Our lovely neighbours in St Vaast offered us the use of their apartment in Pigalle. We took a week out in the middle of the Perryman visit and caught the train from Valognes which took us into the heart of Paris, from where a 15-minute walk took us to our base for the week. The apartment is compact and full of character and lovely things. We settled in and decided on a gentle afternoon stroll to offset the 3-hour journey. Our way took us north and before we knew it we were faced with several flights of steep stone steps up to Sacre Coeur. Our reward was a stunning view from the summit and a pleasant walk back to the flat afterwards.
Our week in Paris was stuffed full of art. We had thought to include a trip to a show and some shopping. In the end we did go to Galeries Lafayette where we walked circuits of the floors of women’s fashion, looking at the clothes for ideas for colours, shapes and styles. We sat and had a coffee break at a tiny café and gazed out over the atrium to the various floors we had just walked around. Looking up you can admire the Art Nouveau stained glass dome. The department store celebrated its Centenary of the Dome on October 16th, 2012, The Dome was designed by architect Ferdinand Chanut and glass artist Jacques Gruber and is 43 meters high, made with metal and glass and capped with a metal lantern.
During the week we also took an impromptu dining cruise along the Seine which was the closest we came to the Eiffel Tower. For the rest we wallowed in arty things: rich and celebrated paintings, sculptures and so many beautiful objects. In addition to the Natural History Museum – which was something of a disappointment – we visited the Orangerie, the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay and the Petit Palais. One day we walked along Boulevard Saint Germain to find the Café de Flore, celebrated for its famous clientele. It retains its Art Nouveau style and it played host to most French intellectuals in the post-war years. We went there on the recommendation of our friend Georgy. There I ordered tea and ate the most expensive and most delicious Tarte aux Abricots that I have ever tasted!
After days spent on our feet we headed for our bijou base to freshen up. We played a hand of cards with a glass of wine then walked round the corner to dine from the choice of local restaurants.
We returned to St Vaast, to the gorgeous summer weather and some good beach time.