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paris trip report part 3

2005-02-03 - 4:56 p.m.

All photos 2005 by Elaine Radford

This is Part 3 of my Paris trip report. Click here to read Part 1 and here to read Part 2.

paris metro

Jan. 28, 2005

Today I went in search of the Rose-Ringed Parakeet at Bois de Vincennes. I read "bois" as forest, but it was actually more like a city park with domestic birds like domestic Mallard, Muscovy, a Barnacle Goose, and even a peafowl to confuse the issue. At times, it was raining cats and dogs -- well, it being Paris, joggers and dogs. The birds didn't seem to think it would stop any time soon, so they just went about their business in the rain.

wet soggy peacock's tail in Paris

I'm not sure that this peacock wanted his soaking wet tail-feathers immortalized for the internet. Another humorous sight was the half-scale European Robins bouncing merrily along in the damp grass. Great Tit and Blue Tit made vaguely chickadee-ish sounds as they played in the trees. Starlings sang from wet branches, clearly unconvinced that it was worth waiting for the rain to stop before they started their serenade.

No Psittacula though. I did have hopes, since the first time I saw the Rose-Ringed Parakeet was at Rembrandt's Windmill...in the rain. But no parrots in Paris today.

Back in Montmartre, I explored the neighborhood in the on-again, off-again rain. The post jet-lag bloat had passed, and I was actually starting to get an appetite, so I found a traditional restaurant where I could enjoy my first real meal in Paris, instead of Atkin's bars, museum cafes, or baked goods. It was onion soup, beef bourguignon, and creme brulee -- and of course a more reasonable carafe of red wine than the one I'd encountered at Musee D'Orsay. The owner saw me futzing with my camera and invited me to take a picture of my chef, but he probably didn't expect to have it posted on the internet, so suffice it to say that he was dressed in the classic white chef's uniform complete with tall hat.

When I returned to the Sacred Heart Basilica, they were actually having a service. I felt a bit odd just walking in, so I sat in the back for awhile. Plenty of other tourists had no problem just milling around, though. Sacred Heart isn't really that old -- it dates back to the late 1880s -- but next door is the much older church called St. Pierre's.

st. pierre's in montmartre, paris

I have a theory about stained glass. I believe that, down through the centuries, glass gets broken and then replaced by whatever picture or pattern the powers-that-be at the time decide to replace it with. Be that as it may, this suspiciously cubist stained glass window from St. Pierre's may be one of my favorite pieces from Paris -- and I examined and even photographed a ton of stained glass during this trip.

cubist stained glass, st. pierre's, montmartre, paris

I found many things as I went exploring -- the Dali Museum, the old pub or cafe where Picasso used to drink, the last vineyard still being maintained in the city of Paris.

old vineyard across from Picasso pub, Montmartre, Paris

However, I never found either of the two old windmills. I didn't expect to find the Moulin Rouge ("the red windmill") because I wasn't quite close enough to that area, but according to my directions I should have been looking right at the Moulin de la Galette. I don't know if it's more broken-down than I expected, and I was looking at it -- at one point I did notice some rather broken-down looking equipment and at another point I saw a large object being restored with plastic over it -- or if I just plain looked in the wrong place. Oh well. It isn't like I never saw a windmill before.

I finished the evening by strolling around at random until I saw a small French bar with some women in it that wasn't too crowded. (It's surprising how, on a dark and rainy winter's evening, so many bars are either packed with smokers or an all-male club!) I thought Heinecken was a word understood in any language but I was wrong. It didn't matter. With some laughter and mutual smiles, we managed to communicate my need for a nice large beer to conclude a wet day.

You have just read Part 3 of my Paris trip report. Click here to read Part 1 and here to read Part 2. To continue onward to Part 4, click right here.

sacred heart basilica, paris

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