La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog
Paris, Visiting France

La Grande Galerie de l’Evolution

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

It’s been months since our visit in February to the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution in Paris’ Jardin des Plantes. But as the weather gets colder, and we turn back to the indoors, I wanted to share this jewel box of a museum.

With four floors, there is a lot to see. The first floor is dedicated to species of the sea and the second to those of the land but the top two floors take a more philosophical approach with exhibits on man’s effect on the environment and evolution, and the mechanisms of evolution.

On our visit, we began with the second floor and its signature parade of exotic animals.

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

(Look at that little pudge! It’s always hard to believe how much they change in a few months. Élie was fascinated, especially by the elephants which he loves, but when the automated recording of an elephant trumpeting activated, he clung to his Papa for dear life, despite the volume being well adjusted to the space and not overly loud.)

The second floor opens above to the soaring ceiling, the top two floors being large balconies that run the entire perimeter of the space. You don’t notice it at first, it is so natural seeming, but that ceiling and the walls of the second floor are fitted with lighted panels that gradually change color and intensity to mimic a day on the savanna changing into evening. Sounds of insects and birds float through the space until you suddenly realize that is has become quite quiet and the panels have turned an ominous blue gray. The sound of a sudden downpour and thunderstorm sweeps through the floor as flashes of lightning travel across the ceiling. Then, as suddenly as it arrived, the storm is over and the panels melt into the soft colors of a rainbow after the storm. It is brilliant. And magical. Eventually the panels fade to a quiet night with crickets providing their song only to eventually start again with a dawn breaking and the day beginning. It is a testament to the place that the guards we encountered took great delight in telling us the little details not to be missed, like the one who smiled and told us “A storm is coming but watch the ceiling, there is a rainbow after!” when we noticed the change in atmosphere.

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

Of course, every kind of animal can be find here from the large and impressive to the tiny and delicate. And not just animals, plants are just as important in this story.

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

The backdrop of the exhibits, the building itself, is just as much a reason to visit as what is on display. Built in 1889, the museum was actually closed for years between 1965 and its reopening, relatively recently, in 1994. It has that wonderful, moody mix of its time: the elements of classical architecture refracted through the lens of the industrial revolution and the age of steam.

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

So there you have a peek into this treasure of Paris. It’s a wonderful place to visit and wander, and a perfect museum for children, too. Definitely put it on your list for a day indoors and check their website for film showings for both adults and children.

And I had to share these chairs for visitors to rest in because I just loved their design – such a perfect mix of echos of the space’s architecture and a modern sensibility!

La Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, Paris, France - egg & dart blog

La Grande Galerie de l’Évolution

36 rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 70005 Paris

Jardin des Plantes

xo,

A.

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Night Au Musée, Paris

Snowy Night Au Musée

Snowy Paris - The Louvre | egg & dart

A leisurely visit to the Louvre last Friday night melted into a snowy trip home. When it snows in Paris, all the buses stop no matter how much snow there actually is. So I was a disappointed that we wouldn’t get to have a little tour of the city blanketed in some flurries. But I did take advantage of the slightly sticky snow before leaving the Louvre.

This visit we spent our time meandering around two special exhibits that couldn’t be photographed but to get there we passed through a hall we’ve never really visited before, a hall full of Greek and Roman bronze pieces. We didn’t have a lot of time to explore it but it will definitely be one of the next collections to explore.

Bronze at the Louvre | egg & dart

Gold Crown at the Louvre | egg & dart

Bronze at the Louvre | egg & dart

Snowy Paris | egg & dart

Louvre, Paris | egg & dart

xo

A.

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Food & Recipes, Life, Paris, Visiting France

Wednesday Market

This week I wanted to share just a couple glimpses of what a trip to the marché can look like. I have an appointment Wednesday mornings that takes me right past this one and I’m lucky to have a couple minutes to grab some mid-week provisions. Dive in!

The vendors at my produce stand were all encouraging me to come early, early on a Saturday when “the boss stacks everything to the sky!”. I’ll have to do a proper shoot for that. But for now, I want to wish everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving the warmest of holidays tomorrow! Much love and lots of family and friends for everyone. And thank you for reading, it truly makes me feel over the moon when I hear you’re enjoying what I share. Happy Thanksgiving!

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes, Life, Paris

Marché Photo of the Week and A walk along the Marne

Hello! Happy Monday. Yesterday proved to be the announcer of a week of Indian summer* here in Paris. The days are balmy (even hot this afternoon) and the sun has returned from its two weeks of hiding. I am starting to forget what season it is completely.

When we headed to the marché yesterday, my menu for the week had been constructed as the first of the year to truly start to embrace autumn. But when we got to our spot in line at our favorite stand, I spied an avalanche of eggplants, yellow peppers, zucchinis. “Summer isn’t over.” I said to R.

Not wanting to miss out on any chance to enjoy the end of the season’s bounty, I quickly reworked my whole plan while waiting for my turn. It was a busy hive behind the tables – the workers running back and forth grabbing green beans, holding up slices of squash “This size?”, reaching for sweet ‘fontaine’ onions – but one of the regulars caught my eye. “I have them!” she called to me, but I had forgotten. “The tomatoes!” she responded to my puzzled look. I had asked for them to bring me truly green tomatoes at the last market. One more meal was quickly scribbled and rewritten on my list.

potimarron (red kuri) squash

– eggs

– tamaris tomatoes

– yellow peppers

– onions

– green tamaris tomatoes

– shelling beans

– a Swiss hard cheese, cooked in wood smoke (we forgot the name!)

– eggplants

– romaine lettuces

– chervil

– leek

– celery

– samba potatoes

– ‘master’ bread

On the Menu:

Gnocchi & Roasted Tomato Sauce – Herb & Milk Poached Chicken with Roast Pumpkin – Chervil & Smoky Cheese Soufflés and Salad

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We just couldn’t stay inside with our original plans of shopping in Chinatown when we realized how very beautiful the day would be yesterday. So we ditched those plans, grabbed some bikes, and cycled out of the city to discover the paths along the Marne River. I was so excited when I found a tree that had burst into color. Exactly what I was craving that weekend but didn’t think I’d see. Here’s a little bit of what we discovered. (If only I could take pictures and peddle at the same time!)

~

And just because I love him:

xo,

A.

* The French call North American’s vibrant showing of autumnal color “Indian Summer” which I always thought was funny because, for us, an Indian summer is a period of unusual warmth in the autumn or early winter and has nothing to do with foliage. One day I got into a conversation with some French friends and a German friend about the term and, when we looked it up, we discovered its meaning hasn’t always been clear. So I’d love to know, what is Indian summer to you?

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Art, Night Au Musée, Paris

Night at the Louvre – Les Arts de L’Islam

 

Ever since the much anticipated new wing of the Louvre opened, I’ve been excited to see the new space and discover the pieces of the museum’s collection that hadn’t been displayed before. The Islamic and Middle Eastern collections are some of the most inspiring to me for their rich decoration, vibrant colors, and fluid lines. Last Friday, after a fairly hectic week, we meet at the Louvre for a nocturne visit and headed straight for this new wing. Built into a previously unused inner court, the architecture is very modern, in the tradition of the  I.M. Pei glass pyramids, but marries will with the existing structure, not competing with it. So entering the new wing is like stepping through the wardrobe into a completely different world. With 2 1/2 levels of space, there was much too much to see in one evening and it was fairly busy, with everyone interested in the new space.

The pieces on display vary widely, the theme of the collection itself covering a vast geographical and cultural area, and different areas are highlighted by themes such as writing (calligraphy being such an important decorative element in Islamic art), game objects, or tile work. These displays are complemented by touch screens that play fascinating videos in several languages, several 3D models that were created from key pieces for visitors to be able to touch the work with their own hands, and maps that glow from behind, the light moving to show the spread of an empire or culture. It was all very interesting and there is still so much for us to see but we did have just a few critiques: for one, the light is unusually low, even for light sensitive pieces, and the floor, walls, and displays are charcoal making it difficult to read even for R. and I who don’t have trouble reading. Also, almost all texts were presented in three languages but not Arabic. For a country with such a large Arabic population and tourist stream, I feel that it’s a miss not to offer the exhibit information in the major language of the culture whose work is being displayed.

Despite those things, the new wing is a space you should visit if you can. The work is beautiful (the above reproduction mosaic looks so contemporary to me yet it dates to between 705 and 715 A.D.!) and I know we’re both looking forward to going back to see even more. Here is a taste of what you’ll see there:

How was your weekend?

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes, Life, Paris

Marché Photo of the Week

It was a busy weekend around these parts! Full of housework, errands, friends, deadly French desserts, and suburb exploring. We rolled out of bed Sunday with just barely enough time to make it to the marché, and in truth we probably could have gone without because I’m still trying to clean out the fridge and freezer but I just enjoy going so much. So this week’s caddy wasn’t very full. Here’s what I came home with:

– radishes

– cress

– heirloom tomatoes (called ‘rustic’ but I clearly wasn’t awake yet and asked for ‘old’ tomatoes which no one understood)

– rosemary

– sweet little apples

– campari tomatoes

– baguette

– beautiful stripped eggplants

-a demi polka bread

And here is where some of these things will go:

Roasted Tomato and Rosemary Soup with Grilled Bacon and Cheese Sandwiches – Taco Bar – Savory Little Tarts & Cress Salad

~

And check out this fun character in front of our favorite bread stand (that’s the baker in the background with the white sleeves). He was very good and everyone was having a great time listening to him play all the classics (read: La Vie en Rose and Amelie). Maybe he’ll show up again some weekend!

So, what’s on your menu for this week? I’d love to know!

xo,

A.

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Art, Life, Paris

Monday and Friday

The weeks have been busy around here and the end of last week was no exception. On Thursday evening, the Musée d’Orsay hosted a fashion show of pieces by young designers from the Studio Berçot. They had worked on designs inspired by the musée’s new exhibit: Impressionisme et la Mode (Impressionism and Fashion). It was a packed night with many designs that were interesting and thoughtful applications of more than 100 year old fashions and I always love these kind of current day events in museums that seem to bring a whole new life and dimension to the art on display. These are just a couple glimpses of what the night included. With such a packed house, getting pictures wasn’t easy!

I tried and tried to get a post about that event up on the blog on Friday but fate had other ideas for me and I had to finally give up when we arrived at R’s grandparents farmhouse in the countryside of the Sancerre region and no internet signal could be coaxed from any of the technology we brought with us. I was so excited to be away from the city, in that beautiful place and at this time of year, that I have to say, I let go of the frustration pretty quickly. I’ll be back on Wednesday with lots of pictures to share from that trip (oh, it was too short!) but here’s one peek:

Happy Monday!

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes, Paris

Marché Photo of the Week

It’s finally fully taken hold and Fall in the marchés. The stalls are filling up with squash and apples and the last tomatoes. I was excited to find one of my farmers with a whole pile of butternut squash (a rarity, still haven’t found acorn squash that wasn’t being sold as decoration from a florist shop.) and spotted a few green tomatoes which I had a hard time getting them to put in my bag. I love green tomatoes, especially for this, but I don’t think the French have figured out what to do with green tomatoes yet because they can’t seem to believe I’d want them! In the end, I could only get some that were partially green. Maybe next week! So here’s what we picked up and which is adding some Autumn to our menu this week:

-land cress

– basil

-red onions

– sweet red peppers

– butternut squash!

– bleu d’Auvergne (a mild bleu recommended for those, like me, who didn’t like blue cheese)

– cucumber

– green-ish heirloom tomatoes

– Reinette apples

– sage

– campari tomatoes

– eggplants

– sorrel

-purslane

– ‘master’ bread

And here are a few meals those goodies will go into:

Cress salad with Turkey Breast, Roasted plums, and Bleu – Macaroni & Cheese with Butternut Squash and Sage – Lemon  Eggplant Soup

I’ll also be using some things to stock up on summer flavor for the winter, like the basil to make pesto to freeze.

~

Last weekend was very busy and included a wonderful visit with a high school friend of mine and one of the famous boat rides up the Seine to see Paris by night. I may not be in love with Paris, but seeing it from this unusual perspective, I can see how I could love it. Time will tell!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a new favorite recipe for cooler weekend mornings!

xo,

A.

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Food & Recipes, Life, Paris

Kale’s French Debut – The Kale Project

Last night we went to the center of Paris for kale. You see, one of the unexpected consequences of being an ex-pat is missing some of our favorite foods from home. Yes, even in this city, a culinary capital. And I’m not just talking about peanut butter and M&M’s with no peanuts, although those are missed too. For me it means fresh corn and rainbow swiss chard, butternut and acorn squashes, cranberries and even tomatillos. Surprising, isn’t it? Well, having been in Paris just one year, Kristen felt the same way about kale and decided to do something about it. She launched The Kale Project and has been working with farmers, distributors, and restaurants to bring kale into the French culinary vernacular. And why shouldn’t it be? France loves cabbage, kale is a close cousin.

So that’s why, last night, we went to the Verjus Wine Bar nestled next to the Palais Royal garden and theater in the 1st arrondisment and celebrated kale coming to France. Verjus created a tasting menu of delicate dishes incorporating kale in each. I admit, we devoured our two little dishes too quickly to capture pictures of them, but here’s a taste of the evening.

happy weekend!

xo,

A.

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Art, Food & Recipes, Life, Paris

Marché Photo of the Week

Everyone was so happy at the marché this weekend! One of those visits when you think “This is why I love coming to this marché.” You see, we don’t go to the easiest market to get to. There is one just a block up the boulevard and another just past the grocery store that both stretch on for ages. And they are fine but we once went to the marché just on the other side of the périphérique, the boundary between Paris and suburb which, after all, is very close to your apartment, and it hooked us. There we found our vegetable guy who is the farmer himself. There is my herb lady who always has the best herbs and micro and baby greens and the other farmer who has the heirloom varieties and the different colors of carrots, radishes, and tomatoes. The Italian stand with the pancetta with bits of peppercorn throughout and the baker and family with the best bread we have found in the whole city. Now we go every weekend we can and always come home saying how strange it is to go 10 minutes and be in what feels like a smaller village, not Paris. Here’s what we got this week:

– Cresson de Terre (Perhaps American or Land Cress in English? Anyone know?)

– Unpasteurized Buffalo Mozzerella

– Beets

– Celery

– Little Yellow Onions

– Cucumber

– Zucchini

– Eggplant

– Campari Tomatoes

– Sage

– Red and Green Sweet Peppers

– ‘Master’ Bread

– Thyme

– Felino Sausage

– Mint

And here are some of the dishes all that will go into:

Eggplant & Tomato Tartines with Mozzarella – Lieu sur Lit de Cresson – Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Manchago & Herbed Croutons

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The weekend was as beautiful as the weather people predicted and we tried to take advantage of Paris Design Week and Les Journées du Patrimoine as much as we could. I loved these colorful ladies we found on a back wall near Arts et Métiers.

How was your weekend? And what is on your menu this week?

xo,

A.

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