Day 10–Art and a White Gorilla

It was pouring rain on the way to and back from the gym. Still no umbrellas!

Meanwhile, the regular guy at the newspaper kiosk was a little annoyed when we gave him the accumulated change we had on hand, including centimes (pennies) for the Hearld Tribune. (We also got grief from the manager at Robert et Louise last week for being late.) We are on sabbatical, don’t they appreciate this?

I had to meet Graham Bibby at 10 at the Musée d’Orsay, the wonderful train station converted into a spectacular art gallery. Saw some of my favourites, a luminous Cézanne still life, for instance. A few others.

There is a story here but it will have to await our return; can’t share it via the web. Interesting, maybe because it was raining, the lineups here were really long. So, while we’ve seen the quiet side of Paris since we’ve been here, at least in this popular place, there are more people around. (If you want to avoid lineups are here for a week or so, there is a 5-day museum pass you can purchase that let’s you avoid the lines.)

We had a good chat, discussed a few paintings. (For Graham’s website, see On the way home, I realized that I didn’t have to run to catch the subway train that I could hear pulling into the Métro stop at Solférino. Yes, I could actually wait for the next train and I would be no better or worse off than I would had been if I had caught the earlier train. It was liberating. Time definitely moves slower here. (Who was it in Catch-22 who wanted life to be completely boring so time would grind slowly? Dunbar?)

We went for lunch at a terrific place, Le Gorille Blanc, soi-disant as Cusine Soignée et Vins de Qualité (meticulously prepared food and good wine), 11bis rue Chomel, just off Boulevard Raspail. This was a real find–excellent food, wine, service and price–and we may have to break the ’90 days/90 places’ rule for this one as well.  (There was, en fait, a white gorilla who lived in a zoo in Barcelona but who died a few years ago; the resto has photos of him/her?)

Incidentally, I was mentioning a number of guides the other day but forgot a series published here called Parigramme. They are fun and useful, written mostly in English. There is one called “The Best Places to Kiss in Paris” but we’ve skipped that one; we’re married after all. The one we are using at the moment is “Paris, the Second Time Around” for those who know the city, at least a little. Worth checking out if you’ve been here before.

We went for a late afternoon walk (we both had work to do!) and ended up strolling around the neighborhood to pick up a few necessaries. On the way, we walked by the square at the Saint-Sulpice Church which itself has been undergoing renos for a few years, no doubt caused by the hordes traipsing through it after that dopey Da Vinci Code book was published. There were specific guide books written for that specific purpose, hard as that is to believe. For our purposes, however, we had to go to the legendary Pierre Hermé shop, 72, rue Bonaparte, to purchase a bar of chocolate, then over to Polâine for some butter shortbread cookies and back home for a few phone calls. Everyone has their priorities, I guess.

Still no umbrellas!