Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Winding up the Long Weekend in Paris

Spring in Paris -- bring an umbrella!  Spring rainstorms drift across the city through the day and, while the showers are not severe or long, the umbrella keep us dry through all of them.  Even if the day looks clear, we see people carrying an umbrella as they head out.  They know it could change any instant, and, sometimes, every hour or two.

Passing Parisian shower

The Champs-Élysées looks more gloomy in the rain, with the Grande Roue de Paris ferris wheel, located in Place de la Concorde, in the distance.

Champs-Élysées, rainy and clear

But, April showers bring May flowers, and they are coming out all over the city.  Here are a few of the delightful surprises we run across.

 Spring flowers emerging everywhere!

And, in the park, the ponies are out for rides, but with few takers on a cold, rainy, spring weekday.

Ponies in the park

We'll share a few street pictures.,

 Modern street on the right bank

 Cobblestone alleyway on the left bank

And one more museum, with lines extending outside in the rain.  We watch one father instruct his daughter, as they come out the Metro station, how to keep an eye out for puddles and walk around them.  They then get in line at Musée Jacquemart-André for the exhibition L'atelier en plein air - Les impressionnistes en Normandy (The open air studio - impressionists in Normandy) with 50 or so paintings, from private collections and museums in Europe and America, of the stunning and diverse landscapes of Normandy painted by Monet, Degas, Renoir, Pissarro, Boudin, Morisot, Caillebotte, Gonzales, Gauguin, and others.

Line at Musée Jacquemart-André

 Entrance from inner courtyard at Musée Jacquemart-André

We have not been to this museum previously, although we walked past many times, but this time we buy tickets and enter.  The museum is in a 19th century mansion, with rooms furnished in the style of that period.  Now owned by the Institute of France, it has a fabulous collection of collection of paintings, sculptures, tapestries, objets d’art and rare furnishings, in addition to serving as a host for other exhibitions such as this impressionist collection.

One of our last stops in Paris is Ladurée, a luxury bakery and sweets house dating from 1862.  Ladurée is one of the world's best-known premier sources of macaroons, selling more than 15,000 each day.  We stop in at their  store on the Champs-Élysées and load up to treat our friends when we get home.

Ladurée entrance and macaroon counter

Buying perishables definitely marks the coming end to another great adventure.  The next day, we wheel our suitcases the 2-3 blocks over to the Arc de Triumph and catch the Air France bus, renamed Le Bus Direct on May 12, 2016 and now run by Paris Aéroport, back to Charles de Gaulle airport and head home.  In prior trips, we've traveled to/from the airport by rental car, taxi, RoissyBus operated by Paris RATP to Place de l'Opéra, RER regional train, and the Air France bus.  If our hotel is near the Air France bus stop (which it has been these last few trips), the bus is the way to go.  Le Bus Direct runs ever 30 minutes, take 45-60 minutes to get into the city, and we can buy our tickets over the Internet before we leave home.

Air France bus, now Le Bus Direct

At Charles de Gaulle, we check in, head through security, and settle into our seats for the trip home.  Tourism is currently down in Paris and that means that we get an empty middle seat between us and can spread out and enjoy the flight more.

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