Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Perfect day in Paris

Well, it's been a busy few weeks here in Lake Wobegon. There was the trip to Ireland, to celebrate my sister's birthday -- a fine time was had by all. Then, almost immediately after my return, my former classmate Marie arrived from Austria for a 4-day visit. The day before Marie's departure Paddy arrived from Washington, fortunately bringing some badly needed good weather with her. I hope to do justice to the missing weeks in future posts, but for now I will just post about yesterday, which was a perfect day in Paris with Paddy.

We started out just enjoying the glorious weather, wandering through the Marais, visiting different little galleries along the way. This weekend is "Open Galleries Weekend" in the 3rd, so many of the galleries were welcoming visitors with little snacks, a glass of wine, or some kind of special effort (like the impromptu concert in the gallery just down the street). Then we stopped for lunch outdoors at a cafe called "La Perle" (perfect omelette for me, delicious chicken and quinoa with lime sauce for Paddy). During the day, this place is sleepy, almost deserted. But, quite unbeknownst to us when we picked it for lunch, it is one of the hot spots of the Marais at night. According to one online guide -

It’s a mystery why La Perle lays claim as the haute spot in the Marais district. From first appearances, the pushy crowd prefers swigging beers on the concrete outside rather than inside the scuzzy ’70s-style bar.
But then add on the flamboyant art students, loads of nu rave graphic prints, Sartorialist minions and the occasional high-profile power-broker and you’re suddenly having the time of your life, long queues and snappy service be damned. Before you know it, you’re ruefully clear-minded and jumping at the chance to seed yourself in all that elbow-rubbing fashionista elan again. And there you have it; Q.E.D!
La Perle

Apparently one of those high-profile power brokers used to be John Galliano, who was fired last year from Dior for engaging in a drunken anti-semitic rant right in this very bar. Unfortunately for him, the whole thing was captured on video

link to video (warning, it's ugly)

Anyway, we were blissfully unaware of all of this backstory during lunch. Afterwards we moseyed on to the Musee Carnavalet, just around the corner from the restaurant, where we say a terrific exhibit of photos by the turn of the (20th) century photographer Eugene Atget. Here is an emblematic picture from the collection:

Paddy went back to her hotel for a little rest and I went to the gym (yea!) before rendezvous-ing for a little aperitif in the apartment. As we were noshing on our baguette with assorted cheeses, sounds of cheesy French songs kept wafting in from outside, so we decided to go out and investigate. We were pulled in to listen to an impromptu concert being given in the gallery two doors down, where the open house refreshments included champagne, olives, delicious sausage, and peanut M 'n Ms

Espace Vertbois

There was an awesome series of photos by an artist called Johann Soussi. This was one of my favorites:

After the little musical interlude, we returned to the apartment for dinner. Then Paddy, who had been a little sick during the week, went back to her hotel and I continued on to help celebrate the birthday of one of my classmates, Ai, with some of her friends in a bar near the Place des Vosges. Along the way I passed by La Perle again, which was really hopping. After a couple of drinks with Ai and company I made my way home, skirting the groups of American tourists who populate the Marais at night, and got to bed well after midnight.

It was a truly spectacular day. One of many just like it over the past several weeks. The problem, from a blogger's perspective, is that if you live lots of days like this (and who wouldn't want to?), it's just hard to find the time to write about them. Which explains the relative silence on this blog recently.

Today (Sunday), Paddy and I are going to meet my friend (and very strict French teacher) Daniele for brunch, then I hope to get to the gym for a preemptive calorie strike before we go on to dinner at Nancy and Gabriela's this evening.

Life is good. (And I haven't even mentioned how good school was this week, with Laurent as teacher).


  1. I didn't see you snap my favorite photo in last night's show, merci for yet another joy.

    1. I actually found it on the internet and uploaded it to the blog. It is pretty spectacular.