Category Archives: Paris museum

Paris- Day 3

Wednesday morning Martha slept late (jet lag can be soooo  annoying) so I crept out of the apartment for a walk at Parc Monceau.  No, I did not see The Friends– they go mid-afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed my walk, however.

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The statuary got baths for the New Year, which is a good thing, as some ass-hat had thrown paint on many of them.

The statuary got baths for the New Year, which is a good thing, as some ass-hat had thrown paint on many of them.

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One of my fantasies is to own an apartment that looks out onto Parc Monceau.

One of my fantasies is to own an apartment that looks out onto Parc Monceau.

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By the time I got home Martha had rejoined the land of the living and was ready for an outing to the Musee d’Orsay.  We enjoyed our walk through the Tuileries and across the river on the pedestrian bridge.  The line to get in was very short, and we spent just enough time admiring the 5th floor Impressionism to see it all but not bore Martha to tears.  I think I could walk that floor once a month and not tire of it.  Le sigh.

approaching the museum from the bridge

approaching the museum from the bridge

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Sacre Coeur through the clock

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Upon leaving the museum we decided to buy a sandwich from the kiosk and eat it by the river.  Just as the attendant was sliding me my change, the first rain of our trip began to fall.  We hastily shoved the jambon et fromage and the bottle of water into our purses and trotted into the first cafe we saw.  It’s always good to have options.  And an umbrella.

A bientôt!

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Filed under art, Musee d'Orsay, Parc Monceau, Paris, Paris museum, Sacre-Coeur

Afternoon At the Musee Jacquemart-Andre

Hello, my friends!  I have been dutifully gathering pictures and stories to share with you, but my laptop is STILL at the Opera Apple store, so I have been stifled, hog-tied, silenced.  Frustrated.   Mark, however, has performed some heroics on this old computer of ours, and I think it just might be able to eke out this post.  Fingers crossed.

My favorite museums in Paris are the small ones housed  within beautiful mansions along the street.  The Musee Jacquemart-Andre is just such a place, and is conveniently located 4 minutes from my apartment.  This morning , as I was walking to Parc Monceau, I noticed that the queue that frequently occupies the sidewalk in front of the  museum was not there.  And that is how I ended up visiting this lovely museum for only the second time since I moved here.  What is wrong with me?  And what is wrong with the rest of Paris who is not flocking to this exhibit?  Who could resist this little vixen, feigning modesty?

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After purchasing my ticket, I walked up this pretty driveway which reveals the 17th century mansion in all its glory.  IMG_0694

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Edouard Andre was from a very successful banking family.  He devoted much of his fortune to his passion for collecting art, which he displayed in the fabulous mansion he had built by the architect Henri Parent.  Monsieur Parent was smarting from his second place finish in the contest to design the new Garnier Opera, and he appeared to have used this project to show the city of Paris what it missed.  Edouard married a successful portrait painter, Nelie Jacquemart, relatively late in life, and they spent their 13 year marriage traveling and collecting art.  Edouard had a particular passion for Italian art, and that impressive collection is displayed upstairs.

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When the Jacquemart-Andres bought art while traveling, they didn’t just purchase small, easily transportable items.  They bought entire panels and ceilings, such as this one, which I believe was by Titian.  I would love to see what was involved in getting these pieces delivered to Paris from Italy.  Some items, such as ceilings, required that structural changes be made to the home in order to accommodate them.

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This wallpaper could be from today!

This wallpaper could be from today!

This pretty door was in her first bedroom, before she changed rooms to be closer to her husband's room.

This pretty door was in her first bedroom, before she changed rooms to be closer to her husband’s room.

love this sweet chair

love this sweet chair

ceiling above the music room

ceiling above the music room

The part of the house that garnered the most attention when it was first opened to Paris society was the “winter garden”.  This was a large sunny space with a tiled floor, the back of which was flanked by two gorgeous staircases.

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The man is standing in the entrance to the "smoking room", which is where the menfolk went to smoke their cigars and talk business after dinner.  I swear it still smelled of tobacco.

The man is standing in the entrance to the “smoking room”, which is where the menfolk went to smoke their cigars and talk business after dinner. I swear it still smelled of tobacco.

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The gorgeous steps led to their bedrooms and to the Italian art collection.  Only close friends and collectors were invited up to see the Italian art.

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Nelie was Catholic and collected depictions of Madonna and child.  This one was by Botticelli, although that was not known at the time they purchased it.

Nelie was Catholic and collected depictions of Madonna and child. This one was by Botticelli, although that was not known at the time they purchased it.

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ceiling in one of the Italian Collection rooms

ceiling in one of the Italian Collection rooms

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The private bedrooms were right off of the Italian galleries.

her's

hers

her little office, attached to her bedroom

her little office, attached to her bedroom

This little room was between their bedrooms and was where they had breakfast every morning.

This little room was between their bedrooms and was where they had breakfast every morning.

His bedroom, which looks a bit frou-frou because she re-decorated it after his death.  I guess she had been waiting to do something with that room....

His bedroom, which looks a bit frou-frou because she re-decorated it after his death. I guess she had been waiting to do something with that room….

view into his attached bathroom

view into his attached bathroom

All the guidebooks will tell you not to leave the Musee Jacquemart-Andre without a stop in its cafe, which is a lovely room with a painted ceiling.  My photo came out blurry, so I won’t post it, but there might be a photo on their website, which I will link at the bottom of this post.  I opted to sit on the enclosed terrace, where the light was nicer.

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The nicest part of my time on the terrace was my conversation with the sweet American couple sitting next to me.  They were renting an apartment by the Eiffel Tower for 4 weeks before joining friends on a 2 week river cruise.  They were taking the metro all over Paris, and having a great time in the City of Light.   They had reservations at the restaurant in the middle of the Eiffel Tower  to celebrate her birthday later this week.  She was turning 82.  He was 90.

Here’s to you, Lola and Mr. Ticer from San Diego!  You are my inspiration!

Musee Jacquemart-Andre

158, bd Haussmann

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Filed under art, Paris museum, Uncategorized

A Day of Shopping and Eating in Paris. Does It Get Any Better?

After my day of totally being a grown-up (going to a photography exhibit and the opera) I was excited to meet up with my Paris friend and shopping buddy for a day of frivolity.  Although she lives a 30 minute walk away from me, the 52 bus goes right by both our apartments, and that is where we met Wednesday morning.  She texted me as the bus approached my stop, and I hopped on sat down next to her at the back of the bus.  You know- where all the trouble-makers sit.  From my apartment, the 52 heads down Rue Fauberg Saint Honore, right toward all the fancy shops where we love to browse but never buy.  Like Hermes, for instance, where we got off the bus.  Of course I wanted to check out the windows, which were done in fabulous spring colors, with luxurious swaths of fabric draped around interesting paintings of animals.  The glare on the windows was bad, but here is what I got for you.

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J’adore l’orange!

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Wow. Do they even make a Birkin bigger than this one?

I wish I had gotten more pics, despite the glare.  If I can take more today I will do it.  Because I love you guys.  And you deserve more Hermes.

We were both very excited about our lunch destination, which was a tiny hamburger spot near Palais Royale.  It is called Blend and caused quite the media buzz when it opened a year ago.  Good burgers are hard to find in these parts, and those of us who were raised on good burgers really grieve the void.  Blend is just what Paris needs- a good burger at a reasonable price with a place to sit down and eat it.

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The buns are made on site and were a slightly sweet brioche.  The burger was very juicy and just the right size for my taste.  The fries (regular and sweet potato) were perfectly salted and delicious.  The burger, fries, and a soft drink rang in at 14 euros (about $17).  Obviously, Blend has lots of fans, because the line was out the door (in the rain) when we left.  Here is a nice blog post written about Blend when it first opened, if you want to hear more about burger love in Paris.

Fortified, we were ready to head back out into the rain and to our favorite dish shop in Paris, Astier de Villatte.  I am sure I have rhapsodized  about this little treasure trove before, but in case you missed it, here is a taste of what it looks like.

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These dishes are hand-made in Paris of black clay covered in a white glaze.  Many of the finishes have a rough, uneven look that I love.  Here is the little treasure I brought home on Wednesday.

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If you would like to see more photos and information about this wonderful store, go here.

From here we went to a very interesting exhibit on the history of fashion at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, which is part of the Louvre.  The exhibit was composed of an impressive collection of women’s  and men’s clothing from Europe, dating from 1700 to 1915, and was beautifully curated by the  Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

That evening Mark and I ate at a wonderful restaurant in Saint-Germain called Semilla.  It was cozy without feeling cramped, and our food was delicious.

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Easy to miss on the street!

I loved watching this shining kitchen in action.

I loved watching this shining kitchen in action.

looking away  from the kitchen, toward the front door, over shiny bald head

looking away from the kitchen, toward the front door, over shiny bald head

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exposed pipes on the ceiling

Delicious fish fillet on crispy vegetables with the glorious egg on top!

Delicious fish fillet on crispy vegetables with the glorious egg on top!

I should have taken a picture of the gorgeous grilled mushrooms with sesame oil that I had for my starter.  Next time.

All in all, not a bad day in Paris, my friends.

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Filed under Paris, Paris dining, Paris museum, shopping

Tuesday- A Day of Culture

On my way to Paris I read about a photography exhibit being held at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, and added it to my list of “must-do’s” for the week.  I am so glad I read that Air France magazine, because the exhibit was wonderful.

Howard  Greenberg has been a photography collector for thirty years, and has his own gallery in New York City, the Howard Greenberg Gallery.  The 100 photographs in this exhibition include photographs by famous photographers such as Diane Arbus, Karl Strauss, and Pal Funk.  I was thrilled to see one of my very favorite photographs there, The Migrant Mother, by Dorothea Lange.

That evening Mark and I did something we have been wanting to do since we moved to Paris- we went to an opera at the Garnier Opera House.  We saw two short, contemporary operas- Le Nain, by Zemlinsky, and L’Enfant et Les Sortileges, by Ravel.  I was so glad we had sprung for the pricey little program, because it contained synopses of the operas in English which helped me to understand the French surtitles.  Both operas were completely unknown to us, but beautifully done.  The best part of the evening, however, was simply being in that amazingly beautiful building.

Le Palais Garnier was completed in 1875 as part of Haussman’s reconstruction of Paris.  The main facade was restored in 2000, and the Grand Foyer in 2004, so the building is in wonderful condition, inside and out.

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detail of the floor

detail of the floor

Ceiling of auditorium by Marc Chagal

Ceiling of auditorium by Marc Chagall

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As you can see, it wouldn’t have mattered what opera we saw in those surroundings!

A short metro ride later we were home- no parking garage exit stress, no freeways.  Paris does it right, my friends!

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Filed under Paris, Paris museum, Paris outings, Uncategorized

Lazy Sunday

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After a slow start, we hit the streets Sunday afternoon under a gorgeous blue sky.  I think it was probably the bluest, warmest day Paris had seen in weeks.  We walked over to the Grand Palais and joined the queue for the Edward Hopper exhibit, which ends next week.  The line didn’t look all that long, but it moved v-e-r-y slowly.

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We stood in that line for close to an hour and a half before deciding that the sun didn’t shine in Paris enough for us to waste it standing on the side of the Grand Palais.  So we left.  Later, Hopper.

We walked past the Petit Palais, which looked quite splendid basking in the sun.

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We crossed the river and then looked back over the bridge and noticed that our sun was quickly being chased away by ominous clouds.  Paris, you are so fickle.

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So we did the only thing we could do under the circumstances.  We took refuge in a cafe and a glass of wine.  And then we scurried home before the rain began.

And that was Sunday.

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Filed under Grand Palais, Paris museum

Early

The time changed in Paris last weekend, which I think was 2 weeks after it did in the US.  Wouldn’t you think that all countries that choose to observe Daylight Savings Time would do it on the same schedule?  Just a reminder that the world is not yet as small as we think.  We were just happy that we knew about the change this time.  Last fall we were halfway to church when we realized that the reason no one else was walking toward the steeple was that we were an hour too early.  Just one of the dangers of not really understanding the newspapers or TV news in the place where you live.

Anyway, I am loving this change, although it does still mess with my mind in the evenings, when I think I still have plenty of time to get dinner started and all of a sudden my husband walks in the door and is all like ,”I’m hungry.  Where is my dinner, woman?” and I realize that it’s later than I thought.  Not really, but it could happen.

On the other end of the day, the time change has allowed me to see my morning walk in a whole new light, and it’s beautiful.

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Filed under Musee d'Orsay, Paris museum, Tuileries

Dear Paris: Heaven called and wants its weather back.

Now hear this: Paris has been incredibly beautiful for most of the past two weeks.  If we don’t have a rainy day soon, my family is  going to run out of clean clothes and canned goods and end up eating marshmallow fluff in our bathrobes.  Really- it’s so hard to do anything like laundry, shopping, blogging, or cooking when springtime beckons.  I better get this figured out before I have a revolt on my hands here.

I promised to tell you about what my friend and I did last week and it’s quickly becoming a sunny, smiley, winey, cheesey, picnicky blur.  I may have to make some stuff up.

One day we went to a wonderful little museum in the 16th called the Musee Marmottan Monet, which is housed in a former hunting lodge and contains the world’s largest collection of Monet.  We were  fortunate that there was also a temporary exhibit of Berte Morisot there.  She was a respected Impressionist and was married to the brother of Manet.  Don’t worry- there will not be a test over this at the end of the post.  This was my first trip to the museum and now it’s on my “Recommend” list for art-loving friends.

No one should miss Luxembourg Gardens when the weather is like this.  My friend and I enjoyed it and then Mark and I went back Saturday for a picnic.  

One might expect to see signs in parks indicating in which areas one must stay off the grass.  You do see a lot of those in Paris.  However, apparently at the Luxembourg Gardens it makes more sense to designate the relatively small area where the grass is available for sitting.

But absolutely no lying, rolling, ball-kicking, or any other kind of fun-having.

A few people were interested, despite the limitations.My friend and I picnicked at the Champ de Mars, and it was divine.One day we went on a guided tour of the newly-opened exhibit at the  Museum of Decorative Arts, entitled “Louis Vuitton  Marc Jacobs”.  This interesting and sometimes quirky exhibit showcases each man’s contribution to fashion and their collaboration on the LV line.  I took these two pictures of old LV trunks before I realized that photography was not allowed.  Oops.

I found these images on the internet.  I guess SOME people are allowed to take pictures.

After such a stylish outing, nothing would do but that we dine on the terrace outside of the Louvre.

We ate gelato, admired pastries, swooned over flower displays, and walked all over Paris.

Stop right there, Monsieur Chocolate Chicken Man

And so Hotel Mai has closed its doors for a month or so.  We have some travel of our own planned.  And lots of picnics to be had.  Be the first to read all about it, right here, on Channel Mai Oui Paris.  All Paris.  All the time.

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Filed under Eiffel Tower, fashion, flowers, gardens, Luxembourg Gardens, Paris museum, Uncategorized