France – Jour 4

We had a bit of a slow start today – doing a bit of washing, a bit of writing, working out what to do for the rest of the day.  I decided that we needed to take the plunge and buy our museum passes – which meant we had to brave the Les Halles shopping complex and find the fnac store.  It’s reassuring to know that all shopping centres are the same – lots of concourses and difficult to navigate.  Nonetheless, we found the fnac, scored our passes and then wandered over to the Marais district – our aim to visit Le Centre Pompidou – one of the modern art museums in Paris.

In order to fortify ourselves – we had to find some lunch.  Oooh la la – talk about  tourist mecca – surrounding the Centre Pompidou we could see McDonalds, KFC, Subway – this was definitely the wrong part of town for me.  We pressed further into the Marais.  Alas, not knowing the area meant that we were going to have to wing it!  We ended up at a little café on Rue du Temple – Le Drapeau.

I love the street sign – at first I thought it was some funky street art, and someone had done some playful graffiti on a no-entry sign – but they’re actually all over Paris.  I guess they mean please don’t carry stuff that is too big for you in this street.

Hamburger Drapeu

Andrew ordered another burger, actually – the house specialty – which turned out to be a cheeseburger!

Steak Tartare, frites

I ordered the steak tartare which was actually really nice though – and I enjoyed having the frites with them.  It wasn’t a rock your world lunch – but it was enough to fortify us for our trip to the Centre Pompidou.

It’s a strange building really – they call it the “inside out” building and I can see why.  It looked quite funky in all the websites – but in real life it looked a bit dirty and dated.

We did enjoy the views on the way to the top though – and given the elevators are in see through tubes on the outside you have some great views of Paris.

View of the right bank

View back to Sacre Coeur

And now… for the art!! Prepare yourselves for some culture!!

 Andy Warhol, Ten Lizes, 1963 

Pino Pascali, Le penne di Esopo, 1968


Yaacov Agam, Aménagement  l’antichambre des appartements privés
du Palais d’Élysée pour le resident Georges Pompidou, 1974


Richard Avedon, Jean Grivet, écrivain, New York, 11 mars 1970, 1975

Alberto Burri, Grande Cretto Nero, 1977

 I’m guessing this one took a long time to dry!

Pablo Picasso, La Muse, 1935

Robert Doisneau,  Le Peintre Daniel Pipard, Pont des Artes, 1953
Novembre, les flics et la pluie, 1944

Unfortunately, for the following artworks – we forgot to take photos of the artists’ details.  Trés desolée!

This room was really funky – this poor little family were sitting in the dark having a lovely chat about art, when my flash went off and probably frightened the living daylights out of them.  Not sure if I was allowed to have my flash on… but absolutely had to get this room!

After about 1½ hours of wandering around – we were getting really tired.  Interestingly, as we had walked around we overheard one guy saying he’d spent 2.5 hours on that floor alone.  But, between my sore feet, and Andrew’s sore back – we’d decided we’d had enough culture and wandered home to our apartment.   Phew – it’s hard being us!

This afternoon we were also booked for our trip up the Eiffel Tower – so we steeled ourselves for the crowds and headed over via metro.  Of course, we took 6,000 photos – but I’ve tried to be discerning in the following montage!

So many pics, so little time…

I wasn’t the only snap happy one…

This pic shows the view of Sacre Coeur from the top level, and then the second level – isn’t it interesting how much the perspective changes…

Of course… we had to do another self portrait!

I didn’t expect to spend almost 2 hours there – but that’s what happened.  I guess a lot of that might have been waiting in line – but it was the truly spectacular views.  We were extremely lucky – I booked the tickets at home, and had picked a day that had a bit of a cool breeze – which meant the smog and pollution had blown away.

Rather than hanging around the 7th – we headed back over to our neighbourhood and decided to try our luck at one of the local restaurants.  A bit of internet research later – I chose Les Fines Gueles for dinner.  It’s basically just down the road – and had good reviews in one of my reliable French blog sources (Paris by Mouth) – so I was happy to give it a try.

Even though we didn’t have a reservation they found a table for us in a very cool (and I mean that in trendy sense) cellar just off the main room.  The service was brilliant and friendly – which was in contrast to a couple of patchy reviews I had read.

Assortment de charcuteries fines

Andrew started with the charcuterie platter – this was the small one!  The meat was absolutely gorgeous, cured to perfection, and with loads of flavour.  Andrew declared it to be the best charcuterie plate he had ever had!!

Velouté de petit pois

For my entrée, I had the most amazing and unforgettable velouté of petit pois – basically a creamy soup of pureed green peas.  It was rich and delicious – and the best dish I’ve had in Paris so far. The only downside was that it wasn’t very hot – so I basically inhaled it. But oh my goodness – what an amazing moment of bliss… and dare I say it… dining nirvana!

Faux filet de Salers, purée maison

For his main, Andrew chose the Faux Filet – which is the sirloin. We’re having fun learning our cuts of meat!  This came with some creamy potato puree – what more could he want.  Meat and potatoes á la Francaise!!  He was very happy.

Cote de porc de Dordogne, fricassee de champignons, buerre herbae

For my main, I chose the Cote de porc – mainly because it was being served with champignons – which turned out to be a mixture of all sorts of mushrooms.  So delicious!  I would say the pork was a bit overdone – but it was still incredibly juicy – and a very generous serve.

Now, I have to explain the picture of my main.  I had put the camera on a particular setting, but in that particular setting – Andrew had changed it to an effect – so what we have here is what my main meal would have looked like if Monet had painted it.  Consider it a little French quirk…   but it did result in a pretty groovy picture of the restaurant…

We were so absolutely full – we couldn’t even face dessert, even though there was a good looking cheese platter, and something very chocolatey…. Maybe next time…

Tomorrow’s adventures will include taking in Musée Rodin… and perhaps the D’Orsay.  We’ll see what the feet have to say… à bientot!