Paris: day 5

May 13, 2018 • 10:15 am

The post-coffee morning activity was the Foujita exhibit at the Musée Malliol. I posted a bit about Foujita last Caturday; he was an artist with a peripatetic and tumultuous life. Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968) was born in Japan and moved to France, where he fell in with a group of famous painters including Modigliani and Soutine, took the first name Léonard, and became a French citizen. Read the Wikipedia entry on him, which includes this:

.. . a Japanese–French painter and printmaker born in Tokyo, Japan, who applied Japanese ink techniques to Western style paintings. He has been called “the most important Japanese artist working in the West during the 20th century”. His Book of Cats, published in New York by Covici Friede, 1930, with 20 etched plate drawings by Foujita, is one of the top 500 (in price) rare books ever sold, and is ranked by rare book dealers as “the most popular and desirable book on cats ever published”.

Here he is; his haircut reminds me of Moe Howard of the Three Stooges:

Yes, his paintings and prints of cats are one reason I wanted to see this exhibit. It was comprehensive, with lots of his work in various styles, including traditional painted Japanese screens. But he was clearly influenced by his friend Modigliani and the other artists he hung out with. Here are a few shots I took of his work, concentrating on the cats:

The cat in the above painting:

Part of one painting:

A small part of a very large mural or painting:

Part of a Japanese-style painted and gilded screen:

He didn’t just paint cats:

My homage to Foujita:

Random photos on the walk to lunch.  Bonbons in a confiseur:

Discarded rose petals in a basket outside a flower shop:

If I could live anywhere in Paris, I suppose I’d choose this penthouse apartment in the 6th on the Quai Voltaire. It’s the one at the top left with the huge single window:

Which gives onto this view of the Seine and Louvre (but from higher up):

Where the greats lived—and died—on the Quai Voltaire:

The Pont des Arts, my favorite bridge, crossed on the way to lunch:

Views from the pont:

Lunch was at Chez La Vieille, an estimable restaurant run, when I lived here in 1989-1990, by the irascible Adrienne Biassin, who would accept reservations on a whim (I had to call five or six times to secure one). After Biassin died, it closed for a long time, but then was reopened about three years ago by Daniel Rose as a bistro.

I was curious to see if it was as good as it was thirty years ago, for this had superb and copious cuisine, including the best magret de canard I’ve ever eaten. The verdict: it’s quite good, but not as good as when La Vieille actually ran it.

The restaurant (about 2 minutes from the Louvre):

The upstairs room, the only place you can reserve. It’s very small; there are only two tables not visible in the picture.

The small menu of French classics:

The wines were overpriced, but the good French cider was not:

Entrées: Green lentils with foie gras and terrine de canard with grated raw beets, pickled onions, and spicy peppers:

Main courses: Paleron de boeuf (deltoid muscle of cow, braised) served with bone marrow and a salad:

I had the classic home-cooking dish blanquette de veau (veal stew), served with carrots, apricots, and rice to mix in with the rich, creamy dish:

One dessert for two full diners: riz au lait (rice pudding) with praline and rose essence. It was excellent.

The verdict: a very good meal but not a great meal. It’s not the restaurant it was under Adrienne. But it’s better than L’Ami Jean, which still disappoints me five days after I ate there.

Sunbathing by man and beast along the Seine:


19 thoughts on “Paris: day 5

  1. Comment from my Paris-based, tourist-guide friend, Linda:

    He ought to try the Place Dauphine. It’s a little area near Pont Neuf on Île de la Cité (where Notre Dame is located) and near that Pont des Artes that he loves. In that small triangle area there are several small beautiful cafes seldom frequented by tourists.

  2. The cat face at a sharp viewing angle (word for that eludes me) brings to mind those dragon paintings

  3. I’d like to know about live music – especially small groups, soloists, for small-settings as PCC(E) tends to describe

  4. Oh my, what wonderful meals and wine. Wish I was there. Enjoying entries and photos of artist Foujita’s work.

  5. The self-portrait of the artist on the cover you are holding shows an impressive resemblance between your face and Foujita’s, it looks like your alter ego.

  6. Moe Howard’s hair is one form of the “bowl” haircut which was also that of the early Beatles and often seen in the late Middle Ages. However, this painter definitely looks more like Moe Howard than either the early Beatles or any characters in Laurence Olivier’s “Henry V”.
    I’m trying to figure out why that is the first connection.
    I think its a combo of the way it falls around the ears and the face itself.

  7. Deltoid muscle of cow…would that be a chuck roast? If so, one of the greatest braising cuts. I don’t speak French, and even if I did, I’d be scared to try in Paris. Is that real? Do people get pissed if you don’t speak adept Parisian French?

    Lovely traveling log…thanks.

    1. My experience from many (brief) trips to Paris: No, they really appreciate it if you at least try to speak French. Learn to say and understand the basic pleasantries and you will be well received.

      Shop keepers expect to be greeted and thanked. It’s simple good manners.

      I do my best to learn the basics of the language in any country I visit. Seems the least I can do. Smiles go a long ways too! Be happy! Spread it around!

      I find Paris no more rude than any other big city. And it’s much easier to navigate than most, in my opinion.

      1. I agree with everything you say here. It also seems that the French resistance to English has waned considerably over the years. I think they have come to recognize its value as a universal language, as close as we have anyway.

  8. Aargh, you’re giving me a bad case of the “wish I was back there”s.

    There’s just something about Paris in particular that inspires nostalgia.

    One day, if I ever get back there, I’ll find time to stroll along the Seine all the way from the Ile de la Cite to the Trocadero, and back along the other bank. Amongst other things I love the little lock-up-box souvenir shops and second-hand bookshops lining the balustrade above the Quais.


Leave a Reply