Today we get kind of a late start. Café and croissant in the neighborhood before heading out for museums. This is a leisurely breakfast; the wait staff isn’t very interested, and then is very French about dawdling about bringing the check. We are sitting in a window over a back entrance to the building so I enjoy watching the locals and shoppers making their way through the corridor and stairs. We laugh when we realize that the guys who appeared to be moving thing into a living unit were dry wallers. They had cooking equipment, music players, and lots of equipment. I would not be surprised if they are still there many months hence.
It is the Saturday before Easter (and freezing! It won’t get above 45) so we bundle up and head off for the Decorative Arts Museum. We get through the process of buying our museum pass and go into the costume exhibit. It is 19th Century to early 20th Century. It is well put together although no provenance for the items shown in the english. We get turned around and don’t really see it in order, but I don’t think it matters too much. I’m always struck by how tiny people were. And how much fabric they were hauling around. An auspicious start as the exhibit is well-attended, but not crowded. The exhibit will become more relevant than we know right now as we look at art here in Paris and then in NYC.
We leave that museum and walk to the d’Orsay. I am frozen by the time we get there and the crowds are HUGE–waiting outside in the cold. Fortunately that museum pass takes us in through a special entrance so it has paid for itself! The Impressionist exhibit is excellent. They have painted the walls in deep hues which change how many of the work looks. This is crowded, but worth a look. I am struck by the breadth of technique and styles Manet worked in, the beauty Monet always evokes, and Van Gogh’s crazy, fabulous work. I always like seeing the lesser Impressionists too. Years ago my mother read a biography of Camille Pissaro and shared many interesting facts which I always remember when looking at the Impressionists. I think VG is always the most exciting. Pure genius. There are neo-Impressionists on the second floor. We stay as long as we can stand the crowds, then brave the cold again and head to the L’Orangerie to see the large Monet waterlilies.
This locale was closed the last time we were here in 2004. The paintings are fixed so you can only see them here. They were protected during the remodeling, but remained in place. Huge. Two rooms of four paintings each. One dusk and one daylight. Here the work feels freer than in smaller pieces and I am able to see how his initial preparation of the canvas also adds to the texture of the finished piece and allows him to evoke a variety of light with a single stroke, and that his stroke is looser here, but almost more evocative. We see the exhibit in the lower level, but frankly, we’ve been looking at the best and it pales a bit. A personal collection, so not always the best pieces. I do admire the collector for his willingness to support artists–it is clear he was often making purchases to keep them afloat.
We go off to look for lunch. Have I mentioned it is freezing? We finally collapse into a brasserie at about 3 pm. Salmon, boef bourginone and one other entrée are finis. Mitch chooses a club sandwich and I have the duck salad and we split a carafe of wine. My salad is beyond delicious! Table of Italians next to us. The proprietress does not speak English (or Italian) but I don’t think the Italians get any better results with their rudimentary French. Better to just admit you don’t know the language and point and gesture. As I always am, I am glad I’m no longer a smoker because I would hate standing outside for a quick smoke in this weather.
Mitch can’t face more crowds so we head back to our hotel. We have an 8:30 dinner reservation across the street at Juveniles (yay! we don’t have to completely bundle up when we go out again). I knit and read and Mitch reads and plays with his devices. We have decided to just drink red wine while we are here so we have a glass before we go out to dinner.
Juveniles is under the care of two Australian women. They have squeezed the restaurant full and they have to readjust the seating a bit to get us a decent table, but we’re late enough that with some consolidation and a departure, they end up giving us a lovely table. From there the evening only gets better.
Mitch selects a Chateau neuf de Pape to the delight of the server. For dinner he selects the bavette, but in the end actually receives a sausage. A tribute to the atmosphere and appetizer that he is not at all upset by the substitution, but does ask me if he had ordered something else. I have ordered the plat du Jour so get three courses. An ratatouille first course for me that is very different and yummy. Mitch gets the chorizo sausages (so ends up with a totally sausage dinner) and the wine is excellent. He declines to share appetizers so we just do a bite for tasting. My dinner is a stew, which is perfect for the weather. I get an apple crisp for dessert which we share. We run across the street to our hotel to call it a night.
Current knitting project update: After a really questionable start, I am moving quickly through this project and plan to wear it Saturday night (4/27). I knit on the train home last night because I accidentally left my reading material at FIDM. After a bit of TV knitting I am about
580 rows from the end. Focus will make this happen! I will go to Britex today to get some buttons and perhaps some ribbon. And perfect buttons (her request) for the scarf I’m finishing up for my mom.