Postcard from Paris – Galerie Vivienne

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For an unexpected experience of literary Paris, walk north through the Palais Royal gardens to rue Vivienne, to Galerie Colbert and Galerie Vivienne, two exquisite covered passages.

Galerie Vivienne contains lovely boutiques and cafés.

At the very end of the passage is Librairie Jousseaume, a bookstore that sells old postcards and used paperbacks – quintessential Paris!

Jean-Michel Othoniel at Centre Pompidou

The collection at Centre Pompidou is so large that I rarely see enough of one artist’s work to learn more about him/her. That’s where the temporary expos come in – and My Way, a retrospective on Jean-Michel Othoniel, not only acquainted me with his work, but showed me that I already knew him.

If you’ve ever seen the whimsical, glass beaded Métro entrance behind Palais Royal, you’ve seen Othoniel’s work, too. Curving columns of red, blue and silver glass beads form two canopies over the entrance, and aluminum filigree fitted with colored glass disks comprise three sides.

The Pompidou show draws from 25 years and several distinct periods of Othoniel’s work, but the glasswork, dating to 1997 and featuring large scale installations of Murano glass, is the most interesting. The colors are luminous, and the creations at once delicate and bold.

Le Bateau des Larmes – the Boat of Tears – outfits an abandoned wooden rowboat with a crown of beads to resemble rigging. My Bed is a life-size double bed that beckons to be inhabited. Stanchions of glass and steel, entitled “Banner” are surprising representations of the form.

Brilliantly hued beads re-create giant necklaces, torrents of rain, a visual diary, and much more. Each piece engages the imagination and appeals to both heart and mind. Through May 23 – hurry!

La Régalade St Honoré

photograph courtesy of Diane Athonissen

I’ve watched the transformation of Rue St Honoré with interest over the last 10 years, as it was once the center of my world. I don’t love the proliferation of designer stores around Place Vendôme – but La Régalade St Honoré, Bruno Doucet’s new restaurant near the Palais Royal, is a different story.

With a 35 euro formule at lunch and dinner, elegant surroundings, and dishes that are both generous, and wonderfully conceived, it’s a great addition to the neighborhood.

Meals start on a cheerful note, with a communal crock of paté maison, thick slices of aromatic baguette, and a jar of chornichons delivered to each table – complements of the kitchen. Then comes a grand selection of French classics.

I ordered an appetizer of Coquilles St Jasques, which a less benevolent chef would have served as a plat. My 4 large, succulent scallops were topped with pesto, and a delight. Across the gleaming wooden table, a trio of canelloni de légumes received raves from my friend Diane – and we wondered aloud if we could complete 2 more courses.

Happily, we managed. The poached cod, served on a bed of braised endive and strewn with small cubes of ham and Cantal cheese, was luscious but not heavy. And the grand marnier soufflé, with its powdered, steaming top askew when it arrived, was heavenly.

123 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
Tel: 01 42 21 92 40
Closed Saturday & Sunday