Thursday, May 10, 2012

Final Day in Paris and A Stopover in Strasbourg

05/09, Wednesday
There's so much more to see and do here, we'll just have to return soon.

Before we leave today, we want to see the Rodin Museum which is about 1/2-hour walk, near the Invalides and Napolean's tomb. The weather calls for some rain...a very light sprinkle greets us, but is no bother. We arrived at 10:00 just as the museum opened. It is housed in the Hotel Biron part of which is being renovated, but it was where Rodin lived and worked.

He placed many of his works in a beautiful garden beside the museum. Strolling through it was very peaceful. He is rightly considered the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo. "The Kiss" was the first Rodin work the public loved, but he came to despise it ! "The Man with the Broken Nose" was done when he was 23 years old. He loved it and the critics hated it. He certainly went through a time of obscurity and poverty before becoming a celebrity.

Before entering the museum, outdoors is a large rendering of The Thinker surrounded by bushes, which is the start of the wonderful gardens. Early in our indoor visit, an fire alarm sounds and we are evacuated quickly. That gives us an opportunity to wander through the extensive garden populated with numerous Rodin sculptures and statues. Some are enlargements of actual indoor originals.

Only 3/4-hour to finish indoors. It's a challenge! In addition to many Rodin sculptures, there are samples of his framed wall art, and there are his students' works as well. Rodin's style changed over time as does many artist's. He began to exaggerate certain aspects of the human form...big hands and feet, missing legs and arms, contorted body. He felt these were some of his best works.

It was a nice walk past Napoleon's tomb with a final view of the famous Eiffel Tower. We picked up our luggage and took a Metro to the train station, Gare l'Est.

We arrived in Strasburg by late afternoon. A ten minute walk from the station brought us to our hotel overlooking the l'Ill River. A series of modern trolleys run through the old town which is on an island. After finding the tourist office and walking around some of the quaint streets, we have an Alsacean dinner followed by a boat tour around the town. This is a very pretty town and it certainly has a slower pace of living than Paris. Nice view of the river from our room.

05/10, Thursday, Vince's Birthday
What a beautiful day in Strasbourg...high will be 77F and sunny. Croissant and coffee for petit déjeuner, breakfast for anyone who doesn't speak French! Then, a little wandering, but we opt for the senior tour...a tram that takes us around the old town explaining stuff to remember about Strasbourg.

Gutenberg who invented moveable type was born in Strasbourg. Albert Schweitzer went to school here and taught and sermonized in the Protestant Church. The Catholic church was the tallest building in Europe from 1849 until 1912 when it was surpassed by the Eiffel Tower.

We had a late check out, so roamed the colorful streets a bit after our tram trip. Had a very nice lunch on a little side street at a outdoor cafe. The buildings and homes here are much more colorful...purple, blue, rose, green...than what we have seen in Paris, Lot-Garrone, and Dordoyne. And, they are cross-timbered with stucco, not stone and stucco. Many have the second floor overhang the street giving more living room.

The train to Colmar only took 30 minutes. We had no problem picking up our rental car except it doesn't have a/c. Beautiful wine country all the way to Ribeauville, about 20 minutes. We got within steps of Francois' house and then got confused. We sat on his patio with some great Alsacean wine before 5:00pm, so life is not too bad.

Francois is still the fun loving person I remember from 30 years ago...lots of stories about his arrival in SF, getting a job, living with hippies, meeting Cousin Jack/John, becoming a US citizen, returning to Riquewihr, and starting his auberge/restaurant. He has written a novel "1686 Bush Street" (where he lived before meeting Jack) recounting his years in SF.

Francois is a very talented artist. Many of his oil paintings now are in their house. They were part of the restaurant's decoration for many years. He took us on a walking tour of Riquewihr, showing us his restaurant (which he sold about a year ago), giving us a running commentary on the history of the town, and greeting lots of his old friends along the way.

Christine, Francois's wife, met us for dinner in Riquewihr after work. Their daughter, France, has a very successful naturpathy business in Colmar and Celestville. Christine works for her in the Colmar office. We had a very nice dinner and they are a fun couple. Her parents died a few years ago and they now live in the home, which is very spacious.

No comments:

Post a Comment