Saint Valentin’s surprise

I didn’t plan anything special for the St.Valentin’s day since we hadn’t had habit to celebrate it. Therefore my to-do list for that weekend was usual: to get flowers at the Saturday market, to walk around the city center, to do some housekeeping and shopping. Probably, to stay longer than usual in the bed.

Although, my plans were ruined Thursday night, when I discovered grandma of the little one at home. It’s weird, – I told to myself. – Something is going on here and I have no idea! Later that evening I was told to prepare my travel bag and do not stay late at work on Friday. Only at the train station I learnt that we would spent the weekend in Paris. Paris is always good idea, in any season and under any circumstances.

This time we stayed in 8th district, just a few meters from Sotheby’s house, in a lovely Le Petit Madeleine hotel. Very recommended both because of the location and the excellent rooms.

We decided to have some cultural experience during this weekend. The first point in the agenda was the Pinacotheque of Paris and “The Art of Love in the Time of Gueishas”.

However, after having a quick look at the queue we easily skipped this point. Another exhibition in Pinacotheque of Paris, which I definitely want to see is “In the Time of Klimt, the Vienna secession”. I like that period in the European art history when the great artists met each other, shared ideas, collaborated, created new styles in the art and movements which has changed the perception of the art and its role in the society. I personally think that this period in the our history is equally important as the Renaissance since both were sort of break-through and gave the life to new styles and had great influence on everyday life.

Well, let’s come back to our St. Valentin’s weekend in Paris. With regrets we left the building of Pinacotheque behind and headed to the National Opera of Paris. Opposite to our previous attempt we were lucky to come in a good time and get into the building for an excursion. The interiors of the Opera house are fabulous. I can imagine that the first visitors of the Opera de Paris could experience some problems with the respiration – every single piece in the building is a masterpiece and the decoration is sophisticated but not excessive.

The main entrance and the ceiling above the main stairs.

The golden foyer.  I can only imagine how nice it is to walk along this huge mirrors, gold and candles with a glass of champaign during the intermission of a ballet or opera performance.

There are two identical fireplaces where visitors of Opera house warmed themselves with some snacks and alcohol in the past.

Mirror or passage?

Room of Sun. There is another one, called Room of Moon, in the opposite wing of the building.

Famous ceiling designed by Marc Chagall. The artist put on the canvas the figures of the most famous composers, accompanied them with the scenes from the ballet or opera performances. Fortunately I took an audio guide and it was wise decision since the guide provided tonnes of interesting information and facts about the Opera.

Details of the decor in the amphitheatre and famous red loggias.

The library of the Opera has an impressive collection, which includes various documents: musical documents (piano-voice scores, handwritten and printed orchestra materials, and autograph scores), iconographic items (models and sketches of costumes and sets, photographs, drawings, etc.), literary manuscripts, artistic and administrative records, posters, programmes, press releases and archives.

A window view on the Boulevards.

Opera house restaurant with the terrace. For those who is not in to the art, this cafe-restaurant is a good place to take a break in the shopping in the Galleries Laffayette, which are just around a corner.

Other wonderful places I always like to add to my personal map of Paris are covered passages, just like this one.

 Museum Grevin – a museum of figures made of wax, similar to Madame Tussaud museum is hidden behind these red doors in one of those Parisian passages.

Here you may find book shops sharing the space with antiquarians, art galleries and cafes.

Here we go – rue Montorgueil, a vivid pedestrian street with lots of shops, restaurants and cafes. The street is also known as a place where the video clip for the single “Baby, baby, baby” was filmed.

Rue Montorgueil is a paradise for foodies and excellent place to make a coffee pause after visiting the Centre Pompidou to absorb the contemporary art.

 Saint Valentin’s bouquets.

Pigeons at the entrance to the Les Halles metro station.

Pipes of Pompidou.

Grey roofs of Paris.

I would love to have these lamps at my place, lol.

Balls.

It was also an exhibition of Jeff Koon’s plastic world in the Centre Pompidou that day.

After several hours in the Centre Pompidou we headed to the Marais quarter to take a glass. It was already too much of art for us that day and the stomach demanded food, not only spectacles.

On a street in Marais. Lots of tourists, lovely little stores and beautiful entrance doors.

If you want great fresh falafel, without this  agiotage around falafel resraurants in Marais – go to Edgar, a tiny cafe and shop of Lebanese cuisine on rue Montorgueil. Simple, tasty, authentic – exactly what you need!

Although it was not our plan to have falafel for the dinner at St. Valentin’s day in Paris. Especially in Paris. Therefore, a table in a restaurant of the 5 Star hotel Montalembert was reserved for us and our Parisian friends.

Hearts are spotted! Well-balanced menu, good wine carte and invisible but good service put this restaurant in the list of Parisian places where you may go and the result will be always excellent.

If you like brunches as much as I love them, then save the address of Benedict restaurant in your memory, on your iphone and make a note in your Paris guide book. Honestly, it is pity to share this address – what if next time I will not get a table in the restaurant because the restaurant is overbooked?

Anyway, my recommendation – just save this address and book a table in advance if you don’t want to queue. Eggs are the speciality of the restaurant. They cook them in all known ways and styles. Don’t forget to take a homemade lemonade – it is not in the menu and it would be pity not to taste it.

Here we should say bye-bye to Paris. The weekend was full of impressions, we experienced new tastes and discovered unknown places. The ideal weekend, when everything is well balanced.

If you want to know more about Paris you might like to read my other posts:

One weekend in Paris

5 minutes for Paris

Elle est belle, la tour Eiffel!

Oh, Paris!

Paris: Père Lachaise Cemetery & 5eme Arrondissement

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