France
Paris 12 Ancien - Quartier Saint-Jacques

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    • Day 23

      Paris: Agnes Goodsir and Embassy

      May 11 in France ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

      Off the beaten track today: in search for Agnes Goodsir, then dinner with friends at their temporary home near the Eiffel Tower.

      Breakfast at 8:15 - decadently late, but it is Paris and we both slept in. It was extremely good, suffering only from being in a windowless room. Then we set off around 9am to touch base with Great-Great-Aunt Aggie.

      My grandmother was a Lorimer, and her mother was a Goodsir. Agnes Noyes Goodsir was her aunt. Agnes was born in rural Victoria in 1864 and was a painter. She studied art at the Bendigo School of Mines and Industries from 1898 to 1899, and in 1899 some of her work was raffled in Bendigo to partly finance her trip to study in Paris. (Sounds odd, but turn of the century exchange rates made it possible). She studied art in Paris and lived there from 1900 until she died there in 1939, although there was a break from 1914-1921 when she was in London because of WW1. Quite a bit is known about those London years because her three nephews - all farmers from Victoria - were in France with the AIF, and one of them wrote many long, eloquent and detailed letters about visiting his aunt Aggie in London (where he and his brothers met Cherry and her then husband) when he was on leave from the front. All three made it back home. When I was little I knew the letter-writer well: he was my father's Uncle Pat, a farmer well south of Nyngan.

      Agnes painted light and bright still lifes, mostly beautiful flowers in vases, but was most famous for her portraits. Her subjects included Bertrand Russell, Banjo Patterson, Mussolini and Tolstoy, but most were of her partner, Rachel (Cherry) Dunn, One of the best of those was hanging for 45 years in the harbourside apartment of my aunt and uncle, Mickey and Rob, and is now on Rob's wall a little north of Sydney.

      Agnes and Cherry lived at 18 Rue de l'Odeon, which was a 10 minute walk from our hotel. It was Paris at it's best: lovely temperature, cool breeze, empty streets except for a few people out shopping, bright blue sky. Even better, we found what we wanted straight away. No. 18 Rue de l'Odeon was still there, and the same (I am sure) from the outside as it was 100 years ago. It was the 1920s artistic heartland. A few doors up from their building, Ulysses was first published (at No. 22). It is just down the road from a theatre, the short street is home to several known writers and has plaques for people every second or third building, there is a typical French cafe on the corner ( as there was a century ago), and the street still has the odd bookshop.

      One of the residents of No. 18 let us see the foyer, but we did not know which apartment she lived in, so there was no point going further. Anne had found a 1922 photo looking down the street from the Odeon Theatre… and it is still almost exactly the same, except that the roundabout outside the theatre has been replaced by a plaza, the restaurant is on the other side and the large metal sculpture in the roundabout in the 1922 photo was removed in 1942 and melted down to make German guns.

      We strolled around the nearby streets and were probably the only tourists, even though it seemed like quintessential Paris. We then walked south on a very shady boulevard all the way out of the city proper to the Parisian Cemetery of Bagneux, where Agnes (died 11 August 1939) and Cherry (died April 1950) are buried. The walk took maybe 1.5 hrs, and was beautiful until the very last and more-modern section. The cemetery admin people had emailed Anne that Agnes was in Section 37, Row 13, Tomb 2. The cemetery was perhaps a square km, with 83,000 graves, but we found their rather darkened, simple cement tombstone very easily.

      From Bagneux we caught a metro to Sacre Couer, looked down on the city and around at the teeming tourist crowd, then walked down the hill, past a strange hardware store where I bought a sisal and copper-wire brush to clean the mud off our boots, through the Palais Royal gardens, where Anne, Fiona, Alistair and Nicolas had breakfast each morning 22 years ago, then through the Louvre and back to the hotel. Very important to be showered and changed into our trekking best, as were were going to dinner at 7pm with friends at the Australian Embassy. More specifically, with the Ambassador and a few diplomat/academic guests.

      Dinner was good.We had a truly unique view of the Eiffel Tower from the third or fourht floor of a rather austere Seidler building. Grosvenor Place in miniature. My university friend (the ambassador), her columnist and omniscient husband, a former academic/journalist, a former ambassador to China and his partner, and us. Some stereotypes, perhaps, but made up for by the columnist's amazing knowledge and ability to link the world together, and the journalist's amusing frankness about his French-government sponsored junket. It went quite late, so we were back at our hotel at 12:15. We took the Metro. Others headed for taxis, but the streets were jam-packed with people (a Taylor Swift concert as well in Paris tonight) so the queues looked long. It was not as if we were at risk: the stations were far busier than at 6:30 pm, and the Metro trains ran every 5 minutes. I am sure we were back faster than if we had caught a taxi straight away...and all those extra steps!

      25,314 steps, 20.3 km and 12 flights.
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    • Day 3

      Galleries Lafayette and the Blue Line

      August 19, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Up off the grass and off to catch the bus to Galleries Lafayette (the shopping centre) and I end up getting lost trying to enter The Opera Garnier. We didn't end up going in though as I thought it does not really catch my interest. Let me know if it is worthwhile please?

      I asked a young female how do we get to the dome in the shopping centre. The look on her face reminded me very quickly that I am not in my own country. I forgot to speak French, can you imagine?? 😂 She pointed right then left. So off we trot. She soon enough tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the correct entry doors, which weren't where I thought she'd said.

      Inside is like a massive exquisite Myer, In the middle is the glorious dome. Very pretty. Athena was impressed. We headed to the rooftop for a coffee. Go up the top, it's free, you can see all of Paris from up here.

      Our Big Bus tour has a 'Blue Line' which drives around Montmartre main streets. Whilst waiting for the bus I popped into a lindt shop. Athena wasn't coming in with me until she saw them hand me a lindt ball. Then straight in behind me she followed.

      Martin was our guide, he stood in front of us up the top and spoke in English. He shared all the quaint details of getting around Paris and the buildings history.

      We passed the sex shops, Moulin Rouge, Nord Gare station, Sacre Couer. Great idea to sit up in the open air and be ferried around the city.

      Once back at Notre Dame I decided to make sure Athena could find her way back to our hotel. I made her read a map and remember the street names to follow and cross. I pointed out any landmarks. Then shut up to let her lead. She did well mostly. She is not too great with following directions.

      For dinner I spied Athena's massive hoop earrings she brought along. I asked if I could wear them (to show her how ridiculously too big they are)

      So big hoop earrings on, Athena lost the plot laughing at me. She told me that they suited her as her head was bigger. She advised me she wouldn't be seen with me in public wearing them. I said ditto. So she agreed not to wear them.

      We were stuffed, so to the corner restaurant for steak tatare, soup and a wine. We are eating bread constantly here. Night!
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    • Day 11

      Tour de France @Paris part deux 😜

      July 30, 2023 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      Nochmal kurz quer durch Paris, um letzte Souvenirs zu kaufen, den Louvre, die Champs-Elysees, den Toure Eiffel und vieles mehr zu verabschieden, letzte Fotos zu machen und den Füßen zu zeigen wo das Tageslimit ist 😂😂😂

      Von der Piratenflagge am Boot inspiriert, musste dann auch noch passend im Weingummiladen aus Fässern genascht werden...und auch der letzte Einkauf war ein kleiner Schatz. 😉

      Und nach einem letzten Café dann ab zum nächsten Ziel - 4:20min bis Luxembourg - bonne voyage!✌️!
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    • Day 11

      Arc de Triomphe & Louvre

      May 2 in France ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      Up early again today and we had a nice breakfast in the hotel before heading out on a short walk to the Louvre.

      We had a guided tour booked for the Louvre this morning and were a bit nervous when we saw the monstrous queue! It snaked around the pyramid and out of the courtyard. BUT, luckily we knew a secret entrance and only had about a dozen people ahead of us so we walked straight in.

      Once again we had a fabulous guide who brought a bunch of the famous artworks to life by explaining their meanings and origins. We saw the Mona Lisa (which was actually bigger than I had expected), Venus de Milo, The Winged Victory of Samothrace (suspected to be the inspiration for the Nike symbol) and loads more. It really does make a difference to have a guide when you have no idea about art.

      Afterwards we strolled through the Jardin de Tuileries which would be absolutely gorgeous on a warmer/sunny day.

      There is loads of preparation for the Olympics everywhere we turn - temporary stadiums and roadworks etc. I reckon it will be crazy in a couple of months because the traffic is already madness.

      We did some window shopping as we strolled up the Champs Élysées, as the most expensive shopping street in the world, it Waa quite the experience. The Louis Vuitton shop is a suitcase. Bizarre, but very cool.

      Once we arrived st the Arc de Triomphe, we successfully talked ourselves into getting the lift rather than walking up the 300ish stairs (thank goodness).
      Unfortunately it was raining but we still loved the views. The tree lined streets that fan out from the Arc de Triomphe are simply stunning. The traffic from above however, is crazy!!!

      We found a lovely little restaurant and enjoyed a meal and cocktail before doing a bit of souvenir shopping and heading home after another jam packed day.

      One more full day to explore this beautiful city
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    • Day 9

      Paris - a lifelong dream

      April 30 in France ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

      We left our 16th century hotel in Bruge this morning and got an Uber to the train station. We travelled to Brussels then on to Paris

      As soon we walked out of the train station we were in love!! The buildings, the French signs, gorgeous flowers on loads of restaurants, the language, oooooh la la!!

      The traffic was INSANE but we arrived at our hotel and checked in. The location is fabulous.

      We decided to meander over to the Eiffel Tower, window shopping as we walked. A quick lunch stop with some delectable French cuisine and then we arrived.

      We rounded our last corner and there she was; absolutely stunning and surrounded by so much greenery. It was so overwhelming and there may have been a few tears. I can't believe i am here!

      Whilst awaiting our time to go to the summit, we sat at a cafe and enjoyed a French Kiss. Then Julie, Di and I headed over to the tower and took even more photos before it was finally our turn to take the lift up the very top.

      We were incredibly lucky to dodge the rain and were just mesmerised by the sight of Paris from above. With twinkling lights as far as we could see, the views were simply magic. We spotted The Arc de Triomph, Seine River, Pantheon and so much more.

      Bucket list items are being ticked off at a rate of knots!! This is a day I will never forget, and I am truly grateful to be here with my very best friends 💛
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    • Day 2

      In a Paris cafe eating onion soup!

      August 18, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

      So thankful to arrive at Charles De Gaulle at 3.00PM. Baggage took a while. Our transfer taxi was lovely.

      Overcast and a humid 23 degrees in Paris today. Our hotel is Le M Saint Germain.
      The room is perfect and the first thing I see is a balcony, my favourite thing in any hotel. I step out amongst the zinc roofs and look out onto those fabulous sandstone buildings. Am very thankful. Paris is gorgeous.

      Athena spies a lovely gift from Amanda (our travel agent, such a blessing, go see her at Berwick Travel) Colourful French macaroons. They were great with a tea, thanks Amanda.

      After a much needed shower and mobile charge, we head out for a stroll towards the Seine.

      I spy the Pantheon at the end of our street so we head up that way. I discover we are walking the wrong direction, whoops 🤭 The Notre Dame is the other way!! We stroll past beautiful cafes full of diners and head back for the river. The streets are full of tourists.
      The Notre Dame is closed off and we see the fire damage and works being done. Grateful that we had both already visited inside four years ago. We were shocked when we heard the news.

      We walk up to Saint Chappel church and Athena looks longingly at a beautiful restaurant. So, we take a table, order onion soup and a 'chardy' and settle in.
      Half way through dinner, I realise that, this is it! Sitting outside a beautiful Paris cafe, watching people walk by, drinking wine with my beautiful friend! This was my absolute wish for my birthday.
      Dream big I say, with some effort, they come true!
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    • Day 4

      From here to there and back again

      September 16, 2022 in France ⋅ ☁️ 61 °F

      Walked a HUGE loop from our hotel in the Latin Quarter to the Eiffel Tower, then crossed the Seine to the Arc de Triomphe. Stopped by Saint Sulpice first to confess our sins before heading to Deyrolles to see what’s new in the taxidermy world and take illicit photos. (The priest said we were covered.)

      Picked up sandwiches on Rue Cler for a picnic at Champs du Mars, spent some time examining the rivets under the Tower before trotting over to the Arc and the Tomb of the Unknowns.

      Walked back via the Champs Élysées, waved to the Macrons as we walked past the presidential residence, popped in to Angelina’s for delicious chocolats chauds and some excellent people watching, then tiptoed through the Tuileries, past the Orsay and the Louvre, across Ponte des Artes back to our hotel. Phew!
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    • Day 39

      Le Petite Prince de Paris

      June 10, 2023 in France ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

      We began our Insight tour of France tonight with dinner at a little restaurant, Le Petite Prince de Paris, in the Latin Quarter. It was terrific and a great start to the tour. There are 30 of us and only 6 Aussies, so it will be interesting. The rest are Americans and Canadians and a couple of Kiwis.Read more

    • Day 1

      Hotel Jardin de Cluny

      October 8, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

      It seems like only two weeks ago since we were last here. Oh it IS only two weeks since we were last here! Some Cream on the journey as Ginger Baker died this week. And we are staying in my favourite hotel. Life is good!Read more

    • Day 2

      Off to Paris🇫🇷

      May 25, 2023 in France ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Was für ein Tag…
      Der Weg nach Paris führte uns durch malerisch schöne Landschaften und Weinberge. Der Weg aus der Champagne war kurzweilig und entspannt- ganz im Gegenteil zum Verkehr innerhalb der Stadt. Für die letzen 15 km haben wir knapp eine Stunde gebraucht, ist nichts für Fahranfänger und Angsthasen. 😂
      Nachdem wir unser Hotel bezogen haben, hatten wir uns das Mittagessen redlich verdient.
      Das Restaurant Kong ist eine absolute Empfehlung, in einer mega Lage 👍🏼
      Danach war Sightseeing und ein bisschen Stadtbummel angesagt. 18.891 Schritte später sind wir müde, aber überglücklich ins Bett gefallen.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Paris 12 Ancien - Quartier Saint-Jacques, Sainte-Geneviève

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