Thursday, December 24, 2009

Counting Down to Christmas

No, there's no more snow on the ground, but I wanted you to see the decorated trees in Place Dauphine.  The triangular Place Dauphine opens onto the Pont  Neuf and we pass it frequently.  I was thrilled to see that it was once again open and lovely, after having been under construction for something or other for months.

Just because the snow is gone doesn't mean it's warmed up much.  The tower of the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois has a handy Romanesque temperature gauge on it, as well as a clock, and on Tuesday it was reading 4˚C.

We bundle up and go out for walks and bus rides.  I don't think I've been on the metro more than two or three times this month; when we have all the time in the world, why not see the world above ground?  The other day we started out for the Musée Marmottan for another look at the "Fauves and Expressionistes" show.

We got part of the way there and realized that the bus was passing the Museum of Modern Art where we also wanted to go.  Jumping off we saw the striking Raoul Dufy full-room mural called "La Fée Electricité"

and the "Deadlines" show of art made by a number of artists in view of their impending deaths.  On that cheerful note we moved next door to the Palais de Tokyo, where we had lunch in the cuttingly contemporary museum restaurant Tokyo Eat.

Tokyo Eat is not the only place for lunch at the Palais de Tokyo.  It also houses Nomiya,  a temporary restaurant on the roof which seats 12 for lunch or dinner.  Reservations are not easy to get, as you might imagine.  They're probably easier than for its previous incarnation, a one-room hotel.

The top of the Eiffel Tower was shrouded in fog when we passed it on the the bus, looking like an Atget photo from the turn of the 20th century.


Later, on the way home, the fog had cleared when we passed the Pont Alexander III and the Grand Palais and, a bit farther, the Grand Roue in the Place de la Concorde.

 Museums were not our only recent foray into culture.

What you see here is the stunning auditorium of the Paris Opera's Palais Garnier, ready for a performance of four ballets originally performed in Paris 100 years ago.  The sets, costumes and choreography were faithfully reproduced.  It was glorious, but we weren't there.

We were sitting in a movie theater on the Champs Elysées watching it in real time.  Not exactly the same, but pretty darn great nonetheless, maybe even better in some ways.  We got closeup views of the Faun in "l'Après-Midi d'un Faun" and we saw up close and personal the sweat on the chest of the dancer in "La Tricorne".  And afterwards we went next door for dinner at Païva, a restaurant and club in the last hôtel particulier on the Champs Elysées, which had been built for the woman known as la Païva, one of the most famous courtesans of the 19th century.  All in all, a very Belle Epoque evening.

Culture out of the way, we hit the streets once again.  You won't be surprised to hear that we saw chocolate.

We saw lights.

We saw the sliver of the new moon hanging over the buildings we passed.

And today, Christmas Eve, we saw lots of shoppers standing in long lines buying glistening oysters, jars of foie gras, fat langoustines and prawns, runny wheels of cheese, beautiful bûches de Noël.  Wishes of bonne fête from the vendors followed them out the door as they left.



Julie R said...

I'm sensing a theme to all your posts: chocolate, food, Eiffel Tower, eating, museums, chocolate, Eiffel Tower, food, museums, eating, Eiffel Tower, museums, chocolate, food, eating ....

Shelli said...

Think I'm stuck in a rut? Hmmm...maybe we'll stop going to museums.

Jo said...

Nah...if it's a rut, museums are a great part so long as you include chocolate, food, Eiffel tower, eating...

Mark Anthony Bennett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Anthony Bennett said...

My dear friend Jimmy Baum introduced me to your delightful blog. Love the photos & commentary-makes me homesick for Paris.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Oysters are expensive in Paris! I see no. 2 Fines de claires for 9.90 € a kilo. Here in Saint-Aignan I got 26 of the same for a little less than 12 € yesterday.