Napoleon’s tomb, French military history, Soutine, Paris ferris wheel…

It was Sunday morning and we got off to a slow start. I was up a bit early and decided to go out for a little photo walk in the Paris snow. It was just a couple of blocks to the Invalides so I headed over.

The dome of the Invalides tomb with the hospital building in foreground.

OK, this guy must be a tourist. No way any Frenchman is doing this!

Just a modest entrance way to an average Paris apartment building.

Who but the French would have rows of such perfectly trimmed trees on a lawn?

You don’t see many shots of this is a real northern snow storm. After a little circuit, I headed back to the apartment. Time to get going for breakfast.

We had noticed Café Rousillon, the little neighbourhood café on the corner across the street, and now was the time to try it. Eggs in France taste great! Like real eggs used to – a distinct eggy taste.

Cafe Rousillon, Paris

At Café Rousillon, about to order breakfast.

The eggs are on their way!

On our previous Paris visits, we had never been inside the Invalides. Originally built as a military hospital, today it serves as Napoleons’s tomb and a military museum.

At the alter of Invalides. No expense spared...

The Invalides dome from the inside...

Just a modest memorial. Over wrought? Nothing is too much here....

Like so many buildings in Paris (the original opera comes to mind), the inside of the building is so over-the-top ornate, you wonder if there’s any gilt left in the world. In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine how they designed, planned and built this.

They dug up his Napoleon's grave on St. Helena island and put his remains in this casket. The French take this stuff seriously...

Battle wear for man and horse. Wonder how much all this weighs?

Then, walking through the museum we were overwhelmed by the many suits of armour for both men and horses. BTW, if you ever need your suit of armour fixed or adjusted (weight gain?), this is the place to bring it. They’ve got a workshop in the museum. Imagine having a job as an armour restorer. Their WWII stuff was interesting and frightening too. Looking at it, you want to thank to German general who didn’t follow orders to burn Paris to the ground. Would have been easy to do.

What the modern man wore into battle.

France's involvement in WWII is still news in France. Who helped who do what?

We left the Invalides hungry and without a real plan. Never a good idea! But we headed for St Germain de Prés to a favourite restaurant from our last trip – mussels at Leon of Brussels. It’s a one-of-a-kind place. Yes you could order other items from the menu, but when they have mussels prepared about 30 different ways, what you should order seems obvious. Staying with our plan, it was champagne first, then mussels. Delicious on a snowy Paris day.

Leon of Brussels mussels.... and champagne.

Walking along St. Germain, we came to the Theatre Danton movie house and ducked in to see Where The Wild Things Run. Love watching English movies in Paris!

Realizing we still had time, we headed to the Orangerie to see the last day of the Soutine show. Didn’t know much about him before hand. Interesting show, but found that as he got older, he just put too much paint on the canvas. Messy, schmushy canvases. By contrast, I really liked the Derain canvases in the next gallery which I hadn’t paid much attention to previously. Another area for research.

Walking out of the Orangerie we had the big ferris wheel on the Place de la Concorde. Had to go up to see Paris from a different perspective.

How can you not go up when it's right in front of you?

Tuileries Gardens and the Louvre from the top of the ferris wheel.

Place de la Concorde up the Champs Elysée from the ferris wheel.

So, now what? We decided to walk up to Place de la Madeleine to find the big new Patrick Roger chocolate store. Didn’t find it (this time) but saw that the Pinacothèque Museum had a Van Gogh / Hiroshige exhibit. At first, I couldn’t believe that they would have any Van Gogh’s there (the Pinacothèque is outside of the realm of the better known museums), but apparently they did. Made a note to come back later.

By now, we were getting tired. Didn’t have a reservation anywhere. But that’s OK, because back at the apartment we had cheese, bread and some snacks. Most importantly, we had champagne. Took the Metro home, made ourselves dinner and relaxed. Waited till midnight for the champagne. By now it was birthday day. There would be much more champagne the following day.

Midnight, from our bed....

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