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Cloudy today, with occasional rain showers. I read for a while, then headed out to La Défense, just because I keep seeing the Grande Arche de La Défense down the Champs Elysée but have never been there. It’s a rather sterile collection of office buildings, with a few interesting perspectives.  (Like St. Denis it’s in another city, but on the métro.)

Grande Arche de la Défense.

More photos of St. Denis and La Défense are up at Paris-18.

After a picnic lunch I read Illusions Perdues for an hour or so at La Gare at La Muette (16ème), then met up with Nick, a friend from Boston who is spending the summer in Paris.

Nick (taken by another friend)

We first went to the Musée Marmottan Monet in the 16ème. It’s a beautiful old house and there are some interesting exhibitions: paintings from the turn of the century, with particular reference to Proust’s world, and a quite good collection of illuminated Medieval manuscripts. I was disappointed, however, with the second rate collection of actual Monets that they have on display. I prefer the Monets in the Musée d’Orsay, or even Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts!

Nick and I went back to my place and killed a bottle of red wine (is a theme appearing here?). Then we had dinner in the Marais. His stipulation was that we choose some place where neither of us had been, so I picked Le Coude Fou (“crazy elbow?”) from the Rough Guide. We both liked the atmosphere, food and service, although it was a bit on the touristy side for my refined Parisian taste. We walked back via Open Cafe but Nick has a partner here so was only curious to see what it looked like.