Category Archives: art

The Final Installment of Paris With My Mom and Niece

Mom and my niece were only here for a week, but we made sure we filled each day with as much Paris pleasure as we could pack in.

Obviously, my niece could not make her first trip to Paris and not see a bit of the Louvre. We walked over one morning, hoping to beat the crowds, and did the “Masterpiece Tour” on the museum’s very cool audio guide. The guide had a screen with a GPS on it that showed where we were and guided us to the “top hits” of the collection. As we approached each masterpiece, the audio would begin telling us about it without the need to push any buttons. Way cool. Despite some technical difficulties, which may or may not have been due to user error, we found the guide to be very helpful and I would highly recommend renting it.

We spent about an hour and half there, which was just about all we could manage.

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Aren’t you glad I opted not to video my tour, as many others were doing that day?

Having experienced a tip-top view of Paris by day, we decided to try a night-time view from the restaurant at the top of the Montparnasse tower, Le Ciel de Paris. Mark and I had never been up there and were curious about the restaurant and bar with a view that included the Eiffel Tower. I must say that my expectations were exceeded by our dinner experience. The service was professional and friendly, the atmosphere was elegant, the food was good, and the view was prime.

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I was thrilled that my niece was actually interested in art, so I didn’t pass up the opportunity to show her one of my favorite museums, the Musée d’Orsay. We toured the sure-to-please impressionist collection on the fifth floor, and then chose a few classics from the second floor.

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Their final night in Paris was a Sunday, and we took them to an old family favorite near the Eiffel Tower, La Fontaine de Mars. Not at all pricey, but always good, this place serves a delicious roasted chicken and mashed potatoes for when you have had all the fancy French food you can stand.

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and I love their gigantic, cheery napkins

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And just like that, our week was over. Time always goes by too fast when we share Paris with family!

On a more recent note, I went to the Wilson Market yesterday and came home with the last of the winter’s cauliflower and the first of the spring asparagus. I love it when seasons collide like they did in this tasty dish from Smitten Kitchen, Roasted Veggies With Brown Butter  Breadcrumbs. Actually, her recipe was just for cauliflower, but I knew it would be delicious with asparagus too, because, brown butter.

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And it was.

I hope you are all enjoying this lovely season, wherever you may be. Spring is taking a time-out in Paris today, where it is grey and drizzly and a breezy 52 degrees. No worries, though- sounds like a perfect Sunday to stay inside, blog, and check out my new favorite Netflix show, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Thanks for sharing part of your day with me!

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Filed under art, cooking, Paris dining

More Paris Love

On the second full day of my mom and niece’s visit we headed over to Notre Dame and the Marais.

Our first stop was the Hotel de Ville, which is offering an amazing exhibit of Paris photos taken over the past eighty years. I had seen it with Mark but knew my mother would love it, too. She did.

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hotel de ville

hotel de ville

From there it is a quick walk across the river to Notre Dame. One would think that after so many visits I would no longer feel compelled to take pictures, but I just can’t help myself.

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After lunch we walked to the Marais and I introduced my niece to Amorino gelato.

she said "grazie"

she said “grazie”

Our favorite place to eat gelato is the Place de Vosges.

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Finally, we walked to the newly-reopened Picasso Museum, which had been closed for a hundred years or so. Well, almost. It was closed for six years, which (even in France) is an inordinately long time for the renovation of a small museum. The home of the museum is the gorgeous 17th century Hôtel Salé, named after the original owner who was responsible for collecting the salt tax. Not being a huge Picasso fan, myself, the house was my favorite part. I confess to engaging in a little fantasy of being “Madame Salé”, telling the servants where to serve me my afternoon sherry.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, mes amis!

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Filed under art, Hotel de Ville, Marais, Notre Dame, Paris, Paris museum, Place de Vosges

Fresh Eyes On Paris

My mom has returned to visit and this time she brought my niece, who is fifteen years old and making her first trip out of the country. It has been such fun seeing Paris through her eyes. I hope she never forgets this trip with her grandmother and her aunt and uncle. I am already planning to visit her when she does her junior semester here in six or so years!

The day they arrived we walked down to the Grand Palais to see if there were any interesting “fashion types” entering the building for the Shiatzy Chen fashion show.

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Yep, there were a few.

The next day we spent the morning close to home, shopping at the Wilson market, and enjoying the fashion museum and the Museum of Modern Art. The fashion museum is featuring the French designer Lanvin in a new exhibit that is absolutely wonderful. Don’t miss it if you are in the neighborhood.

I can't resist taking pictures of these gorgeous color blasts.

I can’t resist taking pictures of these gorgeous Delaunay color blasts at the Modern Art Museum.

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Can you see the river sparkling out there?

 

In addition to a stellar collection of art, the Paris Museum of Modern Art also boasts a pretty fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower.

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That afternoon the sky was so blue that we had no choice but to walk around Montmartre.

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my mama and my niece

my mama and my niece

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We were pretty tired at the end of the day, but not too tired to take a bus five stops to Le Bon Georges, where we were greeted warmly and fed a tasty meal, indeed.

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melt in your mouth sole meuniere

melt in your mouth sole meuniere

And then we went home and fell into bed.

The End.

 

 

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Filed under art, Eiffel Tower, fashion, Montmartre, Musee d' Art Moderne, Palais Galliera, Paris, Paris dining, Paris Fashion Week, Sacre-Coeur, Uncategorized

That Day I Drank Champagne In The Morning And Dined In The Orangerie At Night

Bonjour from Houston, where it is currently colder than it is in Paris! My days at home are quickly winding down, as we fly back to Paris on Sunday. These three weeks have flown by quickly and have been too much the boring stuff of real life- car maintenance, doctor appointments, etc. I think this is the first time that I don’t quite feel ready to return to Paris, not having had my fill of friends, family, and Texas Hill Country. But alas, this is the life I have been given. So I will board that Air France jet on Sunday and I predict that by the time we drive by that amazing view of Sacre Coeur from the airport, I will be “all in” for Paris once again. I will definitely be excited to hug my mom and niece when they arrive at our apartment an hour after we do. Another Spring Break in Paris- where there are no umbrellas in the drinks but there are umbrellas everywhere else. Yippee!

Shortly before we left Paris I had the most amazing day. It started out like this.

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An early morning with snow flakes the size of dinner plates! The snow stopped by the time my group and I boarded our small bus and headed for Reims, home of the The Bubbly.

Our destination was the Ruinart champagne house, which was established in 1729, making it the oldest of the champagne houses. Now owned by the LVMH conglomerate, Ruinart has a much smaller production than other LVMH houses like Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, and Moet & Chandon. Ruinart has just recently entered the American market, albeit discreetly. Look for it in select restaurants and specialty wine shops. After visiting and tasting Ruinart, I know I will be on the hunt for it. It was delicious.

The Ruinart house sits above an elaborate series of caves dug by the Romans in the 4th century A.D. The Romans wanted the chalk found down there to build their homes. That same chalk in the cave walls is ideal for storing champagne. The temperature remains at 53 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. The chalk is sponge-like and soaks up moisture, keeping the chambers at a constant 88 percent humidity. Additionally, there isn’t much light or vibration going on down there. Perfect, as it would turn out, for storing those elegant bottles of bubbly goodness that I have grown to love so much.

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Lets descend to the old chalk caves, excavated by the Romans to build their homes.

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looking up

looking up

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After our very interesting tour, we rode the elevator back up and enjoyed a lovely tasting.

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Hey Handsome....

Hey Handsome….

Our guide was excited to tell us that scenes from the upcoming film “The Widow Clicquot” will be shot in the beautiful caves of Ruinart. I plan to read the book  and will look forward to seeing the movie when it’s released.

We were treated to a very nice lunch after the tasting, which helped all of us to doze on our ride back to Paris. The nap was much-needed, because our day was not yet complete. That night we had the fabulous opportunity to experience the Orangerie Museum all to ourselves.

Located in the Tuileries gardens, the Orangerie is a small art gallery best known for housing the much-beloved Water Lily panels by Monet.  I have toured this gem many times, and although the water lilies are pretty fine, my favorite part of the museum is its collection of early twentieth century paintings. Never did I dream that I would have a private tour of the gallery, followed by  a lovely candle-lit dinner in its foyer. But guess what? I did!

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I hope that man doesn’t block my view of any of these paintings.

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love these gals

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Yep- all in all that was a pretty good day.

I guess I am kind of looking forward to getting back, now that I think about it. Champagne in the morning and Monet at night- who could complain about that?

I’ll be broadcasting from Paris next week- same Bat channel, same Bat time. Bring your own bubbly.

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Filed under art, champagne, Musee de l'Orangerie, Paris, Tuileries

Sonia Delaunay- Coloring Paris

I am a big advocate for Paris in winter. I love the cold weather, the frequent grey skies, and most of all, the light that comes through the skeletal trees. I recently became aware of how monochromatic the city becomes in winter, when the grey buildings and the grey streets meld with the grey skies and trees.

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Perhaps that is why I was so delighted with the Sonia Delaunay exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art .

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The exhibit included her prints, paintings, wall decorations, fashion items, and textiles- all pulsating with deep, vibrant color. I would have enjoyed it even more if the exhibit had been less crowded and less hellishly hot. Here is a video of what the show looks like in the museum without any people in the way.

No photography was allowed in the exhibit, which was cruel because the scale and colors of many of the works made them so suited for photographing.

Here are a few images of her work from the internet.

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Sonia established her own fashion label and designed textiles that were simply gorgeous. Here are two examples.

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Delaunay arrows

The exhibit runs until February 22 and is well worth a visit.

If Paris is not in your travel plans between now and then, please check out this wonderful museum link containing many of her works, as well as other videos of the exhibition.

Musée d’Art Moderne

11 Avenue du President Wilson (16th)

 

 

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Filed under art, Musee d' Art Moderne, Paris in winter, Sonia Delaunay, Uncategorized

Paris With The Ladies

It’s hard to believe that I have been running around Paris with my mom and my aunt for almost two weeks and haven’t posted a single word or photo. Clearly, I can be Blogger or Tour Guide but not simultaneously.

The September weather has been perfect for sight seeing- hardly a drop of rain the whole month. I know The Ladies have walked more than they thought they could, each day encouraged by the “10,000 steps” signal of my Fit Bit. We have taken a cab only once, and the rest of the time have been on foot or on metro (which usually involves a lot of stairs).  No one has stepped out in front of a bicycle or a bus or even stumbled over the frequent obstacles on sidewalks and footpaths. My goal was to fly them home in a vertical position, and with one more day to go, we are almost there. Hip hip (no broken ones) !!

On their first full day we ventured to the Marais, where we ate falafel and enjoyed the photography exhibit of Occupied Paris at the Musee Carnavelet.

The Musee Carnavelet

The Musee Carnavelet

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Another day we visited the Camondo museum, which I have posted about many times. I wish they had a Frequent Flyer program there, because I would definitely have earned some drink tickets. Even though I can quote the audio guide by heart, I never tire of being in that beautiful house with the sad history.

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on the way there- looking toward Parc Monceau

gate at the park

gate at the park

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I will be heading back to Texas on Wednesday, assuming that Air France has ended its longest pilots’ strike ever. That’s why we call it Air Chance!

Stay tuned for more Paris With The Ladies. But be patient. I am working at a slow pace here.

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Filed under art, Marais, Musee Carnavalet, Musee de Nissim de Camondo, Parc Monceau, Paris, Paris museum, Uncategorized

Surprise! New York City!!!

I know that in my last post I suggested that we were leaving for Paris on Friday, but that wasn’t entirely the truth. We were actually stopping off in New York City for the weekend but I was under a gag order because we were there to surprise a good friend on his 50th birthday. Surprise!!

I hadn’t spent time in The Big Apple in a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed our three days.

Friday night we had great seats to this fun show.

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Saturday we ate at Greely Square, where a small collection of booths are set up and cooking lots of delectable foods. We had a hard time choosing.

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Sunday we went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It was amazing. Such a beautiful tribute to the memories of a horrific event and the people who were intimately involved. If you go, we recommend paying for a guided tour. We didn’t do that, and felt like we missed a lot.

Two memorial pools sit in the spots where the Twin Towers stood. The pools are lined with names of people who died in the attacks on the towers and Pentagon, as well as those killed in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

 

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The museum is very large and I didn’t feel comfortable taking photographs. I did capture this moving quote on the wall, surrounded by artists’ renditions of what the sky looked like on that fateful morning.

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Sunday we had brunch the River Cafe in Brooklyn. I’m not sure I had ever been across the Brooklyn Bridge before! So glad we ventured out. The food was delicious and the setting amazing.

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view from our table

view from our table

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I was happy to see the gorgeous public library as we were strolling down 5th Avenue. Can you tell?

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Once inside I saw the sign for this exhibition and was in it like a flash.

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So many of our favorites were featured in this small but delightful exhibit. I was very nearly a puddle on the floor.

Good night to the old lady whispering "hush"

Good night to the old lady whispering “hush”

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Did you know this was the best-selling picture book ever?

an early Mary Poppins doll

an early Mary Poppins doll

We were just remembering sweet Ferdinand the other day….

We were just remembering sweet Ferdinand the other day….

Last stop Monday morning was the Museum of Modern Art. I was happy to find some of my favorite artists hanging around.

 

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We left NYC at 6:00 pm and the flight was noticeably shorter than the one from Houston. I have spent today unpacking, tidying, and walking the streets, fighting off sleep. It’s finally time to go to bed but the U.S. is playing its match against Belgium now, so I am trying to stay awake for the first half.

I am so happy to be back in Paris, where it is cool enough to enjoy the open windows tonight. I had a great walk on the river bank this afternoon. Ice cream was involved. More on that tomorrow!

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Filed under art, books, New York City, Paris, travel, Uncategorized