Friday, October 8, 2010

If I were in Paris... Friday, October 8, 2010

If I were in Paris today... how would I spend my day? Well, it's Friday, so I might, just might, give les archives a pass and do a little sightseeing, a little shopping.

Since it is autumn already in Paris, I might want to go and get myself some hot chocolate at Angelina's. On the Rue de Rivoli, across from the Tuileries, Angelina's serves the best (THE BEST) hot chocolate in Paris. Thick, rich, real l'Africain which must be diluted with cream. If you think, oh, no, too fattening! you are not thinking like a Parisian. Enjoy one cup and then take a looooooong walk through the Tuileries and along the Seine, n'est-ce pas? Pleasure in many forms.

Probably, being me, I would have stopped in to Galignari's, one of my favorite bookstores, right next door to Angelina's, and bought a new book or magazine to pass the time with while I drank my l'Africain. Galignari's is where I saw Karl Lagerfeld, big as life and fully tricked out, with his "assistant." Aside from that, an excellent site for finding new English-language books, great guides to obscure Paris, or glossy fashion or house magazines from all countries (my guilty pleasure).

Today I would probably also take myself back along the Rue de Rivoli to the Musee des Arts Decoratif (1st arr.) for their current exhibits, "Jewelry Art Deco and the Avant Garde" or "Le Belle Epoque de Jules Cheret: l'affiche au decor." The website is: This poster is one of Cheret's most famous, being Bernhardt herself advertising rice powder.

I might go along to the Centre Culturel Irlandais (5th arr.) to see one of several exhibits they have right now on Irish artists, including an exhibit of work by the sculptress Vivienne Roche, on "The Geometry of Water." Her work, focused on the sea and the beach, sounds fascinating, and it is actually very illuminating to see artists from non-French countries exhibitied in Paris. Here is the site: Below is one of Roche's scupltures: none of the ones in Paris are this grand in scale, I think. I don't look at sculpture enough: I mostly do the painting and photography route, but my trips to the Musee Zadkine for example, convinced me that I should spend more time looking at 3-D art as well.

Having walked back along the Seine to the 5th, I would probably search through a few stalls of les bookinistes (or bouquinistes), perhaps finding something delightful in an old print or used book, then sit myself down at a cafe that has a fabulous view of Notre Dame for a glass of wine or an expresso. Watch the sun set, the sky turn dark (well before 6 pm), and then wrap myself in my warm coat to hurry home on the Metro.

Tomorrow, I would head back to les archives, to Tolbiac in particular, not for research, but to hear Alain Baraton, the head gardener at Versailles, talk about the potager of Louis XIV. Ooh la la! I have visited le potager, which is open to the public but no on the grounds of the famous chateau: one must search a little bit to find this vegetable garden of the Sun King. And it is worth it! Louis loved his vegetables--artichokes, asparagus, etc., but not the common potato--and had then served in delectable variety. I have also eaten at the restaurant nearby that specializes in dishes made from the vegetables and fruits grown in this garden, all gourmet fare. The talk is free, from 11 am-12 noon, and could be followed by a delightful lunch at one of the many Asian restaurants in the vicinity of Tolbiac.

Below, a view of le potager.

 Happy Friday!

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