February 13-15th, 2015 Ah Valentine’s Day in Pa-reee with my husband! Though neither one of us is much into highly celebrating the holiday and since Dan had been out of town for work the past two Februarys that we had even known each other, we thought what better way to celebrate the hallmark day of love than in the City of Light (and love!). That and the cold, gray days of the past six weeks in London post holidays was giving us cabin fever and we much desired a change of scenery.
Though the weather wasn’t expected to be much better in Paris, the last time we visited in November (read all about it) we didn’t have time to visit any of the fantastic museums, so a long weekend spent inside Paris’s fine museums and cafes admiring art and drinking wine sounded like just the thing we needed. After I met Dan at the St Pancras International train station Friday afternoon we settled into our Eurostar seats and enjoyed a lovely cheese and wine picnic en route to Paris Gare du Nord.
Dan and I had forgotten to pack our nice camera, each thinking the other had grabbed it so photos are courtesy of my iPhone4. Note to self: always double check to see if we packed the Canon.
This trip we decided to stay in the Montmartre arrondissement and after checking into our hotel we hit the streets, strolling past the famous Moulin Rouge and the Montmartre Cemetery, tucking into some steak and frites at Chat Le Noir before walking to our favorite dessert place Flore en L’ile on the Ile Saint Louis. Dan’s French boss at work recommended this cafe to us on our first jaunt to Paris and we loved the fresh raspberry macarons with pistachio cream so much that we have vowed to return there every time we are in Paris.
The next day we fueled up on my favorite French dish, croque madame, before making our way to the Musee Marmottan Monet to see some beautiful works by Monet along with a fascinating exhibit exploring the representation of “La Toilette: the Invention of Privacy” in art. After an afternoon coffee and sweets at one of the many patisseries lining the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, we headed out into the rainy afternoon for a walk toward the Arc de’ Triomphe on our way to the Experimental Cocktail Club in Le Marais for a nightcap.
Sunday morning we awoke to drier weather and cappuccinos. After checking out of the hotel, we made our way to the Musee L’Orangerie to see Monet’s monumental Les Nympheas (Water Lilies) set up as a haven for peaceful contemplation following the horrors of the First World War. We also admired a magnificent collection of Impressionist art to include works by Renoir, Cezanne, Manet, Sisley, Picasso, Gauguin, and Degas. I fell in love with Derain’s nudes.
Outside the museum, we took a spin on the ferris wheel that was set up in the Tuileries Gardens taking in views of the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. Once we were back on solid ground, we walked over to the Musee d’Orsay to spend the afternoon taking in the world’s biggest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works. For those traveling to Paris via the Eurostar be on the lookout for the 2 for 1 Musee d’Orsay museum deal they often offer with your train ticket. The Van Gogh gallery was incredible and it was wonderful to see in person a few of the pieces that I had studied in my art history classes.