Last summer, we made the decision to spend a month in Paris. In all
honesty, it was Josh's idea. He was done with camp, the girls had
moved on to other activities and he had no interest in returning. He
wanted to go somewhere that was urban where he could do museums, eat
great food and get to know the place. He was 11.
So, here we are in Paris. I wish we were partying like it was 1999 but
unfortunately it is 2008 and the cost of everything is beyond. After
the culture shock of cost, I have moved on. What else can you do? We
are here and should enjoy the moment.
We rented an apartment in the sixth. A two floor walk up, very
Parisian. We spent the first day adjusting to life. First meal was
down the street for coffee and croissants. The first night we had
dinner at a small bistro down the street called Le Bistro de Henri.
Nothing to write home about but a neighborhood joint. After trying to
get into this time zone and ambien for all, we woke up and dug in.
Fred and Emily got up and took a ride down the Seine in the morning and picked up
bread and jams at Eric Kayser who has built a small empire of 12
bakeries, half in Paris and the other half abroad. Delicious. When I
woke up, I found Emily and Fred downstairs at our local cafe having
We got on the Metro and began our journey at the Picasso museum. I
have been a few times. I love how the building housing the museum is
old and inside the architecture is modern. Pieces span Picasso's life
from oils to pen and inks to collages to sculptures. His entire life. This piece is
girl with a hat and pom poms.
After walking through the Marais, the Jewish ghetto which is now more
like the West Village, we made our way over to the Pompidou which might
be my favorite museum. We
had to stop at this tiny store where the
smell of cheese and salamis hit us on the street en route. Josh went in and
bought a piece of cheese for the walk. Yum. Once we got to the
Pompidou, we had lunch at George which is at the top of the museum. Worth going.
Good food and the decor inside is wild and the views are extraordinary.
To the Pompidou. The collection is vast. Each show, including the
permanent exhibit is curated like no other. The current exhibit is called
Traces du Sacre which tells the story of art from before WWI to post
WWII. It was incredible. So incredible that both Jessica and Emily
have vowed to return before we leave.
There was also an exhibit
downstairs devoted to pushing the envelope in architecture around the
world. This piece is from the permanent exhibit. Huge paper machier.
Couldn't help but have a little treat after all that culture and we hit up
the creperie. Nutella and bananas. So good. The key is having them
make the crepe right there.
The boys decided they had enough so they grabbed a few bikes. This is
a beautiful thing. With a pass you can jump on a bike at different
locations around the city and go to your destination and drop the bike
off. The future of cities to come, at least I hope so. But, the
girls, die-hard that they are, had to hit up some stores in the
Marais. First, we stopped at Cafe Progress for some liquid and to recharge our batteries. Then, we literally shopped til we dropped,
hopped on the Metro when I cried uncle and headed home.
For dinner, we went to Sensing. The food was sensational. I began
with a tuna tartare that was rolled up like a cigar in a thin crust and
served standing up over a lemon confit. Woah. Fred had a pea mousse
that was served like a soup in 5 separate glasses with chopped
prosciutto on the bottom and a foam on top. Rich and divine. I had
yellow chicken. Only in France. Chicken rolled up and then stuffed
with a chicken mixture over long tubes of pasta baked in cheese. Josh
went with the lamb with herb gnocchi on the side, the girls went with
cod that was served with a foam and Fred went with the tuna seared with
fois gras inside. All absolutely delicious. Josh, of course, had to
top off his meal with a cheese plate. You gotta love it.
Emily and Fred grabbed the Metro home because Emily looked like she was
about to fall asleep at the table. I walked home with Jess and Josh
around the Luxembourg gardens (closed at nightfall) where there was an
incredible exhibit hanging on the gates of large photos taken by
photo journalists who work or have worked for Le Figaro dating from the early 1900s to
the present. Very cool.
We made it home, we are shattered. Tomorrow, is another journey.
It looks like they are all booked up and closed for summer but if you can squeeze in before they go this was so fun to do last summer…http://www.hkmenus.com/english.htm
What a great description its like I am there in my second favorite city
Pompidou totally rocks. I agree – it is one of the best museums in the world. Their permanent collection is dynamite and the special exhibits have always knocked my socks off.
We went to Hidden Kitchen (“hk”) when we were in Paris in May. Great food and a lot of fun — but the last e-mail they sent said they were going back to the States for the Summer. You might also try “Spring” in the 9th (http://www.springparis.blogspot.com/). A US chef doing a great market driven menu. Think: an adventuresome Blue Hill. It may not feel very French, but it shouldn’t be missed. Don’t forget the Sunday bio (eg organic) market on Blvd. Raspail, down the street from the Hotel Lutetia and Bon Marche (who has the most amazing food halls). The rotisserie chicken is amazing, although expensive. There is an American who makes good brownies and english muffins, too. Just behind Raspail is Cherche Midi, a great shopping street and home to Poliane bakery and chocolate at A La Reine Astrid. Our kid’s favorite is probably Rue Dragon in the 5th — known to us as “Rue de Shoe” for obvious reasons.
What a great post! Anyone who reads this will want to go to Paris NOW. I’ll keep this for when we do go. How did you go about finding a place to rent?
I’m sure you have many restaurants planned but I would highly recommend the following:
L’Arpege – possibly the best vegetables in the world: http://www.chuckeats.com/2007/04/02/larpege-paris-purity-of-flavor/
Pierre Gagnaire – there’s nothing better than spending a lunch in this room. very creative.
Ledoyen – a nice room for lunch (and maybe better at dinner?) with very precise and masterful executions: http://www.chuckeats.com/2007/03/08/ledoyen-paris-the-harmony-of-modernism/