Europe 2012: Day 24, Paris

Inside the Musée d’Orsay (Paris, France)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Woke up at 7AM.   I am feeling much better today.   It is sunny.

It is amazing what a little rest can do for you.    My nose is still a bit drippy, but I can live with it.

To date, we have done everything we wanted to do in Paris.   We decided that today would be a good time to go to a major museum.   Of all the wonderful world-class museums in Paris, the best in my opinion is the Musee d’Orsay!

Why do I consider this museum to be THE BEST?  It will take you a week to see all the exhibits of the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay you can do in a couple of days.  This museum concentrates on sculpture and the Impressionists.  The website states,

“The history of the museum, of its building is quite unusual. In the centre of Paris on the banks of the Seine, opposite the Tuileries Gardens, the museum was installed in the former Orsay railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. So the building itself could be seen as the first “work of art” in the Musee d’Orsay, which displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914.”

It is impressive!

Once again, one can not take pictures of the art work (they want you to buy the book), but I was able to grab a few shots of “Sculpture Alley” before someone “asked” me not to do that.

After about 2 hours of looking at such great art, we decide to get something to eat at one of the many restaurants at the museum.   In the past, we have eaten at The Restaurant, with its dazzling chandeliers and the painted and gilded ceilings (it is listed as a Historic Monument, you know).  But, I didn’t like the menu today.   Instead, we opted to eat at The Café Campana — it is a tribute to Art Nouveau and it has a large open clock that faces the Siene.  We were seated right away.  I ordered the Niçoise Salad.  My DH ordered the Shrimp and Pasta.   Both were superb!

This is where my DH’s “international incident” happened! He felt real bad about that. The Café Campana at the Musee d’Orsay. (Paris, France)

Always friendly, we struck up a conversion with a the couple seated to the right of us because we noticed that they spoke English very well.   DH causally recommended the Shrimp dish to them.  Turns out they were from Germany and equally interested in conversation with two strangers.  They guessed we were from California since my DH earlier mentioned the shrimp dish was relatively “healthy”.

They were a nice couple!   We spoke of the cities we plan to visit in Germany and California wines.  Eventually, my DH jokingly said, “I want to thank your country for whatever you just did for Greece because the stock market really liked it last Friday!”   This started an interesting conversation on European politics and the plight of Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland.   Basically, our new German friend resented the fact that everyone was looking to Germany to solve the problems of countries that obviously misrepresented themselves to the European Union.    He said “It appears the everyone still wants Germany to pay retribution for WWII.”   My DH said that the US has its own problems and is eager to see how Germany does in solving the problems of extravagant social entitlements.

Unknown to us, the table to the left of us was listening.   As they left, a well-dressed older women said  to our German friend, “You should not complain, there are real people suffering in Ireland.  Your country is in a position to help as well you should!”  Oops…

“Madame,” our German friend said, “It is not Germany’s fault that Ireland can not manage their affairs.  These are things Ireland needs to solve for themselves.”   The lady and her friend left in a huff.  My DH and I were stunned speechless!

My DH apologized profusely to our German friends.  He state that he did not mean to create an “international incident”.   Our German friend seemed to take it all in stride.   We spoke more and left each other with farewell wishes for a safe trip home.   But, my DH felt bad that our German friends’ last hours in Paris were marred by the insensitivity of two Irish busy-bodies.  Afterall, how bad can Ireland be if these two ladies were enjoying a holiday in Paris (an expensive vacation for any nationality).   Apparently if you can shame someone (or a country) into fixing your mess (Ireland had a number of boom years too, you know), why not go for it?

After another hour of viewing impressionist paintings, we decide to leave the museum and enjoy what turned out to be a warm and sunny afternoon.    We crossed the Seine and walked through the Jardin des Tuileries, the Place de la Concorde, and smack into the wild fray of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.  Our goal, to view the Arc de Triomphe during daylight.

Look — the Louvre! But we didn’t go there. (Paris, France)

Uh-oh! Storm clouds brewing over Paris, France.

Look — the Eiffel Tower!  But we didn’t go there, either. (Paris, France)

Oy-vey — the people!    Lots and lots of people crowded the streets of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees!  All the stores were open!   Interestingly enough, the most popular stores seemed to be the car dealerships and the cafe and restaurants that dot the wide avenue.   We were pleasantly surprised to find a Ladurée shop!

Ladurée is a luxury cakes and pastries store brand based in Paris, France. It is known as the inventor of the double-decker macaron, fifteen thousand of which are sold every day. They are still one of the best known makers of macarons in the world — thank God!

For those of you who have been living under a rock, a macaron is a sweet meringue-based confectionery made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food coloring.  Usually, two of these sweet light discs are sandwiched together with ganache, buttercream or jam filling to form a single macaron.  We discovered these on our last trip to Paris in 2009.  However, concerned as we are with our waistlines, we did not make a lot of effort to seek out Laduree this time– so finding this store was an indication that it was just meant to be!  We bought six little pillows of complete and utter joy — chocolate, raspberry, cherry, caramel, vanilla, and pistachio!  Just look at these joyous jewels!!!!!

The universe wanted us to macarons so it lead us to Ladurees! (Paris, France)

We found a bench, sat down, ate two macarons and watched the world go by!   Things can’t really get any better than this — sharing macarons with the one you love on a lovely day in a lovely city!   We saved the other four for later.  Yeah, we really did.

Arc de Triomphe on our last day in Paris.

A band was playing at the base of the Arc de Triomphe as cars, buses, and police wizzed about the round-about at its base.  We don’t know why, but their was a lot of police, nay soldiers with machine guns, around this monument.  Maybe a terrorist threat of some kind?  I looked it up on the web and found this posted on Mail Online:

Six commercial flights between Paris and Los Angeles were cancelled due to  security concerns based on “credible” information, the French prime minister’s  office said. The intelligence suggested that members of the al-Qaida terror network had  been planning to board flights from Paris to Los Angeles, French television  station LCI reported.


Anyway, no one pointed a gun at us so we just continued our walk back to the apartment.   We bought a loaf of bread and I warmed up the remaining chicken, potatoes, and green beans we got at the market a couple of days ago.   I finished off my bottle of Cheteau Daubiac Bordeaux 2010.  We finished off the macarons.  My DH napped.  I worked on my blog.

Tomorrow is an early day.   We catch the train to Dinan at 8:30am so we need to pack and tidy up the apartment.  Bonsoir!


2 thoughts on “Europe 2012: Day 24, Paris

  1. Yummy, macarons! Bet ya they are delicious! Funny…politics…the lady & friend who left in a huff, simply could not defend their position…and that is what happens…they leave in a huff and then blame you for their bad day (or life). Also, cousin Berthe from a couple days ago, what a wonderful visit. She lived through and experienced so much. What and interesting lady she must be.

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