Monday, August 1, 2011

Paris Day 9 - FREE

Most of the museums are closed on Mondays, which tends to open up the day for other activities.  I have absolutely no preconceived expectations for today - and seeing how I am entering the second week of the trip, that is probably a good idea. 

I have several possible options, some of which include a tour of the Parisian Canals - or a step back in time at the Jardin d'Acclimation nestled in the Bois de Boulogne (this was recommended by another terrific blogger, Virginia of Paris through my Lens) or perhaps just mellow out and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Paris Plage (the most amazing and creative urban transformation:  tons of sand is trucked into the city and spread along the banks of the Seine to create a beach atmosphere for the people to enjoy throughout the hot weeks of July and August).  I have not completely ruled out the possibility of staying in my neighborhood and strolling the streets of Montmartre, perhaps visiting its small museum and cemetery.

Ok - Well, obviously all that pre-planning is slowly going out the window!

I decided early on that the Parisian Canal tour was not a high priority item - so I immediately canceled that idea.  While the Jardin d'Acclimation sounds fun - and the Bois de Boulogne a unique Parisian experience, quite honestly my run-in with "Tony" in the Latin Quarter has rather put me off going to totally unfamiliar places.

Instead, I decided to spend the morning close to home.  I ventured out with my "good" camera and tried to take the pictures that I missed last Monday due to that pesky dust issue.  I managed to take a few of the artists around the Place du Tertre (although some are very anti-photographs and others practically pose for you).  I learned which two sides of the square I prefer - those artists who are working on original paintings - and which sides to try avoid - artists who wish to do a portrait of the tourists and charge a pretty penny.  They can be just a bit too pushy for me.

After taking several photographs I decided to do some souvenir shopping.  It was not yet crowded in Montmartre and I knew I wanted to take my time in selecting just the right gift.  I didn't get much in the way of presents, as I sincerely hope that I can return to Paris with the rest of the family.  But in the meantime, perhaps these little momentos will get them excited.

I took all the souvenirs back to the apartment - grabbed a quick bite to eat of some leftovers - and then decided to head towards Notre Dame and perhaps capture a few photos there.  I challenged myself to take the subway that takes me right to the Ile de la Cite - which meant that I had to change trains not once but twice.  I navigated the metro system well - but I'm not sure that it actually saved me much walking time.  The line to get into the cathedral was much too long for me - so I chose just to take a few pictures outside and then walk along the Seine and visit the bouquinistes.

I was shopping for vintage postcards and while I found several - I couldn't help but think that these are probably manufactured in the 21st century but made to look antique.  Oh any case I wanted some semblance of what France must have been like around the turn of the century - so I chose some postcards that showed the street scenes - as well as some postcards that showed the people.  I even managed to take a picture of a helpful bouquiniste.

At this point it was about 4:00PM -- too early to go home, but too late to take on another adventure in a different arrondissement.  As luck would have it I was at the Pont Neuf and noticed a sign for a boat tour, Vendettes Pont Neuf.  Well, this was not at all on my schedule of events - but I wanted to do something fun, and the thought of sitting for an hour on a moving boat sounded delightful.  The cost was just 2 euros more than Bateaux Mouches (which I had planned to do late this week anyway) AND....I was the second person on the boat - which allowed me to go to the top and sit in the front row so as not to worry about anyone's head in my photographs.  It was obviously "meant to be."

My "dust" friend - I
can't decide if it looks like a
dying black seagull -
or a runaway scarf
We sat on the boat for about 20 minutes before it "set sail" and I took several pictures to pass the time.  Then on the way out I really began snapping.  It was a marvelous excursion and I was so pleased that I had given in to the spontaneous.  And then.....the dreaded dust appeared!  UGH --- I really can't tell you how much I loathe this situation.  I don't have to worry about dust with my point and shoot (and thank goodness I thought to bring that with me) --- but it is certainly does not provide the close-up shots I enjoy nor is it a "fast" as the dslr.  What I have learned, after reviewing the pictures, is that the "dust" is not evident in all of the photos - it just depends on the composition.  And I suppose that for many of these pictures (like the one I decided to share with you here) I could easily mask the dust spec out in post production (I guess now is the time to learn photoshop!).  But that takes time - and it is not as easy to do on all the pictures - and doggone it, I really have tried to take care of my camera and I do not like feeling like a failure.

Once I returned to the apartment Itried t o do everything I know I to do and the dust still remains.  Tomorrow I am supposed to go on a lovely winery tour - and Wednesday I am supposed to go to Giverny, Monet's home and exquisite gardens.  I suppose I will take double pictures:  one set with the dusty "good" camera - and another set with the reliable point and shoot.  All I can say is....Zut alors!


  1. Oh, what fun! Having seen Before Sunset about a million times I would have jumped at the boat tour, too! Wonderful!:)

  2. We always found the Metro in Paris easy to navigate, but you can really get a workout changing trains in some of those stations.

  3. Well the boat ride sounds fabulous, but I'm so sorry that dust made a reappearance. I hope it goes away for good soon!

  4. Sorry I haven't commented a lot, but I did read many of your posts, and it sounds like that you are making the very most of your time there. It has been 40 years since I was there....(I sound ancient.)

  5. I love that you were spontaneous!! I think the idea of telling people that the dust is a runaway scarf is fantastic!!!! Sounds like a truly wonderful day.

  6. I think you should go with the runaway scarf idea!! I love that you were spontaneous!! Yay..and look what an amazing boat ride it turned into!

  7. I think you should go with the runaway scarf idea!! I love that you were spontaneous!! Yay..and look what an amazing boat ride it turned into!

  8. I think you should go with the runaway scarf idea!! I love that you were spontaneous!! Yay..and look what an amazing boat ride it turned into!


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