A visit to a museum in Paris…Many photos…Was the fine dining fine?…A day in Versailles on a guided tour…We’ve walked 23 miles (37 km) so far!

Tom, standing next to an enormous statue.

As much as we’d like to be able to identify each artifact that we share from museums and art galleries, based on the limited time we have when posting daily with photos, most of these photos are presented with little information. By clicking on any of the links, you will be directed to more detailed information. However, we invite you to contact us about a specific item which we’ll be happy to research on your behalf. 

Also, based on a poor Internet connection and also the number of photos we’re posting in Paris, there’s a formatting issue with spacing between photos and paragraphs. We apologize for the inconvenience.  hank you.

Ancient busts.

A chair that may have been used for a ritual.
Could this artifact be a drum?

We simply have too many photos for one post about our experiences of the past 24 hours; a visit to Musee de Quai Branly, a newer, built in 2006, architecturally interesting museum with a wealth of treasures from around the world and two special exhibitions transpiring at this time: Tatoueurs, Tatoues (tattoo exhibit in photos and films) and Tiki Pop (South Pacific pop art new and old).

Wood carving with considerable detail.
Hand-carved chest.
One wonders what the oversized ears may indicate.

And, today, Wednesday, we took the train and spent over four hours at Chateau de Versailles on an outrageously rainy day. With many photos to post, tomorrow we’ll start a two day series on Chateau de Versailles and its unbelievable gardens and the exquisite rooms and art in the palace, posting at our usual time.

Small characters.
This appeared to be a voodoo doll.
Life in the city.

Back to yesterday…After spending a few hours in the beautiful Musee de Quai Branly, we walked next door for our 7:00 pm reservation at the upscale restaurant, Les Ombres. The combination of the museum and the restaurant located in the lush garden of the museum were ideal for a fully rewarding experience.

Asian art.
Religious artwork.

Entrance to the museum (to which we walked) was US $24, EU $18, and dinner which we’ll describe at the end of today’s post was less than we’d expected at US $155, EU $116 for dining in a gourmet French restaurant.  Of course, a few bottles of champagne or wine, of which we didn’t partake, could easily sail the bill up to hundreds more.

Painting of dapper man.
Wood carved mask with a crucifix.

Built in 2006, as a newer museum to Paris, it had a tough act to follow when this city has numerous world-renowned museums and of course, the famous Louvre which we’re booked to see on Saturday.

Mask carved from wood with some metal.
Tall wood carving.
These were from Haiti.

Interesting architecture, convenient location to the Eiffel Tour, lush gardens, and a wealth of artifacts from around the globe from centuries past, makes this a worthwhile tourist attraction. 

Small wood carved men.
Totem pole.
North American Indian art.

Much to our pleasure, the museum, although crowded, was no less crowded than many other highlights we’ve encountered in the city of Paris.

Many artifacts were predominantly male.
One can only guess the significance of these.
Tall male structure.

At times, we question the design of certain venues when there appear to be unoccupied wasted spaces and long and seeming endless walkways until one reaches the main attractions as was the case at Musee de Quai Branly.

Mother and child.
Perhaps a symbol of a type of birthing chair.

Once we reached the exhibitions, the design improved, as we meandered our way through the dimly lit rooms and display areas. Once again, I commend Tom for his excellent sense of direction, preventing us from frequently retracing our steps in the somewhat confusing floor plan.

There were many artifacts encased in temperature-controlled cases.

With the number of photos we’ve taken, most of which seemed to turn out well, we could literally spend days presenting them here. However, with so many other sights to post in our remaining ten days in Paris, we have to pick and choose what we think may appeal to our readers the most.

Austere and frightening.
Mardi Gras costumes from centuries ago.
This was identified as a bear costume.

If you aren’t interested in art and museum artifacts, we apologize if you find it dull. In any case, we’ll be back with other topics that hopefully appeal to your tastes over the next several days.

These costumes could have taken months to make.
These costumes were made in preparation for Mardi Gras in Mexico.
The skill and time required for the detailing in these costumes are astounding.

After touring the museum, we wander next door to Les Ombres, an upscale restaurant located on the museum complex. Reviews were mixed on TripAdvisor but, we always try to keep in mind that every diner may have an entirely different perspective of a dining experience. 

There was some representation of the American Indian.
Many artifacts appear to represent the need for an ancient civilization to be armed for war.
The interpretation of specific items may be very personal.
We find that if there are mixed reviews, some five stars, and others less, it may be worth a try. In this case, our experience at Les Ombres was more ambiance based than the perception of the food.
This damaged figure is a woman giving birth.
These masks and figures were from the South Pacific.
These are Peruvian artifacts.

Undoubtedly, the ambiance couldn’t have been more perfect. Had we been able to get a later reservation than 7:00 pm, we could have enjoyed the Eiffel Tower light show at 10:00 pm from our table. 

Wood carvings.
Intricate door to either a room or a house.
Another intricate door.

Booked in advance for days, if not weeks, we took the early seating, hoping the food would justify missing this major highlight of the restaurant.

Early decorative items.
Many items were found on archeological digs in the 1800s and early 1900s.
The colors were eye-catching in the 100’s of years old tapestries.

Although beautifully presented and served, the food fell short in a few areas; one, the menu option for the fixed price three-course meal didn’t offer a beef selection of the main course; two, the portions were so small, when we left, I was still hungry.

Interesting tapestries from the Middle East.
Many of the masks were intended to ward off evil spirits.
These figures were almost life-size.

Tom filled up eating lots of crusty rolls with butter but, he too, felt the portions were too small. We both had the salmon which couldn’t have been more than 4 ounces, (113 grams). 

Decorative posts.
We were intrigued by the amount of skill that went into the production of many of these artifacts.
Decorative mask.

Adding the four tiny pieces of broccoli as shown in the photos with a few tablespoons of broccoli puree, that was my entire meal. I just couldn’t justify spending another US $32, EU $24 for a side salad, although Tom encouraged me to do so.

Celebratory masks.
Body piercings are common in many African countries.
To us old-timers, this poster looks familiar.

Tom’s meal included an appetizer of delicious although tiny portions of shellfish and octopus risotto and a chocolate dessert which he seemed to enjoy. Without the crusty rolls, he too would have been hungry when we left.

This photo was from the 1930s in the US.
Many tattoos in Asia were designed as a result of popular Asian art.
The museum currently has an exhibition of tattoo art from around the world.

By no means are we saying this restaurant wasn’t worthy of a one time visit. For those eating three meals a day, these smaller portions may have been satisfactory. And, the service was excellent, the ambiance dreamy and overall, we had a lovely experience.

Saturday Evening Post, March 4, 1944.
Many of the ancient artifacts were headdresses and costumes worn in war or celebration.
An interesting light pattern of words that was scrolling along the floor as we entered and exited the museum.

After all, we’ve accomplished in the past 24 hours including many miles of walking, we feel refreshed and committed to continue on with our ongoing exploration of Paris with gusto.

The beautiful fresh flowers adorned the already inviting ambiance of the restaurant.
Tom, ready to dine at Les Ombres.
Tom chose the fixed price option at EU $68, US $91.

Hopefully, tonight when we’ll brave the rain again after we’ve just borrowed an umbrella from the hotel, we’ll have a slightly more at an Italian restaurant we’ve agreed to try with several non-pasta items on the menu that will work for me.

Butter arrived at the table imprinted with “Marie Antoinette.”
These warm cheese-filled buns arrived before dinner. Tom said they were good.
Tom lobster, prawns, and octopus risotto was delicious but a tiny portion.

Look for Part 1 of our Versailles series starting tomorrow when early in the morning we’ll head back to the lobby of the hotel, armed with our laptops, fresh mugs of our favorite iced tea, and the excitement of sharing another fabulous Paris experience with our readers all over the world.

We both had the same main dish (entrée in French translates to “appetizer”, grilled salmon topped with shredded cabbage and a slice of cauliflower. These four bits of broccoli were no larger than the end of a thumb. This consisted of my entire meal, not quite enough after a busy day of walking for hours.
Tom dessert. At the top, is a rolled filled chocolate cake with a Grenache frosting garnished with chocolate candy sticks. Below is a dollop of chocolate ice cream atop of spoonful of a chocolate sauce containing chunks of chocolate.
Our dinner bill at EU $116 was slightly under US $155, based on today’s exchange rate.
View of the Eiffel Tower from Les Ombres Restaurant.

Photo from one year ago today, August 6, 2013:
No photos were posted a year ago on this date when our discussion revolved around how much we’d budgeted for our monthly expenses for our travel. For details of that post, please click here.

Comments and responses A visit to a museum in Paris…Many photos…Was the fine dining fine?…A day in Versailles on a guided tour…We’ve walked 23 miles (37 km) so far!

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Hi, with Ebola spreading so crazily what precautions are you taking with so much travel? Are you keeping track of the outbreaks? Have you noticed any changes yet in security measures? Would you get on a plane with someone who was visibly ill? Would you go back to Africa again now? It's reported to be in several more countries and the American who had it on the plane apparently infected others without them having to have direct contact with his bodily fluids. It's reported to be airborne on droplets of saliva or mucous when people cough. Does any of this frighten you both and if so what do you do about it (see above questions)?

  2. Jessica Reply

    Dear Anonymous,
    Great questions, all of which we've discussed and considered. We'll answer them, one by one as numbered points for ease of reading:
    1. With Ebola spreading so crazily what precautions are you taking with so much travel? According to the CDC Ebola is not an airborne illness.as we discovered from their website: 11alive.com/story/news/local/2014/08/05/ebola-blood-test-travellers-west-africa/13647489/
    As a result at this point in our travels considering that we're heading to London from Paris, then on to two cruises with short stays in Boston and Vancouver, ending in Hawaii, we have no major concerns.
    2. Are you keeping track of the outbreaks? Yes, we watch US and world news daily and if not available, we watch news online daily.
    3. Have you noticed any changes yet in security measures? It seems to us that security measures have increased over the past year at airports with enhanced sanitation. However, out and about in cities at various venues, we haven't seen any increased sanitation measures. We wash our hands before and after each meal and when we return to our hotel.
    4. Would you get on a plane with someone who was visibly ill? If someone was visibly ill near where we were seated, we'd insist on moving to another location. But, people are coughing and sneezing everywhere we go and we make every effort to steer clear. This will be a greater challenge on our upcoming two cruises, neither of which goes anywhere near Africa.
    5. Would you go back to Africa again now? Yes, we will go back to Africa in a few years. We loved Africa and still have much more to see. But, we will definitely avoid countries with Ebola outbreaks.
    6. It's reported to be in several more countries and the American who had it on the plane apparently infected others without them having to have direct contact with his bodily fluids. It's reported to be airborne on droplets of saliva or mucous when people cough. Does any of this frighten you both and if so what do you do about it (see above questions)? We decided when we decided to travel for years to come, health providing, that we will be cautious but, not to the point of impeding the quality of our travels. According to numerous medical sites we've read, direct contact, not airborne is necessary to contract Ebola. We don't share bodily fluids with anyone that could potentially be infected. As for does it frighten us? It frightens us for the people in the world that are exposed in locations and situations where it is spreading. We have some concerns that it may spread to the US in time, as often is the case. As for personal fear, we have little. The media is responsible for inciting fear. We research valid medical sites for information which reduces our fear and adds to our precautions when necessary. We've done many things in our travels that held a certain amount of risk. We carefully weigh risks and then decide if the experience is worth taking the risk. For us, Africa, in non-Ebola stricken areas, is worth the risk.

    Thanks so much for your thought provoking questions. We so much appreciate the communication from our loyal readers such as yourself.

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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