Today was intensely hot and humid, the first really sticky day of this trip. I was having a hard time shaking off the lethargy, and I think insisted on stopping for coffee or drinks three times before one pm. We began at the Musee de Monde Arabe. I love the outside of the building, with geometric steel overlays in the window panels that move as the sun hits them. You begin the visit up on the 7th floor, and work your way down to the fourth. There are examples of ancient pottery, and then small collections of metalwork, glass, ceramics, tile, textiles, calligraphy, etc. I must admit, I was disappointed a lot by the museum. I've seen much better exhibits of Arab artwork and artifacts elsewhere, in New York, Istanbul, Spain, and Israel. Larry enjoyed the small collection of old scientific instruments, like astrolabes.
We wanted to pick up some foodie items at Le Grand Epicerie, the fancy food store branch of Le Bon Marche. I'm always taken aback by how busy the 6th can be, but window shopping the smaller streets can be a lot of fun. We snagged a table at a fancy cafe for lunch, in between two elderly ladies and a young woman taking her grandfather out to lunch. At one point, a waiter spilled coffee down the grandfather's back, and didn't even offer apologies or make sure he was OK. The granddaughter was outraged, (rightfully so!) although the grandfather shrugged it off. The only one of the staff who appeared at all concerned was the young waitress who wasn't even the one responsible. The manager and posing young waiters were occupied in perching against the bar while she ran around serving, getting napkins to clean off the coffee, and letting the granddaughter vent while the ladies at the other table pretended to not hear. In any case, we had an entertaining lunch of salmon tartare and lamb with ratoutille.
We'd been passing by the Foundation Cartier when we've taken the bus, and had seen on the web that it was free on Wednesday afternoons. It's a large glass building, and inside and out was an exhibit of works of the modern sculptor Cesar. Each room had his different media and forms--poured, organic-looking flat pieces; lifelike huge representations of hands, feet, thumbs, and breasts; and compressed metal structures in vivid colors made from junk metals. We really enjoyed this, and it was quite crowded by the time we left. I don't think many would buy the giant bronze thumb, but it is cool.
We spent some time packing up because of our horribly early departure time tomorrow. Larry fell asleep on the sofa, and I did some last minute cheapo shopping at the Monoprix. Can't beat it for good hazelnut oil and sea salt. Then, a walk and a glass of wine in a cafe.
We walked up rue Alesia, deep into the 14th. We had drinks at a cute neighborhood place that I'd heard had good cooking. Since it was closing for vactiaon soon, they weren't serving dinner, disappointing many people coming by. Instead we went to a little place on rue Didot, a lively shopping street. Le 14 Julliet is run by two friendly brothers, with a daily chalkboard menu and nice wines by the glass. We shared an entree of a a sort of cheese turnover filled with chevre and mint. Kind of like a sophisticated cheese blintz. and very tasty. Larry had steak with a massive serving of gooey potatoes dauphanoise; and I had sauteed scallops on a bed of leeks. We finished by sharing a slice of tarte tatin. The food was very tasty, although not outstanding. Still, I'd return for the pleasant neighborhood vibe, and low prices for a nice meal.