Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Our 2014 Vacation Concludes: Curt and Sarah take Paris

The two of us with the little place we rented overlooking the Seine...
The final leg of our vacation saw us infiltrating Paris. Even though its packed to the patisseries full of Parisians Sarah and I still love the town. It's such a great city with so much to offer. Food, museums, shopping, pastries, and then there are the women. There is something about Parisian women that I always find fascinating - those amazing, haughty creatures, who float on clouds of perfume, cigarette smoke and long scarves always seem to have that, well, there is no better phrase for it: je ne sais quois.


We're big fans of cycling and so we were both delighted and yet gutted to see that we had arrived right in the midst of the Paris 'Tweed Ride', which is a yearly bike outing where cyclists are asked to dress in 30s/40s era clothes and take to the streets for a mass turn about the city. (The French, being typically French, call it 'Le Ride Beret Baguette'.)

The Paris 'Tweed Ride'

These Tweed Rides usually conclude with a big picnic and we saw hundreds of 'tweedsters' toting yard-long baguettes and bottles of wine. It looked to be an incredible amount of fun and we wished we could have been better organized so we could have participated. Next time I'll definitely have to pack my jodhpurs and soft peaked cap.

My new vision quest: A Victoire porter bicycle, custom crafted for Berluti. Yes, those are wood rims - mental.
We visited the Musee de Cluny, Sarah's favourite museum, which has a fantastic collection of medieval artifacts including the mysterious six tapestries of the Lady and the Unicorn. These have been recently restored and I very much recommend a visit.


Sarah at the Musee de Cluny.
Me taking a mid-march break at the Jardin des Tuileries.
We also made the pilgrimage to Les Invalides to see what was the featured exhibition. I was delighted to discover that it was on Alexandre Dumas and the French Musketeers (both  historic and fictional), so Sarah and I were delighted to take it in.


At the entrance to the exhibit they had several costumes you could try on for size. As you can see Sarah looks quite fetching in this feathered chapeau...


...whereas I finally found the perfect outfit to go with my dodgy beard and moustache. 


The sword of the real Athos - Now, how cool is that!
So what did I acquire during our travels? Mostly books, which are the absolute devil to pack and drag around, but I can't help myself. 
- In the UK I bought the exhibition catalogue for 'Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK' which was showing at the British Library (f*cking love that place). 
- At a bookstore in St Pancras Station I nabbed a copy of 'The Wipers Times'. (At my work we're in the midst of a huge Great War newspaper digitization project and I thought it fit in nicely with that.) 
- In Madrid I got a wonderful hardback volume depicting the arms and uniforms of the Spanish Civil War (with many excellent colour plates). 
- In France I picked up the museum catalogue of the Musketeer exhibit, a book on French paratroopers in Indochina (in full colour) and a wonderful book of photographs taken during the liberation of Paris.



For gaming I picked up:
- a 28mm scale Hispano Souza armoured car from Minairons Miniatures;
- some 15mm fuel dumps for SAS/LRDG raiding;
- 28mm 'Milady & Household Staff' from Brigade Games for future Musketeer nonsense; 
- a copy of 'Jugula' with the intent on some future gladiatorial gaming; 
- and Alf very kindly gifted me with a wonderful prototype of a Spanish church and some excellent palm tree breastworks for Indochina.




Last but not least, some of the most prized items which I toted home were the wonderful painted figures I received from many friends well-met. Thank you all! It was a tremendous honour to meet you and I look forward to when our paths cross again.


Much-valued additions to the painting cabinet.
I'll end the post with a pic taken of us by our friend Gary while we were wondering down Rue Poulletier on Ile St Louis during our last evening in Paris. A suitable ending to a wonderful trip. 


...and, yes, we're already planning for the next one...

60 comments:

  1. Lovely.

    Though I half expected a picture of you marching under the Arc de Triomphe when I read the title!

    You are the perfect Musketeer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Good one. I should have done a head swap with that famous picture of de Gaulle under the the Arc de Triomphe.

      Delete
  2. With that dapper look you got going on at the Jardin des Tuileries I can just imagine you turning around and busting out the sketchbook and a box of chalk pastels to do a few impressionistic flowery drawings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It had crossed my mind...

      'Nudes - crayola and coffee rings on back of cereal boxes'...

      Class!

      Delete
  3. Looks like you had a fab time. Lovely pictures as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Simon - we did have a fabulous time and its nice to be able to share the fun.

      Delete
  4. Sounds like the perfect end to a perfect holiday. And you came back with so many goodies! Thanks for sharing with us, your loyal followers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Phil!

      (Now you have me worried: Do I have disloyal followers? How wonderfully Medici-esque!) :)

      Delete
  5. Some great pics, love the Musketeer costume!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ray! I have to admit I wanted to cut the security cables and take it home with me...

      Delete
  6. Mousquetier Campbell, Comte de Challenge....

    Lovely pics Curt. I was thinking along the same lines as Tim. All that's needed to complete that pic are a Gauloises and a glass of Absinthe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, I do like the sound of that... If I had lived during that time I'm sure I'd be wonderfully debauched (and poxed, I'm sure).

      I actually did partake of some absinthe during our stay (alas, no opium though...)

      Delete
  7. Sounds like a great trip - the musketeer outfit is sooooo "you"
    :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, thanks Miles - I must say those folks in the 17th century knew how to wear clothes (bathing, well, not so much).

      Delete
  8. Outstanding journey! Appreciate the tip on the Tweed Ride. Hadn't heard of that before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're everywhere now, Sidney, Berlin, London, Tokyo... We even have one here in Saskatchewan, but it's too late in October to be comfortable (for us it needs to be called a 'Parka Ride'). Nonetheless, I'd love to spend a year travelling around the world participating in all the Tweed Rides - that would be a hoot.

      Delete
    2. Is there one in Regina? Or are you referring to the one in Saskatoon?

      Delete
    3. I'm referring to the one in your fair city (Saskatoon). Right now I see it is scheduled for October 28th 2014. Are the organizers out of their f*cking minds? As you know we often have snow at that time! If it were even a few weeks earlier Sarah and I would be interested in coming out but the 28th is waaaay too late in the season for this type of event.

      I don't think Regina has one scheduled but I may be wrong on that - have to check with the local bike nerds...

      Delete
    4. The 28th?! What the heck!? They did it in early October last year - and it was actually pretty warm and sunny... but I agree, later in October is kind of pushing it... Sometimes it's nice... Other times.... not so much. The year before we had snow on the ground by the 25th and it didn't melt until May!!

      Perhaps YOU should organize one in Regina!

      Delete
    5. Ha! Good try mon ami. Except for gaming, my home life and my career I refuse to organize anything beyond light lunch and cocktails. I can only hope some young blade takes the idea of a Regina Tweed Ride by the bit and runs with it.

      Delete
    6. Fair enough...

      Oh hey! it's SEPTEMBER 28th!

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=230908537119729

      Delete
    7. Cool! I got my info from here:

      http://ridingpretty.blogspot.ca/2014/05/may-edition-of-tweed-ride-report-2014.html

      But I'll take your date gladly - we'll be there!!

      Delete
  9. And so it ends , but you certainly look to have had a great time, and built a stock of memories.

    Oh yes very dapper as Mousquetier Campbell... It's so you....

    Myself and Mrs D look forward to catching up again sometime.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, we'll definitely have to get together again. Sarah had such a wonderful time with Mrs D and so looks forward to the next Girls Afternoon Out.

      Delete
  10. Great work my friend, what a trip you lucky chap!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we're very fortunate indeed - the only thing missing was a visit with the Rejects! We must get that box ticked next time, eh.

      Delete
  11. I have thoroughly enjoyed following your amazing road trip - here's to the next one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! I hope we can arrange to cross paths for the next Colonial Invasion as I'd love to meet you face-to-face.

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. Indeed! Sarah and I dearly missed the two of you when we were strolling down St Germain. Good memories!

      Delete
  13. Hi Curt,

    many thanks for letting us share your trip. It looks as it has been a great time for you and Sarah and I really enjoyed to follow your footprints through good ol' Europe.
    And Paris - the city of love - seems to have been a good peek at the end. By the way in the gardens of the Tuilleries you look so French. Incredible that Saskatchewan belongs to the traditionally British provinces... ;-)

    I'm looking forward to hear about your next trip over the pond.

    All the best
    Stefan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In many ways the French make me crazy BUT they do have a healthy approach to living life (as opposed to our Anglo-Saxon, consumerist, work-driven angst here in North America). Fill my glass and pass the the cheese, I say!

      Delete
  14. Looks like you had a great time Curt! Some very nice pictures as well!

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete
  15. Curt, you may consider me suitably envious. A wonderful account of your travels accompanied by some wonderful pics, thanks for sharing!

    My youngest son has just returned from his first trip to the UK, which included a detour to Paris. He said it's remarkable how quickly the city grows on you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Evan, I'm delighted you enjoyed my blathering. It was a lot of fun. It's great that your son had the opportunity to travel to Europe. Its such a great experience for a young person as it gives them a glimpse of how others live and an idea of the history behind much of our North American culture.

      Delete
  16. I'm generally in agreement with you regards Parisian women, however those leather shorts are a shocker. It must be the French equivalent of Double Denim [shudders]...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Millsy, give your head a shake, that girl could be wearing a flour sack in a HazMat suit and she'd still be stunning.

      The 'double denim' comment killed me though... :)

      Delete
  17. Sorry to hear that your holiday has come to an end... they always do too soon, do they! But judging by your posts, you seem to have had lots of fun, which is the most important part!

    If I had not been in Scotland when you were in the Netherlands, it would only have been a short drive for me to pay you a visit. :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would have been brilliant! We'll have to link up next time we're there. If not next year then definitely the one following.

      Delete
  18. Magnifique!! What a fantastic end to your European tour! I swear that beard and moustache has grown in a fine gallic fashion since you were here in May! Fantastic photos...but that last one, in Black & White is just so very Paris! Absolutely brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Holiday whiskers make the finest whiskers! Thanks again Sidney, to you and yours for such a wonderful stay in the UK. We had a simply marvellous time.

      Delete
  19. A splendid trip with some nice things to take home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was a wonderful break. Now, back to dusting books and artifacts...

      Delete
  20. Mr. Curt let me assure you I'm green with envy about your great trip to good old Europe. You provided us with some great pics to marvel at.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nick! One of these trips we're definitely going to have to get together for a ruckus. That would be a lot of fun!

      Delete
  21. A trip of a lifetime! Wonderful photos and write-up, I'd so love to visit one day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Monty - I heartily recommend it. The transit is a bit laborious (I hate flying) but once you get there it's brilliant, especially for anyone who loves European history.

      Delete
  22. Lovely pics Curt thanks for sharing. You certainly looked the Musketeer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Scott. I'm a legend in my own mind...

      Delete
  23. Great pics, especially the last one. Looks like a fantastic trip.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ah........Île St Louis........fond memories, we spend our honeymoon there. Looks like a great trip.

    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's one of our all-time favourite spots as well and a superb place for a honeymoon.

      Delete
  25. Wonderful entry in your blog, Curt, and what a fantastic travel!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Curt

    You too do look impossibly happy! Lynne was very jealous to hear that you had seen the Lady and the Unicorn (the what? I asked).

    Cheers
    PD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happiness always seems to follow in the wake of good wine, smelly cheese and plentiful pastry. Lynn would absolutely love the Musee de Cluny - a must destination for any medievalist.

      Delete
  27. Gee whiz! --you're more "Mr Dress-up" than Mr Dress-up! :)

    Looks like it was a great trip though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A wonderful trip indeed. Yes, the dressing up is an affliction (affectation?) I've carried ever since dressing up as Captain Ahab as a boy (and another set of marvellous whiskers I might add!).

      Delete