Thursday, May 24, 2012

Victor Hugo and a Walk on the Left Bank

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.

  So, the big thing on Rick's "Must Do" list in Paris was visiting Victor Hugo's home in the Place des Vosges, located in the Marais area.

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!

 We explored a bit, and then crossed over to the Left Bank. By this time it was raining, but it made the poppies in the Jardin des Plantes all the more lovely!

I'd never seen the yellow ones -- they were beautiful!

 The peonies were out, too, and lovely in so many colors!

  Umbrellas up, we kept walking, captivated by charcouteries...

I wish I'd bought these little sausages -- for the packaging if nothing else! markets...

 ...fromaggeries (I loved the cheese!)... shops...

...and florists!

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!

 The walk home was lovely, too. The rain had let up, and the Seine looked lovely.

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!)


Jeanie said...

Your photos are, as usual, really wonderful. You have such a talent for describing your touring. This was fun and really made me wish I was in Paris instead of off to work this morning.

Pam~ Virginia Retro said...

Beautiful post! I feel like I've been to Paris!

I'm sorry I don't have my email listed, but thanks for coming to my blog to acknowledge my comments on your precious Gypsy. I am a follower! Look forward to more of your posts.

Pam (Virginia Retro)

Joanne Huffman said...

What a delightful first day. Thank you for bringing us along with your great descriptions and beautiful photos.

Friko said...

A wonderful day, but surely it must have been exhausting? You did such a lot.

I can tell that you enjoyed paris by the smiles on your faces.

Retired English Teacher said...

Where to begin? I loved everything about this post: the interesting review of Victor Hugo's home, the photo of the bluest sky ever, the photos of the street markets, the Seine in the moonlight, the cafes, the poppies, but most of all, the smiles on the faces of you and Rick.

I miss Paris. I want to go again.

The French Hutch said...

Oh Jeanie, you and Rick travel and tour like Jim and I do. We love visiting smaller museums since we've been to the larger ones several times. We've been to the 4th ARR", Place Des Vosges, not knowing it's where VH's museum is located. We also made great little discoveries on walks like Rick found in the music store. I found an art shop where I bought my sister and DIL paint sets. I see you also enjoy some of the things I do, like shopping the local shops. I love the food shops. Your photos are great, love the flowers, cheese and wine shops. I knew this post would give me "Paris Fever!", Maybe in the fall……
Thinking of you and Gypsy.

The French Hutch

Toriz said...

Sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

Marilyn said...

It is always fun to see where people visit when staying Paris. I have not been to the Victor Hugo Museum, but have walked past it. There is a sweet little Medieval museum at the Sorbonne, did you go there? How fun to see your pictures and travels.

Relyn said...

Oh, I do love stories about trips that make long-held dreams come true. YAY!!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Ahh, I am drinking up these posts, Jeanie! When I look at your photos, it is like seeing an old, familiar friend. :) I love Place des Vosges. It is one of my favorite areas of Paris. It's really great in the summer when people lay on blankets and enjoy picnics! I got to experience that when I was in Paris in July of 2008. I also toured Hugo's home on this last trip and thought it was a cool tour!

The whole day sounds wonderful! All of it! Well, maybe not the rain so much!

Annie said...

I am so happy for Rick. This visit was like a dream come true for him. I know EXACTLY how he must have been feeling. You see, I had the same smile on my face when I was able to visit Mont Saint Michel. That was an almost lifelong dream that was fulfilled in 1995. I first saw it in a picture in a magazine and it captured my imagination like nothing else ever has.

Ruth said...

The sidewalk café shot looks like van Gogh's café in Paris at night painting!

I love the Places des Vosges, probably more than any other single spot in Paris. I usually stay in the Marais when I go, and it's a perfect place to stop and rest on the way back from a day out and about. The Hugo museum is really wonderful. I discovered the artist Denis Frémond in one of those trendy galleries, and have been in love with his paintings since.

I love seeing Paris with you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeanie,
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photos of Paris. I love that museum picture of Hugo's daughter, Leopoldine, and especially your photos of wine and cheese. Happy traveling to you and Rick. Look forward to your future photos.

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Dear Jeanie
A lovely post - thank you!
Only 6 more sleeps until I embark on my 30 hour flight to France!!!

Place des Vosges is beautiful - well everythings beautiful in the inner arrondissements of Paris.

The Victor Hugo museum sounds most interesting.
Top of my list to visit this time are the Pantheon and Jardin du Luxembourg. I'm hoping I might also get to Giverny.

Enjoy your weekend!

Arti said...

Jeanie this is lovely. I missed The Victor Hugo Museum and the Bastille the last time I was there so those are must see next time. Also, we stayed in a little hotel across from the Sorbonne... The Select. And those sidewalk cafe and the one you had crepes, are they close by the Sorbonne, cause I recognize the place. I look forward to the guitar post for my son. ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, Jeanie, this is delightful. I enjoyed every bit of it including your umbrella comment at the end which made me smile. PARIS!! Oh my!! You should link this post at Anita's Paris party in two weeks. (Anita from Castles, Crowns, and Cottages) The button's on my page.
Those wine bottles are GORGEOUS. Love the labeling colors.

I just scrolled down and noticed your next post about dear Gypsy, and I am so very sorry to hear, my friend. I know all too well the feelings you describe in having to say goodbye to such unconditional friends. We too were blessed with a peaceful passing when our Golden Girl, Honey, said her goodbyes in 2010. Makes a huge difference this way.
Glad that Gypsy will live on in The Marmelade Gypsy.
Much love,

anno said...

Even with the rain, it sounds (and looks) completely lovely. If blogger had a "like" button for pictures, this post would be completely decorated. Those flowers!

Linda said...

Beautiful post.. love the sausage packaging, the guitar book, and the totes info!!! hee hee

Vagabonde said...

I am again slowly trying to catch up. I just read your encore posts. I liked reading your beautiful post on your friend Patricia – how rare to have had such a great friend. I can understand your sorrow at losing her. The photos your father took are so special and so good, really. Your mother was beautiful. She was a May girl like my mom who was born on May 12. We did not take many photos like you did in your family but I cherish those I have. Like you, I wish I had picked her brain more on stories I did not know – about the war mostly. She was an only child so I can’t ask anyone now.

Your post about Gypsy made me cry – for him and for my little Korat cat, Mitsou. Our remaining orange cat, Cody, misses her very much. She passed away not long ago also, but I still cannot talk about it – I am too devastated. It is so hard to let go of our wonderful pet as they are family more than pets.
I am pleased you went to the Place des Vosges. My mother lived walking distance from it after my father died and I still like to visit it each time I am in Paris – it is so beautiful. We went there in May 2011 but it also looks superb in the fall with all the golden trees. It seems that you had a great time in Paris, that’s good.

Quiltmoose - Dagmar said...

Thanks for taking us on your lovely trip! You've seen a lot on your first day!

Anonymous said...

I am back today to let you know that you are the lovely recipient of the "Pretty in Pink" Audrey tags. Crossing fingers does work after all, especially at a children's bookstore blog with a childlike heart as its central theme. ;)
When you have time, you may click on "You've Got Mail" under our header to forward your mailing info.
Congratulations Jeanie, and thank you for participating.
Much love,

~*~Patty S said...

your trip to Paris looks absolutely many wonderful photos Jeanie!

I can hardly wait for Mont St Michel...I have a "thing" for that place and was lucky enough to visit some years ago...I even spent the night there which had it's own kind of magic as most tourists leave by evening

take care dear friend

jet1960 said...

Your photographs are beautiful! Such a gorgeous city!

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