On Friday, my beloved chose to visit the Musée Marmottan Monet in 16th arrondissement. According to Bing maps, a mere 90 minutes on foot from where we were staying. We decided to walk along the Seine towpath which gave us a slightly different perspective of Paris. It was a very enjoyable stroll and we emerged onto street level once we’d reached the Tour Eiffel which is in the 15th, an area I’ve previously exhausted on foot.
We turned off at the Trocadero, named in honour of the battle of the same name. It’s worth a visit if only for the magnificent views it affords of the Tour Eiffel. We headed up and along rue du Passy, passing by the recently opened branch of La Grande Epicerie at just before 12:30 pm, lunchtime. We ventured into its restaurant on the second floor and got one of its few remaining tables. It was a simply delicious light meal.
Our batteries recharged, we headed for the museum which is opposite the Ranelagh Gardens. It was at this point, I realised I’d been here many years before. My French penfriend’s grandmother had lived in a bijou house, along with her maid and housekeeper, a little closer to the Bois de Boulogne. She had been the epitome of an elderly elegant Frenchwoman, immaculately turned out in what only I later appreciated was head-to-toe Chanel.
The museum is set in a former hunting lodge and is built around the donated collection of a wealthy Parisian family. They were descendants of the Duke of Valmy whose chateau we’ve stayed at in Argelès-sur-Mer. The initial collection had been added to by further wealthy collectors, plus the remnants of Monet’s Collection of his own works and those of his friends. I say remnants as his son had sold a number of paintings to finance his love of African safaris! However, there was still plenty I’d be happy to display on my walls should the opportunity ever arise.
The museum wasn’t busy though we found ourselves sandwiched between two small coach parties of French pensioners. Okay, so they weren’t much older than us but we’re not yet prepared to concede we’re OAPs. Furthermore, said parties had their own guides who were at pains to explain the works in great detail. I shamelessly listened in and even asked a couple of questions, no one seemed to mind. Having walked to the museum, we elected to get the Metro back to the apartment as we were feeling a bit footsore. We were only too happy to put our feet up and dine in that evening.
Although there are plenty of small, cosy and family run hotels in Le Marais, we prefer the space and freedom afforded us by renting an apartment. This small apartment block has its own resident beggar who sits outside, come rain or shine, from dawn to dusk. He’s a Bulgarian who needs to collect a certain amount each day in order to spend the night under cover. Sadly, there are a distressing number of beggars on the streets of Paris. I would estimate one every hundred metres or so. It’s simply not possible to help them all. Instead, we choose to help one and, while we’re there, ensure he has enough to eat and drink during the day and to pay for a bed overnight. This one’s quite an engaging fellow and has two cute dogs for company.