Don’t you just hate the last day of a great trip? You feel unsettled, somewhat sad, have trouble focusing on the here and now; yet feel a degree of anticipation over getting home, being in your own bed, own space. The last day just seems like something to get through. It reminds me of the last week or two in my classroom, when kids often get quarrelsome or unusually grumpy, and say “I hate this place! It’s boring! I hate you!” as a way to say goodbye and have an easier ending that’s more on their terms as a positive thing instead of a sadness.
But still, Paris. How could it be anything less than good? Don’t answer that. In any case, we had a fabulous last day.
Another of the “I can’t believe we’ve never been there” museums is the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. And I must say, Larry was a very good sport at the prospect of slogging through several centuries worth of furniture and ugly knickknacks. We again got an audioguide, which had good detail on the collections. The rooms go in chronological order, so you can really get a sense of how style and workmanship changed. Of particular interest to us in the earlier rooms were the beautiful Renaissance cabinetry, and the gorgeous 17th century marquetry and inlaid wooden furniture. Then came two centuries of straight-out ugly, with more curlicues, gilt, and bloated cherubs than you could shake a stick at. Things improved with some lovely and light furnishings, I really loved the Duchesse de Berry’s early 19th century bedroom. Then things got heavy, dark and fussy, all wiped away with the cleaner, nature-driven motifs of the various Art Nouveau schools. Some very fun Deco rooms, and then the wacky and weird late 20th century rooms. Mom, you should not have thrown out all that 60’s Scandanavian furniture. We also enjoyed a large exhibit of contemporary glassware before museum exhaustion set in.
We again headed up rue de Richelieu in search of lunch, grabbing the last table at Juvinile’s Wine Bar. Larry had the daily special, which was long-roasted pork with lentils. He loved it, and I was extremely happy with my fish with leeks that had a slightly zippy horseradish cream sauce underneath. Excellent though unfussy cooking, friendly and informal place.
Walked back to the Marais, skipping around, walking through passages, market streets, past gorgeous buildings, and tiny pocket parks when we remembered where they were, and enjoying the last hours in Paris. And sadly, we had to pack up to leave in the morning. And figure out how to pack our six bottles of wine.
I had booked a last blow-out meal, at Spring. It was opened a few years ago by an American-born, French-trained chef. He has since also opened a more traditional bistro, and is now moving to NYC to open something new, which is happy news for us.
Every night is a fixed-price, no choice meal, which more than exceeded my expectations. Each dish was fabulous, used prime ingredients,and was superbly and creatively prepared. We shared a wine pairing, which was plenty of wine for us.
We were started off with warm oysters in a lemony sauce, and a tiny dish of crackly pork bits. Champagne, bien sur.
Then on to a lobster and vegetable salad, and then an absolutely sublime dish of fish, with an intensely good broth and a little surprise of green curry nearby.
Rare slices of duck breast with butternut, and oh heaven, a little dish of sauteed foie gras alongside.
Several little desserts to split–a tiny bowl of roasted quinces (it was fun to try to say the French word for quince, my mouth does not go that way) with green apple sorbet; and a wowy hazelnut-lemon tart, with a scoop of something chocolate and delicious.
A lot of food, but the portions were not enormous and we were there for three hours. Enjoying every minute.
So, Paris. Happy to say, we still adore you. Already plotting a return.