Saturday, March 15, 2014

Paris....where Van Gogh lived.

Paris, mai oui!

We loved it. Our little apartment in St. Michel, just a half a block from the Seine and one between Notre Dame and the Louvre.

We loved the food: Tipoly's Lebanese Moussaka Manouch, the chocolate shops, the macaroons flavored with lavendar, mint, lime, chocolate, raspberry and more. We loved dinner at the Restaurant on our corner where Yata had grilled duck breast with a honey pear sauce and I had the Sea Bass with Beuree Blanc (white butter, lightly toasted). They served wine in little ceramic pitchers that you then poured into your wine glass to share. Then in Montmarte the Creperie Lepic that served, beside Yata's gluten free savory crepe and regular dessert chocolate crepe, the best salad Montmartoise; red green bib lettuce with bacon, wonderful waxy yellow potato slices, boiled egg and toasted walnuts. Not sure what the dressing was, it was subtle. Oh, they also serve on top of the salad, a soft cooked egg. So the yoke can serve as some of the dressing.
Yata in Monmarte

Speaking of the Creperie Lepic, we were in Montmarte the village/neighborhood of VanGogh, Utrillo, Renoir and others. I was sitting in the window seat drawing the view, a high contrast light and shadow on the slightly curved streets buildings. When I had nearly finished, the waiter informed me that the building on the right (in my drawing) on the fourth floor had once housed Vincent VanGogh and his brother Theo. It gave me chills of delight when he told me that. Montmarte is a still very fun, charming area and were were so glad we went there. Again we also got some great photos. We finished the day by taking the metro from there to the Eiffel tower, arriving just in time to see it lit. Fabulous!
D'Orsay Museum
Cezanne Stillife
There are so many museums in Paris it is just mind boggling. But we did want to make it to the Louvre, the D'Orsay and L'Orangerie. We also went to the Pompadou Center (Modern Art with a unique architectural design as well; all the heating and cooling pipes are on the outside of the space instead of inside...,making people originally wonder when the building's constructions was going to be finished.)
Michelangelo's Prisoner

Venus de Milo
thought the Louvre would take us days but we went fairly early and spent about five hours there. We put a pretty good dent in it. So we didn't go back. I especially like the Venus de Milo and Michealangelo's Prisoner Sculptures. The D'Orsay is in a former station that was very well converted into a museum along the Seine. Great Impressionist collection. L'Orangerie is a museum that was built to house Monet's waterlilies that are a series, fifty feet wide and about 8 feet high.  In the lower level a great collection of Renoir and others. That was the only rainy day while we were there so after that we walked along the Seine at Rivoli which is lined with shops and a covered sidewalk to have lunch, a traditional Onion Soup and assorted crepes.  Soup is always so satisfying on a cool rainy day. 

We also went to Versaille, on a short train route, Louis XIV's 'over the top' palace and gardens.  We walked through the garden to the Grand and Petite Trianon, Marie Antoinette's smaller homes.  I wouldn't recommend this visit in the winter.  All the statues are covered and the fountains are dry.

We found the old Shakepeare bookshop where they stamp all their books with there logo of Shakespeare and the note: Kilometer Zero, Paris.  Yata bought my birthday gift there, a John Constable, Oil Sketches: from the Victoria and Albert Museum.  He was one of the first plein air painters of note.

We were lucky to return home to the first warmer weather of the winter.  Although we also returned to plumbing problems in Durand due to the prolonged cold. 

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