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.)
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.
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.