Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg
Paris, France
December 31
Writer, copy editor, translator, travel planner. Head servant to my cat.
A reader, a writer, a fingernail biter, a cat person, a traveller, a cookie inhaler, an immigrant, a dreamer. …And now, self-employed! If you like my blog and if you're looking for sparkling writing, painstaking proofreading, nimble French-English translation, or personalized travel planning, feel free to check out


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OCTOBER 15, 2011 10:09AM

Last Monday in Paris

Rate: 23 Flag


Last week, my brother-in-law returned to Paris after visiting his parents in the French countryside. We had some lazy days, but also some really full ones.  A friend here asked me to post some pictures of the things we  saw and did.  Here are a few from last Monday, our busiest day.

We started the day in the very chic 7th arrondissement, one of Paris's most expensive neighborhoods.  While looking for a sandwich shop to stop at before heading to the Musee Maillol's exhibit of artifacts from Pompeii, we came upon the Cour de Luynes (Luynes courtyard), which featured some magnificent Art Nouveau architecture.  Especially impressive was this iron and glass awning.  There were a good deal of them in Paris about a hundred years ago, but due to changing fashions and the difficulty of preserving something in glass outdoors, they're fairly rare here today:


Just around the corner, another Art Nouveau apartment building had a gorgeous double door.  Here's one side of it:



If you think this door is lovely, you should check out OSer Out on a limb's recent wonderful pictures of doors from the South of France.


The Musee Maillol is named for the sculptor whose lover and model donated the space and many of his works.  The museum features excellent temporary exhibitions as well as a really lovely small permanent collection which includes works by Maillol himself, Matisse, and many other late 19th and early 20th century artists.  The Pompeii exhibit was a great idea; actual objects from the doomed city were on display, as well as three bodies.  It was a fascinating look at daily life in ancient Rome, and the bodies themselves were an incredibly moving sight - so moving I don't yet have words to describe them.  Here is the large monumental facade just beside the small museum (which has the "Pompeii" banner hanging over its entryway). Unfortunately, pictures weren't allowed inside.




After that, we crossed town on the Metro and had a complete change of scenery. The 12th arrondissement is a residential, low-key area.  I've written about it before, in my post about the automat on the rue de Wattignies.  The area's laid-back ambiance is a far cry from the somewhat snobby atmosphere you sometimes get a sense of in the 7th arrondissement.  But as in any area of Paris, the 12th, like the 7th, has its surprises.  Here, some images from the enormous Parc de Bercy.  Hard to believe we're in a major world city:










Bercy used to be a village where Paris' wine was stocked, stored, and sold.  Old wine werehouses are still standing today, incorporated into contemporary shops and restaurants.  Here in the park, a small vineyard pays homage to Bercy's past:



The Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy (POPB) is a concert and events center famous for its unusual architecture: a huge, ziggurat-like construction, its sides are covered in grass.  Here's a part of it, looking a bit drab under a typical grey Parisian sky.




Facing the POPB is the Ministry of Finance and Industry, an enormous building that ends overhanging the Seine.  Below this part of the building, my brother-in-law pointed out, there is a boat always ready if the Minister of Finances needs to use it to travel somewhere upriver for a government event.  I wish I had a little ferry boat always waiting for me! Here, three photos that I wish I could combine into one panoramic view to give the sense of the size of this building.  The middle portion has a helipad on the top.







Looking up the Seine towards the center of the city.  Far off on the left, you can make out the thin spire of Notre-Dame.   Closer on the left, the strange green structure is the new Fashion Museum.  The cluster of boats on the right are mostly what are called péniches - barges that have often been converted into houseboats.


Paris is a city of contrasts.  Amidst the modern architecture of Bercy and the surrounding areas (including the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand - the large National Library branch behind the bridge), the Pont de Bercy (Bercy Bridge), constructed primarily in 1863-1864, reminds us of the past: 





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the thing I like to take pictures of the most is architecture. You can find so many twists and turns and surprises..
I loved this.
What a beautiful grey day in Paris? Is it often grey there? I want to be there too!! Thank you for this!!
Linda - Nobody takes pictures of architecture like you. I'm glad you enjoyed these photos.

zanelle- Paris is often grey, at least for part of the day. The sky really looks like an Impressionist's canvass most of the year. And it's all for the better: despite being a major city with its share of pollution, trash, and its notorious dog-poop laden sidewalks, Paris doesn't smell because the rain regularly washes all that away.
As my kids used to say in the whiniest voice possible whenever they didn't get what they wanted or couldn't be where they wanted to be, such as in Paris: "It's not faaaaaaaaaair!"
It's always fun to stroll with you. Ever thought of being a tour guide?
I absolutely love these photo posts that allow me to walk with you and dream of being there. -R-
Wonderful photo essay
I am so lucky to have
taken such a lovely walk
around Paris
on such a beautiful fall day
rated with love
This was absolutely beautiful. I have never been to Paris but just heard about the District 7 last night on a international homes show, it was fascinating and expensive. Lots of great shops in the area and the courtyards, fantastic.
I always enjoy your tours of Paris. Thank you, Alysa. ~r
Mizz A,
What the hell is an "arrondissement" anyway?
I always wondered.
I sure wish you coulda snuck a picture of the pompeii stuff.
As for your brother in law,
I am glad you had a nice week with him but
we all missed you terribly, so I am kinda glad he is gone.

Everything in Paris is so damn artistically done ,
is what I have learned these many months following your
adventures. Around here, nobody truly gives a damn about
public space. Public space is boring. I am glad
you got a good camera and
money for plenty of film
to show us Paris.

If i ever get there, i will probably have serious deja vu,
from reading u!
Beautiful photos, Alysa! The sky in that third to last one is just incredible. :)
Oh, and I love the ducks too!
Beautiful! Thanks for the tour.
Wow! So wishing I could be there too!
Wow...I want to fly right back to France, right now!

Fabu Alysa! Good you have pictures to always bring you back to the good times you had. Gorgeous place and so alive! I miss Paris very much. I lived there for six months and only left because my laptop broke. At the time (year and a half ago) there was only ONE mac repair shop in Paris and the backup was a month or two before I'd get it fixed. And buying a new one anywhere in Europe was out of the question $. So was having a friend get it and ship to me $ +hassle. Upon return freelance picked up and other things and dammit I haven't returned yet. I never had a dog poo experience, thank goodness. Your poor shoes! But I guess walking around with plastic bags, like we do in America, is too gauche for Parisians :) Just like taking leftover food from a restaurant is (no go, no way)... then again the tiny refrigerators can't handle the overload anyway. And the lack of different brands available in the grocery stores all over Europe is annoying... later it becomes a relief. But imagine the US pulling a number like that. One brand of toilet paper? The citizens would be up in arms! MUTINY. We have too much STUFF in America, don't we? Stuff stuff stuff!
great to visit Paris again!
I always love exploring Paris with you!
I never tire of seeing Paris. Are restaurants in the 12th famous for their canard? They seem to have a fresh supply sitting around.
Thanks for reading, everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed this day in Paris - even though it was a bit overcast, as is often the case.

@Mimetalker - I have worked as a tour guide here before, doing personalized tours. But unfortunately it's exhausting and also a bit problematic now that I'm in a bad place with my IBS, so now I only do tours with friends who come to visit. Maybe one day I'll be a tour guide again. Thanks for your vote of confidence.

Sheila - I think the 7th arrondissement is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Paris - but I wouldn't want to live there - it's SO expensive, and the ambiance can be a little snobby....

James - As always, you are so sweet! An arrondissement is a neighborhood, or "district" as it's often translated. Paris is divided into twenty of them. Hmmm....maybe I'll write a post about this. Thank you for the inspiration! Also, I have a digital camera, so much less expensive in terms of film. Sometimes, I'm glad to live in this present, technological age, in spite of myself.

Charlie - Thanks for reading. I think the deal with the seeming lack of variety of brands here is that you have to go to a bigger supermarket to get more of a choice. I often try to get over to one of the Auchan supermarkets, which are kind of like Wal-Mart's. But you're right - in general, in Paris supermarkets, you don't get a lot of choice when it comes to most products. I'm glad you enjoyed your time in Paris (and didn't step on any dog poop!)!

Stim - When I read your comment, I laughed. Then I started to think about it....and got a little scared for those ducks.....
The glass and metal awning was just gorgeous. I have never seen anything like it.
Thanks for another pleasant tour de Paris, Alysa. I love the structure and the tenacity of Pont de Bercy, especially when I think of the controversy Montreallers are facing their Pont Champlain. On its 49th year and already showing signs of wear and tear, finally the federal government gave the OK to build a new one to replace it. It may take upto a decade and cost close to 5 billion! They just don't make them like they used to any more. :o(
Paris is full of architectural and natural beauty. Thanks for sharing so much of both.
Confit . . . confit in the wild! Must eat them! ::clears throat:: Excuse me. Lovely architecture. I particularly like the Musee Maillol's classical design.
Excellent photos...I really enjoy looking at Paris through your eyes. Thanks!
I loved the parc and bridge of Bercy. Just saw "My Afternoons with Margueritte" with Gerard DePardieu. It was so special! Where did that take place?
Art Nouveau is my favorite! Thanks for some architectural shots, also, but that Pont de Bercy is a beautiful bridge...