Springlike weather arrived in Paris last weekend and with it came the urge to imitate Baudelaire's flâneur, strolling idly around Paris, watching people and admiring the city. Since this flâneur loves company, I invited JR to join me in my wanderings.
Fondation Louis Vuitton, a private museum and cultural center that opened in 2014. Built by the luxury-goods company LVMH, it is one of only a handful of private museums in France. The building was designed by the architect Frank Gehry, whose works include among many others, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Covered with 112 soaring, curved glass panels, the structure resembles an enormous, dreamlike sailboat. Its location at the extreme edge of Paris might seem an odd choice but, in fact, the company also owns the concessions of the nearby Jardin d'Acclimation, a children's amusement park. The garden, a modern masterpiece in its own time, was opened in the Bois de Boulogne in 1860 by the Emperor Napoleon III. A blending of the modernization of Paris by Baron Georges Eugene Haussmann and a growing public interest in zoology, it housed a large zoo among its other attractions.
By 11 a.m., the line to enter the museum was already long. Even with its beautiful, light-filled spaces, it was too nice a day to be inside so we decided to leave the interior visit for another time. Instead, we walked around the outside of the building to see it from different angles. Because of the many surrounding trees, it's difficult to get a view of the entire building from afar. As we strolled along one of the park's many paths, the gleaming manmade structure disappeared from view, giving way to the beauty of the forest.
L'Itinérant, which is sold on the streets of Paris by 700 venders, most of whom come from the City's homeless population. The same venders sell the restaurant guide, which is also available online. Among the 22 restaurants listed for the 16th, we chose Del Pappa on the avenue Malakoff. Not long afterward, we were seated at a lovely table by the window digging into a delicious pizza.
Grande Arche, with the modern skyscrapers of La Defense rising like Oz behind it. Fittingly, the avenue that once led to the wide open spaces is today lined with the headquarters of automobile and bicycle companies.
Next stop was the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon in 1808 following his great victory at Austerlitz. Our route was the same one Napoleon took in 1810 when he entered Paris in triumph with his bride Marie Louise of Austria at his side. At that time, only the foundation had been built so Napoleon and Marie Louise passed under a wooden model that had been specially constructed for the occasion. Napoleon would never see the finished monument. He died in exile in 1821, 19 years before the Arc de Triomphe was completed. Today, the monument honors those who fought for France, especially in the Napoleonic wars. It also contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I, a war that killed approximately 1,350,000 French soldiers.
|From the Daily Overview|
By this time, we were only a mile or two from our apartment. Ahead of us lay the Louvre, Notre Dame and the Isle St. Louis. It was our last weekend in Paris for this year so we walked on, trying to savor it all.
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