Friday, April 5, 2013
I was watching the Woody Allen movie Manhattan recently, and I had a sudden revelation about the difference between seeing a city as a native and seeing a city as a tourist. Both Manhattan and Mr. Allen's more recent Midnight in Paris begin with montages of evocative scenery scored by beautiful music. However, the stunning footage of New York in Manhattan, as well as the power of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", is undercut by Mr. Allen's voiceover of a pretentious and self-loathing writer trying to compose a serious novel about New York. In Midnight in Paris, the scenery is presented with no other accompaniment other than "Si tu vois ma mere", by Sidney Bechet, which makes the city look like some glistening, rain-soaked paradise out of a tourist's dream.
Mr. Allen, obviously a New York native, brings to his study of the city of his birth a more ironic distance that he cannot hope to achieve when presenting Paris, which is admittedly a city that has the power to turn the most ironically inclined American into a big, mushy ball of goo.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Monday, August 20, 2012
Saturday, August 18, 2012
I woke up on Wednesday morning ready to try Day Two of Frommer's Day by Day guide to Paris. This itinerary suggested heading straight for the Louvre and spending two hours there. But look at this magnificence photographed above! How could I spend only two hours at possibly the greatest museum in the world? I decided to return to the Day Two itinerary another day and instead spend all day exploring the Louvre's collection.
Friday, August 17, 2012
After sightseeing from 9 to 4:30, my feet were incredibly sore and I had needed to take a break by sitting on one of the benches by the banks of the Seine and reading for some time. When I write The Lazy Person's Guide to Paris, I am going to recommend this as an excellent spot for sitting in total stillness. I sat and read for half an hour and felt reasonably rejuvenated. My Frommer's told me that the next thing to do should be to get tea and pastry at a little cafe called La Fourmi Ailee, which means The Winged Ant. I personally would not name any place where I am going to serve food after an insect, but perhaps this is one of the many reasons why I am not French.
This cafe is on a side street and difficult to locate but I managed to get there. Once I did, I saw no customers and no one working there. The place appeared to be on a break but did not have a closed sign up; the door was wide open but the place was empty. I thought this was a little bit odd but I have heard that Europeans have a more relaxed attitude than Americans about taking breaks so perhaps this was simply a manifestation of that difference. I loved the decor of the restaurant--there are bookshelves filled with books on the walls!--so I decided to come back later.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Now that my brain was full of images of gorgeous paintings, it was time to fill my belly with a delicious lunch . This time, I was better prepared and able to locate the real Musee d'Orsay restaurant, as opposed to the decoy on the fifth floor. This restaurant is worth dining in for the decor alone, as the space has an amazing high ceiling, which is decorated with beautiful molding, gold trim, and elaborate paintings, as well as long, elegant windows and fancy, fancy crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. That description sounds like one of my pieces of exaggeration but if anything I am underselling this place.