Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 2040: Paris au Ralenti (Paris in Slow Motion)
By Doru from Canada, Fall 2012
Page 7 of 19: Tuesday, September 18-Wednesday, September 19 - Biennale des Antiquaires; Marché des Enfants-Rouges, on rue de Bretagne
Bienalle des Antiquaires at the Grand Palais
On Tuesday, the main event was the visit to the Biennale des Antiquaires. It is not the first time that the Biennale takes place when we happen to be in Paris (we like a lot September here...) but antiquariat matters were never “our thing.” We made an exception this year and we are happy that we did.
There was a small line to buy entry tickets at the Grand Palais but, once inside, we enjoyed a wonderful few hours, a kind of mixture of museum and art gallery atmosphere, with astonishing displays, from impressive furniture to extraordinary jewellery work to paintings and sculptures by famous masters. Not exactly what we expected. It was all light and openness and accessibility to all pavilions and exhibits.
Two things were immediately visible: an extraordinary amount of security inside each pavilion, while on the outside the entire city block occupied by the Grand Palais was literally encircled and secured with police vehicles, bumper to bumper, all explained by the presence of those treasures inside the Palais.
We are not knowledgeable in the field, so I will not try to get into details. We really loved the exhibition and the entire surrounding atmosphere. For those who would like to know more about this grandiose event, I offer two links: a more general one and a more detailed, visual one.
We return late to the apartment and take it easy for the rest of the day.
On Wednesday we take bus 96 and go to Marché des Enfants-Rouges, on rue de Bretagne. Prior to that, we called AP and A, our Parisian friends and fellow Slow Travelers and arranged to meet them at the gate of the Marché. As usual, I am early; we had some time on our hands and explored the Enfants-Rouges area, bought from the library near the market Anne Sinclair's book "21 rue La Boétie" that was on my list, sat in the nearby park, and checked the market itself.
When our friends arrive, following the initial greetings and “bises”, we sit for lunch al fresco. We are afraid that it will be too chili, but the sun is altogether too generous (we should somehow save these wonderfully sunny days for cooler and cloudier days...), and we get needed relief from an awning. We enjoy a fresh, market-typical lunch, and coffees. From there, our friends take us to a Parisian gelateria, where we savour desserts. I am forewarned that a somewhat “different” thing about this gelateria is that the owner first addresses her customers in Italian. So here we are, in the heart of Paris and we order ice cream in Italian! I got my stracciatella, and all was like in ... Castellina. Something to remember, for sure, for the incongruity of it. And for the gelato, of course.
AP and A being working people, we separate: they go to their work, we go towards our bus and leisure for the rest of the day.
In the evening, we meet with the owner of our apartment for drinks at “Le Temps des Cerises” down the street, and the evening goes on in pleasant conversation.
We have no plans yet for tomorrow morning; will improvise.
Tomorrow evening we will walk over to our neighbour, the Opéra Bastille, a couple of minutes from here, where we have tickets for Le Nozze di Figaro (pardon, Les Noces de Figaro...) How cool it is to walk to the opera house “next door”!
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