Friday, June 3, 2016

One Paris Afternoon in Photographs

My day of exploring Paris started with sights like this. There were big, beautiful, gold statues everywhere. I walked through the city with the time and the freedom to indulge my curiosity about every sight I saw. It was a grey, chilly, wet afternoon, but that did not stop me at all. I had one afternoon in Paris. I was going to make the (still then un-caffeinated) best of it. 

The art and architecture was beautiful. If I lived there, I'd probably breeze right past sights like this bridge sign without giving it a second thought, like many of the Parisians did. They had places to be. Like at a job. But for me and about a thousand Japanese tourists who followed me everywhere with cameras, we could stop and enjoy the sights. They appeared to take their photography cues from me. I took a picture. They took the same picture. I'm very influential that way.

I probably wouldn't take this picture on my own, but since The Boss had to work (someone had to pay for this vacation) she told me to take a lot of pictures of things she probably would not see. I did my best to oblige her wishes.

I want one of these. I think I'll put it next to the driveway of my next house.

During my meanders I stumbled across The Louvre. It's HUGE. I've heard that the lines to get in are long. I contented myself with walking around the outside, enjoying the architecture of the buildings, the statuary outside, the vendors and the tourists. 
I'm not a selfie kind of guy. I took this picture to send it to the kids. I spent 18 days in Europe thinking, "I can't believe I'm actually in Europe." Here's proof. I was there.

My ears perked up when I heard a distinctly American male voice say,"I told you it's Ceasar!"

I turned and saw a middle-aged man and woman approach from behind me.  His wife looked at me and said, "He keeps correctly guessing the statues from a distance. He's usually right."

"I am usually right," he confirmed.

"It's really annoying," she added, smiling.

But I have to tell you, it sure was nice hearing someone I could understand! 

While strolling through the grounds of the Louvre, I saw in the distance a fallen tree. A BIG fallen tree. The first thought that crossed my mind was the first thought that always crosses my mind when I see a fallen tree since becoming a BSA scoutmaster. "I can burn that!"  Maybe not. Upon closer inspection I saw that this is a gigantic bronze sculpture of a fallen tree. Why? I have no clue.

France and America have a long friendship. Here's one example. I found Thomas Jefferson standing at the end of one of the many bridges crossing the Seine River. 

I don't mind saying that I was genuinely disappointed with the exterior of the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris. It's beautiful to look at. Well, the parts that you can see are beautiful to look at. There are so many trees along the south and east sides of the cathedral that it is difficult to see. The large expanse of open space that you can see here was filled with tourists and pick-pockets. If you stopped moving, you became an instant target. I simply pretended not to speak English when the young lady with the clipboard and the petition that absolutely needed the signature of middle-aged white guy from Kansas stopped me to ask, "Excuse me, sir, do you speak English?" I walked right past her without acknowledging her existence. If you stop to speak with them they will expertly relieve you of your wallet and any other valuables they can retrieve. Oh, for a pocket mouse-trap a la Tom & Jerry!

The north side of the cathedral is so close to the buildings across the street that it was difficult to get a good angle for a picture. Still, it's a beautiful building.

Part of my meandering took me to the Place Saint-Michel. I discovered a statue of the Archangel Michael defeating Satan.

I had to wait awhile in order to take this simple photograph to the right. First, I had to wait for the Japanese dude who decided that he needed his girlfriend to take a picture of him while he stood next to Michel. That took a lot of climbing. Then he had to practice his pose so that he matched the heroic angel. That took a lot of turning and adjusting. I did not understand the contents of the loud conversation that took place between the two of them, since it was held in Japanese, but it appeared to involve her inability to make his camera work, and the difficulties she suddenly experienced with her own phone's camera. She was too busy nervously looking over her shoulder for the gendarme to concentrate on the cameras. I guess every nationality has their knuckleheads. Then I had to wait for the French woman with her placard protesting something to do with farmers to get out of the fountain's basin. She attempted to hand me a sheet of paper with information about her protest, but I replied with a firm, "No, merci!" while reaching for my wallet and looking around for her accomplice.

You cannot turn a corner in Paris (or Poland...or Germany) without finding another ginormous church. Sometimes they were on the same block. This is the reason I became horribly lost while touring on foot. No sooner would I finish looking at one landmark when I'd notice another just around the corner, and off I'd go to investigate. And since this part of my journey was post Starbucks, I was rarin' to go. 

I want these gates on my next house. 
These are just some of the sights from my half-day walking tour of Paris.  It was a great afternoon.  I covered just around ten miles before collapsing back at the hotel. Five minutes after flopping on the bed, Melissa arrived from work and exclaimed, "Let's go exploring!" It was a long, fun day.


Michelle said...

Hmmm, I think those gates and statue would look lovely on your current house. Throw in the giant bronze statue of the fallen tree and nothing could be tackier. People would flock to your house to take selfies with that stuff. You could charge admission.

I grew up in Niagara Falls. Japanese tourists were everywhere and often wearing three cameras around their neck with another in their hand. We laughed, we giggled, and then I found myself living in Japan. One camera around my neck and another in my hand....I had become what I had laughed at. Cringe!

Kevin was never around when we took those trips so I was the sole photographer. I started taking pictures of my feet places so that others would know that I had been there. It is now a signature Subbert shot. Wherever we go, we take a picture of everyone's shoes to show that we were there.

Looking forward to reading more!

Linda said...

Love the pictures. Love your always. Love that you got coffee. Love that you didn't lose your wallet. Love that you did this with (for) Melissa!!! Basically...I love this!!

The Boss said...

There's one picture missing, I think. One of you, in a garden, next to a statue of a general, behind a gate. A malfunctioning gate, if I remember correctly.

The signature Barrette photo has become us next to fiberglass animals. You can see examples of them here: