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 not going to go into the details of why I’ve been referring to my long weekend in Milan as a #SeriesofUnfortunateEvents, but instead focus on the positive.
Because it was a beautiful city and traveling is hard and once my phone is working again (the bad luck has followed me!) I’ll only (mostly) remember the good and happy parts.
So I set up a Google Map before I went (bluntly titled ‘Milan 2017’) and divided my places into ‘cultural’, ‘walking’, and ‘shopping’ designations/destinations.
Let’s have share time!
Cultural: I was mostly going for a cultural/high-brow/pretentious weekend to myself. The things I loved most are In CoLoR
- The Duomo and the Museum: It’s the one big church that everyone is supposed to go to but honestly (as you can see from my colors) I found some of the smaller ones more worthwhile. It’s a big cathedral, not colorful, not particularly unique. But grand.
- La Scala: The 6,50 euros I spent on la Scala cheap seats (for a philharmonic performance) were some of the best moneys I’ve spent in my life. It’s awe-inspiring. The people watching is as amazing as the performance, which sounds silly but you can very much see that people-watching is what the space was designed for. The boxes are each like a tableau of attendees, all spread out in front of you across the way. like so many paintings or television screens, so many snapshots. Also red velvet.
- La Scala Museum: My phone wasn’t working when I was at La Scala for the performance, so it was very worthwhile for me to go back and take photos. (And check out a box). They also had some Maria Callas costumes on display, which was cool. Reminded me of how much I like ‘Addio del passato’. Which just autocorrected to Addio del pasta. Oh boy.
- Santa Maria delle Grazie: Not the church itself, but The Last Supper in the building adjoining. It’s set up so well, though you do have to reserve your place for entry. They let you in with the painting with a small group of people for a carefully timed fifteen to twenty minutes. It’s actually a pretty excellent way to view it- very few people, lots of space, uninterrupted views. Mind blowing and so striking.
- Pinacoteca di Brera: All of the Madonnas and Childrens to put my own struggles in perspective. Gorgeous Titians, Veroneses, Botticellis, Bellinis, all that good stuff. The area around it is lovely of a nighttime walk.
- Museo Poldi Pezzoli: Another art museum with an immense and majestic staircase with a fountain and goldfish and a room full of watches.
- Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore
- San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore: I’m pretty sure the first thing you’re supposed to say when you walk into a church isn’t “Oh fucking fuck”, and yet. This church is so beautiful. It filled my soul. 100% worth seeing.
- Santa Maria Presso San Celso: this was my other big church favorite. Beautiful ceiling moldings and all that. Honestly pick this and the one above over the Duomo. Go to the Duomo piazza to see the church from the outside and feed the pigeons. And to check out Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, not for the shopping but for the architecture.
If I could add anything that i didn’t get the chance to see, it would be Bagetti Valsecchi, an ornate ducal residence with difficult hours.
- Sforzescu castle: I lived super close to Sforzescu, and while I didn’t go into the museums, walking through the court and the gardens outside it was lovely.
- Navigli: The Navigli are a set of channels in the South of the city, and something I almost ended up skipping. I was lucky to roll in when there was a huge street market of antiques and vintage clothes happening. Beautiful and lots of fun.
- Piazza Mercanti: A cute little corner that’s seen better days. It’s pretty central, but still a bit hidden. By all means roll through.
- Casa degli Omenoni: This is not a walk so much as a neat building facade that one can walk by. But what a cool facade.
I ended up not sticking to my shopping destinations at all, but ended up doing these:
- L’Erbolario: Where I finally succeeded in getting myself a bottle of Meharees, a spicy musk perfume (reminiscent of Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle) that I’ve been wanting forever (and regretted not buying when I was in Milan two years ago).
- Kiko Milano: Turns out Kiko Milano is cheaper in Milano. Especially when they have a buy three get three Black Friday sale. Eyeshadow sticks.
- Granaio: Gelato.
- Farini: A lovely pizza place just by San Lorenzo Maggiore, where they sell different types by the slice. Delicious. I ate three, Two probably would have been better.
- Juice Bar: A cheap eatery in my train station (Milano Cadorna) that had a yummy Vegano sandwich with what was perhaps the most delicious roast pepper I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
- Centro Botanico: My nearest health food store, because it’s me. I bought hummus and bread and peanut butter and lived on it when I wasn’t going out to eat. And Fuji apples.
Just going to rapid fire this one off before I lose the truly tactile experiential pizza memories. And also because I’m super tired right now.
I just saw Wind River in the theater (It’s excellent, very bleak! Politically sympathetic to women and Native Americans but still makes white people the heroes and Jeremy Renner a very stoic lone wolf savior-type).
Criteria: In order to be a vegan pizza, the pizza must have something purposefully vegan about it. This can be vegan cheese or some other vegan protein (like sausage or tofu). So I’m not accepting pizza with no cheese, just red sauce and vegetables. Because then I would also have to accept bread with just red sauce. And then I would have to accept just bread. And then eventually I would be buying and testing pizza air. Meh. Continue reading “A Vegan Pizza Tour of the Greater Boston Area”