Roanne, France
"Oldtimer," originally a working barge in The Netherlands transporting grain, was built in 1927 and converted to a live aboard barge in the 1990's. The barge is 16 meters and the style of barge is called a Steilsteven. We are the second owners and have owned the ship since October 2005. We are Americans from Colorado who with our Tibetan Terrier "Tulah" now live in France and "Oldtimer" is our home.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Paris in the winter

The Louvre and the Seine at sunset.

We have just spent a month in Paris. What a delight and treat. We stayed in an apartment in the Bastille/Marais district(12th) and it had a fabulous shower, dishwasher, washer and a dryer. We did not have the heart to tell the owners that 20 minute showers were going to be the norm for us. Our boat has a small shower that I can stand up in but Eric has to stoop - because of limited water (1000 litres) we, like most barge owners, take "Navy" showers. Get wet , turn the water off, shiver while you soap up and shampoo, then rinse off quickly. So you can see that staying in a "grown up" apartment had particular appeal for us. Now how many people can say that the highlight of their trip to Paris was the shower. Each day was another Parisian experience. Museums, beautiful buildings, beautiful streets and neighborhoods and fun cafes. We spent time with friends who have boats moored in Paris and were able to see the Inauguration of President Obama on Emma and Don's big screen on their big and beautiful boat (picture above).

Paris is a most fantastic city with suprises and beautiful scenes around almost every corner. One of our favorites ( recommended by our friends Jerry and Suzanne Litner who have the boat La Lavande in the Arsenal Port in Paris) was the tour of the Opera Garnier building. The ceiling, which is in the slide show of photos, is by Marc Chagall and is fantastic. The building was the dream of Napolean III and was designed by M. Garnier.

Suzanne and Jerry took us with them each Friday night to the Louvre, which is open at night on Wednesday and Friday. After we each went our seperate ways and viewed our individual interests we would meet below the "Pyramid"and go to some wonderful restaurant that Suzanne and Jerry had discovered; Corsican, Japanese and Italian. A lovely tradition!

Our funniest and most wonderful evening was not in a fabulous Parisian restaurant but on "Eclaircie" a lovely barge owned by Nancy and Bill Koenig. We arrived at 5:00pm as Nancy had offered to do a tutorial for me on the computer to learn how to do this "Blog" and to work with Adobe Photo Shop 4.0. As Nancy toiled away with me , Bill took Eric skiing and snowboarding and ski jumping - in their salon - on Wii. As Nancy and I were working furiously you could hear the two of them howling with laughter. Bill fixed a delicious shrimp and pasta dinner , we drank some lovely wine and just enjoyed the feeling of being in Paris. As the evening wound down we discovered that "Tulah" (our Tibetan Terrier) had snuck off to sleep in their bed. Nancy and Bill did not blink an eye. Now how many people do you know who would invite you to their home , give you a turorial on the internet for about 3 hours, take you skiing, fix you dinner and let your dog sleep in their bed?
There were so many things we did not do so now we have the beginnings of a list for our return visit. The tour of the sewers of Paris, the hardware store in the basement of BHV, the off the beaten path neighborhoods, tickets to an Opera, riding the Batobus among others. We loved all of it but Paris is a city and when it was time to leave we and Tulah were ready to go home.
There are some things not to be missed in Paris:
Orangerie Museum
Jaquemart Museum
Opera Garnier - the tour is a must
Dome du Marais - restaurant
Rubens allegorical paintings for Marie de Medici - Musee du Louvre.
Then go see the Palais du Luxembourg begun in 1615 by Marie de Medici.
Organ concerts at St Suplice and Notre Dame each Sunday and free.
Pick a cafe any cafe and just sit and have coffee.
Take a touristy boat trip on the Seine after dark.
The Jewish Quarter, Rue de Rosier, Bazin Bakery,Place de Vosges and....
Such a wonderful city.