Paris 10/2008 Day 3
Paris Day 3
October 6, 2008
We're a little later than we'd like to be this morning, but we get it together and get to the metro and over to the Musee Jaquemart Andre in the 8th. Admission is 10 euro each and comes with an excellent audio guide to walk you through the rooms.
This is a house museum, built in the mid 1800's by a couple who were avid art collectors. Theirs is an interesting story (married late, no children, traveled the world in search of spectacular art) as is the construction of the house (entire walls fall away into the basement to open up the ground floor into a grand ballroom). We very much enjoyed our time wandering through the rooms and admiring the collection. Unfortunately, no photographs are allowed inside. My other disappointment is that while the tour shows all of their apartments and public rooms, it does not show the kitchen or servants quarters. It seems to be common in houses and castles not to show these "behind the scenes" places , yet these are the things I would find most fascinating.
Afterwards, we decide to go to their cafe/tea room for a coffee. We are asked if we want to sit inside or out. The room inside is about half full and outside only has one table with people at it. We sit outside and are given a menu. When the waitress comes up, she recites the day's specials. We tell her we'd only like coffee and she makes a face and says, in English, "only for lunch sit here." We ask if we can just have coffee and she says no. At that point, we're ready to go. It just seems arbitrary and we are no longer in the mood for coffee or to switch tables "just because" that we take it as a sign and leave.
We set out walking and end up going through the Place de Madeleine. We walk all the way around the square, stopping to admire the windows of the many gourmet food shops like Fauchon and Lauderee and to visit the famous Porcher underground bathroom built in 1904 with it's stained glass, decorative wood stalls each with their own individual sinks. You can see more on it where I wrote about it during our 2005 trip here. We even stop in the Maille mustard store, but buy nothing because it would mean we'd have to check our bags on the way home. I can buy Maille mustard in the US (and yes, I know the fresh stuff there is better, but I don't like mustard that much).
From the Place de Madeleine, we walk down the Rue Saint-Honore again, intent on finding the place we looked for yesterday, Le Rubis. By now I have realized my mistake; we had the wrong street, not the wrong address. Rue Marche Saint Honore is not on my map, but there is a place of the same name and I figure the street must run through it (duh!). And in due course, we find it easily enough, feeling only slightly stupid in the process.
Le Rubis (10, Rue du Marche Saint Honore) is an odd little place. There are hand written menus all over the walls, about 7 or 8 tables and a zinc bar. We think there might be more tables upstairs or in the back, because there is an unmarked door at the back of the bar which people some people walk straight to and go through. We do not know where it leads. Almost every table has what we determine to be the daily special; house made sausage and lentils (10 euro). My mother orders this and it's fantastic.
Next on the itinerary is the Fragonard Perfume museum. Fragonard has several stores in Paris but the one near the Opera at 9 Rue Scribe has a museum upstairs. It's only a few rooms, and it's free, but it's interesting to see all the old tools and methods used for making soaps and perfumes as well as the many ancient and antique containers for holding them. It's free and open every day. Downstairs, we checked out all the perfumes and soaps. Seriously tempted, we did not buy saying we would return when we come back to Paris on Friday. Unfortunately, we did not and I am kicking myself now. Lesson learned, buy when you have the chance.
After Fragonard, we go over to the Galleries Lafayette department store to see their truly stunning stained glass coupole (dome) which is over the cosmetics department (see photo top of page and at right).
Then we take the escalators up to the roof which has a phenomenal view all over Paris.
Back down on the 7th floor we peruse the offerings at the cafeteria, some of it looks quite good and appears to be very affordable. Across the street from the main store is the Men's store and on the first floor of that building is the gourmet food store where everything is beautifully arranged and I wish we had an apartment with a kitchen. There are specialty sections for cheese and meat of course, but also sushi, Italian foodstuffs, soups, foie gras, and more. In addition, nowhere else in the world but France have I seen so many different flavors and brands of yogurt. There are 10 flavors of Activia (we only have 3 in the US). I buy some yogurt and a bottle of water even though our room has no 'fridge.
For dinner, we decide to stick close to the hotel and do a quick loop around the Place du Contrascarpe area to peruse the options. We end up at a place called Le Grenier, which I think specializes in Fondue, though we did not have any. We chose the place because it seemed to be busy yet had an empty table for us. It was probably a little more "touristy" of a restaurant than I prefer, but the food is decent and the owner a very jolly and friendly guy.
There is a large table of British tourists with a guy who is visibly drunk and very loud. Every time he gets up from the table to leave, my mother holds on to our wine glasses, certain he is going to come by and knock them over. The staff is tolerant and the other members of his party, embarrassed. The restaurant quiets considerably when they leave. Service is a bit slow as there is only one server and the owner handling the tables.
We each order off their 16 euro menu. Mom has escargot and a pork tenderloin and I have (another) goat cheese salad and duck confit. We both have ice cream ( a huge sundae) for dessert and share 50cl of house red. Dinner for 2 is 40 euro. Le Grenier (7, rue Mouffetard, 75005, 01 43 54 96 67).
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