The Croque Is Paris

Nov 29th, 2006, 09:33 AM
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Thank you, thank you for all your responses! Cigale, your words touched me deeply. You don't know it, but you and your loved one are so often in my thoughts! Hugs to you, dear lady.

And hey there, Ira, how's it going? Nina66, thanks for the cheering. Oh, and before I forget, let me thank NeoPatrick and others for recommending the roti chicken at Chez Clement.

Ate at the one by the Opera today. No frites on the menu, which instead offered "homemade, buttered mashed potatoes", which were served with a dollop of au jus. They must use some special potatoes, maybe fingerlings, because they were the creamiest I've ever eaten and I'm a die hard meat and potatoes Irish girl.

Today, for the most part, I sidestepped the snares of the Metro, and walked all over Paris from early morning to well after dark. Was virtually the only person in the streets not wearing a coat, but the weather was glorious and I've renounced both wool and down as too stifling. Twice now, I've been sabotaged in Paris by the weight of a coat and it ain't gonna happen again unless there's a blizzard.

OK, now on to the current museum exhibits...

Croque_Madame is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Philistine I may be, but I was totally unmoved by Monet's murky ponds at L'Orangerie, though the setting was brillantly conceived. Next door, at the Jeu De Paume, Lee Friedlander's photography from the '50's and 60's was evocative and intriguing.

But if you have the chance, you must go the Grand Palais' presentation of "Portraits Publics, Portraits Prives"! I was unprepared for the assembled riches and nearly keeled over when I came across the original Ingres' Napoleon.

Seated squatly on his emperor's throne, swathed in ermine and self-satisfaction, Napoleon stares at his audience with a challenging glare. The painting must have been 9 feet by 6 feet, I had no idea of its true size.

Standing right next to him, was another Napoleon, this one David's, in which Napoleon has his hand tucked in his shirt, wearing a decidedly unflattering pair of white leggings.

Oh, I can't begin to name all the artists represented! There was Stuart's George Washington and oh, so many others! I thought I'd come to the end of the exhibit, when I glimpsed an ornate stone staircase. Hesitated to drag my rickity self up it, but thank heavens I did.
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Nov 29th, 2006, 09:58 AM
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More rooms full of history's names come to life! Lots of marble busts, too. I was immediately drawn to one whose appearance I didn't recognize, but damn if it wasn't Charles James Fox, whose libertarian principles and social cunning I've long admired.

Then, a 12 by 9 foot painting stopped me right in my tracks. It was Josephine reclining outdoors at Malmaison. In prints, I'd thought her expression vacant. But up close, there was such penetrating sadness in her pensive dark eyes! I'd read that her teeth were said to be decayed (as were most everybody's those days), but she conceals them behind a tiny, pursed mouth.

Off to herself, under a spotlight, was Marie Antoinette in white marble. Her little face nearly lost above a flurry of fabric beribboned and ruffled, a heap of hair topped with a wide brimmed hat from which drooped long, curving feathers. How she moved inside all that weight I cannot imagine. Ten times worse than the worst winter coat!
Croque_Madame is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 10:16 AM
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Eating is forbidden in the newly decorated rooms at my hotel. So, for dinner, I plopped down on a bench with a warm pannini on rue Cler, shopping and dry cleaning bags piled around me.

Evidently, I resembled one of the fraternity of local clochards, for a particularly demented specimen immediately came along and cozied up next to me. I tried to ignore his rambling nattering, but when his avid admiration of my pannini became too unsettling, I was forced to concede both the battle and the bench.

That's all, folks! Only one more day left in Paris! Friday morning, I fly home a new woman, though that might not be readily apparent at the god-awful hour when I must hie myself off to the airport.

If you see a blond lacking a coat, that'll be moi. (Yes, yes, I used to be a redhead, but that was in a discarded incarnation.) Goodnight, everyone!
Croque_Madame is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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Croque_Madame - great to hear from you!!
I do remember fondly your story from several years back!!! Keep on Posting! Safe travels to you!!!
annesherrod is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 11:36 AM
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Totally thrilled to read this - thanks for posting.

BTW, doesn't everyone have a bum in their pants?
bardo1 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 11:44 AM
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I also remember your story of delivering the bike to Maelia. How wonderful that you made such good friends through that kind gesture. Happy Birthday, and while in my current position in life, I can't imagine going off to Paris by myself, I will remember your post and know that someday it might happen for me too.
Suki is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 07:52 AM
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Suki, I hope your life will bring you to Paris one day! As a tonic, I recommend it highly!

Hi, AnneSherrod! And bardo1, my husband's been called many things, but not yet a bum LOL!

Hit the basement at BHV today. For pet-loving family and friends, I picked up the enamel signs, "Attention! Chien Merchant, Maitre Feroce" and "Chat Fort Merchant et Peu Nourri"; which I believe translate to (respectively) "Warning! Nasty Dog, Ferocious Owner", plus "Very Nasty and Underfed Cat".

For my 20 year old granddaughter who smokes (*!#!), a good sized "Defense De Fumer" sign to post in her apartment. To off-set that nagging reminder and demonstrate our solidarity on other issues, I got two postcards (which I'll get framed). The first shows a Saran Wrapped nude woman lettered, "The Perfect Woman Is A Lie". The second depicts a young woman lifting up a frilly, black camisole to reveal pierced nipples and navel. Across her belly is scrawled in capital letters, "SO WHAT!".

My 14 year old grandson, with his first sibling on the way after so many years of absolute supremacy, got a sign for his bedroom door: "Entree Interdite, Propriete Privee".

BHV also has a fine selection of 100% horsehair shoe polishing brushes, great also for bags. Don't you love the way supple, well-conditioned leather just gleams?

Thoroughly enjoyed Le Musee Des Arts Decoratifs! It features furnishings all the way back to the Middle Ages. What's especially absorbing is the way entire rooms from the various centuries are presented. You stand inside them and travel back in history.

The light fixtures (crystal chandeliers and Art Deco sconces), the carpets, the wall coverings, the luxurious upholstery, all of it united in specific place and time.

One opulent set of rooms can only be glimpsed through multi-paned windows, as if you're outside, peeking in.

There's an incredible, gilded bassinet the size of a small canoe. And you should see the courtesan's bedroom! Oh, la, la! The frothy bed linens, the velvet, tasselled canopy, the curlicued brass bed railings, seduction's cage. Where did I go wrong in life?

Lastly, at Galleries Lafayette, shopping for my expected grandchild, I spent an hour lost in sentimental speculation. Finally selected for his or her first baby gift the softest dou-dou of them all, in gender neutral shades of periwinkle that reverses to salmon, topped by a tan, floppy eared bunny.

My husband called while I was in the musuem to finalize my arrival arrangements tomorrow night. As we talked, tears came to my eyes.

That's what this city, Paris does to me...every time.
Croque_Madame is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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Madame - consider, on your return, contacting your local paper to offer a guest column about your trip.
Merci bien for your delightful dispatches, which helped me take a mental vacation - can almost taste the poulet roti!
Oh, and happy birthday!
Seamus is offline  
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