Category Archives: restaurant

Paris hot frozen hotel nights

Kube Hotel in Paris is located in one of the few unrehabilitated areas left in the city, which is of some interest. The only special place to see around is the Centquatre, the new cultural center in northern Paris. Kube Hotel is a quite hype place, up to now mostly known for its Grey Goose Vodka Bar, completely carved and decorated in ice, where for € 38, you can spend half an hour drinking vodka cocktails in ice-cube glasses. It seems to be a great success, though you have to wait for a free seance,every half hour, Wednesday to Saturday from 7 PM to 1.30 AM, Sunday from 2 PM to 11 PM. Monday and Tuesday for groups, on resevation only. Not more than 20 persons at a time. As I rather go for warm places,  I never tried it.

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Now, and up to March 21, you may spend an unforgettable night on top of Paris roofs, in the Ice Kube Room. Better do it with a passionate sweetheart. Expensive prices are for two : € 750 from Monday to Thursday, breakfast included. € 850 if you wish to have dinner. Night will cost you € 1000 from Friday to Sunday, € 1100 with dinner.

For this price, you can even carve a heart with your names  on the walls.

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Nights of December 24 and 25 are sold by auction on e-bay, as well as St Valentine night on February 14.

More adventurous and less wealthy ? Join the homeless who sleep in shacks ore under igloo tents in Bois de Vincennes, you’ll be freezing as they do,  sometimes to death, It’s just a bad joke, I would not recommand it, unless you really have too.

Otherwise, the hotel also provides heated room and a restaurant.

Hotel Kube, 1-5  passage Ruelle 75018 Paris Metro La Chapelle, tel 33(0)1 42 05 20 00

More information and booking on the holel stylish site : http://www.kubehotel.com/

Bihan Café : a genuine wine bar in New Eastern Paris

Feeling hungry or thirsty after visiting Méliès exhibition or watching a film at Paris Cinémathèque? Le Bihan Café is waiting for you. It’s also close to Bercy Palais Omnisport, and to Cour Saint-Emilion shopping area and garden, and if you come from National Great Library, just cross the Seine by passerelle Simone de Beauvoir.

This little wine bar is the last of all the colorful cafés and restaurants that disappeared when the ancient Paris wine market was closed. You can get an idea of its red brick architecture in the new Cour Saint-Emilion area, but nothing remains of its spirit.

Except Bihan Café. It is difficult to find a place on its tiny terrasse, but indoor is a bit wider and cheerful young waiters serve good food in generous portions, coming with a good selection of wines.

It used to be a working class joint, for it’s located close to Bercy freight railway station.

Here is Mr Mauras, a retired railroader, proudly sitting at his reserved seat near the bar.

The Bihan Café, 4 rue de Bercy 75012 Paris, metro Bercy tel 33(0)1 40 19 09 95. open everyday 11 to 15 and 17 to 23, up to 2 AM from Thursday to Saturday. It’s quite easy to find a table at lunch time, but better make a reservation for dinner, it’s usually crowded.

Paris “Grand Siècle” 1 : Place des Vosges

Most of gorgeous and significant remains of French “Grand Siècle” (seventeenth century) are to be seen in the “Marais” (the swamp). You certainly don’t need to wear rubber boots to take a walk around, though rubber boots are very much in style this season, and besides historical places and monuments, there are a lot of fashion shops in this area.

It’s a very popular place too, for many shops are opened on Sunday. Weather is quite hectic in March this year – as it is supposed to be in Paris – but last week-end was sunny, and there was a crowd resting in Place des Vosges garden and window shopping in rue des Francs-Bourgeois.

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The edification of ” Place des Vosges” was started by king Henry IV and achieved in1612 for the engagement day of Louis XIII and Anne, princess of Austria. It is the most ancient square in Paris, and also a play ground for children, a wi fi zone, and a great place to hang about.

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It is a square surrounded by all similar red brick and white stone elegant houses with slate roofs and tall windows.

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Before French Revolution, it was called “place Royale“, and in the garden stands a statue featuring king Louis XIII on horseback.

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It is circled by arcades.

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Victor Hugo’s house is at #6, and it is a museum you can visit. Many stores, fashion designer Issey Miyake, funny hats, an art deco shop, a lot of art galleries, bars and restaurants, and street musicians…

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like this counter tenor singer who performs almost every week-end on rue de Béarn corner.

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If you feel hungry, you might stop at # 19, Ma Bourgogne, a typical bistrot parisien with a great view, good food and good wines. But warning, you’ll need some cash : no credit card, and not really cheap.

Place des Vosges, 75003 et 75004 Paris Metro Bastille, Saint-Paul, Chemin-Vert. Access south : rue de Birague, east : rue du Pas de la Mule, north : rue de Béarn, west : rue des Francs-Bourgeois.

Ma Bourgogne 19 place des Vosges tel 33(0)1 42 78 44 64 Métro Saint-Paul, everyday 8 AM 1.30 AM.

Maison de Victor Hugo, 6 place des Vosges, Métro Bastille, Saint-Paul, tel 33(0)1 42 72 10 16, everyday except Monday 10 to 18. Free entrance. www.musee-hugo.paris.fr/

Paris Galerie Colbert : back to nineteenth century

Leaving Palais-Royal garden at “le Grand Véfour” restaurant’s corner, rue Vivienne is just in front, with a red neon sign “le Grand Colbert , a typical Paris brasserie. Galerie Colbert is just next door.

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It’s just in front the National Library‘s back yard, and Galerie Colbert now belongs to it. It’s beautiful, a bit solemn and very quite.

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It leads to a circle under a glass roof

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In the middle stands a bronze statue by Charle François Leboeuf featuring Eurydice bitten by a snake, and there you make a right angle to follow the hallway, which leads out on rue des Petits Champs.

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On your right is “Le Grand Colbert” other entrance. Open the door :

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It’s a beautiful typical nineteenth century “brasserie” setting .

Le Grand Colbert 2 rue Vivienne 75002 Paris tel 33(0)1 42 86 87 88. About 30 euros. Everyday 12 to 1 am , reservation by phone only, virtual visit on : http://www.legrandcolbert.fr/#

Galerie Colbert 2 rue Vivienne and 6 rue des Petits Champs 75002 Paris. Metro Palais-Royal or Bourse.

News from Paris Palais-Royal

Daniel Buren got really angry this winter about his Palais-Royal columns deterioration and the state’s reluctance to start any restoration. He went so mad that he threatened to remove and destroy his creation.

At this point, last January, Christine Albanel, who is in charge of cultural issues, came to him and promised that restoration works would start within a month.

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So I came back to Palais-Royal this February, and guess what ? Mrs Albanel kept her word.

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Buren’s columns are not the only modern installation in Palais-Royal.

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The two fountains by Pol Bury are less controversial. On sunny days, the metal balls reflect the garden’s classic columns.

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And it’s also fun to play with your own reflection.

Behind the colonnade, the gates open on the proper Palais-Royal gardens and its classical statues.

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People sit in the winter sun

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Girls chat by the classical fountain

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And on a side row, Gaïa, Mother Earth, is watching the place: it is the last remain of an exhibition of modern sculpture on mythological themes by a young Greek artist, Vana Xenou.

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You can go in or leave Palais-Royal gardens by the side arcades, west on rue Montpensier.

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Going up rue de Montpensier, you will find the Palais-Royal theater, playing mostly comedies. Now showing, up to March 1, a play (in French) by Woody Allen “Puzzle”. It’s a lovely eighteenth century theater.

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and next to it, on rue de Beaujolais, the Grand Véfour restaurant.

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It also offers a beautiful eighteenth century setting.

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And it is one the best Paris restaurants, 3 stars on guide Michelin and 18/20 on Gault et Millau, two major French guides for hotels and restaurants. Of course, it’s also quite expensive. 88 euros (lunch only), large menu 268 euros, carte about 200/220 euros.

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Jardins du Palais-Royal, colonnes de Buren and fontaines de Pol Bury : enter place Colette, Metro Palais-Royal.

Théâtre du Palais- Royal, 38 rue Montpensier 75001 Paris, tel 33(0)1 42 97 40 00. Tuesday to Friday show at 20.30, Saturday 17 and 21. Programs, reservation and virtual visit on : http://www.theatrepalaisroyal.com/

Restaurant le Grand Véfour 17 rue de Beaujolais Metro Palais-Royal, tel 33(0)1 42 96 56 27, fax 33(0)1 42 86 80 71. Closed Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, April 10 to 17, all August and December 24 to 31. Reservation, all information and visit on : http://www.grand-vefour.com/

Paris Centre Pompidou will blow its 31 candels on January 31

Though it opened 31 years ago, Centre Pompidou looks still young. As always, there had been a competition between several plans, and unusually the winner was a most daring project, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and the British Richard and Sue Rogers. and when it opened, with a mono-graphic exhibition of Marcel Duchamp, as far as I remember, it was a very controversial matter. beaubourgrue.jpg

With its colored tubes and white pipes, it looked as a playful kind of skeleton factory, and for museum it was not at all dignified.

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It was instantly a huge success: its large public library was very popular among students and young people, as well as its great exhibitions and its modern art permanent collection.

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In the first years, one could use freely the escalators to go up to the terrace and have a drink or just enjoy the sun and the view.

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Instantly, the place was called Beaubourg, after the name of the area it’s built in, and that is still the name Parisians use rather than Centre Pompidou (it was named after the French President who signed for it, Georges Pompidou, who was really interested in modern art. )

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Nowadays, you have to go in and take a ticket to go up.

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There you will also find a shop selling design things and small clothes, a bookshop, and an expansive self-service café. (Do prefer outdoor cafés around)

Outdoor, you can take a private elevator if you have made a reservation at le Georges, the quite expansive – but not gastronomic – restaurant on top. Though the setting designed by Dominique Jacob and Brendan McFarlane matches perfectly with Beaubourg’s style, it is mostly worthwhile outdoors on sunny days.

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For its thirtieth birthday, the permanent modern art collection has reopened in a new presentation, and it is extremely rich and impressive.
As part of this celebration, Beaubourg is now showing, since November 2007, a mono-graphic exhibition of Richard Rogers work over the 40 past years.

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The place is often crowded on its plaza side, the museum entrance side, people watching street performers, as in most touristic places.

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I do prefer to go nearby to Stravinsky Fountain, featuring mobile sculptures by Niki de Saint-Phalle and Jean Tinguely.

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It is a great place for children too.

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Centre Pompidou, place Georges Pompidou, 75003 Paris, Metro Rambuteau tel 33(0)1 44 78 12 33. Open everyday but Tuesday 11 to 21, Price 10 euros for all museum and exhibitions. Exhibition “Richard Rogers and architects” up to March 3.

For more information and reservation, go to : http://www.centrepompidou.fr/Pompidou/Accueil.nsf/tunnel?OpenForm

Le Georges : reservation tel 33(0)1 44 78 47 99, fax 33(0)1 44 78 48 93, virtual visit on :

ttp://www.centrepompidou.fr/Pompidou/Communication.nsf/0/C802434866E91C8CC1256D9800513026?OpenDocument&sess

How about a hot tea at Paris Mosque?

I am very fond of Paris Jardin des Plantes, but it’s not at its best in January.
Say for example that you just got out the Pearls Exhibition.

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Rather than going all the way down the garden, leave by the next gate, and just across rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, spot the cute building of Paris Great Mosque. It was the first Mosque ever built in France, as a tribute to the 50 000 Muslim soldiers killed in Frst World War. Its architecture is a fine combination of “hispano moresque” and ” Paris 1925″ styles.

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The garden and outdoor arcades are lovely in spring, but a bit chilly now.

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To have a mint tea and may be some oriental pastry,you can choose the winter garden with its lovely fountain :

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Or the cozy dining room.

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You can also have an oriental lunch (from 12 to 15) or supper(from 19 to 22.30) but it is better to make a reservation.

Grande Mosquée de Paris, 39 rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, 75005 Paris, tel 33(0)1 43 31 18 14, open everyday.

More information on : http://www.la-mosquee.com/

Paris Montmartre for newcomers

If you really want to feel like a regular tourist, the easiest way to visit Montmartre is to take a 40 minutes tour on the little city train.

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You will take it place Blanche, and it will get you back there, next to the Moulin Rouge which is the last of Montmartre legendary cabarets.

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The other ones no longer exist except on posters.

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Another way to start visiting Montmartre could be to come to light at Metro Abbesses, on the lovely place des Abbesses,

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If you don’t feel like walking all the way up, go the “funiculaire” station, and wait for it to come listening to the inevitable accordionist.

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For a bus or metro ticket, it will take you up to the Sacré Coeur.

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But you might as well walk around.

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For example, take rue des Abbesses and rue d’Orsel, up to the charming place Charles Dullin, where the théâtre de l’Atelier stands, which besides being pretty and in a nice setting also often shows good plays.

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Going up rue des trois Frères, you can stop for lunch or for a drink at the Progrès. If you can get a table, you’ll notice that some of the customers are French, and even Parisians, which is not the case of all Montmartre cafés.

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Now you might feel strong enough to climb up the stairs, which is the hardest but the nicest way to get uphill.

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Being on top of butte Montmartre,The Sacré-Coeur church is part of Paris scenery.

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This huge white ugly church was built “to expiate the crimes of the communards “, number of which died on the spot, and in memory of French soldiers killed in the war against Prussians. Though it’s edification started in 1875, it was not finished until 1914, and consecrated only in 1919, and all the way it had a warlike, revenge, anti-German purpose, and I always think of it as unpleasant, though it’s very popular. But of course, sitting on the stairs back to it, you can’t see it, but you have a view on Paris.

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I prefer to walk in the little garden below where stands a statue of Chevalier de la Barre, an unfortunate nineteen years old boy who got sentenced to death and tortured in 1766 for not taking his hat off in front of a procession. Voltaire wrote about this terrible case, and had to to run away to Switzerland not to be convicted of crime. French Revolution rehabilitated Chevalier de la Barre who has become ever since a symbol for all atheist groups.

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Don’t bother to visit place du Tertre, it’s impossible even to look at it, for all space is completely filled with stalls selling junks and daubs and people offering to paint your portrait. I should advise you to refuse, and go by without stopping at any café or restaurant.

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But close to it are lovely little quiet streets.

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A peaceful public square with its strange statue of Saint-Denis holding his chopped head in his hands.

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Place Marcel Aymé, Jean Marais carved version of the author’s “Passe Muraille“(Man getting through walls) seems ready to shoot in soccer ball.

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It’s closed to wealthy and secured places.

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At this Avenue Junot corner, film maker Claude Lelouch has opened “Cine 13, a place where you can show or look at films or theater plays, and have a drink.

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If you look closer, you’ll discover on the wall this lovely art-deco figures mingled with branches.

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Go back down by rue Ravignan and place Emile Goudeau where there is nothing left of the “Bateau Lavoir” where Picasso spent evenings with Max Jacob, Apollinaire and Douanier Rousseau. It’s a pretty place, though.

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If you wish to feel what this long lost time of artists life in Montmartre was like, I strongly recommend you to read Dan Franck‘s “Bohèmes“, subtitle : “Modern Art adventurers (1900-1930)”.

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I don’t know whether it has been translated in English, but it’s quiet easy to read in French. It’s available in paperback “livre de poche n°30695)

And go to the Orangerie Museum to look at Utrillo‘s ideal Montmartre.

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“Petit train de Montmartre”everyday 10 to 18, one departure every hour place Blanche, tour 40′, see information at : http://www.parisinfo.com/visite-paris/excursions-1/en-bus-minibus-ou-train-touristique/professionnels/100225/promotrain-les-petits-trains-de-montmartre

All about Moulin Rouge, programs and reservation at :http://www.moulinrouge.fr/home-fr.html

Théâtre de l’Atelier, 1 place Charles Dullin, 75018 Paris, Métro Anvers, tel 33 (0)1 46 06 49 24, programs and reservation at : http://www.theatre-atelier.com/accueil.html

Café restaurant “le Progrès” 7 rue des 3 frères, 75018 Paris tel 33(0)142 51 33 33 Reservation 33(0)1 42 64 07 37

More about “Ciné 13″ at : http://www.cine13.com/

And Montmartre has its website : http://www.montmartrenet.com/

Christmas present for gourmets, restaurant Jules Verne is reopening on Paris Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower is probably the most famous of all Paris monuments,

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And Alain Ducasse one of the most famous french chiefs.

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It took him a hundred days (like Napoleon, but this time it might be a success) to completely renovate the “Jules Verne“, the old iron lady famous restaurant.

Designer Patrick Jouin has finished his work,

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And Alain Ducasse has given the Jules Verne keys to Pascal Féraud, a 34 years chief who’s been working with him in Paris, Monaco, London and United States. His intention is to make the of the Jules Verne the place to taste the utmost French cooking and wines, in a great setting.

Located on the tower’s second floor, the restaurant’s room overlooks Paris, 125 meters above ground. It will open a few days before Christmas, but booking has already started.

Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower Metro Champ de Mars. Private escalator access on south pilar. Lunch menu : 75 euros, dinner menus 155 and 190 euros. Reservation by telephone : 33(0)1 45 55 61 44 and fax 33(0)1 47 05 29 41.

Virtual visit of the Eiffel tower, without standing for hours in line in the cold on : http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/index.html

Paris Tuileries garden and musée de l’Orangerie

Tuileries garden is a very popular place to take a walk in Paris.

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It has beautiful pools with fountains, chairs to sit in the sun and mythological stone figures to look upon us.

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You can also find romantic places aside.

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Play grounds and antique merry-go-rounds for the kids.

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And for ages, generations of children slowly ride ponies.

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The place also provides several restaurants where you can have a drink or lunch in or outdoors depending temperature and hour. They presently serve a lot of hot onion soup to warm you up.

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On one end, Tuileries garden leads to the Louvre.

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On on the other side, it overlooks place de la Concorde.

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No wonder it inspires artists, for along Rivoli street stands the Jeu de Paume gallery - the “paume” game was a kind of tennis ancestor played indoors, and very popular in the eighteenth century. Nowadays, it is a photo and modern art museum, presently showing Steichen‘s photographic work and Ultralab installation.

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Along the Seine bank stands a perfect twin building, The Orangerie gallery, first used to store the garden’s orange trees in winter.

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The Orangerie shows no temporary exhibition just now but its permanent collection of impressionist and post-impressionist painting is outstanding. Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, Modigliani, Derain, Marie Laurencin, Soutine, Utrillo, Picasso…. All works of each artist owned by the gallery are presented close to one another, and it’s quite interesting. The Orangerie has been closed from 1999 up to May 2006 and completely renovated. Monet’s “Nympheas” used to be in the basement and are now in the upper floor, and lighted by day light, as Monet wished, and this eight paintings showed in this oval room, lighted by the sky are always a fascinating sight.

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Musée de l’Orangerie, Jardin des Tuileries, Métro Concorde, tel 33(0)1 44 77 80 07, open everyday except Tuesday 12.30 up to 19, Friday up to 21. Entrance 4,50 euros. For a virtual visit and more information, go to : http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/

Jeu de Paume programs and information on : http://www.jeudepaume.org/

More about Tuileries garden on : http://www.louvre.fr/llv/musee/jardins_tuileries.jsp