Call me Paris Adèle …
The Social Butterfly!
Yet another dinner invitation, this time at my lovely friend Julien’s apartment.
But, I jump ahead of myself or should I say hop ahead of myself!
With all the wasted time I have experienced with a broken toe, the six hour wait in the hospital, apartment moving, plumbers and the inability to get around at a timely pace and with ease, my large, yet achievable list of things I wanted to see and do for this visit to Paris has gone relatively untouched.
This morning, with my time in Paris approaching it’s end, I felt a sense of panic. The exhibitions, museums and galleries I had intended to visit hasn’t materialised.
However my foot was giving me a lot of pain today.
Travelling on the metro to the French Historian’s home last night managed to do something to the toe.
When travelling on the metro, I either try to grab a seat near the door or stand, balancing all my weight on my right leg but for some reason, last night I stood on both feet and as the metro lurched to a halt, ouch! That hurt.
Walking from the metro to the French Historian’s home, I could feel something wasn’t quite right. Adjusting the wonder shoe made no difference.
It feels like the broken toe has moved and that the bone is poking onto something, causing the neighbouring toe to tingle.
In pain and frustrated but trying to find the so called Aussie spirit I have within me, I decided that I needed to find somewhere nearby, walking distance and no up and down stairs on the metro. The newly renovated Picasso museum was my choice. Although I have visited the museum a few times, I haven’t seen it since it recently re-opened this year.
The short walk was a challenge but driven by my thoughts that the smooth even flooring would be a welcome, the Christmas time tourists would have left by now or fled
after the terrorist attack and I would breeze, or hobble on through.
I was wrong.
The line up was huge, do you have a pre-paid ticket, no I don’t. Join the queue. I will come back another day, I told the attendant but hobbling along with no purpose seemed silly. I still have time before my rendezvous with Julien and made a u-turn, argh you came back the attendant smiles. Maybe it was the wonder shoe that made me recognisable amongst the crowds of people pouring in through the entrance.
Waiting on the uneven flag stoned courtyard was more than I could handle and noting the rate in which people were allowed to enter, I abandoned the queue.
Now what, I started berating myself but before I knew it, I was hobbling away to the Pompidou Centre with a pitstop at a pharmacy for some more paracetamol.
Whether you love it or hate it. I have grown to love the Pompidou Centre over the years and it’s vast, ever changing permanent collection but I also wanted to see the Frank Gehry and Jeff Koons temporary retrospectives.
As a 20 year old I thought that the building was amazing but it was filled with rubbish. In particular an installation, that I viewed back then, was exactly that, a pile of rubbish. Drink cans and cardboard wrappers. In hindsight, it was probably a statement about waste.
Today, I see the building for what it is, and although I understand the intentions and appreciate the vast space, which allows the art to be the feature, I also can see how it has made an ugly landmark, nestled amongst the beautiful architecture of Paris.
The decision for this building, destroyed the ancient and famous Les Halles market place and has changed the area forever.
However, as far as the modern works of art that the centre acquires, this, I have learned to love and grow a huge appreciation of.
Although I have seen many of Jeff Koons’ works before, (the images you see above and to the left and right and yes, that is Michael Jackson and his pet chimpanzee, Bubbles), it was better to see it on display at the Pompidou Centre.
The last time I saw his art, six or so years ago, it was very strangely dotted around the palace of Versailles.
This was not only distracting and detracting from the palace, it gave his work a sense of silliness – perhaps that was the objective. He does have a sense of fun and claims that his art is intended for the masses.
Whichever way you look at it, I found it far more interesting and appreciated it more, being in one large space.
His stainless steel sculptures with a mirrored finish, of simple objects, gave off fantastic light in the vast rooms of the Pompidou Centre, a perfect space for his art.
The Frank Gehry retrospective (above) was very interesting. In particular I wanted to see the model for his latest work, the Foundation Louis Vuitton, with fingers crossed, I will still make it out there before I leave Paris.
Although Canadian architect, Frank Gehry was born in 1929 his architecture is as modern as it gets.
With a string of awards under his belt and buildings which include The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, The Dancing House in Prague, and the Dr Chau Chak Wing in the University of Technology, Sydney (click on the links for examples), his models are equally as interesting as the buildings themselves.
As always, I had a wonderful time in the Pompidou Centre and many hours had slipped away.
Hobbling out of the Pompidou Centre and crossing the vast courtyard, as luck would have it a supermarket was in sight. Buying a couple of bottles of wine had me on the nearest metro but running late for my dinner at Julien’s home.
Fourth floor he tells me over the intercom.
Oh dear. Walking up stairs is probably the easiest part of walking for me at the moment, but going down is a long journey, bad foot down, followed by the good, one step at a time.
I will cross that bridge later.
Julien’s happy smiling and welcoming face was a breath of fresh air and the casual relaxing night had me feeling like it was a Friday night after a long week of work, except for him, it was.
That hadn’t stopped him from going to the trouble of preparing a delicious meal for us.
Home cooked comfort food, no airs and graces, just the two of us sitting in his kitchen, munching away on nice food and drinking from gorgeous glasses which had me wondering if he would miss them after I had left his apartment block.
Hachis Parmentier was promised and delivered.
Hachis Parmentier is similar to Shepherds pie.
The dish is named after Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, a French pharmacist, who introduced the potato as an edible crop, Julien tells me as I watch him brown the cheesy potato topping.
The word “hachis” means a dish in which the ingredients are chopped or minced, hence the minced meat.
Last week when we had dinner in a restaurant and a bowl of mashed potatoes was presented along with my steak, I told Julien if I had to decide on a last meal on death row, it would be a giant bowl of creamy mashed potatoes.
He thoughtfully remembered and I couldn’t have wished for anything better.
The rillettes and baguette we had snacked on earlier, while we chatted away about our respective days and the creamy mushroom soup that he was encouraging me have a second bowl of, which thankfully, I declined had me bursting at the seams.
If I hadn’t revealed Julien’s identity last year, I would have given him a pseudonym, in the same way I do for everyone else and I think given his generosity when I most needed it, helping me get the wonder boot, crutches and medicine, picking me up when I fell off the crutches and constantly checking up on my well being, I would have given him the name of My Angel.