long living in place.

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