Le Mini Palais

Le Mini Palais, the new restaurant in the Grand Palais, has received a lot of press since it reopened last fall.  Does it deserve the hype?  Yes.

First, in a part of town without many restaurants, the Mini Palais serves food daily, from noon til midnight.  Lunch and dinner offer appealing choices – a burger made with duck, tender scallops in a sauce of coconut milk, creamy penne with chorizo   – and a 28 euro menu for lunch.

If hunger hits mid-afternoon, you’re really in luck.  Tea is served from 3-6.  A proper pot of tea comes with shortbread cookies and cakes; a rich cup of coffee with 2 mini desserts.

The snack menu, served all afternoon, consists of charcuterie and cheese plates, and sardines with seaweed butter, for 2 people.

The dining room is stylish and welcoming, with high ceilings, wood floor, and windows that reach from floor to ceiling.  And in good weather, the terrasse, with its intricately tiled floor, grand pillars, and comfy woven chairs, is sublime.

Paris Museum Update

louvre_titianChange is in the air as Paris museums open new expos – and a few favorites close for renovation.

New shows:
LouvreTitian, Tintoretto, and Veronese – Rivals in Renaissance. The presence of these great artists in Venice 1540-1590 stimulated new ideas and techniques. Gorgeous only begins to describe the works. Sept 17-Jan 10, 2010.

Grand PalaisRenoir in the 20th Century. One hundred paintings, drawings and sculptures shed light on this crucial yet little-known period during Renoir’s career – and explore his influence on Picasso, Matisse, Bonnard and Maillol. Sept 23-Jan 4, 2010.

Musée de la Musique – After two years of renovation, the museum is open, and better than ever. They have completely revised the presentation of the permanent collection; added a new area dedicated to the 20th century; doubled the space for world music; added more sound samples to accompany displays, mostly recorded on instruments from the collections.

Musée RodinMatisse & Rodin. The expo compares the sculptural and graphic works of the two artists, who met when Matisse was 30 years old and Rodin 60. This is the first show to focus on Matisse’s sculpture since 1975. Oct 23-Feb 28, 2010.

Musée du LuxembourgLouis Comfort Tiffany: Colors and Light. 160 works reveal Tiffany’s contribution to the glass industry and to decorative arts in general.  Visitors will regale in vases, lamps, jewels, drawings, watercolors and photographs, and four stained glass windows that were specially dismounted, studied, restored and transported from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts – a technical and logistical feat. Sept 16-Jan 17, 2010.

Musée Picasso will be closed for renovations until 2012.

The Catacombs, recently vandalized, have been closed until further notice.