Last winter, Rick and I went to the book store. I bought a cute little book on Paris, reviewed HERE on Chopsticks and String. Rick bought "Les Miserables." Theoretically, it was abridged, but at 900 pages, I question that! (Below, detail from "Gavroche at the Barricades" by Willmette.)
He became a passionate fan of Victor Hugo, not only for his amazing writing style, but also for his nuance, his political beliefs and his passion.
We set off on what started out to be a sunny day and walked to the Places des Vosges, which is a square with several fountains, statues and lots of benches and pigeons, all surrounded by brick buildings, some of which house trendy shops.
For once, the sky was blue, and the buildings were a beautiful contrast!
After munching on lunch from a nearby boulangerie, we went in, got the audio tour and started learning far more about the man whose words were so inspiring.
The museum covers several floors, beginning with portraits of those who were part of Hugo's life. Then you enter a room with more paintings -- some representing his work -- as well as a beautiful image of his daughter, Leopoldine, who drowned at the age of 19, pulled under water in a boating accident by the weight of her skirts.
There were numerous cases with his work and that of Charles Dickens. (Rick and I said Dickens got almost-equal billing in the museum!) This may be because Dickens greatly admired Hugo and both were notable for the writing about the poor.
As we went through, we learned about Hugo's mistress, Juliette Drouet, an actress who had nine lines in one of his plays and went on to become the love of his life. This area also included much about his passion for his children and his commitment to justice.(The audio tour also included bits from his writings and love letters bot Juliette as well as a few snarky notes from his wife!)
It was truly an illuminating and interesting little museum, and one I would recommend. (Rick recommends it, too!)
As we left, we encountered a sidewalk artist...
...and a splendid harpist, both working outside the museum. Of course we stopped to listen for a bit.
Then it was time to move on. On the way to Bastille, we found a music store, where Rick talked with the luthier and got recommendations on where to look for guitars in Paris (that's another post!).
We learned that some things are the same, no matter where you are!
I'd never seen the yellow ones -- they were beautiful!
The peonies were out, too, and lovely in so many colors!
We passed by the Sorbonne...
...and searched for a restaurant! I was determined to have crepes and we found a delightful spot!
Everything worked -- even the street, with its collection of cafes, was charming!
We even stopped by Notre Dame again to see what it looked like when illuminated at night.
Yes, it was a wonderful first-full-day in Paris.
Lessons learned -- the little "Totes" umbrella sure doesn't hold up well in rain -- unless you want to carry it upside down, like a big cup!
(Coming up: A Road Trip!)