Paris from Above

Trip Start Oct 29, 2009
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Trip End Nov 15, 2009


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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Friday, November 6, 2009

About two months before leaving for our trip, we heard about a temporary art installation placed on the top of a museum in Paris. Inside this glass box, a talented chef creates two meals a day for twelve people.The idea got us so excited and the view? All of Paris. If you plan on visiting Paris soon, we highly recommend you try nabbing a seat. Seats are released 30 days before the date you'd like and I've never seen anything go quicker. Chris & I tried to get seats many nights in a row and were closed out **seconds** after their release. The tickets we finally reserved we obtained two seconds after their release & then they were gone. (We're happy to provide tips on what we did to get them if you plan on going.)

So, with that background...we started our day with lunch at Art Home atop the Paris Museum on Modern Art. It was our first clear day in Paris which lent to great views and some warmth in the air. We ascended to the installation by passing through the rooftop garden the chef uses to prepare his meals. The garden had tomatoes, herbs, beautiful flowers and tables set up as part of the exhibit. The next level up was our lunch box which looked like a cool modular home and inside, it felt like that too. Glass everywhere, clean lines, flush cabinets and appliances and even the door to the bathroom seemed to just be a wall. We were greeted with champagne and given time to wander the box and take in the experience. Everything seemed very hipster and they were playing great music--a blend of rock, US, French, etc. Then they played the song from our first dance at our wedding. (I'm not kidding.) And it's such a random song: the waltz from Sleeping Beauty. Perfection.

As were were standing along the glass, gazing at the Eiffel Tower, the waiter brought us an amuse bouche that was incredible. We have no idea what it was, or anything for that matter (!!), but it was mouth watering. The chef prepared our meals feet away from us in the open kitchen and it was great to see his concentration and calm but swift movements. The soup, fish & dessert were all incredible. (More photos to come.)

After experiencing our first meal inside a functional art installation, we took a brief stroll into Trocadero, a wealthy area just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. Somehow I was still a bit hungry and decided to order yet another crepe from a sidewalk creperie. We dodged the men incessantly selling glow in the dark mini Eiffel's and hopped on the Metro to Montmartre, the district that is home to the famed Sacre Coeur. The cathedral rests on top of the highest point in Paris, and despite its relatively new construction (late 19th century), it has an ancient feel. The views of the city from this area are unique and singularly spectacular. Kate and I couldn't find the Eiffel Tower on the horizon for about ten minutes and were completely baffled, only to discover it was blocked by some trees around the corner. Inside Sacre Coeur, we were delighted to once again hear the beautiful sound of singing. A mass began shortly after we entered and the chorus filled the space with their beautiful voices. (Fun little story: on the backside of Sacre Coeur, a dog was barking non-stop and Chris & I laughed at the sign: Attention le chien. The closer we got, more he barked until a window four stories up opened and out popped the head of a fully habited nun who yelled: Emon! Non! He stopped immediately. The power of God!!)

Following our visit to Sacre Coeur, and once again dodging men selling things (this time Heineken to go with the sunset), we explored the Montmartre neighborhood. It is a fabulous area, on the same hillside as the cathedral. There is a quaint square with artists painting portraits of passers-by and tons of little patisseries, cafes and restaurants. The area was bustling and I had finally discovered Europe as I imagined it in my childhood: small streets, open squares, and people eating, drinking and laughing together. This was by far our favorite neighborhood thus far. We strolled its sweet streets with a warm baguette.

We wrapped up our day with views from the Arc de Triomphe (video to come) and the Eiffel Tower. The wind whipped and it was bitter! The type of cold that makes your teeth chatter immediately...it was fantastic. From the tip of Eiffel Tower we made-out all the spots we'd been to and were surprised to see the ground we had covered and the size of things from above. Even at this great height, the Louvre looks gigantic. Sacre Coeur is predominant in the cityscape and the Seine reflected beautiful light. It was great to see Art Home illuminated in pale purple where guests were enjoying their dinners.

One more day in Paris and then on to Rome!!

Note to travelers: If you travel to Europe with an iPhone/iTouch, I highly recommend you purchase the apps for train routes (Metro Paris & Underground London) which make train travel a snap. I cannot imagine being here without it.


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Comments

Matt Harrison on

This trip is so amazing! I can't believe you got seats at the art home, it sounds incredible... Although Chris looks like he smelled something funny in the video!

malonwil
malonwil on

No matter what we do that we love, there is always room for more. You Guys have made your Paris encounter a memory. One of the best things about French cooking can be eating something that you don't know what it is. The "Art Home" was probably one of the piece de resistance of your experiences next to Bateau Parisenne. Joie de vie!

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