Friday, February 17, 2012

If I were in Paris... Friday, February 17, 2012

Okay, it is still COLD! So warm things indoors would be good.

There are two exhibitions that interest me in Paris right now, one at the Musee Carnavalet, "The People of Paris in the 19th Century," and one on sport in the 20th century, espeically the impact of the Berlin Games at the Memorial de la Shoah. These are not too far from oneanother, and a brisk walk -- perhaps with a short stop for some coffee or hot chocolate! -- would be best.

The Musee Carnavalet, as I have said before, is an endlessly fascinating museum about "regular life" in Paris. Their permanent exhibits are well curated, and their special exhibitions always shed light on some wonderful aspect of Parisian life. Their bookstore, too, has a really excellent variety of books plus good children's materials.

This particular exhibition, running through 2.26, focuses on Honore Daumier, the great satiritc cartoonist of the 19th century.  The cost is 7 euros, full price. I saw a wonderful exhibit like this up in Saint-Denis, in 2008. Daumier continues to run as a bright thread through any discussion of 19th-century life and culture in Paris.

The exhibition on sport actually focuses on the Berlin Games of 1936 and the London Games of 1948 -- the bookends, as it were, of World War II. This exhibition closes in March, but would be worth visiting now.

B.H.V. dome... so French!

 In that particular area -- the 3rd and 4th arrondissements -- this would also be a great time to visit the B.H.V. Rivoli (Boutique de l'Hotel de Ville). This is absolutely my favorite of the grands magasins in Paris, in part because no matter what I am looking for... I can find it there. The lower level features hardware, including things like phone jacks or extension cords. Or... doorknobs or drawer handles for your bath or kitchen, a la Louis XIV. Why not? One floor is full of notebooks, paper goods, pens and craft supplies. You can buy calendars, sketch books, art books, etc. Again, why not?  The first floor has boutiques from some of the same elite outlets as Galeries Lafayettes and Printemps, but it is never as crowded. I have bought all my Longchamps bags here, because I get great service... no matter how many times I come stalking in, eyeballing the bags.

B.H.V. provides all kinds of services, and simply a delightful stroll through an average Parisian department store (which Bon Marche is not... and delightful for that reason!).

And if you want a quick meal or a glass of wine to warm you up...
  • Page 35, 4 rue du Parc Royal -- around the corner from Musee Carnavalet; solid and unpretentious 
  • Cafe des Musees, 49 rue de Turenne, kind of adventurous plac
  • Le Petit Marche, 9 rue de Bearn (eat or drink)
  • Le Potager du Marais, 22 rue Rambuteau -- vegetarian.


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