Saturday, March 7, 2009

~Hidden Paris

Sunrise, Sunset~

For all of you Claude Monet fans out there, the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée de l’Orangerie and nearby Giverny are special treats. But you may not know that one of the most important collections of Monet’s works is located in a small private museum on the western edge of Paris, near the Bois de Boulogne. This is the Musée Marmottan-Monet, situated at 2 Rue Louis-Boilly, at the far side of a pleasant park called the Jardin du Ranelagh. Here, among other attractions, you will find Monet’s “Impression, Sunrise,” the painting that gave the Impressionist movement its name. This is the painting that was stolen in a daring armed hold-up in 1985 and disappeared—for good, or so everyone thought. But careful police work finally located it in 1990 (in Corsica), and it has quietly hung on the Marmottan’s walls ever since, delighting scores of visitors. Now that you have seen Monet’s “Sunrise,” you should also see a Monet “Sunset,” and there’s a fine example in the delightful but frequently-overlooked museum of the Petit Palais (Avenue Winston-Churchill, right across from the Grand Palais). Here, in an eclectic (and free of charge) collection owned by the City of Paris, you will find Monet’s “Sunset at Lavacourt”. Celebrate your discovery with a snack in the museum’s enchanting outdoor garden and stay a while, quietly dreaming. After all, Monet would expect no less.

The Best Tarts in Paris~

Back about a century ago, when Gertrude Stein was sitting for her portrait by none other than Pablo Picasso, she noted that Rue Lepic, en route to Picasso’s Montmartre studio, was filled with "good things to eat." Rue Lepic still has plenty of goodies to entice passers-by, but its starring attraction nowadays is the tiny pink pâtisserie called Les Petits Mitrons—or, the "baker’s apprentices." Here, since 1991, Samie Didda has been creating an astonishing array of fruit tarts that are absolute show-stoppers. Not only are they gorgeous, in a charmingly rustic way, but they taste just as good as they look. Most are laden with three kinds of fruit, arranged in concentric circles, and may include anything from mirabelle plums and berries to pears, peaches and rhubarb. Chocolate tarts with pears or mandarin oranges are also winners. Each tart is different, and each is delicious, right down to its thin, delectable crust. Can you possibly resist? •Les Petits Mitrons (Pâtisserie Artisanale): 26 Rue Lepic, 18th. Open Mon-Fri, 7am-1:30pm and 3-5:30pm; Sat, Sun, 7am-5:30pm. Closed Wed.

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