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Mini Trip Report on Paris: Musee Marmatton is Great, and more food

Mini Trip Report on Paris: Musee Marmatton is Great, and more food

Old Jun 8th, 2007, 12:07 PM
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Mini Trip Report on Paris: Musee Marmatton is Great, and more food

At the end of a trip to Barcelona and southwestern France (click on my name for other posts), we (me, DH and 12yo DS) spent 1 1/2 days in Paris. We visited Paris 2 years ago, so this short stay was just a chance to spend some time in a great city, with no big "to-do" list.

After arriving by train from Brive at about 1:30, we quickly checked into our hotel, Hotel Millesime, on rue Jacob in the 6th arrondisement. We'd never stayed here before; our "usual" hotel is Hotel Le Regent, about 2 blocks away. We found Hotel Millesime just as nice. The street it's on is full of home design stores, entertaining to look at, and very quiet. It's just 1 block away from the action on rue de buci/rue de seine, and also very close (in the other direction) to the place where St. Germain-de-Pres is located. The hotel itself was nicely decorated, clean, with very helpful desk staff and a computer with internet in the front lobby. There's a cute little interior courtyard (though we'd choose time at a streetside cafe over any courtyard, regardless of how beautiful). Our room was the triple on the 5th floor; usual size for Parisian hotel rooms, a decent small bed (not a cot) for DS, and a good but not luxurious bathroom. A downside to the bathroom was that there was no light over the mirror. A highlight of our stay, for DS, was the glass-sided elevator that we took up and down from our room.

Our first task was to get a crepe (in addition to the food eaten on the train, it was our lunch) from a streetside place near the intersection of rue de buci/rue Dauphine. And more important, several macarons from Laduree, which is on rue Jacob, about 1/2 block from the hotel. I've decided that macarons are my favorite pastries - sweet, but not too much so. And while I bought them ofen throughout our trip, Laduree's are my favorite.

That afternoon, at DS' choice and with our concurrence, we revisited the Musee d'Orsay. Because our stay was so short, and because at most, we would be visiting only two museums on the list, we did not get the Paris Visite (or whatever it's called these days). Despite an imposing line both to get through security and to buy tickets, it didn't take long. We focused on revisiting the Impressionists, and (again) looked at pretty much every picture in that collection. (Other than DS' interest in modern art, the Impressionists are the favorite painting period of all of us.) Oh, and the usual crowds in the galleries; I think I spent just as much time people-watching as I did admiring the art!

We sauntered around the neighborhood a bit, then, because we just had not eaten enough (ha) that day, we stopped a Fromagerie 31, on rue de Seine. It's primarily a fromagerie that has about 6 tables outside, and some space inside, for wine and cheese plates. Very nice. We got one 7-cheese plate for the three of us, which came with a small salad with a better-than-usual mustard dressing (since I'm the only one who likes salad, it was mine). There were some service issues (I ended up going in and grabbing forks, knives and napkins for us), it was a great place, and we would return.

Of course, Saturday evening in the 6th, every cafe was full, and we had a fun time just soaking in the atmosphere.

Dinner was at nearby Ze Kitchen Galerie. We enjoyed our dinner, though the experience wasn't fantastic. Modern, minimalist decor, a neo-bistro feel to it, no amuse bouche or any of that. The kitchen has a window into it, though because I'm short, I couldn't see much (the window is set a bit high up). Our reservation was at 8 pm; the energy and noise level went up a bit (not badly so), and the lighting went down, as the evening progressed. As previously noted, the food had an Asian influence, which we liked. My marinated tuna starter had great accompaniments, including grapefruit and ginger. DH's ravioli starter also included ginger. My cannette (duckling) was delicious, both the grilled portion and the confit. The confit was fried, and reminded me (in appearance only) of hush puppies. DH's rabbit had a great but unidentifiable (by us) sauce, and DS's rouget was delicious and beautiful, with a bright yellow/orange sauce. DS loved his chocolate dessert.

The next morning, we had a great breakfast at Bar le Conti, where we've eaten before. It's at the corner of rue de buci and rue Dauphine (and other streets). I like this cafe a lot because their croissants and pains au chocolat are from Jean-Pierre Carton, across the street. In fact, we followed up with a visit to Carton for some additional treats, including their wonderful choquettes. We also tried a cannelle, which was wonderful.

Once fortified, we headed off to a museum that's been on my "must-do" for several years now, placed there by suggestions from Fodorites (thanks!) - Musee Marmatton. It's a bit west, but easily reachable by metro and a nice walk through the nearby park. It's a scenic residential neighborhood, and the museum is a former house. The house itself was beautiful, and the ground floor was surprisingly interesting; I liked the neo-classical decor and furniture. The highlight of the museum is the collection of Monets, which are housed in the basement level with white walls and modern museum lighting. A very good variety of Monet's work. Then, on the first floor (European) are a selection of many other well-known Impressionists. I loved the place! Beautiful building, refreshingly uncrowded, a nice small variety of the Impressionist masters that you also see at the Musee d'Orsay. We all liked it, though DS said he liked the neighborhood around the museum more than the museum. Afterward, we spent some time in the park, watching all the kids play in the playground and ride their bikes.

It began to rain, so we moved on. Our next stop, another selection by DS, was the national museum of modern art (also called Pompidou, as it's part of the Pompidou center). First we took the metro east, heading for a restaurant that I had noted. We didn't like their daily menu, so ended up at another cafe, called Page 35, at 4, rue du Parc Royal. It was a cosy place during the rain, and I had the perfect rainy-day lunch, a duck confit served in a casserole, mixed in with mashed potatoes, with a slice of foie gras on top, warmed by the potatoes. It was one of my favorite dishes of the entire trip. DS and DH had more standard dishes involving a crepes and a croque madame.

Then the Pompidou, which DH and I had chosen skip on all of our previous visits. We are just not interested enough in modern art to appreciate the place. DS really enjoyed it, so once again, we were the people sitting in the corner, waiting for him to finish. The museum suggests that you begin your viewing on the 5th floor. DS, being 12, insisted on starting with the 4th floor, which (IMHO) houses the weirdest stuff. That didn't help the opinion of DH and I, and we began conspiring on a modern-art piece for our house that will include an overturned chair with inflatable swimming-pool floats suspended overhead. (Both of these items are included in pieces at the museum.) The fifth floor was easier for me, at least, as I recognized SOME of the artists' names and works, and I really did like the sculptures/works on the outside terraces (the steadily-falling rain added to their appeal).

Once DS admitted he'd had his fill of modern art, we took the metro south to Saint Sulpice, as he and I had read The Da Vinci Code together. The church is nice enough, but rather anti-climatic. We headed back to the hotel, picking up provisions for the trip home on the way (macarons from Laduree and pastries from Carton).

By the time we were done with that, it had stopped raining, though the temperature was still cool. But the cafes' combinations of awnings and heat lamps made us comfortable for a long visit at a nearby cafe.

The rain held off, so we had a pleasant walk to our Sunday-night dinner at Le Parc Aux Cerfs, which is just southwest of Jardin Luxembourg. It was a lovely cafe in an appealing location (and a part of Paris we hadn't been to before). Upscale bistro in feel, but still that cosy bistro feel (rather than modern minimalist); one of their selling points (?) is that they provide crayons to write on the white paper that covers the tablecloth-covered tables. DS liked that, of course. DS and DH had the unlikely but tasty combination of shrimp served on a little cake of red and white cabbage, on a little pool of carmelized garlic. I had a more-standard, but still good, foie gras, served with a fruit sauce that included pecans, which I'd not seen in France before. My dinner was salmon served on large red beans, at room temperature. Better than that sounds! DH's dorade was straightforward but cooked just right, DS had duck breast with a tart lemon sauce. We skipped dessert there in favor of gelato (DS and DH) from Amorino and a crepe (me); might not work for everyone, but we liked it!

The next morning, we had just enough time for an early breakfast at another cafe, the one just to the right of Bar le Conti. No fresh croissants from Carton, but the highlight here for DS was the hot chocolate. The chocolate was served from a tiny pitcher, with the hot milk in another, large pitcher.

We've never had any problems or delays flying out of CDG, but I know others have, so I was closely watching the time. The hotel desk guy had suggested that we leave 3+ hours early; 1 hour to get to the airport, and 2 hours at the airport, plus ANOTHER 15 minutes just in case. We declined the extra 15 minutes, so asked for a cab for 7:45 for our 10:45 plane to Frankfurt.

Cab picked us up; 30 minutes later (on a rainy Monday morning) we were getting out of the cab at CDG. There was NO line at the Lufthansa ticket counter. We were so early that we were placed on the 9:40 (or so) flight to Frankfurt, which was actually good because of possible rain delays and because our original connection was only one hour long (I wasn't watching closely, but we think we left later than 9:40). We headed on to our gate; there was NO line through security. So we had lots of extra time in the airport, and more extra time in the Frankfurt airport.

A great trip; I'm already plotting where we'll go the next time (whenever that is) we go to France!
Lexma90 is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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Concise and interesting report. Thanks, and glad you enjoyed your stay.
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Old Jun 8th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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What a wonderful day and a half, filled with art, duck, and chocolate; what could be better?
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Old Jun 8th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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Thanks for the report. Based on the numerous favorable reports on the Marmottan I've got a day in the 16th planned later this month. Glad tohear you enjoyed the neighborhood as well.
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Old Jun 8th, 2007, 05:47 PM
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Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I enjoyed reading about it.
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