Ernest Hemingway said, "There are only two places in the world where we can live happy; at home and in Paris." There is truth to his statement. The sun rises very late here this time of year and I had no time to waste. I got out as early as I could to walk around Montmartre. Sacre Coeur was on my list of things to see and I wanted to walk around Montmartre on a sunny day. Based on the report, deterioration is in the forecast, so today was the day for being outdoors. I had been to this section of Paris years ago, but didn't explore it as I did today. One of the most unusual sights was the Moulin de la Galette. The windmill was built in 1622 and immortalized by Renoir. Oddly enough, there are houses all around it...remarkable it is still standing. There is also a home in Montmartre where Van Gogh, Renoir, Utrillo and his mother Suzanne Valadon once lived, as well as a cemetary where Nijinsky, Dumas and Degas, among others are buried.
To continue my explorations, I ventured onto the Metro to go to other sections of the city. The Metro system in Paris is extraordinary. One can go anywhere in the city. Unfortunately everything is in French! Go figure. I made like Blanche Dubois and accepted the kindness of strangers when I asked a woman if she spoke English. She took time out of her busy day and helped me. If she hadn't been there, I would likely still be in the first Metro station having gotten nowhere. I made my way to the Louvre just to be in that area of the city and then walk along the Siene across the Pont Neuf and on to Notre Dame where I climbed the 400 stairs to the towers to see several breathtaking views of Paris. Afterward, I saw signs for the Pompidou Centre and wanted to see that most unusual of buildings.
Finally, one of the highlights of my day came at night. The server at dinner was from Nepal and spoke excellent English. A young couple a few tables away overheard us talking and asked if I would like to dine with them. The young man is a musician who favors American jazz and blues and wants to improve his English. We had a wonderful time sharing musical tastes and resorting to writing words down when our accents got in the way of understanding. That ends another magical day in France. Bon nuit!
I have included images of Moulin de la Galette, a chimera sculpture atop Notre Dame and my new friends William and Loriane. Merci beaucoup a vous deux!
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