We arrived in Paris mid-afternoon and checked into our super-budget lodgings. The MIJE is a hostel that caters to student groups as well as adults. I’ve stayed there with student groups and was really impressed by the combination of great value and a central location. They have three locations all within a few blocks of one another in the Marais, nestled between the Seine and the rue de Rivoli. Each residence dates to the 17th century but has been adapted for the 21st. Rooms are available for individual travelers as well as doubles, triples, quads, or more. They are not the Ritz, but they are clean and simply, but adequately equipped. Think monastery. Each room has private sink and shower (or more than one, in the larger rooms), but the toilets are in the hall. Bed linens are provided, but towels are not. I usually bring old towels that I can just throw out at the end of my stay. Breakfast is included, and dinner is available in the cafeteria for a ridiculously low price. The price? Seventy-eight Euros for a double room in the heart of Paris. I wouldn’t recommend it for a honeymoon, but it’s a great place to lay one’s head.
We ate an early, quick supper at L’As du fallafel. From there, we went to the Brassaï exhibit at l’Hôtel de ville (Paris City Hall). There was a queue for about half an hour to get inside. Appreciation of photography in Paris is always very strong. I enjoyed the exhibit very much. The pictures of Paris sand-bagged during war-time were particularly interesting. Jet-lag made us call it a day.
We went to the musée Carnavalet to see the exhibit Un Roman d’une garde-robe. I learned that Alice Alleaume was just a step down from the society women she dressed. Her family groomed her for a job as a sales woman in one of the haute couture houses by sending her to England to become fluent in English. Her list of clients included many ladies from England and the United States, including many who lived near where I do. I was surprised to learn that she was married, since I thought most women of that era left outside employment once they had households to run.
Our next stop was lunch at the Jacquemart-André museum – always delicious – prior to taking in the Désirs et Volupté exhibit. The skill of the pre-Raphaelite artists was amazing. We were amazed to think that Cubism followed hard on the heels of this movement.
After the exhibit, we walked to Galeries Lafayette and Printemps to see the Christmas windows. We both preferred the Printemps windows, sponsored by Prada, although the other exhibit was pretty spectacular, also (top photo). Watching the reactions of little children was a real treat.
Dinner was at a favorite little restaurant on île St. Louis, Café Med. We always love the curried chicken. On the way back to the MIJE, we took a few photos of Christmas lights.
I don’t want to burden you with too long a post, so I’ll continue with my bilan another day.