Saturday, September 7, 2013

Paris (Day 3)

This was a big walking day for us! First we took the metro to the Tuileries with the idea of getting into the Musee de l'Orangerie, but it was unexpectedly closed. Since it was fairly early (at what time do people in Paris get to work?), we strolled the gardens and took a gander at the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde.

Then we crossed the Seine on the Pont de la Concorde and hit the Musee d'Orsay for a deep dive into Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Symbolism. By this time, I was already overwhelmed by the wealth of art Paris offers a visitor. No matter how enthusiastic one is, there's only so much art that can be absorbed in a meaningful way in such a short amount of time. Nevertheless, I could not stop looking.  Even when my back and feet were killing me, some amazing painting would beckon. Oh, to live in Paris for a while and be able to pop into the museums every so often, check out one wing or a few works, and absorb things more deeply! It's not fair!

After lunch, we strolled along the Seine, crossed back over on the ornate Pont Alexandre III (stopping to enjoy the amazing views), and checked out the architecture along the Avenue Winston Churchill, before heading up the Champs Elysees. Overall, we didn't take a ton of pictures on this day. I guess we just generally prefer to be free of the whole 'recording the moment' mania. Jim is better about this than I am, but taking a picture doesn't really make the moment more personal. Sometimes, it's better to just 'be'. Anyway, the Champs Elysees was obviously a part of the trip we were really looking forward to. And...well....

Let me just say this. The Champs Elysees is a wonderful walk, no question. Saw some crazy sports cars, got a sample of cologne, and enjoyed the people watching. However, I can't help but wonder if it's perhaps a little less impressive than it may once have been. The reason I say this is that the brands/stores along the way were not very different from what one would see on the Mag Mile in Chicago or what we saw on a main drag in Rome. I'm sure it sounds terribly jaded to - in even an oblique way - say 'meh' to the Champs Elysees (it's the Champs Elysees!), but perhaps one downside of globalization is that each country loses a bit of its unique charm. After all, there's nothing Parisian about Benetton, Nike, Hugo Boss, or the Disney store. Even brands with some legit French heritage (Louis Vuitton, Lacoste) are readily patronized just about anywhere. Or maybe I just don't get it because I'm not a hardcore shopper!

All musings aside, we enjoyed the walk that led us to the Arc de Triomphe. Totally impressive piece of architecture, and the view from the top was truly worth it. Paris is such a fantastic looking city in general, but to see it sprawling out before you from that height is breathtaking.

After all this walking and sightseeing, we were wiped out and - after dinner - sleep was a well-earned luxury!

No comments: