I used to think that it was awesome to say, "Hey, I was in Paris this past weekend." But after yesterday, it is much cooler to say, "Hey, I was in Paris YESTERDAY!" Yesterday morning, we boarded the train at 7:30 a.m. and arrived at Gare du Nord just after 9:00 a.m. How cool is that! After a quick breakfast of coffee and croissants, we finally tried the Paris metro station for the first time. It was not that difficult to navigate but all day, we were so surprised at how heavily it is used. I really cannot imagine boarding the train during rush hour…it was jammed throughout the day on Saturday.
Our first stop was the Musee Marmottan in the 16th Arrondissement. I had only just recently heard of this museum and we have never ventured far from the neighborhoods along the Seine River. However, hearing that the museum housed some 130 works of Monet that were donated not only from the artist's son but several other benefactors, I was intrigued. What a wonderful small museum! The ground floor contained a current exhibition on Napoleon and his sisters. It was an intriguing collection of art work and history and who would have thought that Napoleon would have been so devoted to his family. The second floor, contained works by the female Impressionist painter, Berthe Morisot, who was a great friend of Claude Monet and was married to Eduard Manet's brother. While I had seen some of her work in the past, I learned a great deal more about this fabulous painter. But where were the Monets? We wandered again through the first two floors trying to figure out what we had missed.
Finally, we took a staircase to the basement and there they all were…a room full of his work! It was truly awe-inspiring. We actually saw the piece that the movement "Impressionism" was named for - "Impressionist - Sunrise." "Now that is something that you do not see everyday," I told Dear Daughter, who was actually holding her own. We viewed wonderful, personal paintings that he made of his two sons and you caught a different glimpse of Monet. It was a wonderful two hours in this small intimate gallery.
Upon exiting, we realized that we were a short 15 minute walk from the Trocadero and since we had never visited it before, we decided to take the stroll instead of the crowded metro. I have no idea what the Trocadero is but standing at the edge of the square is the most magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower. It is absolutely breathtaking and while the skies were grey, I could not help but take a few photos. We walked down to the river and across the bridge to the Tower itself and noticed the as yet, undecorated Christmas trees lining the Champs du Mars. We strolled through a flea market on our favorite street, Rue Cler, and jealously starred at the buyers at the wonderful cheese shops, fish shops, the Italian butcher, etc. Hungry, we made our way to our lunch reservations…a wonderful little restaurant that I found on my last visit. The owner stopped by and greeted me with the bisou - a kiss on each cheek and welcomed me back to the restaurant. My family was duly impressed. We had a lovely meal and enjoyed the atmosphere and entered the world much later that afternoon.
We debated what to do with the remainder of our time but then came across the Paris Christmas Market which had started that day along the Champs Elysses. Wow…the streets were lined with booths selling all sorts of crafts and food. A giant Ferris Wheel was set up in the Place de Concorde and we stood in line to catch a glimpse of Paris from the top. Walking back up the Champs Elysses, we boarded a very crowded metro and arrived at Gare du Nord in time for our train home. It was a fantastic day and another one for the memory bank.
So today, we slept in and I made a three course brunch for us to enjoy. A shop along Rue Cler had a sign saying that it really wasn't breakfast if there was not champagne, so I made sure to start chilling a bottle last night when we arrived home. First course consisted of foie gras on toast and a pain au chocolate for Dear Daughter. Crab quiche, salad and a small serving of potato dauphanoise made up the main course and a wonderful chocolate covered chocolate mousse had us over the top for dessert. It was a wonderful way to end the weekend!