Paris Oct 22 - Nov 12 2021


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Oh, to be in Paris now the family has returned!

After living in Jakarta, Indonesia for two years, Andrew, Erica and their two boys returned to Paris. Andrew, arrived at the beginning of June, 2021 and the rest of the family followed, after school finished at the beginning of July 2021. The apartment that Andrew and Erica own in Paris was rented, so Andrew found a very nice, three-bedroom apartment for the family in the 16th Arrondissment. It was well situated, near Andrew's work, many good shops and access to the Metro.

Tickets were booked for Ray and me to visit the family in their new Paris apartment, arriving on Oct 22 2021. We had planned two side trips, first for a visit to the Île de Ré on the Atlantic Coast with Erica, Atticus and Roman, then a visit to Berlin, Germany for just Ray and I. But plans changed, Ray decided he preferred to stay in Ottawa, so I went on my own. Except for a few glitches with my HostnFly booking of a small apartment in Paris, everything worked well.

I arrived early on the morning of the day that Andrew and Atticus left by train for Geneva later the same day. That left Roman, Erica and me to explore Paris again. We went shopping and had lunch before Roman left us to go to a weekly practise session at Rock U, a performance-based rock band program for kids, teens, and adults. Roman and Andrew are in groups learning to play together. Roman plays the drums with a group of 4 other teens. Andrew missed his class today, but he usually plays the guitar and does some backup singing with a group of adults. I look forward to seeing their concerts scheduled for later in the year.

The huge green space, the Bois de Boulogne, is a short walk from the apartment. Erica and I managed a long walk to explore the Parc de Bagatelle section, with its multitude of gardens. We got back to the apartment in time to prepare a welcome dinner for Andrew and Atticus, who arrived about 6:30 PM. Atticus told us their favourite activity was the hockey game they attended between Geneva and Sweden. They did manage to bring back Swiss Chocolates for us all to enjoy.

A note about our meal. All members of the family are excellent cooks, so meals are always special and delicious.

Sunday Erica introduced me to another nearby area, called “the village”. There are still has several 2-3 story single homes, unlike the usual 6 to 7 story apartments, more common in Paris. We passed one apartment with an Art Deco iron door that reminded me of the decorations on Barcelona apartments. There is a Corbusier house in the area, but the gates were locked with a sign saying tours were only Thursday to Saturday.

Instead, we returned to the apartment to help everyone produce another delicious dinner. I packed my bag to be ready to leave tomorrow, October 26 2021 on the train to La Rochelle and the Île de Ré, where Erica, Atticus, Roman and I will stay for the next 5 days.

Go to Île de Ré 2021 to read about our visit and see a photo album.

We arrived back in Paris in the late afternoon of October 30. Instead of staying with Erica and the family, I had booked an apartment, was just a 5-minute walk from the family’s apartment for the next few days until Erica and I flew to Berlin on November 3 2021. Erica came with me to retrieve the key to the apartment at a local Carrefour grocery store. After a lot of time and trouble, we finally got the key and walked to the apartment to look it over. The apartment was quite spacious, with a double bedroom, large living room with sofas and a small round table for meals, a full bathroom and a small, but well-equipped kitchen.

We locked up again and walked to Erica’s apartment, where we all had dinner with Atticus and Roman with their friend, Max, who had come from Versailles, where the family is living. We had a long leisurely meal, after which the 3 boys walked me back to my apartment and had a quick tour before continuing to wherever they were headed.

What did I do for the next few days in Paris? Just walked past familiar sites, taking some photos, and discovering new places to explore.

Andrew and I went to a Vivian Maier photography exhibit at the Musée Luxembourg. I was interested as Ray and I had seen a documentary, in San Miguel, on Vivian and her photography. We spent an hour viewing all the photos and reading, as best I could, the verbiage in French. It was very good.

Andrew and I found a good restaurant to enjoy smoked salmon salad for me and bass with veggies for Andrew, accompanied by a glass of chardonnay and an espresso for dessert. I like the French custom of including a small chocolate or cookie with the coffee.

Another day, Erica and I went to the Marmottan Monet Museum, just beside the Bois de Boulogne, to see a special exhibit for Julie Manet, daughter of Eugène Manet and Berthe Morisot. Besides the Manet exhibit, there is a huge collection of Monet and contemporaries in a beautiful old mansion, still with many of the furnishings on display.

Erica and my flight to Berlin was November 3. Before we left for the airport, I cleaned up the apartment, packed and walked to the Carrefour to return the apartment key in the “ Monkey Lockey” lock box. Once again, it was just as long and frustrating experience as getting the key as it was to return it.

Getting to Charles de Gaulle airport is usually an easy trip on the RER C and transferring to RER B, but not today! We got on RER C on time, only to have it stop at Luxembourg Station. Announcements telling us that someone had been injured and the trains were not going any farther, meant we needed another method of getting to RER B. We left and got a cab to drive us to the next train. We were finally on our way to CDG airport.

We made it to our Air France gate for our flight, only to find it was a real scrum for the lineup to get on the plane. We eventually got on and took our seats at the back of the plane. It only had 24 rows, so it didn’t really matter. The flight took off and we had an uneventful flight to Berlin.

Go to Berlin, Germany 2021 to read about our visit and see photos in an Album.

The return flight on November 9 from Berlin to Paris was uneventful. I made my way from the airport to the Carrefour to once again, had a terrible time getting the key. After a second trip to the Carrefour with Erica to help, I was finally given a new code and managed to get the key to the apartment. Dinner was most welcome with Erica and the family again.

The next few days were quite busy. One highlight was a photo exhibit at the Jeu de Paume, called Masterworks of Modern Photography 1900-1940, the Thomas Walther collection. It was promoted as a history of the European and American photographic avant-gardes. Very interesting and an impetus to improving my small photography skills.

My sister Debbie and her husband Dominique Scipio were in Paris prior to joining a tour. Erica and I walked through the Bois de Boulogne to meet them, and their friends from Montreal, Joy and Rod, at the Louis Vuitton Foundation for the Morozov art collection. We had tickets for 10 AM and spent the next two hours enjoying the fabulous collection. The two Morozov brothers, Mikhaïl and Ivan Abramovitch Morozov had almost 200 paintings from the early 20th century housed in their huge mansion in Russia. This was the first time that the collection was being presented outside of Russia.

Andrew had stayed in the apartment preparing a lunch for all of us, including Debbie and Dom and their friends. We started with a glass of champagne and continued with a sumptuous feast of pumpkin soup, Oso Buco with risotto, a green salad, cheeses, and fruit tart for dessert. Atticus, Roman and Max, who had stayed overnight, helped Andrew make the meal and served the lunch.

The next morning Erica came with me to return the key to the apartment. Again, it didn’t work. I ended up leaving the key with Erica who would give it to a HostnFly representative at her apartment. I made my way to the Charles de Gualle airport for my flights back to Ottawa.

Ray was pleased to see me back home, even after being spoiled by our friends and neighbours with meals and company. He missed an excellent trip!

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