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TR: A book lover, solo in PARIS and beyond...

TR: A book lover, solo in PARIS and beyond...

Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 11:59 AM
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Nikki, thank you for your kind words. I followed and enjoyed your March Trip Report from Paris. You really know your way around there.

Also loved your pics, especially that chandelier in the Au Pied de Chochon and the display of fruit which looked very like the Caillebotte’s still life in the Orsay.

Appreciate your explanation of the time zone differences. Really enjoyed those long summer nights.

So when are you going back?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 12:08 PM
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LDT, thank you, enjoying your trip report very much. More, please !!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 12:17 PM
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Very interesting and looking forward to more.

In just 18 months, the Dauphine has really gone up in price, even allowing for the fact we had off season (March) rates.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 12:43 PM
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Pat _in_Chicago, thank you for your encouraging words. Working on Thursday when the weather changed. I realize now that there were so many more things that I wanted to do.

Cathinjoetown – always like your posts. I guess I am just old-fashioned. I had my travel agent arrange the accommodations and flights. As I mentioned above, a neighbor (another retired teacher) had gone there last year and recommended it highly so I went for it. Recall I am going solo. Were you satisfied with the Dauphine?

But looking around Paris I can understand why folks who visit often like to change their venues and often choose apartments.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 12:59 PM
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Yes, we had a very nice room at the Dauphine and the staff was very helpful. I got to know the room very well as I threw my back out and was flat on the bed for two days. Remember the quote attributed to Oscar Wilde, roughly, " Either the wallpaper or I have to go" ?That's what I felt like!

I was in Paris in May, this time stayed at Le Clement, just the other side of Blvd St. Germain, bit better value for money, 150€ for a large double. Excellent breakfast but it was not included, so that was another 22€ for two. I would give Le Clement the edge due to room size.

I loved "The Greater Journey," it does help you look at Paris from a different perspective. Fascinating book, I was so glad I read it in hardback, the illustrations were wonderful.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 01:07 PM
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LDT and Cathinjoetown--I just picked up that book yesterday so can't wait to read it!

LDT--Keep writing please
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 01:42 PM
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Remember the quote attributed to Oscar Wilde, roughly, " Either the wallpaper or I have
to go" ?That's what I felt like! LOL

Cathinjoetown, That must have been tough. But glad you found a more reasonable venue.

MMS, glad you also enjoyed THE GREATER JOURNEY. McCullough (who lives on Martha’s Vinyard) has logged a great deal of time in Boston at the Massachusetts Historical Society where he researched his JOHN ADAMS.

Although I have been a member for decades, I seldom get in town these days. A few years back I received a notice sponsored by MHS about a tour, led by McCullough, to revisit those places in London, Paris, and the Netherlands where Adams and his progeny had tarried.

They stayed at fabulous hotels. Needless to say it was beyond my means but it was nice to be asked anyway…
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 03:37 AM
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THURSDAY, JUNE 7: The morning was cool and damp as I trekked along the Left Bank Quais to the MUSEE D’ORSAY, about a mile. Arriving about 9:20, I saw three lines: one for groups, one for those purchasing tickets, and one for those with Museum Passes (moi). The rain started before we entered.

This beautiful Beaux-Arts building was a railway station build to accommodate visitors to the 1900 Exposition Universelle. Later considered obsolete, the structure was made into a museum (opened in 1986) for French art dating from 1848-1915 with an “extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces (the largest in the world) by such painters such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh.”

The shell of old Gare d’Orsay provides a commodious space for its treasures. Where to start? The heavenly “Birth of Venus” by Alexandre Cabanel; Caillebotte’s “Vue de toits” (effect of snow); St. Gaudens sculpture “Amor Caritas” (described in McCullough book about Americans in Paris); Millet’s “The Gleaners”; and many by Van Gogh including “Starry Night Over the Rhone,” “Bedroom in Arles,” and “The Church at Auvers.” And so many more.

For those interested in the development of Impressionism, I would suggest THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism by Ross King. It was a painful transition. I was also interested in Caillebotte’s oeuvre at the Orsay because he painted my favorite work at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston – “Fruits sur un etalage” – a colorful arrangement of fruits in a market stall. Recently the MFA sold some of its family jewels (including some Renoir sketches) to purchase Caillebotte’s “Man Drying Himself” from the Portrait Gallery in London where I saw it last summer.

Fortunately the Orsay has ample seating outside its exhibition rooms to rest one’s weary bones. Before leaving I ate lunch in the museum’s CAFÉ DU LION, a cafeteria style quick stop for sandwiches, salads, and the like. The café was crowded so a friendly French woman of my vintage sat at my table. Her English was about as good as my French, but we exchanged pleasantries and bid each other a cordial “au revoir.”

Two other options for dining are available at the Orsay: the trendy CAFÉ CAMPANA bistro with a Brazilian flair, and the elegant dining room of the former HOTEL D’ORSAY with its “original 1900s charm” featuring classic French cuisine.

Outside – cool and rainy. Umbrella unfurled, I proceeded across the Seine to the MUSEE DE L’ORANGERIE (Museum Pass). The distance was longer than I expected. Across the bridge, I ran into a lovely couple from Alabama. Together we trudged along the rain soaked pathways of LES TUILERIES gardens to the museum – the waiting line was not long.

This impressive 1852 Greek revival style building had served many purposes before being converted to a museum in 1921. Within a few years, Monet’s eight huge water lily paintings (les NYMPHEAS), celebrating peace after the horrors of WWI, were installed. In the early 2000s, the Organgerie was closed for extensive renovation and the water lilies were effectively displayed in two oval shaped rooms “incorporating natural light, plain walls, and sparse interior decoration.” MIDNIGHT IN PARIS fans will recognize this space as the backdrop for one of the funnier parts of the film.


Truthfully, I was more impressed with the Walter-Guillaume Collection on the lower level of the Orangerie with Impressionist and post-Impressionist works including those of Renoir, Picasso, Modigliani, Cezanne, Matisse, and Rousseau among others. I was particularly taken with their paintings of Andre Derain and Maurice Utrillo.

Paul Guillaume, from humble origins, became interested in African sculpture which caught the attention of the poet Apollinaire. One thing led to another, he was introduced to Picasso and Laurencin, and soon became an important collector. Guillaume was particularly close to Modigliani who did several portraits of him. Another arresting portrait of Guillaume by Kees van Dongen in the collection shows an urbane dandy in a handsome blue suit. Nearby is a picture of his striking wife Domenica “Madame Guillaume with a large hat” by Modigliani dressed in the height of 1920s flapper elegance.



Paul Guillaume died young under mysterious circumstances. Many thought that Domenica was responsible for his death. Shortly thereafter, she married the architect Jean Walter and insisted that the bequest be named for both of her husbands – “some speculate that the murder charge was dropped in exchange for her donating the collection to the state.” In any case, I thought it a great collection which really compliments Monet’s Nympheas.


When I came upstairs from the Walter-Guillaume exhibit, the lobby was jammed with folks waiting for the heavy rains to cease. Many more people were entering the museum now to circumvent the weather. After a half hour, I ventured forth and hailed a cab back to Pont Neuf. Back at the Dauphine, I crashed a while, freshened up, then returned to the lobby to read the Herald Tribune and email home on their antiquated computer. Again, I NEED AN IPHONE!


The skies were clearing as I wandered down to the Boulevard Saint Germain to have a bite in one of the local cafes. I was looking forward to joining the HEMINGWAY PARIS WALK the next morning which did not disappoint…
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 04:06 AM
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Love Caillebotte. Thanks for the interesting summaries, particularly of the Walter-Guillaume collection.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 04:43 AM
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Thanks, LDT. No idea when I'll get back to Paris. Just getting vicarious thrills from trip reports for the time being.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 05:46 AM
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LDT, I just ordered The Judgement of Paris on my iPad. Thanks for the suggestionof the book and a new museum to me- the marmottan. I resisted new technology as well, I was even irritated that my husband got me the iPad for my birthday. . Now I don't know how I survived without it. I am sitting at the eye doctor, reading your report, ordering books off amazon, etc....
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:07 AM
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Cathinjoetown, ditto on Caillebotte. I believe that I also saw one of his misty street scenes at the Marottan- Monet a few days earlier.

When the MFA in Boston purchased “May Drying Himself” this spring, they sold Monet’s landscape “The Fort at Antibes” (for $9.3 million) along with works by Gaugin and Renoir. The exact price for the new Caillebotte was not disclosed but was estimated to be in the $20 million range. Wow!

Nikki, thanks for following along…

Willowjane, good for you. I will be joining the bandwagon soon. My grandchildren (12 & &) received an IPAD for Christmas. It’s on the island in their kitchen and is in constant use.

Just curious – how much does Amazon charge for a book like JUDGEMENT OF PARIS written a few years back?
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:11 AM
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Wonderful descriptions of the museums, and such interesting information. Merci!

We finally went to The Marmottan on our last visit to Paris and I have to say it was one of our favorites. I enjoyed returning with you. There are Monets in many places, but this collection was simply stunning.

We are returning to Paris in Sept. so I have made notes from your report.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 07:44 AM
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In the Nissin de Camondo, is a budda donated by a lesbian/poet/lover of Colette., I forget her name, I think Renee? You can see the Parc Monceau in the film GIGI.
Liking this report very much. Thank you
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 09:25 AM
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I really appreciate the interest of veteran Fodorites like yourselves.

TPAYT, Monet must have produced hundreds of paintings – luckily they are widely scattered about Paris and abroad. But the Marottan-Monet is so doable in a few hours time without the press of large crowds, at least when I visited in early June.

Cigalechanta, not sure about the Buddha at the Comando – there were so many treasures. It is a charming venue.

I must watch GIGI again for views of Park Monceau – now that’s really going back. Merci.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 09:55 AM
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Just found this and am enjoying it tremdously. As always, I learn new things in Fodorville and loved discovering "Fruits sur un etalage".

More, please!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 11:25 AM
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TDudette,

TDuette, thank you for your kind words.

Obviously Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) is finally coming into his own among the Impressionists. Before he died, he offered many of his Pissarros, Monets, Renoirs, Sisleys, and Cezannes to the French government who balked at his bequest.

His family kept the larger part of his works which were made available for sale in the 1950s and continue to gain recognition.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 11:48 AM
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LDT - the book was 9.39 I believe. I am always amazed by how much I learn every day on this site. Thanks to all!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 12:29 PM
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I have a beautiful book.Caillebotte's Garden at Yerbes.
Most people know his painting if not his name for
RAINY DAY IN PARIS, reproduced on umbrellas and all sorts of gifts.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 04:15 PM
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Willowjane, thanks for the price to download McCullough’s THE GREATER JOURNEY. On to the IPAD…

Cigalechanta, just checked and CAILLEBOTTE AND HIS GARDEN AT YERRES is available in our library and I will check it out.

For those interested in seeing a good selection of Caillebotte's works including those above mentioned, you can see about 30 of his paintings under his Wikipedia entry. I can just imagine how those misty, rainy scenes would transcribe well on totes, umbrellas, and the like.
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