It is a truth universally acknowledged that if there are no pictures, it didn’t happen. So here you go.
Me and Dad at Sacré Coeur, overlooking the whole city. He had e-mailed me this morning suggesting that we go to the Stein collection this afternoon (that’s the collection of Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, and others that Gertrude, Leo, Michael and Sarah Stein amassed at their apartments in Paris–we did end up going, but in the evening, because it wasn’t open during the day). But it was so glorious out, not a cloud in the sky, that I said THIS was the day to go to Montmartre, because what’s the point of that view on a cloudy day? That’s the interesting thing about planning a trip to Paris. There’s really only so much you can plan ahead, because once you get here, there are certain things that just need great weather, like going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, or seeing the stained glass at Saint Chappelle, which requires sunlight at a certain angle. Anyway. We had a great climb up to the top of Montmartre, cleverly avoiding the guys who wanted to weave us string bracelets and then make us pay for them, and then had a leisurely amble back down, with stops for bathrooms, water, and food. Then we headed over to…
L’Arc de Triomphe! We wandered on the Champs-Élysées for a while, then had coffee/wine, and stopped at Ladurée for macarons on the way to the Stein collection. This is probably blasphemous to say, but I think I’ve had better macarons than we had tonight at Ladurée, tasty as they were. Sorry, Ladurée. It’s not personal–it’s business.
The Stein collection was actually really great, and packed with people. I think it’s a lot more interesting to go to an art museum when half of the exhibit is devoted to the story of the people behind the art and the people who bought it and made further art possible. Plus it’s mostly Picasso and Matisse (Michael and Sarah Stein’s collection actually eventually only included Matisse), which means plenty of colors and wild textures and things to think about. I liked it a lot.
Then we went to Bistro St. Dominique for dinner. I had been trying, up to this point, to avoid restaurants where the menus were written in both French and English, because they sort of scream “tourist,” but we were so hungry by the time we got there and had been wandering for a while, so we decided to sit ourselves down. It was quite good, actually–I had confit de canard, which is gloriously crispy duck, Dad had steak, and Julie had haddock. Dad and I both had delicious tartes tatins for dessert (that’s caramelized upside down apple cake, and I could have sworn Ina Garten had a recipe for it, but the Food Network website is turning up no results, hélas!), but Julie was disappointed in her crème brûlée.
On the train on the way home (after we checked out the lit-up Eiffel Tower), I helped several different tourists figure out the train system. Guess I might be turning a bit Parisian after all.