I spent the first night here with my Bangkok friend Dolly, and we enjoyed a long walk through the Bastille neighborhood before having our farewell dinner together.
Dolly left the next day and now I'm staying in my friend Caroline's apartment in androissment 8, which is a great location, close to almost all the "must sees".
My young Parisian friends are treating me like royalty again. Natalie and Caroline are the kindest, most gracious and hospitable young women you could ever meet. Caroline filled her cupboard and refrigerator with all kinds of goodies for my breakfast and snacking pleasure, so much appreciated. Saturday, I had lunch with Natalie and Caroline at their favorite Lebanese restaurant where I enjoyed the best food of this kind that I've ever had. Then Caroline took me to a wonderful little museum in her neighborhood, the Museè Nissim De Camondo, a mansion that was donated to the French government by a wealthy Jewish banker, along with an amazing collection of 18th century furniture and objets d'art. Every room in the mansion is decorated harmoniously with beautiful furniture, tapestries, carpets, paintings, clocks, vases, etc. etc. It takes a while to take it all in.
Here's an example of one of the sumptously decorated rooms.
Look at this beautiful carpet...the colors are still very vivid.
There was a "dish room" where I saw the most incredible set of china. Each piece had different birds hand painted on it and there were at least 100 different pieces.
It's an unusual museum and best of all, it wasn't crowded. That evening we had a fabulous dinner at Maison de la Truffe, where I had a wonderful risotto topped with shavings of black truffle and some truffle-filled brie cheese with arugula salad. I'm so lucky to have fellow "foodies" as friends and Caroline surprised me with this special dinner because she knows I love my truffles.
On Sunday, I went to the Museé Marmottan, which has the largest collection of Monet paintings in the world, many of which were donated to that museum by his last surviving relative. I was stunned by a room filled with huge canvases, the size of which I don't recall seeing before. Many were his studies of water lillies.
I've always liked Monet's water lillies, but this painting is now among my favorites. It was in Monet's first exhibition in Paris, and its name, "Impression: Sunrise" was coined to describe this new art movement.
There was a room devoted to Monet's crayon drawings and caricatures done when he was 17 and 18 years old. Who would think his style would evolve as it did from this beginning?
The line to get into the museum was long because there was also a wonderful special exhibit of 100 paintings from private collections, all from the great impressionists, and I felt lucky to view this wonderful art that is seldom by the public eye. I loved this Renoir.
Part 2, my very last day, to come when I receive some photos I need from Natalie.