My friend, fellow blogger, and Paris adventure cohort Polly, aka Polly Vous Francais, and I have inadvertently started a Sunday ritual. A few months back we casually met for lunch on a random Sunday and after that, we made it our day to meet. One of us thinks of an exhibit or cultural event or even some area to discover that we haven’t been to before and also include a nice, leisurely lunch. We both thought it would be interesting to write about our experience each time and see what our unique viewpoints would be after both seeing the same thing. Polly has a curious, quick mind like mine and is always pointing out the clever and the unusual in the things she sees. We even went so far as planning on somebody videotaping us and making a new spin on those nauseating morning talk shows in the U.S. Something like this:
Richard: Hi!!! I’m Richard and this is Polly !!! Polly, what day is it?
Polly: It’s Sunday, with Polly and Richard, silly!!!!!!
Ok, maybe not that corny. We’ll work on that. We can wear berets, horizontal striped T-shirts with bandanas around our necks, and speak English with bad phony French accents, like in the 50’s sitcoms (Think Lucy in Paris). It’ goes without saying, cheesy accordion music will play in the background.
Last Sunday we went to the Pierre Paulin: Design in Power exhibit at Les Manufactures de Gobelins. Pierre Paulin is one of the most prolific and innovative furniture designers of the 20th century. He turned 80 last year and after 6 decades he is still going strong, designing for Artifort. The magnificent and ornate Belle Epoque style building built in 1912 is the perfect backdrop for Paulin’s Jetsons-like futuristic furniture.
The main floor had tasteful but not very innovative pieces but what made it so intriguing was each piece had a mirror under it to see the intricate details of the base, while it reflected the mirrored ceiling above. It was a challenge not to get dizzy from the optical illusion and photo taking was tricky. Below is a failed attempt to capture a photo, marred by the top of my balding head, squinting into the camera. Upstairs was the meat of the exhibit with Paulin’s signature modern low-slung upholstered chairs and sofas. A long, red, white, and blue swirl couch and four armless club chairs in orange & yellow on a gorgeous 18th century tapestry were the standouts.
Lunch was hearty salads at Le Canon des Gobelins, a cheerful, corner café on the Boulevard Arago across from the museum. Vincent and my friend Rosemary joined us and we talked at length about the ongoing challenge of the day-to-day dealings with the idiosyncratic French customs and culture.
It was the perfect spring day, with brilliant sunshine and a cool , sweet smelling breeze. Afterwards we walked through an undiscovered park named Square Rene LaVall. A triangle of luscious dark pink tulips flanked by blue wildflowers surrounded by lemon yellow blossoms made it clear that spring was shouting “I’m finally here!” Wisteria, which I rarely ever saw in the U.S., was thriving on the outside fence. Very unlike Paris, modern, 60’s style buildings surrounded the park and a 32 story hi-rise with a roof top pool (quite an anomaly for Paris) that Polly had Google mapped and was curious to see, cast its long shadow.
We ended the day at a café with some long cool drinks before Polly ran off to a glamorous cocktail party. I look forward to more adventurous Sundays with Polly and hope you do too.
Sorry there’s no photo of us: the absent minded dynamic duo forgot to take one.
Now read what Polly had to say about our Sunday.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour
includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com