Please see the end of this journal for our first ‘Caption Contest’ of this season.
Our love of France, and in particular Paris, does not need to be pointed out. It would seem that everyone has their ‘place’. That one special location where everything else seems to disappear and they can truly feel at home. Paris is that for us. Since we cannot be here all the time – not yet at least – we have taken to purchasing things during our stays that remind us of our favorite place as we go about our daily routines back at home. Some people like to purchase a beautiful dress or coat, but we prefer to purchase items that we use and enjoy each and every day. Of course we do have our books and other antiquities throughout the house which also serve to remind us of Paris, but it is the everyday items that are the most special. Mitch gets his tooth brushes here so every time he brushes his teeth he is in Paris. This trip we decided to get some work out clothes so every time we visit the gym we bring a little bit of Paris with us. The trend today is bright fluorescent colored running and workout shoes. So we decided to take the leap as you can see from our pictures. Hopefully we won’t look too out of place back in the states and who knows, perhaps we can start a trend.
Our primary destination today was Le Louvre Des Antiquaries. Situated right across the street from the Louvre museum, it houses many antique dealers specializing in everything from jewelry to walking sticks. We decided to walk from our apartment down Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré to our destination. It was a beautiful day to walk and enjoy looking at all the shops along with way. We passed the Élysée Palace, the French version of The White House (pic) with its massive stone walls and formidable, yet beautiful gate. We took a short cut through the Galerie Royal (pix) which is one of many covered passages throughout the city that began to show up at the end of the 18th century. These glass covered passages were created to provide protection from inclement weather and allow shoppers to have a clean and dry place to walk and shop without having dirt and dust or snow and rain from impeding the shopping experience. E Viola the shopping mall was invented. At their peak there were 140 of these passages throughout the city but they began to decline with competition from Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Many fell into disrepair but can still be viewed today. Our list of things to do includes a tour of some of them so a future issue will include more to be sure.
Le Louvre Des Antiquaries is an imposing, yet exquisite building. Immediately to its left, or right depending on where you are standing, is the Palais Royal (pic). The Palais Royal was originally built as the personal residence of Cardinal Richelieu in 1639 it became the property of the King after Richelieu’s death. Since then it enjoyed a rich history as a part of the royal family’s many residences. We made our way into the Le Louvre Des Antiquaries and began to wander the halls. Many of the dealers are closed for summer holiday, but there are enough still there to make this an exciting visit. The last time we came, they were all open and it was quite overwhelming. With so much to see it one quickly becomes numb and a break is needed. We were able to visit all of the open shops during this trip. Some we simply enjoyed through the window (window licking as the French say) and others we ventured into to talk with the owners about specific items. We have included several photos to give you a sense of the beautiful, museum quality antiquities that are available. One amazing item was a small hand painted series of arches made to look like a Theatrical set. There are at least 8 arches, each with a different piece of the overall image hand painted on it. They are then set in a wooden frame that holds them in place. When viewed from the front, a beautiful, perspective scene comes to life. This one is from the 18th century and was in perfect condition. Extraordinary considering how old it is and that it is made from paper.
After that we decided to visit Le Grand Hotel to have a light snack. We made our entrance through the Cafe de la Paix which was empty and perfect for taking photos (pic). Our final destination was the grand salon which was inaugurated in 1862 by Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III. The room is spectacular in both size and architecture. Both warm and inviting while regal and stately. We enjoyed a Limonade and Mille-feuille as we rested our legs (pix). Having decided that we had walked enough for the day, we put our metro passes to work to return home. On the way down to the metro station we took a photo of the Paris Opera House which is one of our absolute favorite buildings. We returned home to go over our list of things to do and prepare for dinner.
Those of you who know us best know that we tend to be creatures of habit. Once we find something we like we tend to go back again and again. So for dinner we made our way to Cafe Lateral. It was 8pm when we arrived – very late for us. Still full from the day before, we decide to have a light salad, right. Mitch’s was La Titi Parisian which included eggs, tomatoes and ham. Mine was the Gourmande which boasted house smoked duck, gizzards, foie gras pate and topped with breaded and fried goat cheese. We finished with a scoop of Bertillion ice cream topped with a fresh home made madeleine. Oh my god. It was delicious. The gym for sure tomorrow.
The first photo attached to this journal is named ‘Contest’. One of the galleries we visited today was hosting a collection of work. The artist had done a series of cats in different poses. We loved this one in particular and thought it perfect for today’s Caption Contest. Please send us your captions for this drawing. As always, our editorial staff will consider all entries and vote on the best. The winner will be announced in an upcoming France Journal issue and receive some wonderful prizes including our personal praise and adulation. Good luck.