In 2014 Kristoffer (Chinese name Yunpeng) and I took a chance on each other. We had been chatting for many months on line but had never met in person. I invited him to visit me in Paris for a long weekend and we had a lovely time. We did the same thing in 2015, and again this year. No longer a gamble now, since we know each other rather well.
Kristoffer grew up in China, but has been working on his Ph.D. in Norway for several years. This year he got a permanent job at Norway’s public health agency, with the Norwegian equivalent of a green card. He has toyed with variants of his western name but has settled on Kristoffer, the Norwegian spelling of Christopher.
He arrived late Thursday evening. We didn’t have a meal since he had eaten at the airport. On Friday, however, we set out to have our first real Parisian adventure.
We started out with lunch at an old favorite of mine, Bouillon Chartier, which we both enjoyed.
Kristoffer at at Bouillon Chartier
Bob at Bouillon Chartier with his bar rôti
We then headed up to La Villette to catch an Imax movie about the South Pacific at the spherical Géode theater at the Cité des science et et de l’industrie.
(In another life I negotiated the contract with Imax on behalf of the Boston Museum of Science for the similar theater there. At that time the spherical theaters, which project an image that extends directly above the audience, were called “Omnimax,” but that term has evidently been retired.)
The movie wasn’t Gone with the Wind but its immersive images were gorgeous, especially the aerial and underwater shots.
Inside the Géode showing the structure behind the spherical screen
After the movie we wandered down along the Canal de l’Ourcq and the Bassin de la Villette, with interruptions to shelter from intermittent rain. The street art along the canal was appealing.
Street art along the Canal de l’Ourcq
Street art along the Canal de l’Ourcq
We wanted coffee but passed up several options as not being quite to our taste, until what did we encounter but Le Pavillon des Merveilles (the Pavilion of Marvels)! This charming café — normally known as Le Pavillon des Canaux — had been transformed by the Disney folks into a clever promotion for their new movie, Alice de L’Autre Coté du Miroir (Through the Looking Glass). We had been lucky enough to stumble upon it on its last day.
Le Pavillon des Merveilles
Inside Le Pavillon des Merveilles
Clocks at Le Pavillon des Merveilles
Kristoffer at Le Pavillon des Merveilles
After enjoying coffee and pastries we headed across town to a place I had read about, Le Grand Train (the Big Train). This was about a mile away, along rue Riquet and rue Ordener. (Not an area I would wander around alone at night, but it seemed normal, albeit populaire, in daylight.) We saw some amazing street art along this route.
Vincent considers doing something drastic, rue Riquet
Tiny sample of Kashink’s contribution to the longest street art wall in Paris, Rosa Parks Fait le Mur, rue Riquet
Le Grand Train is both a substantial train museum and an agglomeration of a dozen bars and restaurants of many different types in an enormous disused train maintenance facility. It will end forever in October and years of construction will begin on an entirely new neighborhood, including lots of public housing and supporting facilities.
Pano of street art at the entrance to Le Grand Train
A big train at Le Grand Train
The view out the back of Le Grand Train
After a couple of beers at Le Grand Train we headed home to take a short nap and get ready for Kristoffer’s birthday dinner, at Frenchie. I had made the reservation — not easy to get! — a month before, on the first day reservations opened for June 17. The meal was delicious, but the light was too dim for good non-flash photos so I have to refer you to my meal last month with Jared W and my meal last year with Matt and Chris.
Kristoffer’s birthday diner at Frenchie
After dinner we were ready for bed. It had been a very full day!
Mot du Jour: « mouarff », “ha-ha”.