Thursday, April 07, 2022

Paris: Everything Everywhere All at Once

I was very pumped to be in Paris. I haven't been back here since my highschool Europe trip, and my adventure powers have developed quite a bit since then.

These hořické trubičky were fun crispy rolled things with cinnamon and sugar in the middle.

The Select Hotel Rive Gauche was in a fun location right next to the famous Sorbonne University.

We had a little breakfast at a nice little place. 

I had a lil quiche.

"The Sainte-Chapelle is a royal chapel in the Gothic style, within the medieval Palais de la Cité, the residence of the Kings of France until the 14th century, on the Île de la Cité in the River Seine in Paris, France.

Construction began sometime after 1238 and the chapel was consecrated on 26 April 1248. The Sainte-Chapelle is considered among the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture. It was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion relics, including Christ's Crown of Thorns – one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom. This was later held in the nearby Notre-Dame Cathedral until the 2019 fire, which it survived."

The rose shaped window depicts the fan favorite St. John's visions of the Apocalypse.

This was especially fun because Louis IX of France is the St. Louis that they named the city after. Louis bought the supposed crown of thorns from Baldwin II of Constantinople.

Notre Dame was still being reconstructed after it got rocked by a fire in 2019.

We did a requisite visit to the Louvre.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace.

I was willing to put up with the line to see the Mona Lisa. Why the heck not. 

While I was in the line I could check out other works of art, so it didn't feel much different than just being in a normal art museum... except maybe for the throngs of people.

"The sitter for this portrait was Lisa Gherardini (1479-1542), who lived in Florence in the early 16th century. She was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy silk merchant. Her elegant, elaborate outfit indicates her social status. Her dress is covered by a large veil of transparent silk. She is sitting in a loggia - a roofed open gallery - in front of a mountainous landscape.

The lower part of the landscape is evidently incomplete: the forms are barely sketched. Leonardo began this partially experimental painting in about 1503 and never finished it. He took it with him everywhere he went, until his final trip to France in 1516 at the invitation of King Francois I. The king bought the painting, which thus entered the French royal collection."

"The Raft of the Medusa

After the wreck of the French frigate La Meduse in 1816, only fifteen people survived of the 150 who set out on a makeshift raft. Gericault's painting gives a contemporary news story all the majesty of a sublime collective tragedy. The work offers a vision of hell in which each individual's humanity is put to the test."

Strangely they were exhibiting the album cover art from Coldplay's Viva la Vida.

The Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon and the Coronation of the Empress Josephine in Notre Dame Cathedral on 2 December 1804

Venus de Milo and Venus de Milito

The Louvre itself has a long and interesting history. Wiki:

"The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II. Remnants of the Medieval Louvre fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to urban expansion, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function, and in 1546 Francis I converted it into the primary residence of the French Kings. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation's masterpieces."

I liked this area a lot because the Persian civilization doesn't seem to get a lot of representation in museums for whatever reason. I've never seen anything like these before.

"Wall decoration: frieze of lions

This frieze is the only one whose original location is known: it once decorated the north wall of the large entrance courtyard of the palace of Darius I. It was found face down on the ground."

I was drawn to the Hôtel de Crillon because of some of the history I had read about the place. Wikipedia is doing a lot of work for me today. "The building that is now the hotel was constructed in 1758, after King Louis XV commissioned the most prolific architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel to build two neoclassical palaces in what would become the Place de la Concorde." That is all well and good but what really caught my eye was this little tidbit: "On 6 February 1778, the building was the venue where the newly founded United States and France signed their first treaties. Americans Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane and Arthur Lee met French diplomat Conrad Alexandre Gérard de Rayneval to conclude the French-American treaty that recognised the Declaration of Independence of the United States and a trade agreement." Not too shabby!

We stopped for some drinks and appetizers mainly as an excuse to soak up more of the beautiful hotel that we were not actual guests at.

Lydia got a pretty fancy mocktail: Marie-Antoinette - passion fruit, elderflower, soda.

I had a Green Mauresque: Henri Bardouin pastis, orgeat, lime, cucumber, mineral water

There was cheese there was bread. It was all very French.

We were strolling down the fancy Champs-Élysées and saw the very exclusive Five Guys.

The avenue has long been a place where Americans love to take a leisurely stroll.

We had an appointment at Pâtisserie E. Ladurée, the manufacturer and retailer of high-end pastries and candy since 1862. You know, when Abraham Lincoln was president.

There was tea and deliciousness. I honestly was expecting a fancier decor after all of the hooting and hollering. The upper floor where we were seated had a grandma's house vibe to it, while the facade of the building led me to believe I was about to have literal breakfast at Tiffany's. Lydia ordered some sort of "succes praline" situation.

I had the ispahan: rose flavoured macaron filled with rose petal and lychee cream, embellished with fresh raspberries.

Rue Lincoln!

We took a look inside what I believe is the flagship Dior store. I wanted to treat Lydia like a pretty pretty princess so I told her I would buy here something fancy in Paris. Amusingly though, as very recent poor people, we had a lot of anxiety about even going into these stores. So I thought it was worth while to sort of force ourselves to get out of our comfort zone. In my head I was going to buy some clothes in Paris too, but I was having trouble finding a place that sold things that I could actually wear.

I was interested in also checking out the Louis Vuitton store but there was a line wrapped around the building. Meh.

We continued down the famous Champs-Élysées until we reached the Arc de Triomphe.

"The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces."

There was a great view from the top.

It was a little windy up there. Hey, there's the Eiffel Tower!

We did some more shopping at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. While they still had the fancy brands, this place was much more approachable to me and I was actually interested in buying things here.

This shirt was one of today's acquisitions.

We went back to the hotel for a rest and a costume change. We were about to have a lovely evening.

Our dinner date was with a friend I have not seen in some time.

When we told the guards that we had reservations at Le Jules Verne, located on the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower, they very seriously escorted us all the way to the restaurant's private elevator.

I'm not sure they were labeled but this must be Iron Lady engineer Gustave Eiffel and Jules Verne.

When we were seated part of the table setting were these little books with Jules Verne quotes on them. Mine is Paris in the Twentieth Century and says something along the lines of "we no longer taste the music we swallow it."

The place had a Michelin star, and was in 
Europe, so I was confused when we weren't seated next to a movie star like yesterday in Prague. Apparently Presidents Trump and Macron ate here together with their wives in 2017.

This is my first time in the same city as the Eiffel Tower since I came here with my high school classmates(Danny and Joe in this picture)... sometime around 2001.

I'm not going to insult your intelligence by pretending I know what the hell this thing is.

This must be "crab, iced consomme, caviar, granny smith zephyr."

"Scallop: poelee, sauce hollandaise, thin slices, sea urchin and lime zest"

"Langoustine: prepared as a ravioli, parmesan cream, thin beetroot jelly"

"Cod: simply cooked, kalamata olive powder, fried capers, bouillabaisse consomme"

Funny story about this jacket. It's Hugo Boss and I found it on sale at Nordstrom Rack in Seattle. We check out, there's a lot going on, lady must have gotten distracted: I did not pay for this jacket.

We got to see the tower's lightshow from an uncommon angle.

I think my only little gripe about the experience is that we leisurely finished our dinner, and then when we attempted to exit the restaurant onto the second floor viewing deck, they informed us that it was already closed. Really in general the place was fancy and the food was good but it didn't feel very personal. There were so many waiters that I never felt personally attended to, but more of a part of some assembly line. Maybe it's a cultural thing I don't know.

I was watching House of Gucci weeks ago and noticed this reference to the restaurant I just lavished upon Lydia. In it, Patrizia Gucci, played by Lady Gaga, wife of fashion house scion Maurizio Gucci, talks about begging to go to this restaurant for her 25th birthday. Let the record show I just took Lydia there on a Wednesday because I like the cut of her jib.

These guys selling these light-up tower trinkets were funny because I could see them from up in the tower.

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