Paris Chelsea Tour 2013
Trip Recap May 15th – May 24th, 2013
May 13th … wheels up at 10:10 a.m. as I leave Panama and head to
Houston, then Frankfurt and finally Paris. I was upgraded to BC so that was
a nice treat. Had a lovely lunch including salad, main and desert and then
settled down to read my Kindle. I was glad I bought it with me because my
television would not work properly. Others had the same problem as well so I
was happy to have it to read. I started reading a wonderful new book called
Evening Mists. Based in Malaysia, it is showing me some insight into the
country that I have visited often.
Arrived into Houston and wow, so nice to see that Canadians can go through
the U.S. immigration lines now. Makes it so much easier for us as we don’t
have to get finger printed or taken photos of like the rest of the visitors
to the U.S. Thank you! We do appreciate this very much. This gave me more
time to visit the lounge and check my email. Flight to Frankfurt was going
to arrive ahead of schedule because of the winds so again, that was nice. I
was in economy for this flight but I had my favourite seat which gave me
lots of legroom so I settled in, got out my ear plugs and Kindle and left
the rest of the world to find their seats. I had my own television again and
it worked so during dinner I watched Hyde Park on Hudson then read a bit and
slept. Just before landing you are served a light brunch which really is not
worth it…a flat croissant and 4 small pieces of fruit. Wish these North
American airlines would look at what is served on other airlines…it’s
embarrassing. Dinner was fine, I have no complaints, but these breakfasts
are terrible. Once in Frankfurt found the lounge – Lufthansa – which serves
all of the Star Alliance members, checked in then headed to the showers area
to freshen up. They have a super lounge, actually quite a few lounges
scattered throughout the airport and they are great. Wonderful snacks
served, full shower facilities, free internet, magazines, drinks and quiet.
The last time I was through Frankfurt they had the most delicious plum
streusel – none this time but soups, salads, weiner schnitzel and potatoes,
even chocolate mousse! My short flight to Paris was that, a short flight,
but on that flight we got served the plum streusel along with a great cup of
coffee! I had a window seat for the 50 minute flight and it was really nice
that I did – don’t usually – but this time as we approached the airport it
was wonderful to see fields and fields of canola, as far as the eye could
see. The land actually looked like a puzzle – pieces in pale brown, brown,
green and yellow – all fitting together forming this beautiful landscape.
Every once in a while little towns and villages interrupted the landscape
and thrown in for good measure were these ‘rivers’ of trees, flowing through
all of the land.
Arrived at Terminal 1 at CDG on the 14th then to the baggage area to get my
bags – did they arrive? Yes. It’s nice not to have to go through immigration
here so out the door, find a taxi and on to the hotel. A beautiful drive to
the hotel partly on the freeway then through neighbourhoods full of trees in
spring blossom. We are staying at the Concorde Montparnasse. The Gare
Montparnasse is literally right next to it. The RoissyBus #4 is the bus you
take from the airport and it drops off not too far from here where you can
take a taxi to the hotel. To bed…
May 15th – up early to get things out of the suitcase and to get myself
ready and sorted out for the time here in Paris. Tonight we meet for our
Welcome dinner here in the hotel because half the group has arrived today
and they will be tired.
Our group met for a delightful dinner of smoked salmon with poached egg in
Andalusia sauce, Golden cod with saffron cream and pink garlic sautéed baby
potatoes and for desert we enjoyed warm chocolate pudding cakes (filled with
hot melted chocolate pudding) and drizzled with pistachio custard. After
introductions from each, we sat down to enjoy dinner with drinks. I also
gave each guest some surprise gifts.
Then it was to bed as tomorrow we are in for a busy exciting day.
We met our guide Regine and off we went.
Musee Rodin - The Hôtel Biron is a jewel of Parisian architecture, with its
park that covers nearly three hectares, adding to its immense attraction. We
enjoyed visiting the front half of the garden and inside the gallery but we
found out that there was a big event happening so could not visit the back
half as it was closed while they put up tents and chairs…I guess a wedding.
We saw lots of fellows parade past us with hands full of tree branches for
the floral displays….it was a lovely venue for a wedding but I was to say
the least a bit miffed about not knowing about this change. But I do have to
say that the most important works of Rodin are in the front and we did see
The Musee du Quai Branly outside gardens are wonderful and quite large. You
don’t see them all at once – you walk through the gardens and under the
building to fully appreciate them. This building was even designed just in
case the Seine floods – it is built on stilts to protect the building and
the works inside. The floods from the Seine happen every 100 years and the
last was in 1912. The plantings and berms all are there to further protect
the building from water too…quite ingenious and you would never know that
unless you had a tour of them. This garden was designed by Gilles Clément
and looks beautiful in its spring colours. He believed that plants are
wanderers and will find their happy place. As we stroll with a guide we
enjoyed the paths and clearings, the edge of the water plans, and the
diversity of plants that have been acclimatized to the Paris environment to
avoid disturbing the ecological balance with foreign species. No chemicals
are used in this garden.
From the corner of the garden you get a peek of the huge vertical planting
that covers the administration building that is next door. This was done by
Patrick Blanc and it truly is awesome! Called Le Mur Vegetal in French, this
system allows both plants and buildings to live in harmony with one another.
Lush and green with vibrant bursts of colour…it was wonderful!
Lunch was in the beautiful Angelina Room at Printemps under the legendary
dome of the listed cupola! A remarkable feature of the Haussmann store is an
elaborate cupola above the main restaurant in the store, installed during
the 1923 reconstruction. In 1939, to avoid the risk that it would be
destroyed in bombing attacks, the cupola was dismantled and stored at
Clichy. It was restored in 1973 by the grandson of its original designer,
using plans that had been kept in the archives of the family business. In
1975, the façade and cupola of the building were registered as historical
monuments. The figures of the Four Seasons on the façade were sculpted by
French sculptor Henri Chapu.
We then visited the Musee de L'Orangerie - to see something very special -
the panoramic cycle of paintings, the Nymphéas (Water Lilies) by Claude
Monet. It reopened its doors to the public on 17 May 2006. The Musée de
l'Orangerie permanently holds the Nymphéas by Claude. The Orangerie was
renovated in order to move the Nymphéas to the upper floor of the gallery.
They are now available under direct diffused light as was originally
intended by Monet. Now that they don’t allow any photographs to be taken
inside, I am thankful I have some from previous tours.
The vestibule of the orangerie was designed by Monet . He created it as a
gateway to peacefulness so the hustle and bustle of every day life could be
left at the door. He started these 8 panels in 1909 with the thought and
began on them in 1914 and continued working on them until his death in 1926.
Presented to the public in 1927, they attracted little attention as
impressionist art was way to forward in thinking. It wasn’t until after the
second world war when interest was finally revived and his work was given
And we finish off our day with a wonderful insightful cruise on the river