2022 Paris Trip - A real and surreal Day 2 in Paris
Day 2 in Paris started off nice and early. I headed down Rue Saint-Honoré while it was quiet and ended up in Place Vendome, home of the Ritz and Schiaparelli.
That morning, the Richard Mille Rallye des Princesses was starting. This rally is a race of all women teams across 1,000 miles from Paris to the South coast of France in classic cars. I walked around admiring a number of the cars and watched a number of the teams start the race, including this car and this Mercedes.
I then headed to La Coupe D’Or, a little café on the corner of Rue Saint-Honoré and Rue du 29 juillet and had a café crème, some fresh squeezed OJ, and plenty of water.
After wrapping up breakfast, I headed to grab a bus near the Palais Royale to head over to the Flower and Bird market on the Ile de la Cité. On the way to where the market is, I passed the Conciergerie and Sainte Chappelle, the remains of the Palais de la Cité, the old seat of power in Paris before it moved to the Louvre under Charles V. The Conciergerie is where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before here execution in the Place de Concorde.
The Marché aux Fleurs is located in Place Louis Lépine across the Rue de la Cité from the Hôtel Dieu. At this market, which has been in existence since 1808, there is a covered section with permanent vendors in the metal pavilions which date back to the early 1900s as well as an open-air section.
The market is open 8AM to 7PM every day of the year, except for holidays. On Sundays, the Marché aux Fleurs becomes the Marché aux Fleurs et Oiseaux. The Sunday Bird market will be ending as the Pavilions go under renovation beginning in 2023. It was actually because of this planned sunsetting that I made it a priority to head over here. The flowers themselves were gorgeous, and the sound of the birds, even though I agree with the animal rights activists, is an atmospheric cacophony that adds to the charm.
After walking through a part of the market, I stumbled on Au Bord de l’Eau. This charming stall, which is one of the permanent vendors, has stunning flowers (check out their Instagram) as well as other items for sale, such as Fragonard soaps and candles by Geodesis.
After visiting the market, I walked to Notre-Dame de Paris. Since I was in Paris in 2019, they have reopened a part of the square in front of the cathedral. It was interesting to walk around and see the rebuilding progress, especially knowing they intend to reopen for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
Afterwards, I strolled down Rue Chanoinesse to Rue de la Colombe. It is in this neighborhood where the love story of Heloise and Abelard took place in the 12th century. After exploring the area, I headed towards the Pont d’Arcole towards the Hôtel de Ville before heading back to the hotel to try and make my 1:00 lunch reservation.
On Sunday morning, I had originally planned to take in the two exhibits that were on (Love Brings Love: The Alber Elbaz Tribute Show on through July 10, 2022, and A History of Fashion: Collecting and Exhibiting at the Palais Galliera on through June 26, 2022) after my jaunt to the flower and bird market. However, I spent too much time wandering around and missed my entrance time. However, I still had plenty of time to get to my lunch reservation at Les Petites Mains, the seasonal terrace restaurant at the Palais Galliera open Tuesday through Sunday from noon until 8 pm. So even though I did not get to see the exhibits, I could see the building itself which reopened in 2020 after extensive renovations and the first wave of COVID had subsided.
Les Petites Mains changes chefs each opening season (generally opens in April and closes the end of October), and this year, the chef de cuisine is Justine Piluso, and the pastry chef is Jeffry Cagnes. The menu is small, but interesting. On this day, the starters available were an octopus chiffonnade, a strawberry crisp, and a memento of artichokes. The mains available were a potato pancake with burrata, a sea bass a la plancha, and a minute lasagna. For dessert, they had a much larger menu of seven items, including the strawberries tree for two. I decided to start with a cocktail, so I went with the Scarlet. This is vodka infused with beets with maraschino liqueur, homemade hibiscus juice, lemon juice, and ginger syrup. It was not overly sweet and was really refreshing. This drink was a particularly excellent choice given the heat of the afternoon.
For my starter I went with the strawberry crisp. This is a tuile cylinder fille with a light strawberry and shallot mousse, with a salad of balsamic fennel. This was so good and light, and you got a good hint of strawberry without it being overly sweet.
For my main I went with the minute lasagna. This was comprised of shredded French pork belly with smoked eggplant caviar and a cucumber cream with a hint of mint. I would call this a simple dish, but the cucumber cream with a hint of mint elevated this dish.
I decided to skip dessert. I was very, very full, and the strawberry tree (a nearby table ordered it) was absolutely massive (though looked amazing). After lunch, I walked around the Park that backs up to the Palais Galliera and then headed to the Museum of Modern Art, which was right across Avenue du Président Wilson from the park entrance.
I was there to see the Yves Saint Laurent pieces amongst the works that inspired them as part of Yves Saint Laurent aux Museés, a celebration amongst various museums in Paris marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of YSL, and the Toyen and Anita Molinero retrospectives.
I am no fan of modern art, but I am a fan of Surrealism, so the Toyen exhibit was something I really enjoyed. This retrospective, which was also shown in Prague and Hamburg before Paris, was remarkably interesting as it traced Toyen’s career, from her early days in Prague to her death in Paris. This exhibit is at the Paris MAM through July 24, 2022.
The Anita Molinero exhibit was not something I particularly enjoyed. I did not really understand it, and while some of the pieces were visually interesting, it just is not to my taste. This exhibit is at the Paris MAM through July 24, 2022.
The day I visited the Paris MAM was the last day of the Yves Saint Laurent aux Museés exhibits. I enjoyed seeing some of the pieces amongst the works of art that inspired them. I thought the pieces with the Matisse murals were especially well presented. I also enjoyed seeng the evening gowns from 1992 juxtaposed with Raoul Dufy's colorful La Fée Electricité.
Overall, I found the Paris MAM to be an interesting place to while away a few hours, and after my visit, I headed back to the hotel to relax, have a two hour massage (Codage runs the spa the hotel and the massage was fantastic), and catch a nap before heading back out for dinner.
Dinner that night was at Le Chardenoux, a classic bistro that was taken over by Cyril Lignac in 2014 and given a massive facelift in 2019. I have read mixed reviews of the latest iteration of this historic restaurant (Le Chardenoux dates to 1908) but kept an open mind for my visit. On arrival, I asked if I could sit at the bar rather than a table. I enjoy sitting at the bar when I am single diner, and Le Chardenoux’s bar, a large zinc just inside the front door, is a beautiful place to take in a meal and conversation on a Sunday night (Le Chardenoux is open Monday through Sunday for lunch (12:00 to 3:00) and dinner (7:00 to 11:00)).
I started my evening with a Green Garden, which is a Tanqueray gin-based cocktail with cucumber, shiso, mint, green chartreuse, lemon juice and homemade venially syrup. This cocktail was oh so refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
For my starter, I went with the squid, which was served with tomatoes in a chorizo cream sauce. Thankfully, there was a basket of fresh bread to go with it because this dish was outstanding. The sauce was creamy and flavorful, with chunks of chorizo. The squid itself was perfectly tender, and the tomatoes complimented the fish, giving a burst of acidity to the dish.
For my main course, I went with the roasted chicken breast with satay sauce and lemon along with an order of the vanilla mashed potatoes. The chicken was full of flavor, and while I did not taste the vanilla, the mashed potatoes were perfectly creamy and an excellent choice to go with the chicken.
For dessert, I went with the strawberries served with meringue and a strawberry sorbet as it was strawberry season. The strawberries were sweet, but the overall dessert was not overly sweet, which was to my preference.
Along with my dinner I was drinking the Anne Gros and Jean Paul Tollot 2019 La 50/50 which is a Côtes du Brian IGP, made using primarily Grenache, though with Syrah and Carignan, from old vines in Cazelles. I really enjoyed this wine and will be looking to see if I can find it here in New York.
During dinner, a thunderstorm struck Paris, and once the rain subsided, I called a cab and headed back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep to prepare for Day 3 of my trip.