On our final full day in Paris we aimed for the Georges Pompidou Centre – the ugliest building in Paris with the most sublime and comprehensive collection of modern art. But wait! Di had a malfunction with her suitcase and required a Phillips head screwdriver and a screw to fix it, so a search for a hardware (quincallerie) shop was on……..amazing, there was something that looked fairly promising right opposite the Pompidou Centre.
I am getting braver by the day with my French (one year of total immersion – classes twice a week, French News on SBS, French crime novel half read – basically attempting to keep dementia at bay) and asked where we could find the requisite tools – well, Bunnings, you have some serious competition! My three artists and myself were totally seduced by the treasure trove that was this French form of our ubiquitous hardware haven – AND we found the right tools and all purpose glue (needed for our visual diaries and collage). Brimming with pleasure we entered into the Pompidou Centre as it opened at 11am AND made it to the ladies restrooms BEFORE a busload of chattering 5 year olds – supreme success!!
Down to the more serious side of the trip, we gorged on Matisse, Picasso, Picabia, Delaunay, Paul Klee, Mark Rothko, Yves Klein, Mondrian, Giacometti and so much more. A great thing to see French children sitting in front of works and discussing, copying and learning. The view from the roof is spectacular and we could see to Sacre Coeur at Montmartre, which was to be our afternoon pilgrimage.
The afternoon saw us in Montmartre – steep streets, steep tourist traps, steep funicular railway but ancient and an integral part of Paris. Fascinated by the awful touristy artwork mainly, but occasionally surprised by an artist flogging original and different work or producing a portrait of a reasonable standard. The view from Sacre Coeur was the opposite direction to our morning sojourn but every bit as spectacular.
For our last dinner in gay Paree, Ros suggested the famous Chartier Bullion in the Rue du Faubourg Montmartre – a fascinating two levels of fast moving waiters in white aprons, diners by the hundreds, fast, and I mean fast, food – all presented and the bill compiled on paper tablecloths and added up at the end. The food is excellent and not expensive, the service is exemplary and the huge place is full every night. No bookings, but definitely worth a visit for the decor alone – chandelier globe lights, dark brown timber tables and stairs, mirrors, glass and an old world Parisian air.
Pelting with rain when we emerged and quick as we could into the humid warmth of the Metro – what a brilliant way to move around the city, but not always glamorous!