Tuesday, June 30, 2015

First little trip of the summer

Last week I went to a little AARO board gathering at Châtelet. As I was walking down the Rue de Rivoli, I saw that one of the old Samaritaine buildings had already been demolished, so I decided to take a picture of one that had not. It's just a souvenir. I'm not sure how many will be demolished in the end. This one shows off the Art Nouveau architecture really well.
This other photo, copied from the Wikipedia page, shows the Seine-side building, the landmark building.The store closed 10 years ago, because, supposedly, the landmark staircase and the new building code could not be reconciled. When they closed the store, the remodeling was supposed to be done and there were promises about it not being a permanent closure, but it was. The advertising slogan for the Samaritaine was, "On trouve tout à la Samaritaine" (You can find everything at the Samaritaine) and it was true. I enjoyed shopping there. Now, the buildings are either abandoned or rented out to individual shops. You can see that the one in the top picture has a Sephora shop on the ground floor.
The next day, we headed down to Avignon for what has become an annual visit with T. -- always a pleasant stop either on our way to or from our visit to family in Six-Fours-les-Plages. We spent two nights in Avignon this time and visited Roussillon on Thursday. It was exactly a year ago I had spent a few nights at Roussillon while the Pickars were renting a house nearby. I didn't get to walk along the ochre trail last year and wanted to do it, so we did it this year. It was a hot day, but we got to Roussillon fairly early and had finished the trail by 11:00. There were not too many people -- mid-week and not yet July -- but as we walked back through the town to the car, it was starting to get crowded. We drove off to Bonnieux for lunch and, there, the crowds had not yet started to invade this village. All these villages around Roussillon are tourist magnets in summer. They became popular with the French, when actors like Brigitte Bardot would have homes there in the 60s, and popular with Americans after Peter Mayle came out with A Year in Provence. We had an original lunch at "La Table de Sylvie" in the shade of the terrace overlooking the valley. For the return to Avignon, we continued south to the Durance river and followed the river westward to Avignon.
Friday, we headed to Six-Fours, but it was early and we stopped at Les-Baux-de-Provence to see the new show at the Carrières de Lumières. This year, it's the Renaissance -- Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Raphaël. I didn't care for the musical accompaniment, but the show is excellent. I especially liked the way they showed the sculptures as if they were carved into the quarry. And the way they made the floor of the quarry look like Italian church floors, or the ceiling like the Sistine Chapel.
We ended our trip with a delightful stay with P and G. We caught up on all the children's and grandchildren's doings. I even sunbathed and got in a bit of swimming.
Yes, we are aware of what's going on in the world, but right now, I don't want to write about that. We're on the verge of a heatwave, here, and I'm getting off this heat-producing machine.


wcs said...

The "Samar" was a great store and I was sorry to see it close. I'm glad that one building, at least, has been saved and I'm hopeful that some way can be found to make it live again. I haven't seen the master plan for the neighborhood... I should do some googling!

Ellen said...

So far, only one of the buildings has been demolished. I haven't paid close attention to see how many of the others will be.