Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chapter Eleven: Adventures with Polly and Jessica in France

Polly, Jessica and I had a reunion in Paris, 1.5 years after our first adventure in Paris.

Shakespeare and Company. One of my favorite bookshops, and I can never walk out without purchasing something.

The Paris Catacombs, which is an underground ossuary. According to Wikipedia, in the 1700s, the bodies buried in the cemeteries were beginning to contaminate Paris' water supply, so they exhumed and transferred all of the dead to this underground cave. And now it's a tourist attraction. Super duper creepy.

Real human skulls and real human bones! And they weren't enclosed at all - you could reach out and touch them if you wanted to. (But there were signs telling you everywhere not to.)


After spending an hour underground with dead bodies, Polly and I decided that shopping was in order. This is inside the big glass dome at Printemps.

Inside the Palais Garnier, where we watched a ballet called "Oneguine." It was impossible for me to understand the story just by watching the ballet, so I had to go home and Wikipedia it. The Palais Garnier is the opera house that "Phantom of the Opera" is based on. It is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. This shot reminded me of "Amadeus."

The ceiling of the Palais Garnier, painted by Chagall, who is my favorite artist of all time. I died a little when I saw this.

The foyer of the Palais Garnier.

Jessica found a great jazz club near Notre Dame. There was a live band, and in between sets, there was big band music playing, and people were swing dancing on the dance floor all night long.

What made it really fun was that the crowd was a mix of young and old, and it was the older folks who were really good at dancing. Polly and I had nicknames for almost all of them: (L to R) - Helen Mirren, guy from the Sopranos, Woody Allen, muffintopping Nike track pants guy with the fancy shoes. Helen Mirren and Woody Allen were the best dancers. The really tall guy in the background with the ponytail was Christopher Walken. Not shown: Timothy McVeigh.

Handblown glass decorating the Palais Royal/Louvre metro entrance.

Appetizers on New Year's Eve, with delicious champagne.

Home-cooked New Year's Eve dinner, courtesy of Polly: lamb chops, green beans and cheese covered brussel sprouts. Delicious.

Dessert: pound cake from the neighborhood bakery, vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulee. Even the supermarket brand food is better in France.

On New Year's Day, went to the Marais for some falafel. This place had a line going down the block, and got the seal of approval not only from Lenny Kravitz but also some random Korean guidebook on Paris.

Random but lovely garden in the Marais.

Mozart and Vivaldi concert at the Eglise de Saint Germain, the oldest church in Paris - founded in 542. (Not 1542, but 542.)

Overnight trip to Mont Saint Michel and the Normandy beaches. The village of Mont Saint Michel spirals around and around the hill, and the abbey is at the top.

Views from the abbey.

The abbey's garden.

Mont St. Michel's shadow on the beach.

Touristy but adorable town.

That speck is either Polly or Jessica.

Backside of the village.

Au revoir Mont Saint Michel. You are quite lovely, but if I may make a suggestion - the blue holiday lights at your base are unnecessary and distracting.

Ship from the Normandy invasion on the Arromanches beach.

Inside the ship.

Arromanches, which is a few miles south of Utah and Omaha Beach.

A picture of Polly taking a picture of a really big gun.

Drove a few miles north to some leftover bunkers from the invasion.

The view from behind another really big gun inside of a bunker.

The guestbook at the American Cemetery's visitor center.

American soldiers' food rations.

Information on the Niland brothers - the story on which "Saving Private Ryan" was based on. Two of the four brothers died, one was presumed dead but was actually a POW and the surviving brother was sent back to the US to complete his service. Interesting factoid: the surviving brother, Fritz, was in the 101st Airborne and was close friends with Muck and Malarkey, from "Band of Brothers'" fame.

View of Omaha Beach from the American Cemetery.

Illustration of the D-Day invasion. This is also where my credit card fell out of my pocket, but on the way back to the car park, I found it in a puddle.

Polly shoveling some of Omaha Beach's sand into a water bottle.

Omaha Beach

The German Cemetery.

This was my last night at the flat that I had been living in for two months, so I took a picture of the metro sign for nostalgia's sake. Good ol' Parmentier.

Location:Rue de Constantinople,Paris,France

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