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  • Peggy Simonsen

April in Paris

Updated: May 2

I am more familiar with the city of Paris than any other city outside of the US, so it is always a pleasure to return, even for a few days! I just got back from visiting my granddaughter Libbe, who is spending her junior semester abroad at Science Po in Paris. She is a student in International Relations at George Washington U in DC, and Science Po is a French partner, standing for political science. She has amazing courses like international shipping security and the politics of Asia.

 

We were able to share some experiences together, and I continued to explore with her mother who was also visiting, and revisit some familiar places on my own while she was in classes or preparing for finals. I treated her and Heather, her mother, to a dinner cruise on the Seine on a lovely evening. Fun to see familiar sites again, tho Nortre Dame is shrouded in scaffolding while being restored after the disastrous fire.  Libbe likes to cook so she arranged for us to take a pastry class at Paris Cuisine- a unique experience for both of us. We learned how to make Quiche Lorraine, Tartelette au Chocolat et Caramel, Tarte aur Fruits et Tarte au Citron Meringuee!

 

Libbe has become an epicurean so we ate at diverse and unique restaurants she has “collected” while there. A highlight was a dinner at Sergeant Recruteur, a Michelin starred restaurant on Isle St Louis in the heart of Paris. But she also took me to Ancien Restaurant, a popular bistro, a 9:30 pm dinner (late for me-common in Paris) of a selection of French/Vietnamese entrées (in French  that means enter- not main courses) lunch of galettes (savory crêpes) and even had dumplings at a Tibetan café.

 

I discovered some new museums I had not visited before. Musée du Quai Branly- Jacques Chirac is an anthropology museum with exhibits from Mexico City’s recent excavations from pre-Spanish settlements and collections of aboriginal artifacts from around the world. (My friend calls it the museum of stolen things!) And Heather and I visited the Bourse de Commerce, a new museum in the old commodities exchange building with a beautiful dome and very edgy installations. The most disturbing was a room with large tapestries of photos on the walls of angry people demonstrating in front of government buildings and in the room were several life-like reproductions of old men in electric wheelchairs that moved around and bumped into each other and visitors. The written message was “How can we even have dialog to save the world…”  Another exhibit was made up of small clay sculptures with quirky captions-like a large mouse and a very small elephant, labeled large and small, and a band “destroying instruments”.

 

One museum I have always liked is L’Orangerie, where huge Monet paintings of his famous water lilies line the walls of a round room. They also have a current exhibit of today’s contemporary artists.  This museum is small enough to visit in a couple of hours, unlike the Louvre that could take days, where you move in throngs of tourists.

 

The Paris Metro is such a valuable, easy way to get around the city. The maps are easy to follow. My mistake was following a Google Maps recommendation to get to a new area. When my phone lost service, I got lost. Should have gone the familiar route without need of the phone map!





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