Tag Archives: Musée d’Orsay

Some Ugly At Last

Just in time, Paris provided the perfect antidote to my overriding blog theme of “ain’t life grand in Paris”, a theme which was bordering on insufferable. You know you have thought it at least a time or two.

Last week, on the first full day of my friend Martha’s visit, we set off for Montmartre, which always sparkles extra brightly when the sun is shining through azure sky. We took the bus a few stops and then began walking, enjoying the quiet streets and congratulating ourselves on avoiding the crush of tourists and tacky souvenir shops that fill the main street leading to Sacre Coeur. I was mapping our way on my phone, carrying it until I saw a sign for “Place du Tertre”, at which point I stuck the phone in my purse and soon began following Martha up some steps. Approximately two minutes later I reached back into my purse to retrieve my phone so I could photograph an artist with his easel who had begun climbing the steps in front of us. I fumbled for my phone in my small bag all the way up the stairs, only to discover at the top that my phone had disappeared. Apparently someone had seen me carrying it and began following me, closely and quietly, until I put it in my purse and he/she was able to snatch it. Martha was in front of me during our walk and climb, so she would not have noticed anyone tailing me. I suppose I had felt so safe that I did not zip my purse back up, knowing I would be pulling the phone back out momentarily. I cannot describe how confused and disbelieving I was when I realized my phone was missing. It was the oddest feeling, and not a good one. The lesson, my friends, is never to let down your guard when on the streets of Paris, even when you do not feel the least vulnerable.

I was able to shake it off and not allow my day to be spoiled, but I am still pretty bitter about it. But hey- I needed some Paris Ugly, and she provided it. At least now my content is more fair and balanced. But man I miss my phone.

On a more positive note, we thoroughly enjoyed a Bonnard exhibit at the Musee d’Orsay.

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doesn't the woman on the right look as though she is in the painting?

doesn’t the woman on the right look as though she is in the painting?

We also paid a visit to Merci, which finally had its newest installation complete. It appears to be a laundry theme, like the one frequently installed at my house.

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The sun is still shining here, and the trees and flowers are in full splendor. We are spending a lot of time outside and have enjoyed more than one glass of bubbly “au terrasse”. Life is good, but it’s even better with a phone.

Stay vigilant, mes amis, and keep all your zippers zipped.

And if you play Words With Friends or Scramble with me, now you know why I haven’t taken a turn in ten days.

The world can be ugly, but you, little nugget, are precious.

The world can be ugly, but you, little nugget, are precious.

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Filed under Montmartre, Paris, shopping, springtime in Paris, Uncategorized

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

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

What we did besides eat and drink

My sweet friend is now in the good hands of Continental Airlines, following the arching arrow on the airplane screen as it slowly, slowly creeps  toward Houston.  I know they won’t feed her as well as Paris did, but that’s OK, because she is probably still full from  the eating marathon we enjoyed together.  But enough about the food.  I promised a re-cap of the things we did that did not require a fork or a glass.  SO.

First we went to the Musee de Luxembourg, a small museum in the Luxembourg Gardens which is hosting a wonderful exhibit entitled “Cezanne in Paris”.  We both love Cezanne, and this was a delightfully intimate display of his work, with no crowds.

The next day we hit the Musee de Cluny, which is the National Museum of the Middle Ages.  The building is gorgeous, and the grounds include some wonderful Gallo-roman thermal baths built around the first century.  The museum is home to an impressive collection of  Medieval tapestries, sculptures, paintings, jewelry, and stained glass windows from the 5th to the 15th centuries.

Despite the freezing cold that gripped the city, we walked all over it.

We looked down.

We looked up.

We looked ahead.

We looked at guys with funny hair.

We looked at Impressionist art at the Musee d’Orsay. I sneaked a photo in the museum this time, because occasional civil disobedience is good for the soul.

We went to the Musee Carnavalet and revisited the exhibit on 19th century Parisians.  We went to Shakespeare and Co. and bought some books.  My friend engaged in a bit of civil disobedience herself, as the new store policy forbids photographs, and she snapped a few like this one.  We just can’t help ourselves.  We’re kind of Thelma and Louise-ish.  Scoff-laws.  Dangerous.  That’s us.

Our last day together we had lunch at the  Le Jules Verne, which is on the second platform of the Eiffel Tower.  Dining at the “JV” is a memorable event indeed.  The staff fell over themselves to anticipate our every need (including how to open the door of the very “space-age” bathroom) and made us feel like royalty.  The food was delicious, and the view spectacular.

The sun lit more and more of the horizon as we dined.

It looks like we're smiling but we're actually grimacing from the cold.

We fully intended for that three-hour lunch to be the final meal of our feeding frenzy.  However, as we walked around that afternoon, trying desperately to recover feeling in our hands and feet, I got a text from Mlle. Cordon-Bleu that there was left-over puff pastry dough in our fridge.  As in “made that day at the Cordon-Bleu” puff pastry dough.  We immediately began plotting what evil we could do with that dough, and decided on Barefoot Contessa’s goat cheese and tomato tart.  Two quick stops at the cheese shop and the produce store, and we were ready to make this little baby!

Thanks, Ina.

And that, my friends, was the final meal.  And it was delicious.

I think that about covers our six short days loving Paris together.   Mark returns tomorrow and is whisking me off on a surprise weekend to celebrate my looming birthday.  Maybe London?  I will let you know.

Bon weekend, wherever you go!

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Filed under cooking, Eiffel Tower, Musee Carnavalet, Paris dining, Paris museum, Uncategorized

I hate to blog with my mouth full.

You may or may not have noticed that this blog has been pretty quiet this week.  My homie from Houston has been here, and we have been busy, busy, busy.

Here are the highlights.

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Yep.  One week-long feeding frenzy, my friends, with lots of wine to wash it all down.  The crepes were at one of Paris’ favorite creperies, Breizh Cafe, in the Marais.  The soup, beef cheeks, cheese and panne cotta were from our personal favorite, Les Papilles.  The hot chocolate was enjoyed at Cafe de Flore,  The veal and rice pudding were at Le Comptoir du Relais.  Today’s feast , the penne and lime souffle, were served at the lovely restaurant at Musee d’Orsay.  Here are a few more pictures.

We have done a few things in between meals and hot chocolate breaks, but those will have to wait for another day.

In the meantime, did I mention that it has been incredibly cold here?  In fact, did I mention that it snowed here for several hours on Sunday?  It didn’t last long, but it was lovely.

Soon I will show you what we have done to occupy our time in between feedings, but now I need to go rest up for tomorrow’s lunch at the Eiffel Tower.

Power eating isn’t easy, my friends!

 

P.S.- I cannot seem to put pictures in a slideshow and then add pictures later in the post without those later pictures being added to the slideshow.  That is why you are seeing them twice, and why some of them don’t seem to fit with the “food” theme in the slideshow.  If anyone out there knows WordPress and can help me with this, I would be eternally grateful!

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Filed under Paris dining, Paris museum, Uncategorized

Lost On The Way To Versailles

Musee D'Orsay

Image by eugene via Flickr

Hello Thursday!

Last week I amused some Facebook friends with my note that I had gotten lost on my way to Versailles, but ended up at the Musee D’Orsay, so all had not been lost after all.  The RER train system truly can be confusing, even for two relatively high-functioning women, one of whom has lived here for over a year.  We had gone quite out of our way before realizing that the famous chateau we sought was NOT at the end of our route.  We jumped off and changed platforms and back-tracked as far as the museum, at which point we realized we were going to be so late to Versailles that we would have missed half of our tour.  So we aborted and opted for the Musee D’Orsay, which I had planned to visit soon anyway.  I love the story of this museum, which occupies a former train station that was slated to be torn down before someone came to his senses and turned it into a lovely museum.  Unfortunately, they don’t want you to take photos at the Musee D’Orsay, (which is strange because the Louvre doesn’t have the same prohibition) but I did take a few of the newly renovated cafe and of the incredibly gorgeous clock there.

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Not too shabby for a Plan B, eh? I love that museum, and also love that it’s not really big and that I can walk there easily from my apartment.

Yesterday a sweet friend from home brought me another mother lode of treats, including granola bars, assorted candy (because you know there isn’t any decent chocolate in France, right?), pecans,  fresh jalapenos (yea!), and an entire cooked brisket!  What a good friend is she????

oh baby!

As you can see, the French do not ask or care at all about food brought into the country, which is a darned good thing for my friend, and for me!

We’re off to do a bit of Paris exploring and lunching before the rain begins.

Thanks for stopping by!

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A Tempting Day in Paris

The days are getting a bit colder and a bit more grey here in Paris.  It still seems like a nice change and I’m loving it.  For now.

I saw these at the market this morning and wanted them something fierce, but good sense prevailed.  But can you blame me for thinking about it for a few minutes?

It is the gorgeous red peonies of which I speak. The ones that were 40 euros for 5 stems.

I usually get scolded by at least one vendor at the market, but today I escaped with only mild laughter when I asked if they had basil.  I guess it’s not a winter herb around here.  News to me- it was always at HEB in the winter.  So much to learn.

This afternoon I went someplace cultural.  Here are some visual clues:

Whoa- this is a family blog- for the most part.

No, I didn’t go to the zoo.

Not really a clue, but isn't it pretty?

It was the Musee d’Orsay, and I went on a guided tour of  a special exhibition entitled Beauty, Morals, and Voluptuousness in the England of Oscar Wilde.  There were some naughty bits in there, my friends.  Let’s just say the rhino was but a prelude, and leave it at that.

Between the metro and the entrance to the museum I passed a window with these gorgeous meringues that I had to snap for you.  They seem to be filled with some kind of cream, and I would love to investigate just what that does to a meringue.  Let me know if that is something you would like me to research and report back to you on.  Really- it’s no trouble.

And because the subject of temptations seems to be recurring in this post, I will conclude with the treat that was delivered to my kitchen this evening, straight from the kitchen of the Cordon Bleu.   I have no doubt that it will be as delicious for breakfast as it was for dessert tonight.

That’s it for my Wednesday in Paris.  I hope yours was full of temptations, too, with a few naughty bits thrown in, just to make sure you were paying attention.  Feel free to share.  That’s what the “comments” box is for.

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Filed under food markets, Paris museum, Paris outings, Uncategorized