So…did I dream that day at the Palais de Tokyo in early January? Could it be as magical a second time? Had to go back and find out. Lunch reservation for Wednesday noon. Got to the museum late due to traffic so went to Monsieur Bleu before exploring the art. (Is this a good idea?) Knew the exhibits had changed but wasn’t prepared for complete transformation of the spaces. Last time we couldn’t find the restaurant on the pitch-black lower level. This time the windows were all uncovered for a totally different effect, but door still well camouflaged:
(Door? Did you say door?)
If you know where to look, you can get in, otherwise enter from the river side?
More surprises: on weekdays there’s a reasonable prix-fixe menu (starters 13€, main dishes 20€). Would have ordered the gambas again, they were so delish, but the menu had changed and my dream boat, grand seigneur, insisted I order à la carte. So….”Belle salade avocat-mangue-pamplemousse-orange-oignons-crevettes roses” (Beautiful salad avocado-mango-grapefruit-orange-onions- pink shrimp+fresh parsley & drizzle of customized vinaigrette and yes, it was a beautiful explosion of sweetness, tartness, smoothness, color, with a hint of the ocean).
Main dish: “Noix de Saint Jacques dorées, beurre, orange-passion” (Golden scallops in butter and orange-passion fruit sauce, accompanied by slices of red and golden beets, turnips in shiny butter).
(You’ll have to imagine my date’s salmon tartare with fresh herbs and Tuna Tataky Saku encrusted with sesame…)
Shared dessert: café gourmand:
(Expresso with tiny cheese cake, meringue, salted butter cream puff, on a bed of pistachio and pastry cream, fresh raspberies….and a chocolate praline).
Accompanied by a glass of white Viognier for me and red Burgundy for him.
Verdict: just as lovely as in January, a feeling of reverence, thankful for all the creatures and people who brought this meal to me here and now. Starting to experience a holographic map of France in my brain, wired to my palate. Every time I eat or drink something in this country, a geographical area lights up, linked to landscape, history, and tradition… a sacred grounding ritual.
Found our way back through the hidden portal to the exhibits on the lower level. First J-M Alberola, whose work focuses on details. In the mood for something on a larger scale, I rushed through what felt like a gallery, with framed canvases and display cases. Struck by one item that echoes a family travel joke (“Are you sure you packed the anvil?”)Travel enclume in case, caption “Le verbe être remplacé par le verbe porter/The verb to be replaced by the verb to carry.”
Next a walk through colorful multi-media displays by Shana Moulton (no pix), and on to the Bas Bar (Stocking Bar) by Martin Soto Climent, more like what I hope for at the Palais de Tokyo, with panty hose stretched across the walls and ceiling, hammocks, tables and seating:
Detour via Simon Evans (really a duo, for some reason Sarah Lannan’s name doesn’t appear in the title): collages of accumulated scraps of paper inscribed with scrawled soliloquy’s on white out, a word waterfall, woven or distressed surfaces painted and printed with iconic symbols and statements…Somehow was drawn in:
Next, attracted to this poster for Louidgi Beltrame’s movie El Brujo (The Sorcerer):
Turned out to be a million times more interesting than the film, unless you’re a fan of Warhol’s Sleep and really enjoy sitting through it, sorry J-P Léaud, endless hand-held camera shot of you crossing the trestle-bridge over the Gare du Nord tracks just doesn’t hold my attention.
Up to the main floor for:
Florian & Michael Quistrebert, The Light of the Light: stacked hulking LED-incrusted panels rotating on metal rods like mechanical totems.
Anddizzying op-art projections on angled movie screens…
My favorite of the day, Enrique Oliveira’s white pillars entwining into tree branches and trunks:
And finally (you can’t make this stuff up) Vivien Roubaud’s “tarpaulin taking wing on a building site.”Yes, I kid you not, a large square piece of torn plastic sheeting rigged to float up and down in the Great Staircase…One can only conclude that all life is art depending on your perspective? So…in answer to my questions, no, I did not dream that January day at the Palais de Tokyo and even if several spaces are awaiting their new exhibits, yes, coming here can be as magical as the first time. Highly recommend choosing a good companion (I did). Conversation, wonder, and humor guaranteed…. Vive le Palais de Tokyo xxxx Aliss