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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

88: Paris in the autumn sunshine

We've just returned from a weekend in Paris where the sun shone as if it were July or August and the cardie I had packed remained resolutely in the suitcase. What's not to love about Paris? As much as I adore London and Barcelona and New York and Berlin, there is something about Paris that remains a constant draw. Max is not convinced perhaps because being French he has something of the distaste for his capital city that some in the UK have for London. Is it jealousy? Is it the apparent rudeness of the Parisians compared to the warmth of those who live in the country? I put that down to the additional stresses of living and working in any major city where your time and money are soon spent getting too and from work and enjoying at least some of what being in huge cultural centre offers.
We ate on Friday evening at Le Fetiche in Auteuil - we've been going there for a few years since the brasserie opposite lost its appeal - and I was taken aback at how expensive it has become. Two salads and two beers in total came to 36€. Later in the weekend we were taken out for drinks and I enjoyed two 25cl glasses ie less than a pint in total at a price that equated to approaching £10 a pint! Of course it is beautifully served in the correct glass at your table but that seemed somewhat excessive.

We discovered the Musée des Arts Décoratifs almost by accident. We'd been heading for the Musée de la Publicité only to find that they both were to be found at the same address ie part of one wing of the Louvre. We didn't ever find the Advertising Museum but the Decorative Arts collection was a delight taking us from the Middle Ages right up to the 21st century along galleries of carefully chosen object and numerous room settings. The views from the windows out onto the sun drenched Tuilleries Gardens and across to the Louvre were simply stunning.

After a refreshing apéro of champagne, we made dinner at Max's aunt's place - a fairly successful rösti with smoked salmon, fromage frais and coriander followed by a risotto of leeks, bleu d'Auverne, garlic and walnuts.

On Sunday we took ourselves along to Le Mondial De L'Automobile 2008. where we indulged our dreams a little by sitting in rather less ostentatious cars than some might have thought! The Smart Diesel for example, and the newly revamped Fiat 500. It was, as expected rather crowded, as many I suspect were not in a position to buy or replace but had allowed themselves 12€ of mechanical fantasy.

Then we visited Le 104 an arts centre opened in the Municipal Undertakers building in a rather run down area of the city. There wasn't a lot to see apart from the magnificent building but eventually artists will rent the studios and exhibition spaces and the public will be encouraged to come and watch and ask questions.

Unusually, the big department stores were open on Sunday offering big discounts and promotions. The debate continues as to whether or not Sunday opening should be become a regular feature of the weekend. My vote would be for opening but perhaps turning the current situation on its head ie have a set number of Sundays when the stores had to close.