Returning to Paris after touring through other countries in Europe, we gave ourselves one more week there to enjoy our favourite city. We went to see the blockbuster show for 2011, the major Manet exhibition at Musee D’Orsay. We pre-bought our tickets online to save lining up but once inside the museum there was still a snaking queue before we could enter the show. Well I reluctantly admit it was worth the hassle of waiting – just to see up close Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, 1863 – Luncheon on the grass …..the woman’s skin is so incandescent made more compelling by its size, larger than I expected.
Edéenne is the moniker of a jeweller originally from Quebec who now lives in Paris. A show of 120 exquisitely crafted pieces of jewelry in a show entitled “Unique”. Such a feeble name for a jewellery show but that should not diminish the output of this woman. What a coup to be asked to show in this wonderful French museum. Her publicity says that she works in the tradition of the 19th-century jewellers, who favored the beauty of materials over their intrinsic value. Edéenne is showing seven collections, each with a different theme.
Each collection was exhibited differently. I was not allowed to take photos which is a pity as one collection was so clever, each piece was sitting in the base of a terracotta garden pot. The flower that was the inspiration for the jewel in one of the pots. The jewellery is viewed by shining a small led torch down into the pot. My favourite was the hydrangea inspired ring that was set with tiny blue and mauve sapphires. Another I loved was the head of an animal, a deer I think it was, with its mouth open wide and its throat contained a gigantic stone.
Edéenne’s work is very much in the style of the jewellers Van Cleef and Arpels and Cartier particularly from the time when the Duchess of Windsor was busy commissioning and buying their jewels. Edéenne told us she has recently flown to Japan to deliver a special commission, adding she does not have a shop as she works primarily on commissions.
Still looking at this beautiful jewellery exhibition we managed at times to get sidetracked looking at the vast array of Légion d’Honneur awards, they alone are worth a visit anytime. Apart from the significance of the awards and how and why they were bestowed on people, the art of designing and making them is a study all on its own. An audio guide is available in English and free of charge, you just swap your driving licence for a loan of one. For Napoleon’s enthusiasts like I am, there was quite a bit to see and some of his fine chains of office, medallions all finely jewelled and enamelled.
GREAT QUICHE – For the nicest quiche pastry it is hard to beat Rose Bakery where I had a quick lunch. It is owned by an English woman – her name is Rose…. and her French husband. Some years ago I ate at their first bakery in Paris that is still operating out of gash in the wall up in the 9 e and now they have opened another tiny place in the 12 e. I chose one of the eggplant and roasted tomato square shaped quiches at their second Paris bakery in the 3 e as it is just around the corner from the apartment. I was amazed to see their business card lists one in Tokyo, one in Seoul and London so methinks it is fast becoming a cult. I like the glass and metal design of the entrance of the one I had lunch in.
BON MARCHE – I went food shopping in the wonderfully abundant Bon Marche gourmet food department store but a floor walking supervisor type person told me in no uncertain terms, wagging his finger at me not to take photos. I wasn’t the only person taking photos, I just happened to have a more visible camera. So frustrating as I always see such wonderfully decorated cakes in Paris and cannot resist keeping a photo to remind me of how sophisticated Parisian patisserie can be. So as much as I would love to show you the photos I took I have to respect their policy and won’t show them on my blog.
L’OPERA CAKE – John returned to Angelina’s near the Tuilleries for his hot chocolate drink fix. Since Dalloyau was not too far from us he called in there to see if they match the standard set by Angelina’s. it was the best excuse for me to try the famous Opera cake, a coffee soaked almond sponge cake, layers of coffee buttercream, chocolate ganache and chocolate glaze. A treble clef or flakes of gold leaf are generally used for final garnish. The Opera cake actually dates back to 1903, when Louis Clichy premiered it as the ‘Clichy’ at the Exposition Culinaire in Paris. Many years later, Parisian pâtisserie Dalloyau reintroduced and popularized it as ‘L’Opera.’
We took this photo so you could see the hot pink interior.
ANOTHER CHOCOLATE REPORT – We made a special trip to see the chocolatier Jean-Charles Rochoux in rue d’Assas in the 6e, how could I have missed it before. I chose the lovely faux crocodile skin box size I wanted and had it filled with anything that was covered in dark chocolate. There is even some crocodile skin pattern chocolates in there. Around €31. I know last time I raved about Pierre Marcolini chocolates but there is no rule that says I can’t flit from chocolatier to chocolatier, they all need my support. When I return to Brisbane I am going to invite my regular commentators on my blog to a chocolate tasting of the contents.
The very last meal out was at a new restaurant in the 11 e, an area not far from Bastille and we were smitten, and will return. I will write a separate post about Septime Restaurant soon.