Relaxing in Paris
A quick post as I sit on the Eurostar bound for London. The start of this next leg of my journey means the end of my wild ride through Continental Europe.
It was lovely spending a couple of days in Paris with Inge and Mia (a joy to have some Cavalier cuddles… I miss my girls!). Seeing Inge on stage at the Moulin Rouge was a real treat (again, I got lucky with a front table seat and a waiter who was happy to keep on refilling my glass with French champagne).
After the show, I asked how many bottles of champagne they go through per show… around 300 (and with two shows per night, we’re talking around 4,200 bottles per week). That‘s a lot of bubbles!
The pace I adopted in Paris was far less mad-tourist and far more Parisian. On Thursday, Inge, Mia and I jumped on the Metro to Place de Clichy, and headed uphill to Sacré-Cœur. Despite the cold and drizzle, thousands were doing the same and once at the top, we admired the view of Paris shrouded in the rain before wandering around the corner to Hardware Société - a cafe run by Australians (they have two in Melbourne and one in Barcelona), where I savoured a real flat white (OK, two flat whites)! Best coffee so far on this trip. If you find yourself in Paris and desperate for good coffee, head to 10 Rue Lamarck 75018 Paris. You won’t regret it! They have a great brunch menu too… home away from home comfort food.
We then wandered though the artists markets in Place de Terre, and passed all of the souvenir shops around Montmartre as we wove our way back down to the hill, to the metro via the Moulin Rouge.
I couldn’t get tickets to Musée de l’Orangerie to see its main attraction - Monet’s larger than life Water Lillies. Like so many galleries are now, the timed slots for Musée de l’Orangerie was booked out days in advance. However, I discovered another gallery - one with the largest collection of Monet’s in the world, and et voilà, tickets aplenty!
Musée Marmottan Monet itself has an interesting history - I hadn‘t realised just how connected some of the impressionist and post-impressionist artists (painters, writers, poets) were to one another until visiting Marmottan.
I also discovered a new (for me) artist whose works illuminated the room they were in - Berthe Morisot - female, French and part of the circle of painters in Paris that eventually became know as the Impressionists. She was married to another painter with a pedigree - Eugène Manet, older brother of the more famous Édouard Manet.
A word on galleries and timed bookings - it’s a thing now (since COVID) and timed tickets are essential at almost all galleries and museums so if you are planning a trip, plan ahead (some are booked out weeks in advance and most, five or so days In advance). Good luck with special exhibitions!
After my visit to the Marmottan, Inge and I met up to visited (yes, timed tickets), the hidden but remarkable Sainte-Chapelle on Île de la Cité. My photos don’t do it justice (but I’ll pop some in the gallery anyway), so I’ll leave you with some facts and let you search the internet for some better pictures if you’re interested.
The stained glass windows date from the 13th century
Around 70% of the windows are original
Each window is 15.5m high in the nave and 13.5m in the apse
There are 1,113 scenes from the Bible depicted on the windows
The Rose Window is 9m in diameter and dates from the 15th century (though identical the one it replaced from the 13th century).
P.S. We also visited the nearby Conciergerie, where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned before she was executed.