My husband, Pat, surprised me with a trip to Paris for my birthday! We had a great time and I thought I would share some of our snapshots and notes.
Detail of the floor in San Chapelle:
Detail of window in San Chapelle:
Outside the Jacquemart-Andre Museum:
The restaurant ceiling at the Orsay Museum:
A sculpture in the Louvre:
Architectural carving detail:
We stayed at The Champs Elysees Plaza a great, boutique hotel off the Champs Elysees. The staff was very helpful and friendly. They have Hermes bath products in the rooms and each night you find a different French chocolate or a petite box of Laudree macaroons on your nightstand. Spoiled us. Our only regret, the hotel was a little far from some of the areas we most wanted to explore like the Latin District, Saint Germaine, etc. but the friendly staff would always call us a cab! NOTE: beware that cabs in Paris charge by both time and distance so if you, by chance, have the hotel front desk call a cab, know they may come rather promptly and you need to be ready (and maybe not still in the hotel room trying to straighten your hair which was being hit hard with the unseasonable rain). Just a suggestion.
This was my second visit to Paris and Pat’s first so I had a great time revisiting the museums with him. Pat fell in love with the Impressionist art at the Orsay Museum and even wanted to go back and see the same paintings again. Had we gone back, I would have gone straight back to the Degas sculpture, Petite Dancer. Breathtaking. Interesting how on my first trip, at age 19, the paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec were my favorite.
We made a fast sweep through the Louvres. Enjoyed the collection of small, carved frame portraits from the mid 1800’s. The detailed frames with gilt and sometimes even mother of pearl were even architectural in nature. Combined with their small size, I think they hold just the right amount of tension between strong and precious which is a quality I always seem to gravitate toward in fine art. I would say the sculptures at the Louvres are my favorite, but we did see the Mona Lisa. Check.
Monet’s water lilies at The Orangerie are worth the visit for sure, but try to get there early for the best viewing. The Matisse and Renoir there are wonderful, too. Definitely visit The Orangerie. A small, manageable museum.
I was an architecture student on my first trip, and the architectural details of the city still captivate my attention. My phone is full of snaps of wrought iron balcony railings and the stone carvings on doorways. This inspiration will most likely find it’s way into my jewelry designs soon. I also brought home some beautiful gold and sterling pieces like crosses, medals, and antique buckles with lions, crowns and fleur de lis chasing which I cant wait for you all to see!
I think my favorite spot on the trip was Musee Jacquemart-Andre. This mansion turned museum is as beautiful as the artwork on the walls, and ceilings. The architect for this mansion came in second when Paris choose who would design the Opera House and I’m pretty sure he was sending an eat-your-heart-out signal when he designed this house. We enjoyed the Boudin exhibit there that week but the mansion alone would be worth the visit…and the restaurant! We are still dreaming of that raspberry creme tart! Oh mercy! The restaurant is in the dining room of the mansion and I felt like I was in the middle of a moment from The Great Gatsby. Beautiful.
Here is a list of restaurants we enjoyed:
Au Petite Marguery
Lunch at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre (their dessert cart will make you faint!)
Bouillon Racine in the Latin District (their creme bruelle waffle should be illegal!)
lunch or tea at the Orsay Museum (the dining room is beautiful and the food is delicious)
Oudinot on Rue oudinot (a small, neighborhood brasserie. Great place to see local life and eat well too.)
La Petite Cler (sit outside and people watch)
Pershing Grill (nightclub vibe inside–more good people watching!)
La Belle Ferronniere cafe on Rue Pierre Charron. Again, sit outside and people-watch.
While on Rue Pierre Charron, walk up the street for Givency and Hermes shopping/window licking. On this same street, you will find one location of the French clothing brand, Bruce Field, which Pat and I liked a lot. Most of the clothes are made in France with some made in Italy and other European countries. Look at the tag though, if you are especially looking for an item made in France, because a few pieces are made in China. The Bruce Field store we visited was down the street from the Musee Jacquemart-Andre and carried only the menswear collection. The Bruce Field location on Rue Pierre Charron carries the women’s collection as well, but it was closed when we found it so we did not get a chance to see the women’s collection in person, therefore, I really can’t speak to it. The menswear was nicely tailored and the fabrics were beautiful and the price-point was very good.
Another great French brand we found was the shoe company, Heschung. This third-generation, family-owned company makes all of their shoes in France and they do a beautiful job both in design and craftsmanship.
More shopping for French and European luxury brands can be found on Place de Madeliene and Rue Royale.
For more information of what you absolutely must do when you travel to Paris visit the Conde Nast site here.
Read more about my trip to the South of France here.