NINE DAYS IN PARIS
PARIS JUNE 24 through
2O11 P H O T O G R A P H Y B R A D
H A A N
T E X T
W I L L
M Y E R S
S IN PARIS
awoke at 5 a.m., it being 8 p.m. in Los Angeles, and hurried out to get some images of first light. The city around
the hotel in the St. Germain district of the Left Bank was full of antique shops, cafĂŠs, boulangeries and museums. I shared the streets with one sole police car patrolling. Nothing else moved. The quality of the light, reflected in windows and off stone, rose with a magical warmth. I wandered around for the better part of an hour before surrendering to get ready for a dayâ€™s work at the Air Show at Le Bourget.
he neighborhood was highly cared for, the Beaux Arts buildings were clean, crisp and rich with age.
The carved details in doorways, cornices, balconies and cartouches were abundant, and restoration was evident everywhere. There was very little sound, no distant traffic, no breeze. The trees along the Seine were completely still. It was a perfect morning to get acquainted with the new city. The solitude was comforting, it was peaceful, historic and familiar in some ways. Paris evoked my memories of Washington D.C. and parts of SoHo in New York, but of course this morning it was far grander.
FRIDAY DAY ONE
ay One. Hotel Montalembert was classic, urban and elegant. The roomâ€™s balcony was directly
over the front door. The hotel staff was exceptional â€“ friendly, helpful and caring. That first evening began with a long walk along Boulevard Saint Germain, a turn at Le Deux Magot, behind the Institut de France and along the river to Pont Neuf, then back south along Rue Dauphine to the pedestrian only Rue Christine where dinner was served late amidst hundreds of young people out for Friday night. The street was packed.
SATURDAY DAY TWO
he weather turned hot and moderately humid. But the sky was crystal clear and
the light on the face of the buildings brought them to life. The line in front of Notre Dame was hundreds of people deep, so we postponed going in until later in the week. The balance of the day was exploring the Isle de la Cité, the Latin Quarter and the Left Bank. Dinner was on a narrow pedestrian alley off Saint Germain, le Cours du Commerce Saint-André, at the Saint Germain Pub next door to The Procope’s alley entrance and across the street from a spectacular new Un Dimanche à Paris
“Chocolat Concept Store”.
Palais du Luxembourg
eat and humidity continue, so we try to keep to the shade. The Jardin du Luxembourg were lightly populated with sunbathers and families. The Pantheon dome rose in the
distance, and loomed before us as we approached. The scale of it defies description. Every inch of the facade and interior is a study of infinite detail. Beside it stands St Etienne du Mont, with its impossible stone lacework carvings. A stroll down the Rue de la Montagne Ste GeneviĂ¨ve took us past a movie being filmed at a cafĂŠ and brought us again to Saint Nicolas du Chardonnet and Place St-Michel. Try as we might to avoid it, we did complete circles back to our neighborhood. 57
MONDAY DAY FOUR
onday started with a trip to the doctor for a brief visit and some antibiotics. It was shockingly inexpensive. We took it easy for
the balance of the unseasonably hot day, strolling west to Les Invalides past embassy after embassy, stopping into several boulangeries for water, and window shopping at more than twenty remarkable magasins dâ€™antiquitĂŠs â€“ back through the 7th and 6th arrondissements to the hotel. After exploring the brand new Monoprix grocery across the street, we settled in and dined at the Montalembert.
TUESDAY DAY FIVE
Jardin du Palais Royal
Bourse du Commerce
inally the heat broke, and it remained 72 degrees and breezy for the balance of the trip. It was a long day walking, through the Louvre to the
Jardin de la Palais Royal, east to the Hôtel de Ville and back again. We walked past the St. Germain du Prés, many restaurants and a street singer to wind-up having dinner at a very busy L’Entrecôte, where the hostess took an immediate liking to us because of the difficult people ahead of us in line. She seated us first. At a better table.
H么tel de Ville
Tour St Jacques
Saint Germain lâ€™Auxerrois
WEDNESDAY DAY SIX
MusĂŠe du Quai Branly
he Eiffel Tower is 81 stories tall. You really have no idea how large it really is until you stand at the base. Hundreds of people were already there at 10 a.m., and so after a few
minutes of craning, we headed east through the Musée du Quai Branly which literally has a growing facade. The Des Invalides Dome and museum were a pure highlight of our trip. The Musée de l’Armée houses hundreds of suits of armor and early weaponry which represents only a quarter of the monarchy’s original collection – most of which was lost during the revolution. After a long stroll past Musée Rodin to St. François Xavier and St. Sulpice, through the back neighborhoods, we finally dined at Le Duex Magot.
St. Franรงois Xavier
THURSDAY DAY SEVEN
e took a taxi to Saint Chapelle to get a good jump on the day, and Thursday became the best day of our trip. The interiors of Saint Chapelle, the Conciergerie and Notre Dame were
outstanding. The crowds were moderate and the weather perfect. By now, our collection of coins minted for each of the sites we visited was growing and we sought them out everywhere. We returned to the H么tel de la Monnaies to investigate the currency store, and ended up at Le Procope which, despite a large family with a screaming child who were made to leave, was so good we went back Saturday night with a reservation.
Le Palais du Louvre
riday was art museum day, because we opted not to travel to Versailles and to spend our time instead inside d’Orsay and the Louvre. The Musée d’Orsay had a truly special exhibition
dedicated to the life of Manet. It featured the full body of his work and how his friends, politics and life affected it over time. The collection was assembled from museums all over the world.
At the Louvre, we started in the Greek and Roman
antiquities, took in the original fortress keep excavated from beneath the eastern Cour Carrée in the 1990s, and through Egyptian and Mesopotamian galleries to Winged Victory and the Mona Lisa. Afterwards, we sat outside at Café Marly for dinner and watched the sun set on the plaza. 177
SATURDAY DAY NINE
ur last full day in Paris began at the Opera, took us through neighborhoods of the 8th arrondissement to La Madeleine, on to Palais Élysée, the Grand and Petit Palais and across the
Pont Alexandre III. The richness of Paris was overwhelming... like having nothing but lavish desserts for every meal for a week. We agreed that we had savored as much as we could, but know we have to go back. Of what we saw walking through every street and site we could manage, there are still ten more waiting for us to explore. Our last dinner at Le Procope was served flawlessly on our own private balcony over the entrance. ♚
â™š Photographed in June and July, 2011. Authored, designed and published in August, 2011. Typeset in Goudy Old Style and Trajan Pro. All images in this book were photographed by the author and document the trip to Paris, France of Brad Haan and Will Myers. ÂŠ 2 0 1 1 BR A D H A A N All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be copied, reproduced or used in any way without the prior written consent of the author.