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 10 of 19: Saturday, 22 September - The Stravinsky Fountain; Back to rue François Miron; Meeting Dear Friends
Two of the oldest buildings in Paris: rue François Miron nos. 11 and 13, dating back to 1425
This morning we take the bus to Galerie Talmart, at 22 rue du Cloître Saint-Merri. We were informed that a photographic exhibition with the subject “RE-ACT Bucarest-Projeter la ville” (RE-ACT Bucharest-A Projection of the City) will run at the gallery for one week, as part of the events of the “Week of Cultural Exchanges.”
The exhibition promotes the rediscovery of the capital of Romania “as it was immortalised through the photographic lens” of the Romanian photographer Andrei Mărgulescu. Very promising.
We arrive half an hour ahead of the opening, and, by pure chance, have our own discovery: that of the Stravinsky fountain, a water basin at the south end of the George Pompidou Centre, between the Centre and the monumental Church of Saint-Merri. This is a mischievous, droll installation of various sculptures and mobile water fountain elements symbolising, or representing, various Stravinsky musical works, or characters from his works, such as The Nightingale, The Fox, The Firebird, The Mermaid (who bears a stunning resemblance to our nine years old granddaughter, Riley), some sculptures playfully coloured, other just black.
How have we missed this spectacular corner of Paris until now?
The Stravinsky Fountain reminds me of another like installation, the Perpetuum Mobile mechanical water fountain, similarly installed in a water basin, in the centre of Basel, Switzerland, of which a photograph hangs in our apartment. Maybe I have found for that photograph a non-identical twin!
In the meantime, the opening time for Galerie Talmar has passed, but when we get there we find the gallery still closed. I try the door handle once or twice and a young man gesticulates from inside that it will open later. He then opens the door and tells me that the gallery will open at 12. I point out to him that the invitation we have indicates 11am as the opening time. He, very nicely, relents and gestures that we can come in now.
Inside, we are somewhat miffed, since the promised discovery of Bucharest as it was “immortalised” by the photographer, and it turns out architect, Mărgulescu is really only a small number of panoramic photographs of the same objectives, two houses represented individually and in a variety of perspectives and metamorphoses by utilising a limited number of building elements.
Well, not all promises live up to expectations, but at least we discovered the Stravinsky Fountain!
Back to rue de Rivoli and Hotel de Ville, we retrace another day’s itinerary and return to rue François Miron because I have decided to also buy a package of the “aromatique” version of the Madagascar pepper. But first we discover the imposing Church of St. Gervais, at the beginning of the street. Next to it, in medieval times, there existed a millenarian elm, which became the place where people used to meet in order to settle debts. The old elm is gone, but one of his offspring is still shading Place St. Gervais. Not clear where debts are being settled nowadays...
On François Miron, at nos. 11 and 13, there are two of the oldest buildings in Paris, dating back to 1425. They are easily identifiable, being visibly much older that their neighbours.
At no. 30 is Izraël-Le Monde des Epices, where I complete my grocery purchases.
In the meantime, the sun wins its battle with the obscuring clouds; it is suddenly warm again.
Home for lunch, and then waiting for Pauline and Steve, who arrive today in Paris and will remain here for three days, staying at a hotel near us.
Just before five the phone rings; Pauline and Steve are downstairs. Since I cannot open the gate from upstairs, I go downstairs to let them in. After taking an appraising look at our very intimate elevator, they decline the option and take the stairs to the third floor where Josette waits for them, while I, not so nimble, follow by elevator.
Last time we have seen Pauline and Steve was in our apartment in Toronto. Now we host them in “our” Parisian apartment!
We catch up; it has been some time. They tell us about their vacation in Normandy, we about the first part of our Parisian séjour.
I call the restaurant “Le Temps des Cerises” to make sure that it can accommodate vegetarian requirements, which they confirm that they do, and I make a reservation.
We later have there an excellent dinner: espadon (swordfish), a vegetarian plate, brochettes d’agneau, panna cotta, mille-feuille, a bottle of chilled Viognier. Chat and some more chat. Wonderful.
We arrange to meet next morning; they go for a walk along the Seine and we say good night.
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