Saturday, June 15, 2013

Paris - St Martin Canal Cruise, Victor Hugo's House, and Pompidou Center

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Counting this day we only had 3 days left in Paris. So let's make the most of them, yes?

We started our day with the usual. A coffee and croissant, just as any good Parisian would.

Breakfast in Paris at Cafe Montparnasse

Since we knew some things would be closed on Sunday we had to plan ahead. Frankie loves to take little cruises on the water. He says it relaxes him. He had researched river cruises and found a canal cruise instead.

The Canauxrama website that Frankie found said the following:

This romantic and out of the ordinary trip of around 2.30 hours offers an opportunity to hear the history of the districts of the "Parisians' Paris" as you cruise along the calm waters of this canal, lined with hundred year old trees and spanned by elegant footbridges.

That is all Frankie needed to hear, so he purchased the tickets online the night before and in the morning, after our coffee and croissant, we were on our way to catch the boat.

We had a little bit of a rough time finding it and it was getting very very close to departure time.  So close in fact that we even had to run a little! (Don't get crazy, it was really just a little, and more like a fast paced walk.)  But we made it and got to even enjoy a little scenery before leaving the dock.

Saint Martin Canal Paris

The description from the website said that we would go through four double locks and two swing bridges....

...I went through them and still have no clue what happened. I grew up in arid west Texas where the the only locks and swings I knew about were found in the hardware store (it was a small town so we didn't even have a Wal-mart!) or on the playground.

Here is a lock.

Lock on Saint Martin Canal Paris

All I know is that we went into this little area and a gate closed behind us. Water started to flood in from the front and the boat was raised to the level of the water in front of us. It took awhile to fill. Then we went forward through a different gate and continued our journey. I have no idea why we had to do that. I have no idea how it looked from the outside. I have no idea, just no idea.

I have a video of the lock filling, maybe it will help.

It was a cold trip up the canal but that didn't take away from the beauty.

Sun and birds on Saint Martin Canal Paris

Here are some things we saw along the way.

Friendly people on bridges.

Friendly People on Bridge in Paris

Lots of street art.

Street art on Saint Martin Canal Paris

Street Art Cat Saint Martin Canal Paris

Street Art seen from Saint Martin Canal Paris

Something that I still don't know what it is.

UFO seen in Paris

And finally the coolest movie theater ever!

The Geode Paris

That huge silver sphere is called The Geode. It is just over 37 feet in diameter, took 10 years to build, and has 6,433 spherical equilateral triangles covering the outside. I tear up just thinking of the mathematical beauty of it all.

The canal cruise was cool but there were some boring parts. Two and half hours isn't bad if you're an adult, but the few kids on the trip did get bored rather quickly and took to running up and down the aisle until FINALLY one of the adults with them told them to stop.

After we got off the boat we walked around looking for lunch before our next destination which was Victor Hugo's house and saw some interesting things along the way. Let me share some of those photos with you.

Office Depot in Paris

I had no idea there was an Office Depot in any other country besides America! Looking at their website they are in 60 countries worldwide! Who knew!?

Greek Sandwich Fries and Coke Paris

Food! Greek style sandwiches with fries and tzatziki sauce instead of ketchup. Yum! One of the cheapest meals you can get in Paris is from these type of Middle Eastern sandwich shops and they are really good too!

The following are just random wanderings in Paris.

Bread at Bakery Paris

The Colonne de Juillet or July Column at Bastille Place Paris

Gray doors in Paris with heads

Head on gray door in Paris

And then we were there!

House of Victor Hugo in Paris

We went through his house, dug in this things, used his toilet...just kidding. I wanted to go to Victor Hugo's house because I was in the middle of reading Les Misérables and the movie had just come out. Let me share some of what we saw.

Victor Hugo handwritting and signature Paris

Victor Hugo's signature.

Room decorated by Victor Hugo Paris

A room decorated by Victor Hugo himself....let's face it. That's a lot of brown. A lot of brown. Then there was his bedroom.

Victor Hugo's Bedroom Paris

Rug on the floor...

Ceiling in Victor Hugo's Bedroom Paris

...and on the ceiling....I think he decorated this one too.

That is about all for Victor Hugo's house. Our next and last stop for the day was the Pompidou Center for some modern art.

Georges Pompidou Center Paris

Just outside the Pompidou Center is a large entertaining fountain. Since it was winter it wasn't flowing but it was still visually fun. We saw a video that showed the fountain in the non-winter months and all the sculptures in it twirl in the water.

I really loved the fountain even if it wasn't spinning. Let me share what some those sculptures look like.

Skull at fountain at Pompidou Center Paris

Snake at Fountain at Pompidou Center Paris

Bird at Fountain at Pompidou Center Paris

Elepahant Bird and Heart at Fountain at Pompidou Center Paris

Elephant at Fountain at Pompidou Center Paris

I love the colors and the shapes. I want one just like it in my front yard!

Also nearby is a very large street art. Not sure if it was part of the Pompidou Center or what, but I liked it.

Large street art Paris

All of this was near a church. We tried to go in but never found the entrance. It does make for a cool picture though.

Church and moss Paris

From the fountain if you look towards the Pompidou Center you can see an observation window up high. If you can't see it in the first photo take a look at the second one and maybe that will help.

Observation Tube from far Pompidou Center Paris

Observation tube Pompidou Center Paris

We decided we needed to see that and it was the first thing we went to in the Center, but first we needed a coffee.

Cafe Noisette Paris

We finished our coffee and went into the Center. It is a little disorienting at first but we figured it out, made it to the observation window, and saw views like these!

Paris and Eiffel Tower from Observation Tube Pompidou Center

St Suplice from observation tube Pomidou Center Paris

Saint Jacques Tower from Observation Tube Pompidou Center Paris


Now on to the things inside the Center. We were in there for four hours, so I have much to share!

I have to say that I have a love/hate relationship with modern art. Some of it is so stupid that I don't even see how it can be art. That is the hate relationship I have with it. Some of it is so weird that I think I like it, but I am not sure. That is the love/hate relationship I have with it. And then some of it is amazing! That is the love relationship I have with it.

I am going to group some photos together that show my three feelings on modern art. I will start with the stuff that I feel is so stupid that there is no way I can classify it as art.

Untiled 1 by Agnes Martin Pompidou Center Paris

It is a canvas with lines on it. Lines! That is it. Lines. Ugh!

Dark Blue Panel by Ellsworth Kelly Pompidou Center Paris

It is a canvas painted dark blue. That is it! Just a solid color. Ugh!

Chaises Universale 4860 by Joe Colombo Pompidou Center Paris

It is two chairs stacked together. Seriously. I saw something like this in the gym a few months ago at the school I work at. Ugh!

Superposition et Transparence by Fracois Morellet Pompidou Center Paris

It is two BLANK canvases except there are lines showing where the one behind would fall on the front one. Pa-lease! Ugh!

Three Arrangements by George Brecht Pompidou Center Paris

I think it's Ikea.... Ugh!

Paintings to Unity by Claude Rutault Pompidou Center Paris

It is red canvases painted on a red wall. Then I read the description, which I should have known better than to do. It said, and I quote,

In 1973, Claude Rutault took the radical decision to paint his canvases in the same colour as the walls on which they are hung. Paintings therefore become indistinguishable from and resemble the walls on which they are exhibited and are no longer intangible objects since they can change colour.

Radical??   And if it is indistinguishable, then what is the point of having art?? Ugh!

Plaster Surrogates by Allan McCollum Pompidou Center Paris

Please, they just forgot to actually put the paintings in and since we were in a modern art museum everyone thought that was how it was suppose to look so no one questioned it. Hey, I'm questioning it!! Ugh!

Ok, now that it is out of my system, let's move on to the weird. There are things in there that were weird that I liked and things in there that weird and I am still scratching my head about.

Skull Art Pompidou Center Paris

This was the very first piece we saw inside the Center. Hmm...

Napoleon by Maryan Pompidou Center Paris

I just don't even know.

Woman at Cemetery by Michelangelo Pistoletto Pompidou Center Paris

This one is a woman tending to a cemetery plot, which is a strange topic, but what made it even more different was the fact that it was painted on a mirror.

Aesop's pens by Pino Pascali Pompidou Center Paris

This one is called Aesop's Pens. He wrote a lot of fables...

Habibti (My Darlin in Arabic) by Adel Abdessemed Pompidou Center Paris

I read that the artist's wife was the model for this and that is why it is called Habibti, which means My Darling in Arabic. Dang, man, give your woman some food!

Man or Art Pompidou Center Paris

I didn't take this one for the art. I took it for the man. I know some Americans dress in such a way that everyone knows they are from America. Don't believe me? Have you seen this website? (Warning, not for the squeamish!) So when I saw this guy and he screamed European (which is weird to me, and I am not trying to offend anyone...did you look at the American link??) and he was looking at weird art, well I had to take his picture!

Also sprach Allah Pompidou Center Paris

This says in German...I think...."So said God"....again, I think. So you are looking at it going, okay, did a three year old write it? Nope. I captured a video to show the process.

Well, that made it cooler!

Whos afraid of the big bad wolf Pompidou Center Paris

"What is that???", you ask.

Well, let me show you a close up!

Whos afraid of the big bad wolf close Pompidou Center Paris

It is called, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf. Creepy!

They had a Salvador Dali exhibit and pretty much anything he does is weird! And I like it!

Salvador Dali Egg Pompidou Center Paris

That is Salvador Dali himself!

Salvador Dali Painting 2 Pompidou Center Paris

I don't's a toe.

Now for the things that I just loved!

The decor that was orignially in a room in the apartment of president Georges Pompidou at the Pompidou Center Paris

This rainbow of color was originally created for a room in the apartment of President Georges Pompidou. I would love waking up to that everyday. How could you have a bad day surrounded by all that beauty?

Helmet by Mimmo Paladino Pompidou Center Paris

This was the biggest helmet I have ever seen! I want to say it was about 3.5 feet tall. Interesting!

Sofa Living Sculpture by Verner Panton Pompidou Center Paris

Here is a sofa to go in your rainbow room from above!

Theeverymany by Marc Fornes Pompidou Center Paris

This reminded me of something you might find under the sea. It was big enough for me to walk in, not that I was allowed to, but still.

We stopped just here at the time by Ernesto Neto  Pompidou Center Paris

What this one looked like was pantyhose with something stuffed in it. What this smelled like was wonderful. The "pantyhose" for lack of a better term was filled with cloves, cumin, pepper, and turmeric. It was art for the nose!

Lobby by Bertrand Lamarche Pompidou Center Paris

If you just saw the picture, you would think, heck, I have some of that tubing under my house, but now let me show you the video.

When we first walked up to it, we thought it was moving towards us, but it wasn't. It was just twisting. It somehow draws you in and all you can do is sit there and stare at it.

Ghost by Kader Attia Pompidou Center Paris

These were in a room all by themselves. There were 150 of these aluminum figures! It was rather spooky and rather amazing.

Chain link fence art Pompidou Center Paris

If we still had a chain link fence (which thank goodness we don't because now the dogs can't bark at everything they see through a wooden fence) I would so dream about doing this...I wouldn't really do it....that would take so much time and patience!

Married to the Eiffel Tower by Marc Chagall Pompidou Center Paris

I just love this one and I can't really express why. Maybe it is the chicken, maybe it is the blue Eiffel Tower, maybe it is the goat head. I don't know but what I do know is that I love it.

Funicular Ploygon of revolution by Robert Le Ricolais Pompidou Center Paris

I saw this one and my little math heart just jump with delight! If that is not a calculus revolution problem then I don't know what is!

We were done with the permanent exhibits and on our way to the Salvador Dali exhibit so we had to pass through the lobby. That is where I captured these next ones.

Planes in Lobby Pompidou Center Paris

And then at the other end of that plane...

Texas flags on plane Pompidou Center Paris

It was rather pathetic how excited we got seeing a Texas flag. But we were in Paris France, thousands of miles away from that great state and BOOM there was that beautiful reminder of home.

One more from the lobby because I liked the way it turned out.

Cinema Sign Pompidou Center Paris

One from the Salvador Dali Exhibit. My favorite work by him called The Persistence of Memory.

Salvador Dali Painting 6 Pompidou Center Paris

After four hours it was time to go back into the real world so we headed out. Right outside the Center is an enormous statue featuring French soccer player Zinedine Zidane and Italian soccer player Marco Materazzi showing Zidane headbutting Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup Finals.

French headbutt to Italian soccer player statue Pompidou Center Paris

It is gigantic! Do you see the person walking by it??

We walked some looking for a place to eat....we seem to do that a lot. Along the way we saw some beautiful scenes of nighttime in Paris.

Seine River at Night Paris

Notre Dame at Night Paris

We ended up at a restaurant over near Notre Dame and as we sat there waiting for our food I saw a cat IN the restaurant. The waiters saw it too and just stepped around it so it must have been a permanent fixture in the place. I had no problem with it being there. I know a lot of people would have freaked out. But then the CUTEST (in my opinion) thing happened and I was able to capture it.

Cat joins us for supper Paris

The cat joined us at the table!

And that is where I leave you for the night. Stay tuned because on our next day in Paris we travel down to the sewer! A real treat that you will NOT want to miss!

Until then, take care!