My best bits of Paris

We’ve just come back from a few days in Paris – after a gap of ten years for me and Peter, and the first time with daughter Juliet. We did the obligatory pilgrimage to Eurodisney – Juliet enjoyed it – we just felt totally ripped off!

But, it was lovely to be able to show her all our favourite things, here are some of them …

The Musee du Moyen Age (formerly the Musee de Cluny) is just five minutes walk south from Notre Dame and houses the most wonderful set of tapestries in the world – those of the Lady and the Unicorn. The tapestries are housed in a superb oval room in the museum with the five representing the five senses in front of you as you go in, and the biggest and last ‘A mon seul desir’ – My Soul Desire – behind you. They are magnificently brilliant. We played I-spy animals in the millefleurs background. I could have sat there for hours soaking in all the fantastic workmanship and medieval symbolism. This musuem situated on the site of the Roman baths at Cluny is an oasis of absolute calm off-peak.

More highlights for me are all the impressionist paintings. We went to the Orangerie to see the Monet waterlilies. These eight paintings are absolutely huge and take up the entire walls of two large oval rooms with loads of natural light.

But my favourite painting of all those in Paris is in the Musee D’Orsay. It’s one of a pair … La Danse en Ville by Renoir. The figures are life sized in the painting and it shows off Renoir’s brush-strokes perfectly in the folds and gathers, light and shade, in the girl’s dress. Utterly romantic and very posh.

This painting’s partner, La Danse a la Campagne, with it’s rather more buxom dancer is more fun, but lacks the Aah! factor for me.

Then lastly, what did Juliet like best about Paris, (apart from the lime sorbet she had for dessert one day) … well- it was the Eiffel Tower of course. We got there early in the morning to find the top half shrouded in fog – but paid our money and went up as far as we could go. On the top observation deck we were above the cloudline and could see all the planes stacking over the city, but the fog started to clear, and by the time we’d come down to the first level, the sun was shining and we could see most of Paris quite clearly – except for the Sacre Coeur which remained almost invisible for our entire stay.

Once it was dark, we went to the Arc du Triomphe, and climbed up the stairs for a view of Paris by night. It was stunning – the view up and down the Champs Elysee from L’Arche de la Defense to the Louvre was magnificent – and to coincide with France’s presidency of the EU, the Eiffel Tower is lit up as the EU flag in blue with 12 golden stars. This photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was ‘So Cool!’ to use Juliet’s words.

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