Dispatches from July 22
NOON: Dad and I are looking for a good brunch spot when the skies can’t hold it anymore. We dive into the closest cafe with a roof, which turns out to be a total gem. Just look at this magret du canard (duck breast) with rich pepper cream sauce and green beans!
The bread is crisp-tender, our shared tomato/balsamic/goat cheese starter perfectly summery, and listening to the rain is wonderful inside. Plus, this was our first experience at a truly French-only spot, and we did pretty well! Good thing 85% of the French words I know are food-related. (The other 15% are ballet steps or words translated awkwardly via Spanish.)
3 PM: At the Musee d’Orsay, getting my late 19th/early 20th century culture on. The collection is huge, so here are some snippets that caught my fancy:
Deux lamas (1911), by Rembrandt Bugatti. But…why did he call it that?
A small part of the perfect mini model made by the architect of the opera house. He did so much work just to get the job!
A small portion of L’Énigme (1871), by Gustave Doré. Boy, I’d like to read the sci-fi/fantasy novel this could illustrate.
La Liberté éclairant le monde (1889), by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Look familiar? This one was designed by Bartholdi to be exhibited as art after the big lady was completed.
6 PM: Dinner at the lushly theatrical Cafe Zimmer. I particularly liked my appetizer, a slice of country pate with onion jam and gherkins.
Pretty lush, eh?
9 PM: The National Ballet of the Vienna State Opera is in town. Tonight they are performing Don Quixote. Prior to this performance, I’d never seen the full ballet, just Kitri’s variations on YouTube. Now I know why: the entire damn show is Kitri’s variations, sprinkled liberally with Basilio’s variations. Don Quixote himself is a clown figure who does no dancing at all. Sancho Panza, who ought to be a clown figure, could have done amazing comic dancing but just fell down a lot instead. And I’ve never seen such an overdressed and under-utilized corps!
This is nothing against the company, just the choreography. The dancers themselves were lovely and I still enjoyed watching their technique from a great seat in the gorgeous Theater du Chatelet.
12 AM: Tarte tatin with creme fraiche after the show. Mmm!