On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
This series was created by Alain Chamot (1971-2020).
In October and early November of 2011, my younger daughter and I spent 6 weeks hanging in Paris at Anne-Marie’s apartment. Dinner was, per our family tradition since I informally retired, at mid-day, with supper consisting of a baguette, cheese, some kind of charcuterie, carrot salad or celerie remoulade, and cider, of which my daughter was allocated one glass because of the alcohol. We ate mostly at bistros or high mid-range restaurants that were well thought of by people I trusted. We never went to a starred restaurant, but our list of recommended restaurants turned out to be consistently successful. My wife makes an excellent fallen chocolate cake, and my daughter took it upon herself to order that for dessert anywhere we ate. Only one of the sampled cakes was as good as my wife’s. No need to go travelling on that account.
The doorway to the apartment building where we stayed. Anne-Marie used to chuckle at the concierge who was scandalized by the adjacent “Massages Asiatiques”, all pink and lurid in its implicitly sexual appeal.
This is the view from the bathroom window of the apartment.
Almost directly across the street from the apartment was this pair of restaurants that Anne-Marie had recommended to us. The food came from the same kitchen, but the one on the right was appreciably less expensive. At mid-day you could get an excellent two course meal – your choice of appetizer and main course or main course and dessert – for 16 Euros. 20 Euros bought you all three including tip. We ate there at least one day each week for the duration of our stay, and twice at the fancier one next door.
The apartment is located not far from the Luxembourg gardens. This is a part of the city which I’d rarely had occasion to visit before, so it was an adventure for me. You can see the Montparnasse tower in the upper right part of the frame.
The Luxembourg palace at one end of the gardens.
The Institute of Art and Archology library building is decidedly incongruous but attractive. I’d never seen it before this visit.
The Paris opera building at Bastille. My daughter and I joined a Parisian friend to see Tannhauser here, and my friend and I agreed afterward that this production was the best opera either of us had ever seen. Interestingly, I mentioned to him that, prior to that, the production of Elektra at the Palais Garnier opera house had been my favorite. Turns out he too had seen it, and it had been his favorite as well. I don’t even like listening to Elektra yet I loved the performance. I realize now that Elektra is as much a play with music as it is an opera, and the quality of the drama was what made this work.
This production of Tannhauser was changed from a story about a singer/poet to one about a painter. Through the entire overture, the artist’s model/lead soprano lay stark naked on the stage – shocking, but extremely successful in bringing the production out of the abstract and into the moment. My wife pointed out that female Wagner soloists tend to be 35 or older because of the need for a particular quality of voice. The soloist in question is the woman on the left.