Paris: Random photos

I’ve had two big feeds that I haven’t reported on, but stay tuned. Here are some photos of things that got my attention in Paris:

The church of Sacré-Coeur, sitting atop a hill in Paris, affords a great view of the city. It was finished in 1914:

Among; the touristy streets at its base is a very weird shop: it sells coffee and access to restrooms. “Coffee, Peepee, and Me”!

The Eiffel Tower; this is the first time I’ve ever gone to the base (but I didn’t ascend):

View from right underneath. You can’t see all the way up because of the restaurant Le Jules Verne on the first of the three levels. The restaurant’s supposed to be not too bad.

There’s lovely landscaping at the base, and two ponds, both of which had MALLARDS! Can you spot the mallard here?

The Conciergerie is the former royal palace in Paris, and was used during the Revolution to house prisoners, including those who were decapitated in what is now the Place de la Concorde. But back then it was known as the Place de La Révolution, and among those who got the close shave there were King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette, as well as Princess Élisabeth of France, Charlotte Corday, Madame du Barry, Georges Danton, Camille Desmoulins, Antoine Lavoisier, Maximilien Robespierre, Louis de Saint-Just, and Olympe de Gouges.

This is the “woman’s yard” of the prison where female prisoners were allowed to get some air during the day. I’m told it’s very close to the original appearance, and is on the original spot. Right off this garden, Marie Antoinette had her hair shaved to allow the blade a sharper bite:

The Louvre. Don’t go here for more than two hours at a time; there are 35,000 objects and paintings on display, and it will kill you to try to see even a fraction of them. Make several visits:

Don’t expect to see the famous masterpieces in solitude, either:

Many people go to the Musée d’Orsay for the wonderful Impressionist collection, but I also go for the fantastic Art Nouveau furniture. Here’s a couch and a bed:

Manet’s Olympia, first exhibited in 1865, caused a huge scandal because it was a painting of a prostitute, and one looking frankly at the viewer. This picture is from Wikipedia, and you can spot a cat to the right on Olympia’s bed. The cat close-up below is my own photo, proving once again that even a painter as talented as Manet couldn’t paint cats!

Le chat noir de Manet:

Two mallards: a small detail from a larger painting in the “Orientalism” rooms:

Some food for sale at the Bastille market (open Sundays and Thursdays), one of the best weekly or biweekly markets in Paris:

And the two buildings (completed 1910) that formerly housed the Samaritaine department store, an Art Deco/Art Nouveau masterpiece. The store closed in 2005 because of safety considerations, but reports say it will reopen this year (I don’t think so!) with a hotel, housing units, and stores.


  1. Posted November 8, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Taken on the way to Chez Denise!

  2. Tom Besson
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    The Eiffel Tower pond photo looks like Monet did it.

  3. Dominic
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    That cat is the crappiest ever! Ruins the painting! The one PCC[E] twe*ted earlier was better – & that was rubbish! Did Durer do any cats?

    • Dominic
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Ah – he did. With Eve & Adam. Some readers may know these pages – new to me – cats in art…

      • Merilee
        Posted November 8, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Even Dürer’s cat’s crappy🙀
        Did these people not ever see real kittehs??

        And, people, puhleeze get your effin’ phones out of my line of sight. I don’t go to galleries/museums much anymore for that very reason.

        • Steve Pollard
          Posted November 8, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          Too right! We were in Paris a couple of weeks ago, and spent half a day in the Musee d’Orsay, which was absolutely wonderful…apart from the mobile-wielding transients who seem incapable of looking at anything except through a 2-inch square screen.

          There is a fantastic Picasso exhibition on at the d’Orsay at the moment, worth 100% of anyone’s attention; yet there were people strolling around with their iPhones held out in front of them like mediaeval icons. And sorry to be culturally judgmental, but most of them were Chinese or Japanese. We soon got into the habit of edging in front of them, just so we could take a closer look at the pictures, you understand.

          Still, the Art Nouveau furniture galleries were indeed magnificent, and had almost no Oriental snappers in front of them at all.

        • Posted November 9, 2018 at 5:54 am | Permalink

          I think it’s a recurring theme on this web site that, often, even otherwise highly accomplished, artists cannot do cats.

  4. Christopher
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    For those who want a scientific tour of France, May I recommend Steve Jones’ book “No Need For Geniuses”. If, by some amazing alteration of fortune, I ever manage to visit Paris, I’ll be stopping by some of the things he mentioned.

    And a possible expansion of the Coffee, PeePee, and Me, why not add another shop with toilets and places to catch 40 winks? You could call it Nap and a Crap.

  5. Posted November 8, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Hardly “random” photos. The word you wanted is varied, maybe.

    One thing you haven’t mentioned in your search as to why even famous painters can’t paint cats is that it was a common practice for the master to paint the important bits (faces, fancy jewelry, clothing, etc.) and then have an apprentice fill in the rest. If the cat is not the primary subject of the painting, are you sure it wasn’t rendered by a far less capable apprentice?

  6. Glenda Palmer
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Always enjoy the virtual tours, especially the architecture. Thank you.

  7. rickflick
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Wow! The Art Nouveau furniture is outlandish.

  8. Frank Bath
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    A apropos the restaurant at the Eiffel Tower: Guy de Maupassant ate lunch everyday at the the Eiffel Tower because that was the only place in Paris from which he couldn’t see it.

    • Bric
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Brian Sewell said the same thing about Sacré-Coeur, that was the only reason to visit it.

      • Frank Bath
        Posted November 8, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        Yes I read that. I sat inside and went to sleep.

  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    My conspiracy theory:

    PCC(E) is a paid tourist.

    The Mona Lisa is a copy.

    The furniture is from a hotel room.


  10. Posted November 8, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Calling those wonderful meals “big feeds” leaves me with nothing to describe my just-finished lunch of beans on toast.

  11. Merilee
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink


  12. Merilee
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Manet’s black kitteh is not too bad, and the multi-colored carrots are gorgeous, but JC on a cracker, does that guy HAVE to take a selfie with the Mona Lisa??? I feel so privileged to have seen so much great art before the era of cell phones.

    • Posted November 8, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this is one of my pet peeves also. If they want a digital print of the famous painting, they can get a much better one online. If they want to prove to their friends that they were really there, just take one selfie in front of La Louvre and be done with it.

      • Merilee
        Posted November 8, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Agree complètement!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 8, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          Me too. I think a photo should be of the scenery, unobscured by obstructions like my face. I already know what my face looks like (and believe me, it does not improve the beauty of the scene 😉


    • Diane G
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      “Manet’s black kitteh is not too bad…”

      I thought the same.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Between “Coffee, Peepee, & Me” and all the guillotine allusions, maybe your header shoulda been “When you gotta go, you gotta go.”

  14. Posted November 8, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Really liked the carrots, swedes, all that colour. I think we have been deprived with our choices at our local vegetable market.

    • Christopher
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Notice that no matter how colorful French markets are, most of the food ends up in various shades of brown? Weird.

      • Posted November 9, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        ha! not on my plate they wouldn’t… stir fries and salads would be a vibrant colourfest, or is that feast?

  15. Posted November 8, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Revolutionary Science and the French Revolution.
    Steve Jones
    Royal Institute podcast #4
    A few things French and science, a good listen if you have time.

  16. Joe
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    What lovely photos! Did you see the beheaded Saint Denis in the ceiling of Sacré-Coeur? I’m not sure why I thought it was funny but I chuckled when I saw it.

    And you are right, the view of Paris from Montmarte is amazing. I hope you will actually go inside the Eiffel Tower and take one of the elevators up to the top. Talk about views …

    I think it really is hard to overstate how wonderful a city Paris is and I enjoy reading about your experiences there. I’ve “only” been there twice, but on each occasion, my partner and I made it a point to visit the Shakespeare & Company bookstore near Notre Dame (one can never have too many books). During our last visit, we were fortunate to stumble upon one of my partner’s favorite writers, Karl Ove Knausgard, giving a talk about his works. It was just a nice surprise to stumble upon.

    Here’s to hoping you have many nice surprises in your time in Paris!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      My first day in Paris, I was staying near Gare du Nord, and I walked up the hill to Sacre Coeur in the late afternoon; and there on the skyline was the Eiffel Tower. The lure of M. Eiffel’s creation made me forget all about old churches.

      So I trotted down again to the nearest Metro station and found a staffed ticket window and asked (in my barely coherent French) “I go to Eiffel Tower, please?”. And the lady said in perfect English “The best way is to take Line 2 to Charles de Gaulle – Etoile, then change to Line 6 to Bir-Hakeim. But it may be crowded because it’s the rush hour.” But I got there okay, and quicker than I expected.

      I still haven’t been up the Tower, though; I’m somewhat averse to heights and far more strongly averse to long queues.


  17. Mark R.
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    This is a nice respite from the chaos that is happening in American politics; a nice virtual stroll through some Parisian highlights.

    I always stare at other people in photos I take. Like that guy giving you a quizzical look in the Venus de Milo photo. I often wonder how many times I appear in photos taken by strangers; photos that I’ll never see.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    The Eiffel Tower is a temple to science and technology, just as much as those churches are temples to one god. Instead of statues of mythical saints, it has the names of scientists, mathematicians and engineers inscribed around the outside just below the first-floor gallery.

    In the photo, if you blow it up, some of the names are legible. Ones I recognise are de Dion, Becquerel, Coriolis and Giffard.


  19. MarkMyWords
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    If you have time, and are fond of the cuisine of the Dordogne region, you should try Domained’Olleac at 20 Rue Rousselet, a little side street off the Rue de Sevres. It’s tiny (only seats about 15) and everything is made from scratch, including the foie gras. They even have toasters on each table so that you you can warm and crisp up the bread for spreading the pate. I had a cassoulet there which was orgasmic!

    • MarkMyWords
      Posted November 8, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Augh! Failure to proofread!! Domaine d’Olleac.

  20. Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the link! I rather like the cats in Asian art as depicted at this site, in particular the Cat and Peonies, Cat Killing a Bird, and Cats and Sparrow.

    • Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Oops… this is supposed to be a reply to Dominic at comment #3.

  21. Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I love your gorgeous photos, Jerry!

  22. tubby
    Posted November 8, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Coffee- a necessity of life
    Peepee- the predictable result of coffee
    Me- needed for both the coffee and peepee

  23. Posted November 9, 2018 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Some great photos of Paris there Jerry.

  24. Posted November 9, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    “…among those who got the close shave there were King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette…”

    An interesting use of the expression! Generally when something is described as ‘a close shave’ it refers to someone having narrowly avoided some harmful outcome. The use of the definite article rather than the indefinite article makes all the difference!

  25. Posted November 9, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    25 years ago at least there was a ridiculous line for the ET restaurant. (It was also very expensive.) Dunno now, of course. Maybe the novelty has worn off.

    As for the toilet-for-pay, well, aren’t there public toilets that charge? This is just competition. 🙂

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