Amuse Bouches of Paris

Two incredibly rugged guys enjoying themselves in the Palais Garnier salon. We took a tour of the interior together. I returned about 10 days later to endure the Maguy Marin dance performance.
The Baroque details of the Palais Garnier salon. It’s over-the-top’ness is half the fun of looking at it.

Amuse bouche translates literally as “mouth amuser” and references small single-bite hors d’oeuvr (yet another French term, which translates as “outside of the work” — the work in this case meaning the primary meal.)

Amuse bouches are common at finer restaurants and even in mid-range ones in the Wine Country where we live. It’s a small bite of something prepared by the chef that’s brought to the table soon after being seated. They’re often served in Chinese soup spoons or in shot glasses.

Long-term travel involves many sights and events you could mention in passing during conversation, but don’t lend themselves to a full-blown essay. But as I was going through photographs (arranging, deleting) I came across things I wanted to share.

When taken together I hope they give another little taste of Paris.

One of the bridges of the Seine on a cloudy day. I didn’t know I loved bridges — looking at them, being on them — until I was here.
Hundreds of candles at an altar in Notre Dame
Bill enjoys a plate of escargots
This is the Musée d’Orsay, my favorite museum of the eleven I’ve seen so far. This photo shows the scale of the former train station where it’s located. The Louvre holds collections from antiquity through 1848. This museum’s collection dates from 1848 through 1914.
Tulips on a sunny day in Spring below a white monument near the Champs De Mar.
I stood in line for only 15 minutes to get into the Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou. After I left the fantastic Paul Klee retrospective (I waited an hour for that — it required a separate admission) I went up to the observation level. The lines to get in extended far into the plaza and looped around and around inside for tickets. The Klee retrospective was ending and it seemed almost all of the visitors were French.
Skyline of Paris taken from the top of the Centre Pompidou.
You can see the Basilica of Sacra Coeur in the distance on the right — it looks magical, even from afar. I’m writing a post now about my visit to it.
An exhibit from “Fashion Forward: Three Centuries of Fashion” at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs

In this video, you can see a painting of a dress on fabric. A light comes on gradually every minute that causes the fabric to disappear and the actual dress to become visible from behind it.

The curators did a fantastic job. They created a video of a model putting on the multiple layers of clothing of an 18th century socialite — undergarments, back supports, bustles, petticoats, then the various pieces of the dress, then gloves, the jewelry. It’s no wonder that dressing for events often took much of a day.

The exhibit included contemporary clothing; it was a blast to see dresses from the 1960s and 1970s. I remembered clothing like it on the old variety shows like Carol Burnett, Dinah Shore and The Andy Williams Show. They were worn by the guests on the talk shows of that time, too — Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin and my personal favorite, Dick Cavett.

On the top floor of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, I pulled back a light-shielding curtain to discover this incredible cityscape, complete with the Eiffel Tower on right.
The Conseil D’Etat is where Parliament and the French Supreme Court meet. The building is surrounded by fencing and security personnel with rifles. Because of the multiple terror attacks, security is tight. Museums require that you enter through metal detectors; those without them, circle your body with a metal-detecting wand. They inspect every bag and ask you to take off your coat. Military personnel, fully armed with machine guns, patrol nearly all the areas of Paris. It was jarring at first, but after a while I became accustomed to seeing them. There are “eye in the sky” video cameras on every block, like in London.
I was rained on during this day of taking photographs. I like that you can see dark clouds nearer, and clearing skies further away. The same shade of red occurs in four separate places. The red behind “Bonnet” is lighter.
Spring blooms above a small sculpture garden near the Champs-Élysées
More Spring blooms — I have walked many neighborhoods. This is a small city park one block away from the Picasso Museum where I spent an incredible afternoon.
A tree-lined thoroughfare that leads to a statue in the far distance of Monsier (or Madame) I-Have-No-Idea. The Seine is on the right.

Today is my last full day. I’ve been doing laundry, cleaning the apartment, and had an unsuccessful attempt to get a haircut. The barbers tend to make appointments rather than accept drop-in’s like in the U.S. but I thought I’d found one (“drop-ins on Tuesday and Wednesdays.”) The place was packed, though, and he told me he couldn’t fit me in. He was very kind about it.

In fact, I have yet to encounter a single dismissive Parisian… though the baker at the patisserie corrected my pronunciation of prune fraische — a plum tart. She smiled at me after I’d ordered it then said, Prrrrrrrrrunnne frrrrrrrresh. She rolled about 45 R’s with her tongue before she was finished. I repeated it — using my best French rrrr — and she said, Oui! Trés bon!


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