First Days in Paris: Le Marais, the Pompidou

They’ve done it! They have succeded! Yes, the French Government has succeded in getting Pariesians to be nice. Some may disagree, but we have been treated so friendly and courteously that we are constantly being surprised. People have gone out of their way to show us the right turn or the best direction to get to a place. They are even tolerant of our Pigeon French and do not mind speaking English. The concierge smiles and has helped us with a broken toilet. This is not the 1960’s concierge of Paris. Vive le France! If only it would warm up and stop raining.

One of the things that Jeffrey and I really like about Paris is the Metro. Our friend Colette says it’s dirty and crowded and she doesn’t like it at all. We like it because the trains go to every part of the city. It is fast. We have never had to wait more that three or four minutes for a train. At the platforms, the board tells you how many minutes until the next train. Most platforms have just one train so you are not going to get on the wrong train. The exits are marked so that you can get out at the street or square you want.

The biggest disadvantage to traveling by Metro is that there are very few escalators and even fewer elevators. We actually haven’t seen any elevators. So, if you are disabled or at all lame, the Metro is not useable.

At the end of each metro trip we trudge up several staircases to exit the metro system. Then, at the destination of our metro trip, we find the wonders of Paris. The following photos capture a bit of the pleasures of Paris we have found.

September 10th, Le Marais

Le Marais (The Marsh) is an old district of Paris that, after it was drained, was an aristocratic area from the 13th through the 18th centuries. When the aritstocrats moved on to the Faubourg Saint-Germain in the 19th centry, many Jewish settlers moved into the Marais which still today maintains a Jewish character.

Unlike 1968 when we lived in Paris, people now walk and sit on the grass! The grass used to be just for pigeons. The photo above shows the Place des Voges, the heart of the Marais and the oldest square in Paris dating back to 1612. It is also thought to be one of the most beautiful spaces in all of Europe. The square is lined by 36 mansions, nine on each side. Victor Hugo, Cardinal Richelieu and poet Théophile Gautier are among the many notables who have lived in these grand mansions.

Sueann and Cynthia under the arcade of the mansions of the Place de Voges

A stately historic house of the Marais

September 11th, The Pompidou

Looking at the Pompidou Centre one wonders if they will ever complete the construction. Of course they have completed it and the Pompidou just displays the French talent for orginality and modernism. (Web photo)

We were fortunate to be in Paris for the Pompidou's large exhibit of Roy Lichtenstein's works.

A nylon sculpture with eight feet long panty hose like legs containing spices suspended inches above the floor.

A gorgeous couch-like structure. We just wanted to sit and jump all over it.

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