This and that in Paris, January 2020; the Folies Bergère

The French start training early for the enjoyment of the outdoor cafe life:

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Many of the city’s grocery stores currently have these enticing cases of Little Moons Japanese mochi at the front.  I never did try any.  It is January, after all. Plus, my hands are almost always full. But, I am intrigued, see below the pix:

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From the Little Moon website: https://www.littlemoons.co.uk

Brother and sister, Howard & Vivien Wong, launched Little Moons in 2010 on a mission to bring Japanese mochi with a delicious, modern twist to the masses.

Having grown up eating traditional mochi in their parent’s bakery they knew the potential these little balls had to deliver a moment of total happiness to whoever ate them.

It took them two years to master the mochi making process and perfect the ice cream recipes, working with top chefs and using quality ingredients to create the perfect flavour combinations.

With a Little Moons now eaten every second we felt the time was right to introduce our next bite sized adventure and so in 2019 we launched our Cookie Dough Ice Cream Bites.

Big Flavours, Little Moons.

What is mochi?

Mochi is a rice flour dough that has been steamed and pounded to give it its distinctive soft and chewy texture. We wrap a thin layer of mochi around our ice cream balls to make our Little Moons mochis.

It is so unique that in Asia the distinctive glutinous texture of mochi has its own name and is known as the Q texture.

 

Ok, back to Paris!

I swoon over the architecture:

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The famous Folies Bergère. Art Deco all the way home.

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Even the animals were dressed for winter:

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You cannot help loving these Metro entrance markers by Hector Guimard, even if most of the (darn) stations were closed during my visit (for the longest strike in French history):

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A shop dedicated to cat designs?

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The classic French Galette Des Rois is for sale in almost every pâtisserie.

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I never made it into the Louvre on this trip, even though I had tickets for a special exhibition, but I did get to see the Louvre’s ultra modern subway station on the automated Metro Line #1:

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Much more to come, probably for another month!

Toulouse-Lautrec at the Grand Palais, January 2020

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I first fell in love with the graphic works of Toulouse-Lautrec in college.  Posters of his magnificent advertisements covered my dormitory room walls.  I still love his work.

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I also love the Grand Palais. I mean, just look at it! Construction of the building began in 1897 following the demolition of the Palais de l’Industrie  as part of the preparation works for the Universal Exposition of 1900, which also included the creation of the adjacent Petit Palais and Pont Alexandre III. It has been listed since 2000 as a historique monument by the French Ministry of Culture.

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Although the Palais appears to be in the style of Beaux-Arts architecture as taught by the École des Beaux-Arts of Paris, and the building reflects the movement’s taste for ornate decoration on its stone facades, its structure, in fact, is made of iron, light steel framing, and reinforced concrete. These were very innovative techniques and materials at the time, and included the glass vault.

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A stained glass design by the artist. I had no idea he had worked in this medium.

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The design for the glass:

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Yes, here is the ad for the magazine La revue blanche!  This design has always been a favorite!

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The exhibition was excellent.  I am becoming a very lazy art historian. I’m sorry to say that I don’t enjoy muscling my way through exhibitions anymore.  I am spoiled because, once upon a time, I could view these shows privately.  It’s not nice to be just another visitor.  Boo hoo.

Still, the show was magnificent and I’m glad I saw it!

And, because so much of Lautrec’s work was devoted to the entertainments of Montmartre, the curators included this great film clip:

The Musee d’Orsay, Paris

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Head’s up!  This will be a long post.  Lots of pictures.  The Musee d’Orsay is an incredible museum.  Much smaller than the Louvre, it is still a huge collection.  Many days are needed to truly see everything.  But, I gave it the old college try again in one day recently.

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The views out the windows are pretty spectacular.

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I am fascinated by how my tastes change over time.  When I visit a museum these days, new things I might never have noticed now take center stage for me.  Below are pictures of the works that caught my eye this time.

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Of course I always love white marble neoclassical sculpture from the 19th century.  It’s the stuff I cut my art history teeth with.   But this was a new take:  I have never seen a neoclassical (or any other period) sculpture that is adorned with actual earrings!

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I loved this Annunciation, especially since I see Quattrocento versions in Florence almost daily.  I love the French term for the title: La salutation Angelique.  Everything sounds better in French.

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I can’t remember seeing costumes on display in art museums in the past.  I was so happy to see these from the early 20th century.  Such a delight!

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A French costume version of an American Indian:

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I found this sculpture by Dubois very interesting.  It feels Quattrocentoesque to me, which I like, but the main thing I like about it is the silvery finish.

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Hello Whistler! How’s your mom?  Nice to see a fellow American here!

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Antico Setificio Fiorentino showroom

Behold! Visiting the showroom after my tour of the Antico Setificio recently made me hyperventilate. So much beauty, so little time!

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By the way, some of the pictures below may duplicate each other.  Sometimes writing a blog is a super pain in the next, especially when you have lots of images to use and when the software misbehaves.  I do the best that I can.  I prefer to be over inclusive rather than miss one image.

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Au revoir, beautiful Paris!

Paris, you never disappoint! Even with your strikes–which were a pain in my neck, but especially my feet–I love you still! Perhaps part of your allure is your difficulty. You aren’t easy.  But, you are worth all the trouble.

This is how you greeted me on my first day. My taxi driver couldn’t get to my hotel because your strikers were on the boulevard nearby.  I will give you this: your protest was civil and, I noticed in the 10 days I was with you, they never get started in earnest before late afternoon.  That is my kind of striking schedule.

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But, we can overlook the strikes. Let the beguiling begin:

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Your shop windows beguile. Ho hum, Russian dolls, but…look how many! Extreme!

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Your architecture thrills the eye:

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The Seine…what can I say?

 

 

I both love and hate le Musée du Louvre (especially after Friday, Jan. 17, 2020). Still, it is undeniably spectacular:

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Check out this living wall.  I’ve seen other living walls in other cities, but I mean, this one is extreme!

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Then, there is that little old department store called Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, founded in 1838 and revamped almost completely by Aristide Boucicaut in 1852,  which was one of the first modern department stores. Now it is the property of LVMH and it sells a wide range of high-end goods, including food in the adjacent building at 38, rue de Sèvres, called La Grande Épicerie de Paris.  Other cities have magnificent department stores. You have this one in a grand, original building on the Left Bank.

 

 

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Again, the architecture…

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The street art…I love it!

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Graffiti, so joyful:

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Oh, la la Paris, je t’aime!

Au revoir, beautiful. Vous allez me manquer!

Rendez-vous au printemps! xoxoxoxo

Paris, day 10; Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

First, you gotta get there.  It requires a lot of climbing, no matter how you approach the famous hill.  It was almost a miracle that the Metro was working which got me to the area from my temporary home near Canal Saint Martin.  Great! But, you still gotta climb to get to the church. In the photo below, I am building my courage to begin:

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In the picture below, I’ve made it half-way up the stair. I look down to take pleasure in my accomplishment thus far, while I allow my heart to normalize.

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But, then I look at what’s left to climb.  Help me!

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But then, I mean…come on! It is so worth the hike!  Particularly on this splendid Saturday afternoon in mid-January!

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Below, just a quick glimpse of the interior.  More coming soon!

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Leonardo’s advice on aging

Today is my birthday (and Michelle Obama’s!) and, as I mark how fast the years go by, it seems like the right time to mention these cool street lights in Milan. They hang near the famous refectory where Leonardo da Vinci painted The Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie. It is sage advice for us all:

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Acquisita cosa nella tua gioventù che ristori il danno della tua vecchiezza e se tu intendi la vecchiezza aver per suo cibo la vecchiezza adoprati in tal modo in gioventù che a tal vecchiezza non manchi il nutrimento. Leonardo da Vinci

My poor translation goes something like this.  I think it captures the intent if not the poetry:
Acquire in your youth that which will restore the damage of your old age. And if you intend old age to have wisdom, then you’ll need to acquire the nourishment in your youth. Leonardo da Vinci