an american in paris – day 7: duck, pork, pork

jasmine at night aka I think I look goofy in this picture

Jeff and I left Khloe and Coco at the apartment to check out the Musee d’Orsay. At least, we thought we left them at home. The ladies actually made it back to Galleries Lafayette so Khloe could get her tourist tax rebate on a purchase she made yesterday. I’ve previously sworn I would not go back to GL but all the soldes signs in all the store windows have got me reaching for my wallet, ready to cut into my food budget.

The Musee d’Orsay was awesome. A former railway station, the space was rehabbed and reopened as a museum back in the eighties. The collection is extensive and impressive, and displayed beautifully in a building filled with natural light. I have no favorites among the collection, though I found myself drawn to portraits, the model of the Paris Opera house, and this book, which I bought for Nathan. Or for Jeff Ramone. I haven’t yet figured out who would dig it more. I also snuck a glance at Courbet’s L’Origine du monde, but was more amused by the giggling couples standing in front of it.

After Orsay, Jeff and I went to a little Chinese place down the street. Nothing special, just fried rice and sweet and sour chicken, but it was tasty, filling but not heavy. I told Jeff this the other day, but I find it trippy to be among Asian people who speak flawless French with perfect accents. Note to self: learn new language immediately, unleash sexy upon world.

All four of us converged at the Musee de Quai Branly, which is devoted to indigenous art from Asia, Oceania, Africa, and the Americas. I really liked the way the everything were displayed, though my ignorance of cultural practices when displaying pre- and post-colonial artifacts may be the reason. You walk up a long winding ramp to the third floor, which is dimly lit and organized by region. Instruments, clothing, tools, weapons, all displayed behind class but in such a way that they appear to float in space. Room dividers contain text, images, sometimes offering benches for resting, and little niches where someone even as big as myself can sit in front of a touchscreen and watch any number of multimedia presentations on topics such as rice cultivation or death rites in Java or Vietnam. Incredible. Also there is a huge garden in front of the building from which you get a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower, which is right next door. We had a quick snack at the museum cafe, where I got too much cheese (and managed to get the nice waiters to get it wrapped up for me to take home) and, at Khloe’s suggestion, called ahead to Les Cotelettes to make a reservation for dinner. It helped that the dude who picked up the phone spoke enough English to save me from maligning French too badly.

But back to the tower. Jeff and I made it up to 3rd level (the top was closed). It was Jeff’s first time, too. Khloe wasn’t into it, so she and Coco took off for the Palais Tokio, a museum of contemporary art just across the Seine. It was dark by the time Jeff and I bought our tickets then took the elevator up, but the view of Paris in the evening was no less spectacular. It was romantic. Or could have been if I were there with, say, a boyfriend or similar subject.

But before I start crying – we enjoy the view, take some pictures, then get the Metro back to the apartment. I buy eggs (to make an omelette with my museum cheese), milk for coffee, a box of Kinder Surprise, and Coca-Cola Light Orange. Yes, that’s diet coke with orange. I think I love it.

Before I go to sleep – how was dinner? Dinner was incredible. Delicious, not insanely expensive – seriously, it was worth every Euro. I would go there every day. Even the bread was perfect. I wish my camera took better pictures but I’m sure even my sharpness-challenged images would inspire you to want to lick your monitors.

Coco got a few bites of her parents’ dinner. She was permitted to taste the sour of one of the pickles that came with Jeff’s terrine – she made that “ooh! sour!” face but kept tasting. She really liked gnawing on the bread, and Khloe’s sweet potatoes mashed with ginger and citron. She absolutely went crazy over Khloe’s flour-less chocolate cake, as did the rest of us.

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