Scenes From A Museum

I was in the Louvre Museum a few weeks ago and here are a few photos I took there. I was showing someone the top three things seen there-you know, what everyone wants to see.

Winged Victory

Venus de Milo

And, of course, Mona Lisa. That’s her way in the background. There’s almost always a huge crowd trying to get a look at the painting. I’ve been there a few times, very soon after opening, when I was alone but that’s rare.

In the wing holding French paintings is this painting of Josephine, Napoleon’s wife -his first one anyway. I read that this was her favorite painting of herself.

There are two sculptures by Michelangelo. It’s amazing to me that two unparalled artists-Michelangelo and diVinci-both lived and created at the same time and in the same country. What are the chances?

PS-sign up for my giveaway if you haven’t on my Blog Anniversary post. I will draw the winner on April 30th, my 9th year anniversary of blogging.

Belleville Surprise

Maurice is not a fan of chinese food so when I get the chance I go with a friend exploring Paris and finding good places to eat chinese food. I think I could eat it every day. Lately my friend and I have been trying various restaurants in the Belleville area-it’s packed with them. One evening as we were headed for yet another eating adventure these artistic renderings caught my eye.

So true. I am not showing the whole drawing-a lady about to eat a cockroach for some reason.

It’s hard to tell from this photo but this painting is huge, covering the side of a building.

I thought there were real men putting this sign up at first. The sign says something like watch what you say.

Close up of one of the “men”.

PS-keep leaving a comment on my blog under Blog Anniversary Giveaway! I’ll do the drawing on April 29th.

Au Vieux Paris

There is a darling restaurant not far from Notre Dame that always has wonderful decorations outside and the interior is fabulous. I ate there twice, once was great, once just okay. I know people who rave about the food though. The owner is very friendly, very welcoming to all and calls his wife the Wild Woman. I’m thinking I should go again and give it another try. It’s been in operation since the 1600’s and has a very interesting interior. I saw the exterior the other day announcing spring and had to take a few photos.

Look–they rolled out grass on the sidewalk!

Another view.

The menu outside.

I like the room upstairs the best, I think, but this is a room to the side of the main entrance which is rather elegant.

And get a look at that ceiling.

Local Hangout

A short walk from our apartment is a little bar/cafe called Chez Gudule. It’s a funky place and Maurice and I like to take visitors there for a drink instead of the more elegant Cafe Comfort. I’ve always liked this place and remember one time when I sat out on the sidewalk having a Diet Coke cooling down after being out and about when the sky turned dark, dark gray and a thunderstorm arrived with its heavy rain and wind and I was forced inside. It was nice to sit inside and watch the storm outside waiting for it to clear before I headed home. A friend told me that I probably liked this place so much because it reminded me of Austin, a city in Texas known for funky places and its hippy inhabitants with the slogan often seen which said, “Keep Austin Wierd”.

Our drinks. I had a margarita that wasn’t very good as it was too sour for me. I guess I am used to the sweeter variety found in Texas.

Bicycles hanging from the ceiling above the bar.

Isn’t this fun with a table and chairs on the ceiling? On the back wall you might be able to see a portion of a toilet which has a sign on it directing you to the toilets downstairs. They tried to gussy up this place once. We stopped in for drinks and were told we had to have them outside as they were set up for dinner and sure enough there were pink table cloths and candles on the table. It didn’t last long though. I haven’t seen that set up since.

D Stands for Dinner and Disaster

I’ve written before of the self doubt that arrives when I have French people over for dinner. They have all of that history of fine food and they’ve eaten it all of their lives. So I was having two couples over. Both of the men were French (and there’s Maurice too) and one of the women was a gourmet cook. She’s incredible in the kitchen. She could be on one of those cooking shows where they give you five ingredients and say, “Go”. She would win hands down.
So I was a little nervous when I was planning the dinner and I found a really good recipe for chicken that I tried out with Maurice first. It was chicken breasts pounded thin then rolled up with fried bacon, braised shallots, lemon zest and parmasean cheese. It has to all be held together with toothpicks which is tedious, then browned in a skillet and baked in the oven. After they are finished, you remove the toothpicks and slice the rolls into decorative discs and place them in a little arc on the plate and put a fantastic sauce on top made of wine, chicken broth, and cream. It tasted fabulous so I decided to make it for my dinner guests.

I had the chicken ready before they were due to arrive thinking it would hurt to keep the chicken warm in the oven for thirty minutes or so while we had drinks before. Well, being French they were of course late but the main problem was that they came by car and there just isn’t any place to park in our neighborhood, especially with work going on installing the nearby tram. Everyone came in our apartment except the driver who drove around looking for a place and he didn’t find one for almost one hour. We had already poured champagne for everyone thinking he would arrive at any minute and by the time he finally came it, it was flat as we kept waiting for him. My vegetable side dish of zucchini and carrots was soggy by now. But when we finally ate the very dry chicken which was so overdone that I could barely get the by now soft tooth picks out and couldn’t cut it into nice little discs either, but everyone said loved it. I was really upset which I kept to myself I think. We ended dinner with that great dessert that I posted about earlier and that was the high point of the meal. We had a fun time and I think that was the important thing. I just need to discover a dish that can sit for a couple of hours without becoming to dry. At least with barbeque that’s not a problem.

Fancy Coffee

For Christmas two years ago I bought a Nespresso machine for Maurice, one of those that you put a little container of coffee into the machine and get those tiny cups of espresso type coffee. I don’t drink coffee but it’s nice to have on hand for company after dinner and Maurice occasionally makes himself a cup of Nespresso. I didn’t know when I bought the machine that the only place you can get replacements of the little coffee capsules was at the Nespresso stores themselves. (I bought the machine at a department store). So we were just about out of coffee and I headed to Rue Scribe right across from the Garnier Opera House and braved the crowds to replensih our supplies.

The front door.

The inside of this very elegant store. The sales people were all dressed up standing behind counters selling the coffee. The place was packed with customers waiting in line at one of four counters with three sales persons at each one. I didn’t, however, see George Clooney.

A reflection of the opera house in a window nearby.