Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Little Night Music

The. Praying statues of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette

We used the Paris Metro for the first time today when we went to St. Denis and the St. Denis Basilica. There are differences between the London Tube and the Paris Metro.  For one, on the Tube a beautiful, soft, melodious woman's voice keeps one informed at all times of stops and dangers.  "Tower Hill next.  Mind the gap."  On the rare occasion there is a broadcast on the Metro, they use French.  Who can understand that?  Seriously, for the most part upcoming stations are not announced.  However, all trains do have an electronic panel over every door that lights the next station.  Secondly, there is absolutely no maximum capacity on the Metro.  Just when you think not one more person can fit, 3 more get on at the next stop.  The Tube just rolls right past a stop if it is full.  In some of the Metro stops there are plexiglass walls with automatic doors that act as a barrier between the platform and the train.  

St Denis is a bit of a gritty area.  The buildings near the Metro and the Basilica look almost Bauhaus. There was an open market in progress and most other stores reminded me of Dollar Stores. The streets are busy with people of all ages.   The Basilica has suffered over the years most significantly from the revolutionaries of 1793.  The north tower is gone costing it the beautiful symmetry.  There is a campaign afoot to replace it.  St Denis is the official burial place of all France's kings and queens.  But most significantly its choir shows the first use of all the Gothic elements.  The tombs are the most magnificent I've seen.  They are lit beautifully with both artificial and natural light.  Two of the tombs have nude effigies of the king and queen.  I had never seen this before.  It was to indicate that man is mortal, even kings.  

Orchestra De Paris

This evening we attended the Paris Philharmonic to hear Janacek, Chopin and R. Strauss.  The facility is very modern, completed in 2015 and seats 2400.  The multiple levels and sweeping design disguise the capacity.  The Chopin piece was chilling.  I am a fan of piano concertos and the soloist Seong-Jin Cho did not disappoint.  

I'll end with a little French lesson.  If you see andouilette on a French menu, do not be mistaken like me and think it is a small andouille sausage.  When my dish arrived I thought, that is the largest small sausage I have ever seen.  The first few bites were charred, smoky and good.  I thought I was actually eating a pork loin.  But it was comprised of thin rolled layers.  I asked the waiter what it was, "Tripe", he said.  The subsequent bites were less succulent.  

More pics at Flickr