Modern contemporary vs. Renaissance
Paris Travel Blog› entry 6 of 7 › view all entries
It was a gloomy morning. I hope it will not rain heavily during the day. I decided to skip the breakfast since I wasn't feeling hungry. I opened my travel book and noticed the area Beaubourg and Les Halles have some modern contemporary places, as well as Renaissance styles of architecture. It should be interesting! Before I started my day, I noticed that the duffle bag that I bought from Oxford was broken. Long story cut short, I left my suitcase in U.K. because it was too big to fit in Steve's Mazda MX-5, so I used a duffle bag instead. I headed out to Printemps (big department store) to get a Delsey bag. It was a good deal and the bag served me well, 7 long years on numerous long distance flights and trips!
It rainned a little bit that day. However it didn't stop my plans. I took the metro to Centre Georges Pompidou. Paris's museum of modern art is housed here, along with extensive art libraries and an industrial design center. When I arrived at the piazza, I was a bit disappointed...the escalator over the facade was covered by big boards due to major renovations and they closed the museum except for the first floor exhibition hall. I couldn't go up to the top level to enjoy the spectacular view over Montmartre, La Défence and La Tour Eiffel.
The Place Igor Stravinsky is just a few steps away from the Centre Georges Pompidou, with the famous contemporary Stravinsky Fountain (Fontaine de automates) that was created by Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely in 1982. 16 mechanical sculptures inspired after Igor Stravinsky's music gyrate and blow water in a distinctly modern piece. They definitely got my attention! I walked across the Place Georges Pompidou (piazza), through the passageway known as the Quartier de l'Horloge in Paris, here was Le Défenseur du Temps, an elaborate clock that shows a soldier battling a dragon and other mythical creatures.
I strolled through Rue St. Denis, passed Fontaine des Innocents to Place Marguerite De Navarre where l’Ecoute, a sculptured head by Henri de Miller; that placed in front of St-Eustache. With its Gothic plan and Renaissance decoration, it is one of the Paris's most beautiful churches. It is a wonderful combination of l’Ecoute and St-Eustache.
I turned around and saw that the Bourse du Commerce was not far away. It was built in the 18th century and remodelled in 1889. It houses a World Trade Cenre and the offices of the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris. I had no intention to walk all the way down there because I wanted to go over to the Forum des Halles. The present Forum des Halles, which is simply known as Les Halles, was built in 1979. The complex is partly above and partly below ground. The underground levels 2 & 3 are occupied by a varied array of shops, from chic boutiques to megastores. Above ground there are well-tended gardens, pergolas and mini-pavillons. I didn't go in to check out the shops. I was only interested in the architecture and the interesting sculputres outside.
While I was walking inside the tunnel in the metro, I noticed an ad for the Belgian chained restaurant "Léon des Bruxelles" with a picture of a bucket of fat mussels with herbs & white wine sauce. My mouth was watering! One of the shops was at République, at the corner of Blvd Du Temple. Neat! The restaurant was pretty packed. I was pretty lucky to be seated at a small table close to the door. I ordered a set with a bucket of mussels, French fries and a pint of beer. My order came to the table pretty fast. The mussels were cooked just right and the sauce was delicious! I am a big fan of seafood.
After dinner, I went to Champs-Elysées...walking along the Avenue Des Champs-Elysées. This was one of the most busiest area in Paris where designer shops and stores abound. I took some pictures of the Arc de Triomphe. After that, I called it a night. I had to return and pack my luggage.