As our time in Paris neared an end, we continued knocking things off our list that we hadn’t gotten to yet. Many people had recommended going to a traditional (if not touristy) French restaurant called Chartier. We decided to go for lunch, when prices are more reasonable and lines are shorter. It’s a large restaurant that kind of looks like the interior of a train station, with rows of tables along what look like the luggage racks of a train. We were sat down next to another couple that was finishing up and soon left, and soon after another couple was sat down next to us (they fill all the seats). The couple was from England and we had fun hearing about each others’ vacations.
Paper menus are printed daily and of course are only in French. We looked to the recommended menu for suggestions and decided to try the entree (starter/appetizer): terrine. We didn’t know what that was… it’s a cold slab of ground up mystery meat. Amy was not a fan. Nathan enjoyed it. For our mains, we tried a white fish dish and roasted chicken with fries. Both were good (not great).
After lunch, we walked to the Pompidou for a second visit to see the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective exhibition (it hadn’t been included on the museum pass). We had to pay full price again unfortunately, but it was well worth it. We both enjoy Lichtenstein’s work and this show was extensive and well put together. One strange thing was that if you got too close to a painting a little alarm would go off. Although there were lines on the floor, it was all too easy for a stray elbow or pointing camera to go over the edge, so the alarms were going off a lot. We wouldn’t want to work there.
There was another large solo show in this part of the Pompidou by an artist named Simon Hantaï, who is known for twisting and folding large canvases, painting them, and unfolding them – think sophisticated tie dye. Some of them were pretty cool.
Near the entrance to the museum there was a small interactive exhibit primarily targeted towards kids, with clay and magnets and various other art objects to play with. A clever installation of bicycle reflectors instructed the viewer to photograph it with the flash on to reveal the true nature of the installation (your flash lights up all the reflectors).
We wanted to make sure we maximized our visit, so we walked through some group exhibitions from young contemporary artists that sounded interesting. But in reality, they were strange, disturbing, and sloppy, so we breezed through them quickly.
Outside the entrance a huge fiberglass ice cream cone appears to have been dropped and left melting on the open courtyard. Looking at the clock and our plans for the rest of the evening, we decided that we once again couldn’t make it to Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and went directly to the river cruise, which left right across from the Eiffel tower. We picked up Vietnamese sandwiches on the way and a bottle of wine. We were herded like cattle onto the river boat, where cheesy music started playing. The best part of the cruise was being able to sit. There’s one pretty cool view of Notre Dame, but you’re too low to see the buildings when you’re on the Seine, so all you can see is trees. We did see a bunch of people dancing right along the river, which was pretty cool. And you get a good sense of how many people hang out and picnic/drink/chat along the river during the summer (tons of people). But we wouldn’t recommend a river cruise in Paris. Amsterdam, worth it; Paris, definitely not.