Saturday, 6 February 2016


The Musée d'Orsay was a short stroll from our hotel through the Tuilleries Gardens.  It had been a while since visiting this guardian of the world's largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces.    I was looking forward to gazing upon Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Renoir, Van Gogh and Sisley once more. 
The walk through the Tuilleries is rather interesting  as one is reminded that this 23- hectare site which links the Louvre to the Place de la Concorde has been in existence since the 16th Century and is over 300 years old!  It was also the first garden to become open to the general public in Paris. Originally designed by Catherine de Médicis, the gardens were later modified in 1664 by André Le Nôtre and more recently by Cribier and Benech.   

image via

image via vitra nostra

I loved walking through the gardens on this cold grey day.   The scattered iconic green chairs, were silent reminders of sunny, warmer days.

The stark beauty of one of the many walks in the gardens

The Musée did not disappoint.  Time seemed to stand still as I visited old friends and I was astounded once more by their beauty.

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne

Vincent van Gogh


Edouard Manet

We visited Musée Cluny and saw La Dame à la licorne - The Lady and the Unicorn.  The six tapestries which make up this collection held a special interest for me as they were re-discovered, rolled up and damaged,  in the Chateau de Boussac.  We have visited this Chateau as it is situated in the small town where we own a house.   George Sand, (a woman) the French writer who used to visit this Chateau regularly, and who had a relationship with Frédéric Chopin, wrote of these tapestries, describing their sorry state.  She correctly dated them to the end of the fifteenth century and her references brought their plight to public attention.  They were restored and now hang in a special space designed for them in this museum.

Some of the beautiful plates and bowls I saw at La Tuile a Loup, a beautiful destination for those who love tableware with a difference.  All the pieces are hand made by French artisans throughout France and are truly beautiful.  I will write more about this delightful store later. 

Food always becomes an important part of our holidays!  We returned to Bistro de Paris in Rue de Lille and once more enjoyed good food and excellent service!

Staying with good eating,  we made a new discovery. A very good friend recommended this restaurant and we were very lucky in securing a lunchtime booking.    Hiding quietly in the charming Passage des Panoramas, behind white curtains, is Passage 53.  The dining experience was one of 'surprise'.  There is no menu and the wines are selected for you.  The food was exquisite - both in taste and in the presentation.  A very small restaurant, all in white, but packing a punch of perfection with every course.   

Passage des Panoramas

The entrance

The unusual ceiling lights

The utterly delicious wafer thin vegetables covering a cervice of scallop

Cod with spinach three ways.

The chef is Sinichi Sato and the restaurant has 2 stars!  The lunch was very reasonably priced at E70 per person excluding wine.  It was an experience I can highly recommend.
On a more frivolous note - Owen Wilson and his brother Luke were staying at our hotel - on our floor actually!  One morning,  he barged out of floor as we were getting in and said "Excuse me" most politely!!

Finally, we visited Château de Fontainebleau, 55 kilometres outside of Paris.  We spent a few perfect hours in this magnificent palace and gardens and you can read more about Fontainebleau here on the fabulous Quintessence Blog.

This image above is of Napoleon's campaign tent which I found intriguing!   
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