Over the last couple of days we seem to have sacrificed small restaurants with traditional food for lunching in grand locations.The food is much less interesting, but the decor is often to die for.
We've lunched in the cafe at the Musee Jacquemart Andree.
I love this kind of museum. It's a very grand house that was built by a nineteenth century art collector, M. Andre, essentially to house his art collection. Latish in his life he married portrait painter Nelie Jacquemart who shared his collecting passion and continued it after his death. When she died in the early twentieth century the house and collection were left to the state and continue as a museum.
The museum has all sorts of goodies, including such greats as Rembrandt and Botticelli; all displayed in rooms constructed and arranged especially for that purpose.
The cafe is lovely. The tapestries you see on the walls are the real thing - sixteenth century French tapestries - and the ceiling, that I missed from my photo, is by eighteenth century Venetian painter, Tiepolo. I remember the fuss there was when the Australian National Gallery purchased a Tiepolo for some very significant sum, and there was I, eating my quiche and salad under a Tiepolo! The quiche and salad, was, by the way, perfectly adequate without being at all exciting. But the dessert... I had a florescent slice of bright green pistachio macaron (the current craze) stuffed with a light creme patissiere and fresh raspberries. So decadent and so wonderful.
The other grand location we've lunched in was Cafe Marly - in the building that houses the Louvre Museum.
The restaurant has a colonnade hidden in behind the balcony. Yesterday was sunny and it was a perfect place to be - overlooking the Louvre courtyard and the Pyramid.
The food was adequate and quite expensive; but the location...perfect.
My feet are hurting and I'm running out of puff as well as time, and there's so much still to be seen and done. Maybe next time... But I've finally done some shopping. I bought some shoes for myself
What the saleswoman described as 'Trippen classics' - here photographed on the bright red shag-pile rug of our trendy apartment. [Shag-pile is one of those seventies fashions I couldn't bear to repeat]. I also bought presents for the family and went back to La Droguerie with acquisition in mind.
Shopping at La Droguerie is serious business. You wouldn't want to be dropping in in your lunch hour for a quick purchase. It took me a while to figure out the system, and even then I wasn't sure I was doing the right thing. First you queue. There are three queues - one for beads, one for buttons and one for yarn, all snaking their way rather chaotically through the narrow shop. I don't know where you queue if you're buying braids or ribbons. So I joined the yarn queue and waited, and waited - maybe for half an hour. No-one seemed perturbed - they browsed catalogues and pattern books, left the queue to look at products and chatted. I got into a conversation about Ravelry with a young woman from Texas. Eventually you get to the head of the queue and after some time a sales assistant greets you. You then tell or show her what you want (the yarn in the store is all samples of what they have). The assistant was pleasant and knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. One of the reasons the queue takes so long is that some people have a lengthy consultation with the assistant at this stage. Once I'd told the sales assistant what I wanted she disappeared, saying she'd 'be about ten minutes'. I was very puzzled - imagining her running up the street to some vast warehouse to get the yarn. But the mystery was solved when she reappeared about twenty minutes later with the hanks of yarn all wound into neat balls. They actually wind the yarn they sell even though they have lengthy queues of customers - an interesting sales strategy.
At this stage the sales assistant lists your purchases on a piece of paper and adds up the price 'by hand'. The slip of paper and your purchases are then passed to a man (in a beautiful, slim-fit colour-work cotton jumper) in a kind of combination wooden cage and stage who does something mysterious on a lap-top and takes your payment. You complete your purchase about an hour after you began.
Sorry for the lack of pics of the interior of the shop - I asked, but they are absolutely not allowed.
So, what did I buy?
Some grey linen - I think about 8 ply - nothing is labelled - some rust-coloured linen, and some mauve alpaca. Most of their stock is currently oriented to spring and summer knitting.
The other shopping we did yesterday was at our local market. Even though it was still quite chilly, the sun had brought people out into the streets. How could I resist photographing this oh-so-parisian encounter?