Le weekend…

My visit to Les Docks was quite nice. The Balenciaga show was small but quite lovely. His designs from the ’50s and ’60s were displayed with a variety of primarily traditional Spanish clothes and costumes that had inspired his work. All very fascinating. There was also a wacky Comme des Garçons show next door, with the mannequins displayed in large clear plastic globes.

By the time I left, it was raining a bit – and I’d foolishly not brought my raincoat. Decided to head back to the apartment but then couldn’t be motivated to do much more than amble downstairs to a cafe where I sat outside under an awning, enjoying a plate of charcuterie et fromage along with a glass of wine.

After such a strenuous day (and still-lingering jet lag), I needed a nap before dinner. Feeling much refreshed, off I went to Le Galopin, a tiny little bistro I’d read about on Chowhound. The meal was sensational – sufficiently so that it warrants its own post that I’ll work on soon – and shockingly reasonable in price. I left happy and full and peut-être un peu ivre

Home again to change from dinner outfit to going-to-the-bars-and-it’s-raining-out outfit and headed toward the Marais. Saturday was also Nuit Blanche, an all-night festival of art that takes place one night every October. Last time I’d visited Paris, I saw Nuit Blanche and it was quite something… Sadly, this trip I hadn’t studied the venues, which are located all over Paris. But lucky for me, I stumbled across several of the installations and performances over the course of the evening. Here was a particularly charming one, especially on a drizzly Paris evening…

After this I wandered around among a few different bars. Chatted a bit with some  friendly French fellows, mostly in English, though I did OK with my French, too. At some point, another English-speaking tourist overheard our conversation and interrupted to ask if we knew where he could buy some cocaine (or “Charlie”  as he called). Charmant

Wandered some more and saw a few more installations – though my favorite was one that used light and chicken wire sculpture to create a marvelous and ghostly set of apparitions in a series of courtyards.

Heading home, I passed a church and could hear some music so I decided to stick my head in. Mon dieu. Here inside this lovely church at almost 2AM was a vocal ensemble called Les Métaboles performing some stunningly beautiful songs. I actually got a little weepy – not only was the music wonderful, as was the church, but it was a reminder of how lucky I am to get to experience things like Nuit Blanche.

This clip doesn’t really do justice to how truly marvelous this performance was, but you get the idea.

Anyway, as I finally stumbled toward home, bleary-eyed since it was past 3AM, I realized I was a bit peckish. So, after the culinary high of Le Galopin, I sunk to the depths by ordering a “hot dog” from a street vendor (the only one open). It was a kind of like hot dog on a bun prepared croque monsieur style, i.e. with cheese all over. They popped it into the microwave and I scarfed it right down. Not my proudest moment français

Slept in quite late on Sunday and didn’t have much of a plan. Decided to head toward the Louvre on foot, with the intention of looking for the new “magic carpet” canopy over the new Islamic art galleries. I also planned to visit Les Arts Decoratifs to check out their collection of advertising posters and art. WELL. I’d forgotten what a shit-show the whole area around the Louvre is – mobbed, noisy, traffic a mess. The canopy is apparently in an inner courtyard so not accessible unless one enters the Louvre, which I wasn’t in the mood to do on a Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, the line to get into Les Arts Decoratifs was hellishly long, thanks to a current exhibition of Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry. Will have to try again during the week.

Since I was in the ‘hood, I foolishly decided to see what the situation at the Musée d’Orsay was like. HAHAHAHA! Oh my god, what was I thinking? The line snaked all around the entrance plaza, down the street and around the corner – and it did not appear to be moving rapidly.

So, I had to content myself with a stroll through St. Germain, with stops at le Jardin du Luxembourg and Pierre Hermé for some macarons – which I finished just before I sat down to write this. And, I must say, although they were tasty, they were not my favorites. The meringue part was a bit cake-like and lacked the usual crunchy-chewy texture. I wonder if it’s because today is Sunday and they don’t prepare them fresh? Je ne sais pas…  If I’m in the neighborhood of the main store, I may try again. But I still have plenty of other patisseries to try…

Et alors. It’s Sunday afternoon. I must say, I felt a bit guilty that I didn’t “do” much today, other than wander about, i.e. I didn’t look at any art or visit any cultural sights. But, hey – it’s Paris and I enjoyed my long walk.

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