Published: March 2nd 2012February 28th 2012
Today we are visiting my favorite museum in Paris, the Orsay (PP). It is my favorite for a couple of reasons one it is manageable, unlike the Louvre you can actually get through the entire Orsay in about 4 hours and see it all. Naturally you can spend as much or as little time as you want depending on how you like to visit a museum. The other reason it is my favorite is because it has my favorite artist, Van Gough. The first time I saw a real Van Gough in 1994 at this museum, I was simply overwhelmed. I spent an hour mesmerized by the brush strokes.
There are three big museums in Paris, the Louvre, the Orsay and the Museum of Modern art at the Pompidou Center. The Louvre has everything old Baroque, Renaissance, etc. The Orsay has the Impressionists and post Impressionists and the Pompidou of course as the modern art.
The Orsay also has several collections of furniture and other art decrotifs. Since we had the Paris Pass we did not have to stand in the 30 minute line to get a ticket that Bruce did. We all agreed ahead of time that we
would just meet at the 12:30 outside. This way we cold each see what we wanted at our own pace. Bruce went his way and Jerry and I went ours. Jerry did to a few more sections than I to see the furniture and French Art Nouveau, I used that time to rest my feet for the rest of the day. Julia Childs Part I
Now you all know I love to cook, and that I have a small catering business on the side. This is why I took the cooking class earlier in the week, to learn some French Techniques, which I did. What you may or may not know, is that I learned to cook almost entirely by watching Julia Childs on TV. My mom doesn’t like to cook and would never let me to cook as a kid. My grandmother did however always encourage me. She said there was not reason I couldn’t be a great attorney and chef.
Because I love Julia Childs and she learned to cook here in Paris, we made part of this trip about her. So After the Orsay we walked down Rue de l’Univirsite or as Julia would
say Rou d Lo. Why this street, because at 81 Rue de L’Univirsite is the apartment where her and Paul lived. Josephine Baker
It was now time for lunch and so we headed for the Montparnasse area. It is famous for many things, 1) it was the square that the French stood to hear from Charles DeGaulle that that allied forces stood, 2) it is home to many jazz clubs and other haunts of people like Josephine Baker, Hemmingway and other where known to frequent. 3) It has the tallest building in continental Europe. We had lunch at a restaurant named after Josephine Baker Restaurant Josephine Chez Dumonet”.
It was a very chic place on a side street of the main blvd. of Montparnasse. It was so swank it had a formerly dressed doorman. If it had been dinner we would not have gotten in without reservations. Since it was lunch and at the end of lunch at that, we had no problem. It was the best lunch to date. When we sat down a very nice complimentary white Bordeaux was served to us, followed by a demy-cup of cauliflower soup and bread, with real butter. Jerry started
Roo du Loo
Paris home of Julia
with a Oeuf Copque aux truffes. Which is a soft boiled egg served with bread slices topped with truffle butter. It all just melted in your mouth. In addition, there was a fun little egg cracker you got to use as well. I liked the tool so much, that I needed to find a place to buy one (hint of tomorrow’s story). I had a Salade d’Endives, which is endives covered with Roquefort cheese and balsamic, it was large so we all shared it. For Jerry’s and mine main course we shared a order of Boeuf Borguignon, it was simply the best beef bourguignon I have ever eaten in my life. It came in a nice pot with buttered noodles on the side. The sauce was fabulous as Jerry often says about béarnaise, I want to be buried in this sauce. I could not get enough of it and had to ask for extra bread to soak it up. Bruce again had Foie Gras, this time seared and served with a nice port reduction sauce. It would be prove to be his last meal for a few days.
After lunch we walked to the Montparnasse Tower (PP) and went
the top. The top is 59 stories up and your on top (outside) of the building. On a clear day you have the best view of Paris anywhere. It was slightly overcast, but we still had a god view. The 56th
floor is currently being renovated but is normally a bar, restaurant and observation deck.
Our original plan was to then take the Artist/Writer Walk through Montparnasse, St. Germain-des Pres and the Latin Quarter. Unfortunately, my feet just could not take it and Bruce was still adjusting to the time difference. In stead we went back to our Hotel’s I did some work (yes I work on vacation) and blogging until it was time for dinner. Les Gaulois
Before we left Portland I had already made a reservation for us at Nos Ancetres Les Gaulois, on the recommendation of Kim Kelley and friend and client. Thank you Kim it was a great recommendation and one of the most fun nights we have had in Paris.
We usually meet Bruce at the corner of Champ De Mars and Rue Cler, when he did not show up we went to his hotel. He had texted me earlier that
Lunch at Chez Dumonet
he could not join us for dinner as the Foie Gras had caught up with him. I didn’t get the text because my phone was charging at the time. I called up to his room from the lobby, and he said he just didn’t feel comfortable being too far from the bathroom. So a lesson for you all, French food is rich, very rich, and even if it is something you love and eat often, when you eat it every day, especially Foie Gras, it is just going to complicate your vacation.
Jerry and I headed for the Isle of St. Louis which is the birth place of Paris. It is one of two Islands in the heart of Paris, Notre Dame is on this Island. We took the metro and were no more than two blocks from the restaurant when we got up out of the ground.
The restaurant is not exactly traditional French but is based upon the food of the Gaulois, who originally settled French. The place is in what appears to be old castle walls and it goes on for every. There is room after room of dinning tables. The place was packed and
every language was being spoken, English with and with out British accents, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian. It was a very festive place with a guitar player and singer who played each room for all it was worth. The Meal
The meal begins with a basket of vegetables plopped at your table and you make your own salad, if by chance you run out of vegetables you go get more. You could never run out. There were fresh radishes, fennel, endive, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and cauliflower. You just took what you wanted, cut it up and then poured on the cream mustard vinaigrette. The second course was a Charcuterie buffet, you walked up, grabbed some sausage or the like sliced it and went back to your table. They also had the best country pate. After those two courses the waiter comes to take your main course order, beef, lamb skewers, lamb chops, leg of lamp, beef skewers, pork skewers. Jerry had the beef skewer and I had what else lamp skewer. The entrée came with a huge baked potatoes (served with sour cream and chive mixture) and ratatouille. Next came the cheese board, and not just any cheese board
it contained 5 huge wedges of cheese, bleu, brie, and three others I can’t remember. Finally, dessert, we both went with the chocolate mouse. OH and did I mention the never ending carafe of Bordeaux. When it was empty, you simply went to the barrel and filled it up. We took 5 trips to the barrel. All of this was 40€ a piece. We have not had a meal like that since il Latini in Florence. The guys sitting next to us were on business, one was British the other French, but not from Paris he made it very clear he was from Brittany. We had a friendly political conversation, nothing to controversial.
After dinner we caught the last metro back to the hotel. It was a good evening and one that does not happen much on vacations in foreign lands. We rarely let ourselves drink to much when we don’t know the language of our host country, but the evening was just to good to not enjoy fully. Bruce missed a very good night of fun.
Next stop the Louvre.
There are more photos below