On Saturday we said goodbye to our apartment Loft des Antiquaires, its charming owner Marlyse, and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Whilst sad to be leaving, we are so happy to have made it back there a second time after our three week stay in 2015.
A relaxing TGV train trip from Avignon sees us arriving at Gare de Lyon in Paris on a gently drizzling late afternoon. I’m only now writing up our Paris stay as there was no time to spare during our short three night stay.
Newly washed Marais streets after an autumn shower.
We chose an historic-outside, exotic-inside boutique hotel in the Haut Marais district. Le Hotel du Petit Moulin was originally the first Boulangerie (bakery) in Paris and retains its original shop frontage whilst the interior has been richly decorated by Christian Lacroix. Our room features an elaborately painted rich red wall.
The hotel is well located for lazy strolls, café perching and people watching, dining, food and other shopping, architecture admiration and sightseeing being not far from the newly renovated Picasso Musée, the Carnavalet museum dedicated to the history of Paris, the elegant Place des Vosges and the Centre Pompidou.
Local markets in the Marais on Saturday morning.
We start our exploration in earnest Sunday morning heading out for breakfast at a nearby brasserie before spending a few hours revisiting the Musée d’Orsay to see the current Cézanne portraits exhibition. The exhibition covers his portraiture from very early in his career starting with a self portrait and family portraits, before he branches out to paint friends, benefactors, his lover and later wife and son.
Cézanne had a professional but respectful relationship with his collector.
This is said to be Cézanne’s first self portrait.
Well satisfied we leave the gallery to walk along the Seine across the Pont Royal. We linger in the Jardin des Tuileries before arriving to queue at Musée des Arts Decoratifs to see the Christian Dior exhibition.
Relaxing in the autumn sunshine in the Tuileries.
The Dior exhibition is well worth the 45 minute wait in the queue outside – quite spectacular with each room exceeding the previous in splendour.
It covers the original career of Dior as a gallery owner before embarking on his fashion career and moves on to showcase hundreds of original outfits, photos of famous actresses and personalities clothed in Dior, elaborate accessories, perfumes and sketches telling the story of Dior, and the House of Dior and its key designers.
This room dedicated individual sections to colour coordinated outfits with matching accessories.
Just when you think it has come to an end you enter an even more spectacular room.
A day well spent soaking in just some of the elements that make up the essence of Paris – the art, design, architecture, the Seine and its fabulous gardens, ducking out of the late afternoon autumn showers to race back to the hotel and then out for a drink at Café Charlot, a local brasserie packed full of Parisienne cool young things.
Café Charlot in the Marais.
Sunday is a quieter start to the day with a croissant and coffee and then doing what Paris suits best – a leisurely walk from the Marais across the Seine via the Pont Notre Dame, to Ile de la Cite to admire the Notre Dame, then across to Saint Michel stopping for another coffee and apple tart.
On duty at Hôtel de Ville.
Recent news of Paris’ successful bid for the 2024 Olympics.
The Seine is a drawcard for locals and tourists alike.
Perfectly delicious apple tart – eminently sensible luncheon choice.
Retracing our path but taking Pont Saint Michel we walk back stopping to observe the activity and sights along the Seine, pass by the Conciergerie, Sainte Chappelle and Palais de Justice where there is a fleet of police cars parked outside.
We continue our walk through the streets making our way to the Centre Pompidou and spend the rest of the afternoon walking around the Marais, popping in and out of beautiful shops and finally settling for a late lunch of perfect omelettes and wine.
A simple dinner a few hours later and an early night as we rise early for our long flight back home to Sydney after nearly six weeks away. And so we come to the end of this Croatia and France walkabout. À bientôt.