Fun story, if you call something an exhibit or and exhibition in Paris it has weirdly sexual exhibitionist connotations, so now I call everything an exposition. Which is wrong, in English, but I keep doing it. I’ve also forgot the correct sense of the word ‘recuperate’.
A few expositions opened shortly (like, a day) before I left Paris, meaning that with packing, cleaning out my apartment, and post-exam fatigue, I didn’t have the time or the wherewithal to go see them. In case anyone is headed to Paris, here’s what you could go see that would make me jealous:
You may remember two summers ago when I took it upon myself to find the best vegan pizza available in the greater Boston area (if not, here’s a link). From that arduous but also delicious process, I learned two things: 1) there’s some damn good pizza out there but nothing will ever beat ‘pizza a la my Dad’ and 2) the best way to really get comfy with a city is to explore its pizza joints.
I was already hella comfortable with Boston and its surrounding urbs, having lived there for the greater part of my twenty two years of life (exceptions made for institutions of higher education and that’s about it), but when I moved to France last September there was no way I wasn’t going to follow up my earlier research. In part because I wanted to get to know Paris on the truly profound level of having a favorite pizza place, but mostly because I’m convinced living without pizza is intolerable and ultimately irreconcilable with the human condition.
And so here it is: The Best Pizza Places in Paris, in the order in which I discovered them.
- The Best By the Slice: Hank Pizza
18 rue des Gravilliers, Paris, France, 75003
In my opinion, Hank is the best when it comes to set price meal formulas. An individual slice of pizza comes in at 5 euros, but two slices of pizza, a drink, and a dessert or salad comes in at a very attractive 13 euros. Want the dessert and the salad? It will only set you back 15. And the desserts are certainly hard to resist- like everything else in the restaurant they’re completely vegan.
A few exciting new additions to Hank’s offerings include the Pepe Roni (with vegan pizza and oregano) as well as a gluten free crust option. My personal favorite is Le Costaud, with grilled squash, eggplant, and artichoke.
Located in the very happening Marais neighborhood, Hank is a bit of a Parisian hipster hangout. If you want to blend with the locals, make sure you pronounce the name as ‘honk’ like a goose- or really ‘hawnque’ if you want to go the whole nine authentic yards. What does it mean? It’s an acronym for ‘Have a nice kindness’!
- The Best Hole in the Wall: Veg’Art
123 rue Oberkampf, Paris, France, 75011
I’m not going to pretend I’m completely impartial- Veg’Art is my favorite of Paris’s pizza places and the only thing convincing me to betray it’s ‘best-kept secret’ status is the fear that it may ever close due to lack of patronage. It’s easy to miss even if you’re looking hard (both at shop signs and google maps) and the interior is limited to only six seats. The pizza also takes a little while to come.
So why is it my favorite? The toppings are extremely generous, the prices are eminently reasonable, the menu options are extensive, and my gluten free friends will be excited to hear that they’ll be at least as well taken care of here as at Hank. Apart from the classics, they also offer some very creative pizzas, both on the permanent menu (the Indienne and the Mexicaine come to mind) and on a seasonally rotating basis (the recent Autumn pizza included chestnuts and tofu as toppings!).
On my most recent visit I got the Valentina, a pizza topped with vegan cheese, pistou, and roquette/rocket/arugula. It was like a pizza with a salad on top, and also kind of like paradise.
If you’re not feeling like pizza, they also sell salads, a vegan burger, a vegetable tart, and samosas.
One warning- the complete vegan-ness of this restaurant is attended by some aggressive animal welfare decor and stickers. Apparently it’s been toned down a lot in recent years, but be cognizant if you’re planning on making your visit in mixed dietary company. Still, one of the friends I took here still hasn’t figured out that his pizza was vegan, so I guess it can’t have been as overt as I felt?
- The Best Personalized Pizza: Happiz Sablons
23 rue des Sablons (at Place de Mexico), Paris, France, 75116
Happiz is a vegetarian pizza place with a a fun conceit, which is that you get to tick off your pizza desires on a white board-type menu with a dry erase marker. In short, it’s the answer to every picky pizza eater’s dreams. Though it’s not strictly vegan, vegan cheese and meat stand-ins are definitely on the menu, and you can specify a gluten free crust.
Happiz has a very upbeat and sunshine-y vibe- in fact, it’s name is perfectly apropos. Not only was there an adorable family with many young children there for a celebratory meal when I visited, but the restaurant is owned by some of the nicest food service people (Parisian or otherwise) whom I have ever encountered. Bonus: you order at a counter built and painted to look like a yellow truck. Great place for kids young and old.
Of course, the risk of the personalized pizza is drowning you crust and base in mountains of toppings, and I have to say it’s a trap I all too willingly fell into, which made for a slightly messy eating experience as my slices succumbed to the weight of my merguez, squash, and eggplant.
There’s a beautiful park nearby, the Place Trocadero, and you can see the Eiffel tower just across the Seine.
- The Best Upscale Pizza: Janine Loves Sunday
49 rue Montmartre, Paris, France, 75002
While my preferences generally run toward the most casual of restaurant settings, I make an exception every once in a while for a particularly promising place. This bar qualified in part because of the exciting pizza options, but also because I wanted to scope out the prospect of a vegan banana split (affirmative!).
Pizza is only one of the things on Janine’s extensive menu (please refer to the banana split). There’s also kebab, pad thai, risotto, burgers, and a whole host of attractive desserts.
So far as I know, there is no gluten-free pizza option at the brasserie, but there is a beautiful outdoor seating area (covered in the event of rain). Not a big help if you have celiac disease, but lovely nonetheless.
Some bonuses? Because it’s a bar, the hours are also very forgiving for any late night eaters. It’s also pretty close to the shopping and metro hub, Chatelet-Les Halles.
- The Best Turkish Pizza: Bulldog Vegan
83 rue de Rochechouart, Paris, France, 75009
So here is where the secrets come out. I originally wrote this post perhaps a year ago, never posted it, and am now adding this place as a last (but not least) addition before I hit ‘publish’. In a way I’m glad the busy-ness of school made me wait. This joint was established in 2019- just this year- and was perhaps no more than a glimmer in someone’s eye when I wrote the beginning of this post. Bulldog Vegan offers burgers and fries, Turkish pizza, sandwiches, and calzones. While Turkish pizza isn’t what many of us Westerners will feel qualifies as pizza (it’s kind of like a burrito with lentil spread and salad filling), I HIGHLY recommend the pide with no reservations. The best way to describe pide is as a more emotionally vulnerable calzone. Or a calzone undergoing open heart surgery. Really google images might be your best bet here. But whatever it is and however best to describe it, what truly matters is that it is delicious and there is some in my fridge right at this moment. Bulldog Vegan also serves traditional pizza, but given the scarcity of vegan Turkish cuisine, why not go for a pide followed by a delicious serving of vegan baklava?
I hope I’ll be writing a bit more often, as I’ve very much missed it. My tone is a bit off at the moment because I’ve been writing a term paper for a few hours, but that will wear off. If you’re concerned that any of the above information has become outdated since I originally wrote it, have no fear. I have continued to eat pizza and my opinions still stand.
Much love and much pizza,
It’s one of the cool things about living in big cities, the awareness that at any moment one of the people you know by name and face- but have never met before- might be just around the corner.
I’ve got a few people that I’m thinking of reaching out to when I return to Paris, in the hopes of meeting. It’s a short and eclectic list, but true to me.
If you’re familiar with me (or my Instagram habits) the lack of ‘French Girls of Instagram’ might surprise you, but they’re really more people whose style I admire- it’s hard to want to meet them knowing relatively little about their interests and personality (beyond shared tastes in bathing suits, jeans, and sweaters).
But I wouldn’t say no to a patisserie with Sabina Socol, any day.
So who’s on the list?
- David Lebovitz: I recently finished reading L’Appart and the story of the author’s harrowing journey to owning a Paris apartment really resonated with me, in terms of expatriate growing pains. And as a big fan of home renovations, I’d love to hear more.
- Rosie McCarthy: Speaking of expatriate growing pains, Rosie’s youtube channel, Not Even French, is a recent favorite discovery of mine. In her videos, the native New Zealander discusses the surprises (both good and bad) of life in Paris. She seems like such a lovely person, and I can only imagine how interesting (and informative) a talk with her would be.
- Paul Taylor: I may have shared one of Paul Taylor’s videos in the past, because they’re quite funny. He’s a British comedian responsible for the What’s Up France?/What the Fuck, France? series.
- Jessie Kanelos Weiner: Jessie Kanelos Weiner is the writer and illustrator of Paris in Stride, a gorgeous book for the dedicated flaneuse (me) who wants to explore Paris. It’s currently hiding in my Mom’s closet for my July 25th birthday. Sometimes she holds watercolor classes. And I really want to attend one!
You may have noticed that this list is super expat-heavy. This isn’t because I have no interest in native Parisians… so much as I think expats subconsciously strike me as being much more approachable. Parisians have notoriously close social lives and with expats, I have the benefit of a shared language (frequently) and similar experiences.
Hi hi hi. I missed the links post last week not because I didn’t have enough to share, just from pure laziness. So it’s a bit heavy on the links today, but I have broken them down into bite-size and easily digestible categories.
- A wince-worthy compilation of Dad Jokes.
- The New Dad: What the evolution of stock photos shows about our changing understanding of paternity and parenthood.
- How ASMR became an internet phenomenon.
- This Parisian restaurant only lets you in with a baby or a bump.
- I’ve been following this illustrator for a long time and now she’s selling some of her prints of Etsy!
- Bumblebees use scent and color patterns to tell flowers apart.
It was a long time ago that my default Amazon wish list was renamed ‘Book Wish List’ and colonized by- you guessed it- books.
But not just any books- the books that my library doesn’t carry. I’m aware that I pretty frequently sings the praises of the Boston Public Library conglomerate/system, which allows you to check out any book in the Greater Boston area and have it shipped to your local library. But that doesn’t mean they have every book I have ever wanted to read. Almost, but not quite.
I don’t usually buy books. I also don’t usually shop on Amazon anymore (given that they still advertise on Breitbart and I find it problematic). But Mom (who originated this politically-minded ethic) recently told me that we have a fair number of Amazon points. So maybe I’ll make an exception for some new used books around my birthday time…
And that inspired a visit to my list, and then, as per my usual compulsions, some much needed pruning. The oldest book had been added to the list two years ago. Which isn’t too bad, but still almost 1/10th of my life. So some stuff was eliminated and some had been acquired by the library (!).
Here’s what remains:
- Mad About the House: A Decorating Handbook
It hasn’t been published yet, so finding it used on Amazon is not an option, as of now.
- Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide
I recently started following this illustrator on Instagram and am always on the lookout for Paris recs.
- Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a Home
- Parisian Chic Lookbook: What Should I Wear Today?
I enjoyed the original Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange. I’ve heard that this one isn’t nearly as good, but I’m still interested.
- My Little Paris
I subscribe to the My Little Paris newsletter via email. They share lots of fun news about the city and favorite locations.
- Une Femme Francaise: The Seductive Style of French Women
Clearly books about Paris, style, and the intersection of the two are one of my pets.
- Don’t Be a Tourist in Paris: the Messy Nessy Chic Guide
- The New Paris
- Impressions of Paris: An Artist’s Sketchbook
- Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood
Mari Andrew, whose illustrations I sometimes share in links posts, published a book!
- Yours Always: Letters of Longing
- The Book Lovers’ Miscellany
- The Milk of Dreams
Children’s stories by an excellent surrealist author.
- How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life
- The She-Devils
So hard finding this one in English (Les Diaboliques in French).
- Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman
- The Story Cure: An A-Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise
I liked The Novel Cure, and as a big fan of children’s literature I feel like this one seems pretty promising.
- How to Live Like Your Cat
- What Flowers say: And Other Stories
George Sand short stories.
- Book of My Mother
- A Book of Book Lists: A Bibliophile’s Compendium
- The Book of Forgotten Authors
- The Joy of the Snow
Elizabeth Goudge, noted children’s author.
- Gio_Graphy: Fun in the World of Fashion
- The Place to Be
The best destinations for different moods, according to Lonely Planet.
- Dress Scandinavian
- I’d Rather be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers
- The Art of Discarding: How to Get Rid of Clutter and Find Joy
The original KonMari method.
- Siddhartha’s Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment
Buddhism and neuroscience- pretty up my alley.
A mid-20th century ghost story like The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. hard to find.
- Ladurée Savoir Vivre: The Art of Fine Living
- Quiet Houses
Intertwining yet distinct ghost stories.
- A Child Again
Robert Coover cynically and nostalgically retells childhood fables and tales.
- The Name Therapist: How Growing Up with My Odd Name Taught Me Everything You Need to Know about Yours
- The Diary of Lady Murasaki
- The Library
Zoran Zivkovic is an excellent name.
- The Blood of the Vampire
Like Dracula, one of the original Gothic vampire novels. Also check out Sheridan’s Carmella.
- Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances
It’s kind of funny because the books tend to fall on one of two extremes. the library doesn’t carry them because they’re more obscure, but half are more light/frivolous obscure while the others are foreign/old/scholarly.
I hope you had a lovely Saturday. I took a forty minute detour to claim a vegan cinnamon roll, visited the Louvre’s special Delacroix exhibition, and ate a pizza (also vegan).
Keep an eye open for an upcoming ‘best vegan pizzas in Paris’ post. The sequel to the Boston edition- we’ve relocated.
So here’s what’s happening on the interwebs, carefully avoiding the trend for snorting condoms.
- The city of lights from the sky
- I’m fantasizing less about these outfits and more about the swoon worthy descriptions of spring weather
- Body glitter is now the only appropriate use for the Kira Kira filter. I am entranced.
- What happens when you add illustrations to those random snippets of overheard conversations
- I would stay here– books and beds are the only things I need in life
- For it to really be Paris he would have an accordion
- Infernal Affairs and The Departed– for me The Departed wins because Boston, but I have yet to see Infernal Affairs (it’s been on my list SO LONG) so that’s not worth much. It does look excellent, doesn’t it?
- If you’re a Royal Wedding fan, maybe you want to enter this social media contest to suggest its defining ice cream flavor?
- The unstoppable rise of veganism, about which I have mixed feelings (more people want to eat my cinnamon bun but more places sell vegan pizza).
- The benefits of a plant-based diet for health and the environment.
- Congrats to Yale and congrats to Nathan Chen.
- An interview with my favorite makeup artist
- A follow up on the Orientalism inherent in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, and in the broader world of American cinema (with a very interesting segment on 2015’s Met Gala theme).
“It’s Japan purely as an aesthetic — and another piece of art that treats the East not as a living, breathing half of the planet but as a mirror for the Western imagination.” And perhaps the only thing that will lead to a more fair, just, and equal portrayal of Asians in cinema and pop culture is the spending power of that huge sector of the world population.
- Turkish Rondo in finger snaps
- Molly Ringwald reflects on the problematic legacy of John Hughes movies in the era of #MeToo
I’m weirdly exhausted by life/final exams/the sporadically broken heating system in this house. But I have a backlog of links and they’re all exciting so there’s no putting them off any longer.
And because it’s a new month, the picture above is my new desktop background. Set to tile, as per usual. People swimming in a sea of stars.
What else? 19 days. So close yet so far.
- Reviews of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. I’m still pumped because I like Wes Anderson (and dogs), but it sounds like there are some pretty ishy us vs them components. Won’t be seeing it in the theater. Here’s a review from MovieBob and here is a deeper plunge into the problematic nature of the Japanese setting, the estrangement from the Japanese human characters created by the language barrier, cultural tourism, and the white savior complex.
- The movies that influenced Call Me By Your Name. Be right back, adding ALL OF THEM to my list. (Except A Room With A View- I honestly didn’t love that).
- Other things I’m adding to my film list? These twisted fairy tales (from female directors).
- A trailer for The House With a Clock in it’s Walls– speaking of twisted fairy tales. Cate Blanchett! Luscious steam-punk-y visuals! Jack Black doing his character actor thing! Creepy! Childlike! I’m kind of tentatively intrigued. Post-Jumanji, is Jack Black due for a resurgence?
- A discussion of Saoirse Ronan’s costumes for the film Brooklyn, and the deeper meaning behind them. So interesting (and a great film, if you haven’t yet seen it).
Let’s talk about perfume:
- Five fabulous orange blossom scents, courtesy of Angela at Now Smell This. Of these, the Serge Lutens is my favorite, but I would add Rubj by Vero Profumo to the list if I could. (And on the more gourmand side, Hansa Yellow by DSH and Unknown Pleasures by Kerosene).
- Carlos Benaim (love) and Frederic Malle on their new lavender-focused fragrance, Music For a While.
- Hermes releases a new cologne. Unfortunately I missed the Saut Hermes (a jumping tournament at the Grand Palais), but here’s a photo.
- If you’re feeling science-y (I always am) here’s a study that shows evidence of significant interactions between perfumes and individual body odor. The takeaway: “The odor mixture of an individual’s body odor and their preferred perfume was perceived as more pleasant than a blend of the same body odor with a randomly-allocated perfume, even when there was no difference in pleasantness between the perfumes. This indicates […] that people choose perfumes that interact well with their own odor. Our results provide an explanation for the highly individual nature of perfume choice.” So cool.
Fashion and celebrity people:
- Lena Waithe is amazing and I love her style and attitude.
- Bill Cunningham’s secret memoir. When can I read it?
- I know I’m late, but in honor of spring (and Easter) some floral looks from Moschino’s S/S 2018 RTW collection: 1 and 2.
- The maternal grandparent advantage. Rings true for my family (although that also has something to do with geographic proximity). And congratulations Mom and Dad, you are likely to be more involved with my future children than my future parents in law!
- Your friendship Myers-Briggs. As an INFJ, apparently I’m a bandaid and I’ll take it.
- For work relationships. I’m living vicariously through the drama of this twitter thread.
- In old age, shoplifting to find community. Heartbreaking.
Books and other tidbits
- I saw this adorable kid’s maze book at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. It reminds me of an immense Sesame Street board book I once had. But rather more portable.
- Mari Andrew’s book is out! Love her illustrations and down to earth wisdom.
- Another reason to go home for the summer? Archery tag.
- A French waiter in Canada says firing for rudeness is discrimination against his culture. He’s not wrong.
- If you’re not a fan of the lack of privacy re: data and personal info online, console yourself with the fact that if you ever disappear in a national park, amateurs can keep looking for you for decades. But it’s actually a very interesting, well-written article.
The most significant piece of news is that there is currently no heat in my house. Let’s just say it’s not the most ideal of circumstances.
However, with the help of twice as many blankets, two sweaters, and a hot water bottle I spent an adequately comfortable night. My landlords predict that they will have someone in to fix the heat on Friday morning. Or maybe it was Monday- I may have misunderstood the French. Suffice it to say, I’m hoping for Monday.
The second most significant piece of news is that it’s 26 days until my flight back to Boston- WOOOO!
And how am I spending the interim, besides being unreasonably cold?
- I revisited the Petit Palais for the new exhibition, Les Hollandais a Paris. It was absolutely gorgeous, well set-up, and interesting. Highly recommend if you’re in Paris. My only regret is not having waited to see the pastel exhibition until now so I could have gotten the joint ticket and saved a few euros.
The exhibit is a collection of the work of Dutch artists who have studied and worked in Paris, showcased along with the work of their friends and contemporaries. It’s arranged chronologically and really demonstrates how artists inspire one another, fads for different subject matter come and go, and styles change over time. Covering the period from 1789 (French Revolution) to 1914 (WWI), you get to see the procession from very detailed and lifelike floral still lives to realistic landscapes to impressionism to gritty realism to fauvism to cubism and cubist-inspired pieces. Unfortunately pictures weren’t allowed but I wrote down the names of my favorite works for future reference.
- Post Petit Palais I went to lunch at Happiz, a completely vegetarian pizza restaurant (with vegan options, including vegan cheese) located in Les Sablons. I did a build-your-own-pizza thing (the large was 12 euros, a steal for everything I’ve ever wanted in a vegan pizza- vegan mozzarella, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and vegan chorizo). They also offer gluten free pizzas. It was an absolute mess (my pizza did try valiantly to stand up to the heaps of toppings I ordered, but did cave under the pressure a few times) but the restaurant (a pretty small place) was quiet when I got there around 2 pm, very casual and very welcoming and personal.
I’m pondering the right way to post about my favorite restaurants (vegan of course) in Paris, and whether it’s better to do a big lump post (which would probably be overwhelming for both you and me) or to divide it into manageable ‘types of cuisines’ bite -sized chunks (pardon the pun)- like best lunch sandwich places, best pizza places, etc. And how to handle the places I haven’t gone yet?
- After pizza, I rounded out my day with yet another activity beginning with the letter P- protest (the theme was unintentional, I assure you). I visited the March for Our Lives protest, Paris edition, in the Place du Trocadero, just across the river from the Tour Eiffel. Lots of Americans and lots of French who feel strongly about kids being shot up at institutions of learning. Can’t understand it.
It was a great way to feel connected to America. I’ve followed politics fairly closely but it’s hard not to feel pretty impotent from here.
- My second to last stop was Citypharma, maybe the most famous (and most crowded) pharmacy in Paris. They have pretty much everything (but were unfortunately out of the Sensibiafine baume visage that I was looking for). I’ll just have to stop back another weekend.
- Lastly, I swung by another eatery called Brasserie 2eme Art to check out their menu, which isn’t available online. It’s a bit expensive for me (pretty much everything is still under 20 euros, but a fair amount is over 13, which is my arbitrary cut off). Still, it looks like there could be some more great vegan pizza there- so maybe that will be in my pizza round up. Except lord knows I’m more interested in getting the banana split. 😉
Today, Sunday, is a grocery shopping and cooking day, and I also need to do some studying as we have two exams this week. Unfortunately that’s very difficult when your hands are freezing. Whatever- it’s all bout doing your best, isn’t it?
In terms of future blog plans- not now, but over the summer, I’m considering doing themed weeks to organize my thoughts more around what content I want to be posting. possible topics include nostalgia, food, films, reading material, perfume, etc.
I’m mid-viewing of There Will Be Blood and mid-studying after a kind of abortive trip to Paris. Never trust weather.com when it predicts no precipitation. Always bring your umbrella. Because if you don’t it will rain in the morning and snow in the afternoon.
- The top Welsh names in Wales. There’s something intriguing about Welsh names- from the enigmatic (to me) spelling and pronunciation to the Lord of the Rings- vibes. Not to mention names like Angharad and Gwilym- characters from one of my favorite films, How Green Was My Valley.
- Speaking of movies- an enjoyably extra idea for creating memorable movie nights for the family- themed invitations and menus.
- Remembering Hubert de Givenchy, a brilliant couturier and the designer most associated with Audrey Hepburn‘s rise as a sartorial star.
- This movie looks insane-in-a-good-way. Also excited to see Lakeith Stanfield in another role post-Get Out.
- I would watch a Jared Kushner musical.
- A visually beautiful article about the production of roses for Chanel No. 5. Via my Mom. (Also, I’ve been to Pegomas just this year!)
- Am I the only person who’s thought about what I want done with my body when I eventually and inevitably kick the bucket? This natural burial ground in Tennessee is actually closest to what I’ve imagined. Except god forbid my final resting place be Tennessee.
- Surprise surprise: A huge MIT study finds that fake news stories are much more likely to spread and go ‘viral’ than real news stories on Twitter. Kind of expected but no less scary for that.
- Having never been married and having no children of my own, I can’t realistically vouch for any of this advice- but I do like it.
- The mysteriously adorable allure of maternity overalls.
- Are intimately subtle, barely there perfumes having a renaissance?
- Taking down the single versus spoken for binary. “Does the idea that people have to “love” — or simply feel any specific way about being single — give the concept of romantic attachment too much power?”
- This French food waste law is changing how grocery stores approach excess food.
I’m still way behind on my actual life (as exemplified by the fact that I’m writing about Paris museums while sitting in my grandparents’ breakfast nook in Spain…). I have yet to write post about what I did during my class trip to Grasse, but I truly and sincerely believe that it will someday be written and public.
In the meantime, I’ve really enjoyed my ‘new tradition’ of checking out the lesser known Paris museums on the weekends- and finding some real hidden gems.
Here’s what happened this most recent weekend- because my flight to Spain was only yesterday.
- Musee Marmottan Monet: Absolutely adored this museum. It’s a bit out of the way but chock full of beautiful pieces by Monet and Morisot. I’m a bit biased because I’m already a huge impressionism fan, but standing and absorbing some of the basement rooms with the hugest Monet waterlily paintings actually gave me tingles.
- Maison de Balzac: I visited Balzac’s house too! It’s out of the way in the same out of the way that Marmottan Monet is, so they made the perfect joint Saturday excursion. I haven’t read a ton of Balzac (Eugenie Grandet, Pere Goriot, and Cousin Bette) but what I have read I really enjoyed. The garden is lovely and has a great view of the Eiffel tower. Inside there are some busts of Balzac done by Rodin, but my favorite room would have to be the one with all of the character sketches. There are tons of etchings done that were used to print illustrations and I looked at them for maybe an hour. It was fun to recognize characters I had read about (Vautrin was a standout), but even the unknowns were so full of character and individuality. Bonus: the museum is free.
- On Sunday I went to the Catacombs. Dad and I had tried to go when we visited Paris two summers ago and bailed out because of the long line. Thankfully Sunday was pretty blue-skied and sunny, so I went with the intention and understanding that I would have a long line wait to reflect and meditate on my life. I even packed some study materials. That worked for about an hour and a half of queued up equanimity and then I started getting cold and lost feeling in my feet. The last hour was a bit of a doozy (for a total of about 2.5 hours in line). The upside: the catacombs are pretty cool and the report I did on the Paris underground junior year of college gave me some fun insight. I wouldn’t go again because there are only so many bones you can look at, and I’m not sure if it was worth the long wait, even i hindsight. But I do think satisfying my curiosity and checking it off my list was worthwhile. It’s a very French thing, there are stone placards with meaningful and poetic bits of Latin and French text which I had fun reading and translating to myself. There are a whole lot of femurs and skulls take second place. Frequently they’re artfully arranged (there was a heart and a cross and a pillar in there, I remember). Still, with the exception of a few sacra, I do wonder where the other bones went. Also, has it ever occurred to anyone that old femurs look rather like cinnamon bark?
So that was my weekend, briefly summarized as art, literature, and bones.