Paris: Leprechauns, Mannequins, Giant Machines, Disappearing Museums

I was in Paris last week, part bidness, part personal. I stayed at the B & B le 7 near the Place de Clichy, which I recommend. The room is reasonably-sized (by Paris standards), spotless and furnished with whimsy and good taste. The bookshelves have plenty of art books in many languages, plus Lonely Planets and Guide du Routard guides, which are like French-language Lonely Planets, but cooler. Private shower and bathroom, and very friendly and patient owners. It's in the 9th arrondissement, which is one of my favorites. It's a real neighborhood, with sandwich shops, hardware stores, and ordinary-people clothes outlets. This means no tourist-trap prices: you can buy a coffee, or a liter bottle of water to carry along with you, or normal stuff like toothpaste, without feeling raped. Yet you're still in the city, and only a short metro or bus ride from anywhere. Plus, the ninth is still French enough to feature excellent cheese and wine places and boulangeries, including the outstanding Maison Landemaine (f), which is worth a detour.

I didn't do much sightseeing, except for the giant Monet exhibition in the Grand Palais. Stunning, if only because it featured an enormous collection of Monets in one place. The winter paintings were the big revelation to me; I didn't know he'd done so many and such fine ones. The exhibition space itself is miserable: blocked off from natural light, cramped, and crowded. The great water lily cycles weren't shipped in, and there's no space that would have done them justice anyway. Still, there are many other large late canvases, and it's more Monets than you'll ever see in one place again. Buy your ticket in advance and go during the afternoon. I also attempted to visit the  Musee des Lunettes and Lorgnettes Pierre Marly (f), only to find that it's gone, having been replaced by an Audemars Piguet shop.

But mostly I strolled around. Here are a few pictures; the hover text has more info for the curious:


Square Moncey Army of One
Store Mannequin Rue de Clichy
Emerging from Metro Place de Clichy
Psycho Knife Rack

Scaffolding Rue de Clichy
Storefront Fumisterie Cavallari, Faubourg St. Denis
Man Smoking Cigar and Typing on Laptop Rue St. Honore
"Oh No -- You Again!"
Leprechaun Man Entering Olympia Theatre
Two Men on Subway
Boo Night Evening Dress Store

Escalator Repair Gare du Nord

View down Street Grate Place de Clichy

Paris: Leprechauns, Mannequins, Giant Machines, Disappearing Museums

I was in Paris last week, part bidness, part personal. I stayed at the B & B le 7 near the Place de Clichy, which I recommend. The room is reasonably-sized (by Paris standards), spotless and furnished with whimsy and good taste. The bookshelves have plenty of art books in many languages, plus Lonely Planets and Guide du Routard guides, which are like French-language Lonely Planets, but cooler. Private shower and bathroom, and very friendly and patient owners. It's in the 9th arrondissement, which is one of my favorites. It's a real neighborhood, with sandwich shops, hardware stores, and ordinary-people clothes outlets. This means no tourist-trap prices: you can buy a coffee, or a liter bottle of water to carry along with you, or normal stuff like toothpaste, without feeling raped. Yet you're still in the city, and only a short metro or bus ride from anywhere. Plus, the ninth is still French enough to feature excellent cheese and wine places and boulangeries, including the outstanding Maison Landemaine (f), which is worth a detour.

I didn't do much sightseeing, except for the giant Monet exhibition in the Grand Palais. Stunning, if only because it featured an enormous collection of Monets in one place. The winter paintings were the big revelation to me; I didn't know he'd done so many and such fine ones. The exhibition space itself is miserable: blocked off from natural light, cramped, and crowded. The great water lily cycles weren't shipped in, and there's no space that would have done them justice anyway. Still, there are many other large late canvases, and it's more Monets than you'll ever see in one place again. Buy your ticket in advance and go during the afternoon. I also attempted to visit the  Musee des Lunettes and Lorgnettes Pierre Marly (f), only to find that it's gone, having been replaced by an Audemars Piguet shop.

But mostly I strolled around. Here are a few pictures; the hover text has more info for the curious:


Square Moncey Army of One
Store Mannequin Rue de Clichy
Emerging from Metro Place de Clichy
Psycho Knife Rack

Scaffolding Rue de Clichy
Storefront Fumisterie Cavallari, Faubourg St. Denis
Man Smoking Cigar and Typing on Laptop Rue St. Honore
"Oh No -- You Again!"
Leprechaun Man Entering Olympia Theatre
Two Men on Subway
Boo Night Evening Dress Store

Escalator Repair Gare du Nord

View down Street Grate Place de Clichy

Warning: Something Bad May Happen Somewhere

Anne Applebaum on the  laughably vague "terror warnings" being issued by various countries for Europe:

Speaking as an American who lives in Europe, I feel it is incumbent upon me to describe what people like me do when we hear warnings like this one issued on Sunday: We do nothing.

We do nothing, first and foremost, because there is nothing that we can do. Unless the State Department gets specific — e.g., "don't go to the Eiffel Tower tomorrow" — information at that level of generality is meaningless. Unless we are talking about weapons of mass destruction, the chances of being hit by a car while crossing the street are still greater than the chances of being on that one plane or one subway car that comes under attack…

Second, we do nothing because if the language is that vague, then nobody is really sure why the warning has been issued in the first place. Obviously, if the American government knew who the terrorists were and what they were going to attack, it would arrest them and stop them. If it can't do any better than mentioning "tourist infrastructure" and public transportation, it doesn't really know anything at all.

The only rationale I can think of for these warnings is the hope that, by triggering heightened alertness among passengers, some sort of attack might be averted, or at least more quickly discovered. And perhaps it has to be so general because if The Terrorists figured out we were on to them, they'll change their plans. But everywhere you go in Europe, you're already told to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. And, as Applebaum points out, any attempt to avoid large public places in Europe will immediately cramp your style drastically.

So, like her, I plan to completely ignore this warning.