What a most glorious day. Armed with our subway passes, and a new found sense of direction in this city, James and I headed out to the Musee de l’Orangerie – also known as the home to Monet’s water lily paintings. I opted for the audio tour this time (and I’m glad I did, you get so much more out of a small museum with some narration behind it – and it’s actually feasible to hear almost everything!). We started in the basement of the museum – and found ourselves among Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Cezzane, etc. Absolutely breathtaking paintings – paintings I studied in art class – paintings I admire intensely. Here we were, in this small, two level museum, surrounded by the works of master painters. Only in Paris.
And then I made my way upstairs to the section dedicated to Monet. If you have not been to this museum, and are in Paris, GO. Two rooms are dedicated to the water lilies – each containing four paintings. What I was unaware of, is the sheer massive size of these paintings. Each one wrapped around the room, and took my breath away. How was it possible that he could capture such beauty?
We left, in a star struck daze, to head to the famous kitchen supply store: E. Dehillerin. Imagine an old hardware store, but instead of nails and hammers, it’s filled with an array of copper pots, utensils and every imaginable knick knack. Let’s just say that I did a little present shopping here, and spent WAY too much money, but it was worth every cent.
Afterwards, we headed towards Le Aligre market, where had arranged for a wine and cheese tasting class – a three hour ordeal that turned into four, but who’s complaining?! We took the class through “Paris by Mouth.” I thoroughly enjoyed the teacher (Meg – the founder of Paris by Mouth and an American who has lived in Paris for more than a decade). We tried more than 10 types of cheese, starting with goat, moving to blooming rind, then to stinky like a barn, then to pressed (think cheddar), then to harder cheeses (think parmesan but we didn’t eat that type) and finally ended on blue cheese. Almost every cheese had it’s own wine pairing – so as you can imagine I was quite tipsy when I left!
Because the day before NoGlu was closed, we headed to another nearby gluten free bakery: Helmut Newcake. I bought a baguette, a loaf of bread and an eclair. I had literal tears in my eyes because I had not eaten an eclair in more than five years since going back on my gluten free diet. I will definitely need to go back before I leave. The baguette was also incredible – and I felt like a Parisian as I ripped a section off to eat. The inside was… SOFT. Like bread.
Following, we headed immediately to Galleria Lafayette for a view of the city from their rooftop – a free alternative to the Eiffel Tower, and a view that actually has the aforementioned monument in it! It wasn’t nearly as high, but it was breathtaking. Afterwards, we headed back down (stopped quickly for coffee) and landed on the ground floor, surrounded by silk scarves, bags and shoes.
At this point, we needed to go to the grocery store and get home to change before going back out for a show at the Moulin Rouge. We made a pit stop at MonoPrix, a department slash grocery store that had every imaginable goody in it. Armed with my new knowledge about wine and cheese, I picked a few items out (it won’t be as good as the cheese shop, but until I can get there it will do!) and then went on a hunt for some souvenirs. It didn’t disappoint.
Dinner consisted of gluten free pasta with a delicious pesto we bought at Monoprix – along with some goat cheese, broccoli and tomato. Nothing fancy, but it’s been nice eating at the apartment the last few nights. We’ll be enjoying dinners for the next four nights out.
The Moulin Rouge show was… well, I don’t know if there were words. It felt like the time Cory and I went to see the Counting Crows. We weren’t necessarily disappointed, but it was very odd. The best way I can describe it is a bunch of very fit men and women with outrageously horrible 1960s costumes, a lot of bad wigs and clacking plastic beads. I’m sure each dancer is good on their own, but together in sync? The miniature horses that they brought out later were better coordinated. It felt campy, but it wasn’t supposed to be. I wished my Dad had seen it – he would have loved and hated it all at once.
After 90 minutes, I couldn’t take anymore – especially when they botched the can-can. So we took off and headed back for some much needed rest at the apartment.