Friday, April 7, 2017

More Monet and Flea Markets

We wake up on our second full day in Paris to a beautiful spring day.  The sun is out, the leaves are starting to show on the trees, and we decide to celebrate the season by viewing the Jardins (Gardens) exhibition at the Grand Palais, the huge exhibition hall on the Champs-Élysées.  However, we don't take into account that it is Saturday and the residents of Paris are out and about for the weekend and many have already purchased tickets in advance for the show.  We walk over to the Grand Palais, get in the line for people without tickets and, in a short while, hear that it will be 1.5-2 hours before we can get in.

We decide to come back on Monday, when people are back at work, and head down the street to the nearby Musée de l'Orangerie, to check out the line there.  L'Orangerie is in the Tuilleries, the fabulous public gardens between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, and our EuroStar ticket to Paris is supposed to get us a two-for-one ticket price.  When we arrive, we find no line and that we can buy a discounted combination ticket for both the l'Orangerie and the Musee d'Orsay, across the river.  This is great!  The Musée d'Orsay always has long lines, but with a ticket in hand, we can bypass the lines and head right in at a later time.  The attendant who takes our l'Orangerie ticket draws a small heart on the ticket (we must look like we're having fun) and tells us that, when we're ready, go to Door C at Musée d'Orsay for our expedited entrance.

But, meanwhile, l'Orangerie, in addition to its two large rooms of Monet Water Lilies, is featuring an exhibition (that didn't show on our list) of the collection of Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume, described as one of the finest European collections of paintings, with 146 works from the 1860s to the 1930s, from impressionism to modern art.

We wander, starting with the rooms of Water Lilies.

 Water Lilies!

And, then, through some of the collection.

 Works from the collection

But, after that, we must return for some more admiring and appreciating the water lilies.

They call us back

We finally have our fill and head back out into the beautiful spring day.  What to do next?  How about shopping at the flea/antique market, the Paris Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, considered to be the largest flea market in the world with over 3,000 traders organized into a series of open-air and covered villages.  If you're looking for anything, you can probably find it here!

 Alleyways of the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen

We're searching for a silver appetizer holder and find several in the shops.  While we discuss our negotiation strategy, we stop for lunch at a stand in the market and have two paninis (four-cheese and ham/cheese) and two glasses of wine.

 Lunch at the market

Fortified, we wander some more, head back to the shop with the most interesting offering and start to negotiate.  The item is marked at 140 euros and we eventually end up with it for 90 after a fun discussion with the vendor.

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