This morning we took the subway to the Marais section of the city. The word meant ‘swamp,’ but from the Middle Ages it developed into a residential area. The high point of the district was in the 17th century when the Place des Vosges was constructed under the instigation of King Henri IV. (see first two photos above) Our first stop was the Musee Carnavalet, (the bottom four photos above) a fascinating and sprawling museum devoted to the history of the city of Paris, housed in joint mansions. One of the mansions goes back to the 16th century, and the beautiful gardens, in the French style, included manicured hedges and flowers. Treasures inside the museum include models of city transport and countless rooms from the 18th century, including those of Madame de Sevigne, who once lived in one of the mansions. After we left the Carnavalet, we walked to the Place des Vosges. This beautifully laid out square, surrounded by 17th century houses, is one of the highlights of Parisian architecture and its side streets are full of cafes, galleries and fine shops.
Around noon we went to the Beaubourg, first stopping to have another typical three course lunch at Gai Moulin. Then we visited the vast Pompidou Centre, home of a modern art collection, huge libraries and a cinema center. I enjoyed seeing some modern artists like Kupka, Sonia Delaunay and Victor Brauner, who are seldom seen outside Europe. There are also fine works in the museum by Kandinsky, Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and many others. Hundreds of young people occupy the libraries of the Pompidou, where we saw an exhibit devoted to Art Spiegelman, one of the creators of the ‘grapic novel.’ After the museum, we rested in our hotel for a bit before setting out for the Eiffel Tower, to see more spectacular views of the City of Lights. –Dan