It’s my birthday. I won’t mention which one, because once the number crosses my lips (in any language), I’m sure I’ll go into some sort of emotional/spiritual decline that will end with me wandering the streets of some city (I hope in Europe) with long unkempt grey hair talking about the royal paradox and why all white possums must be destroyed or we will suffer the wrath of Tutankhamun who will rise from…you get the picture.
My point is, I’m approaching this day as a “Fete de moi”, rather than a birthday to avoid any unnecessary introspection, self-reflection or taking stock of my life. That must be avoided at all cost.
I have important things that must get done today. Especially since yesterday one news source informed its readers in bold red type that today is “a day of concern.” I read the article and the concern wasn’t for my creeping age. Yes, some experts were predicting something really, really terrible happening on this day. It’s got to do with the Islamic calendar and we should all be vigilant. I guess Armageddon could be considered the birthday celebration to end all birthday celebrations. All I know is I better get my derriere to the Musee Marmottan and see all those Monets before it closes permanently, so to speak.
I’m atwitter because I’ve discovered there’s a train from St. Ouen Aumone/Pontoise that takes me straight to the Musee Marmottan neighborhood which is in the 16th arrondisement. That means no time consuming stop at Gare du Nord and transferring to the metro. One hour from door to door. And what a relief to avoid a major train station on this day of ill portent.
I’m not at all familiar with the 16th arrondissement, but when I get above ground at the Boullanvilliers stop, I can see the tip of the Eiffel tower looming above the first tree topped roof. I walk towards where the action appears to be and wind up on Rue de Passy. The streets are lined with wonderful boutiques of both the material and edible kind. I’m pulled in different directions…do I find the point where I can see all of the Eiffel tower right across the Seine. Or go into the shoe store. Or the Asian traiture. I’m not sure whether it’s the wisdom of old age or poverty that propels me to find the view.
There’s a huge palatial building at the bottom of the small hill and I head towards it. Turns out it’s the Musee/Palais Chaillot. Its terrace has one of Paris’ most spectacular views. The plaza is literally across the river from the Place du Mars, where the Eiffel tower is. But the terrace is on a higher plane, than the base of the Eiffel tower, so I get to look down on about 1/4 of it and up at the rest. I also get to look over Paris. I’m particularly enamored with the gold dome of the Invalides building glistening in the sunlight. I curse my stupidity in rushing out of the house without the camera. We’ll see if Monet can top this.
I spend a few hours with Monet at the Musee Marmottan and emerge culturally sated. Now I must indulge my shallower urges (it’s my birthday and the world is about to end, dammit!!!).
I find Paris curiously tourist free except on the Champs Elysees, at the Louvre and Galleries Lafayette. The 16th is no exception. But from here, it appears every tourist in the world has assembled on the huge manicured Plaza of the Eiffel tower and is waiting in line to go up. Either that or it’s the armies of good and evil assembling for the final battle. Which reminds me, I’ve got to get my derriere going.
It’s getting late and I’ve got to get back to Auvers because I’m having dinner next door with Carole and Jerome later so I should really try to catch a train before the world ends so I can catch a quick nap (hey, I’m old). But before I go back, I check out the shoe store I’d forsaken earlier for the view. It’s fete de moi, after all. I should be able to indulge myself with a little peek. And heck, if I happen to love something, the world is gonna end later today, so it probably won’t even show up on the credit card bill. But of course, now that I have all the money in the world (as long as the world ends), there’s nothing here I really want.
I return to the Asian traiture and fulfill my earlier desire for a shrimp summer roll and eat it in the park. Then I get a beautiful pink pamplemouse/rose sorbet on the sidewalk on the way back to the metro (how could I resist?). I have now indulged my every whim of the day. I am fulfilled. Armageddon, come and get me.
Filed under: art, art history, Auvers sur Oise, culture, france on a budget, french culture, history, Impressionists, Paris, trains, transportation, travel, travel humor | Tagged: 16th arrondissment, armageddon, birthday, Marmottan, Monet, Paris, Rue de Passy | 5 Comments »