Our favourite museum restaurant
From the apartment if was a fairly easy walk over to the Musée d’Orsay where we would have lunch and see the show Impressionism and Fashion. On our last trip we had discovered the restaurant on the second floor – what a find! We knew about the more casual one on the 5th floor behind the big clock – worth going to just for the view, but essentially it’s a cafeteria – but we wanted to go back to the more luxe one on the second.
It’s a big spectacular room looking like something out of Versailles. Acres of gilt, mirrors and chandeliers. Always a selection of two reasonably priced 3-course offerings (under 20 Euros I think) along with the a la carte. And like most Parisian restaurants, the tables are tight, but that’s OK. Seems to add to the fun.
But before we got there, we had our first experience of walking in Paris in the snow! We were happy to the point of giggling just to be in the streets of Paris again, and the snow gave everything an extra polish. Like little glowing 3D frames and highlights on statues and churches.
There were kids throwing snowballs at their nannies, adults ambushing each other with volleys of ammo from behind parked cars and everything seemed just a bit quieter the way it does after a snowfall.
When we got to the d’Orsay, we found a little news agent that sold museum passes. Since we were going to stay in Paris the whole time and had a list of museums and other attractions to go to, we thought it would be worth buying a pass. (I’ll give away the ending – it did save us time in line, but we didn’t actually save any money over buying individual admissions. We justified it by saying on a holiday in Paris, time is money, so we were happy.)
With our first lunch, it was time to initiate the theme of the trip. It called for champagne every day, so we started with a half bottle. Now we were truly giggling. Marlene had the chicken special, I had the cod and we both had a pineapple macaron to finish. It was perfect.
Now on to the show. We’ve seen many Impressionist shows, but for this one, the curators tried to find genuine articles of clothing that were being portrayed in the paintings. So, for example, you’d see a Manet painting with the dress shown in painting in a case next to it. Personally, I had very high hopes for the show, but in the end I thought it was just OK. I guess I don’t really care that much about 19th century fashion and the display cases with dresses, hats, gloves, coats etc just seemed to get a bit in the way. But, the paintings themselves with wonderful as always (let’s face it, the big Paris museums don’t put on crappy shows).
We make it a habit never to try to see too much at once in a museum or gallery. Only so much you can truly absorb, but, on the way out, we just had to pay a visit to the Van Goghs and Gauguins which were still in their temporary quarters just off the main floor. The upper floors were being renovated. Nothing to say about those that I haven’t said before – it was like being in church. Thank you Paul Gachet for your fantastic donation. To think that many of these paintings once hung in the home of that crazy Dr. Gachet in the village of Auvers!
I had done some research before we left and knew that the home of the bon vivant, singer, actor, writer and lover boy (two wives followed by Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin) Serge Gainsbourg, at 5 bis Rue Verneuil, was just around the corner. He’d lived there for 20 years and died there in the early 1990s. Since then, it’s been boarded up, looked after (?) by his daughter Charlotte, and is now a graffiti-covered monument. Amazing in this high-rent section of Paris. We had to see it.