Friday, October 23, 2009

Paris, October 2009, Bibliothèque nationale de France

Yesterday may have been a drippy day, but today was just the opposite. Blue skies and bright sun signaled the beginning of this day from about 11 a.m. onward.

Yesterday, I marinated a small roast in half a bottle of red wine, some fresh oregano, garlic and just about any seasoning I could find in Madame's spice cabinet. It sat over night and this morning I put it in a heavy lidded iron pot with potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and the strained wine, along with a bit of demi-glace de veau (after browning everything in rendered lardoons--smoked bacon, in this case, chopped up and browned to render the tasty fat) and place it into the oven to roast for a couple of hours. By the time it was finished, I'd washed some clothes and we'd showered and we're ready for our day to begin (we had our petit dejeuner or breakfast about 7 a.m.).

We lit out on foot and wandered into the 15e, where we found a café we hadn't yet tried (Café Murmurne, I think it was) and I had a bit of pasta for lunch while Doug devoured a big thick tasty grilled hamburger surrounded by enough fries to feed the restaurant. We were well sated by the time we finished dining and we walked across the street to board an autobus (city bus system). We've spent enough time walking and underground on the métro and we felt it was time to take a nice long ride on Bus 62 from Convention all the way to the Bibliothèque nationale of France on the site François Mitterrand. I had no idea where we were headed (another Doug surprise awaited me), however, I did enjoy being above ground and seeing the various arrondissements we traveled through. Ironically, they all look the same!

It took us a little over half an hour to get there by bus, so the bus is definitely slower than the Métro.

The library building is quite impressive. There is an east and a west side with four huge skyscraper buildings and lesser buildings between. In the middle of the wings is a dense forest of trees—quite impressive. The four cornered high-rises look like open books. I think it would take all day to actually tour this huge modern structure.

We bought tickets (at seven euros each) for a special exhibition regarding King Arthur. It was quite impressive and informative with displays of ancient writings dating back to the 900’s evidencing the fact that the King and his Knights did exist. There were amazing ivory sculptures of intricate boxes that told the story of King Arthur and although most of the display and audio were in French, it was easy to follow along with the life and times of the King, Lancelot and Perceval. We spent the better part of the afternoon in the exhibition before we walked out and around the buildings to take a look at the exterior and surrounding neighborhood. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any photographs--the flash is too harsh for the aging books and papers displayed--so I can't share the excitement with you.

By the time we arrived home, we were foot weary and ready to call it an evening. We can now see the city coming alive this Friday night. There’s nothing more exciting than Paris on a Friday and Saturday night. The bistros, bars, brasseries and restaurants were beginning to fill up at 6 p.m. as we wound our way back home for our delicious roast dinner--waiting for us at home.

Another terrific day in Paris has now lapsed into evening. We decided to postpone our trip to The Grand Palais for another day. The exhibits are many and we want to be there for a full day of enjoyment.

Please enjoy some of the photos taken last evening when we strolled out into the 15e, through Georges Brassen’s Park and across the street for an apéro.

Park Across From Bibliothèque Displaying Fall Color

North Side Of The Bibliothèque, Along The Seine

East Lobby Of The Bibliothèque

East Side Of Bibliothèque

Exhibition Poster At The Bibliothèque

Forest In The Middle Of The Bibliothèque

Dramatic Entrance Into East Wings of The Bibliothèque

Looking at Forest Between West Two Wings Shown And East Two Wings Where I'm Standing

The Bulls (Created by sculptor Auguste Nicolas Cain) Guard The Entrance To Georges Brassens Parc

A Late Afternoon Stroll Ends At Bonanimo in the 15e Where We Enjoy A Bit Of Red Wine

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