Helpful ReplyHot!January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour

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Davidsanders
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2017/02/08 18:41:59 (permalink)

January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour

Tuesday, January 3rd
 
 
 
I left for London on Tuesday evening, six days before the official start of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 2017 European tour, my 40th international tour with the Orchestra. The orchestra was scheduled to leave for Paris on January 9th, but I had scheduled four nights in London and two nights in Paris before their arrival. The Polaris business class lounge in Chicago. 

 
Pre-flight refreshment.

 
Dinner on the flight. Short ribs of beef.

 
Ice cream with strawberry sauce.

 
 
Wednesday, January 4th
 
 
Arriving in London Wednesday morning, I took the Underground to Hyde Park Corner.

 
I came out of the underground to the familiar sight of the Wellington Arch, the monument of Hyde Park Corner.

 
After checking into my hotel, I headed back on the Tube to Oxford Street to begin walking around this wonderful city. Here’s the view looking down the long escalator.

 
From my last trip I remembered a wonderful waffle stand near the Bond Street exit.

 
This wasn’t it! I took a couple of bites and dumped it. About a block away was the actual stand, which, unfortunately, no longer had waffles. 

 
Walking about half a block further, I found this little stand, which was actually making the waffles fresh while you waited.

 

 
This was an excellent waffle!

 
Wafflemeister
369 Oxford Street
http://www.wafflemeister.com
 
I continued my walk to Regent Street and then down to Liberty. I love going to this store when I’m in London, although I rarely buy anything.

 

 

 
Next I headed through Carnaby Street. There were still lots of holiday decorations all throughout London.

 

 
Then a quick trip through Chinatown, where I was having dinner later in the evening.

 
Followed by a visit to one of my favorite streets, Cecil Court, just off of Charring Cross Road. The street still has many interesting shops, including a print shop and an antiquarian music and music book shop, although a few of my favorites have closed. 

 
 
 
Much, much more to come..........
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2017/02/09 01:08:16
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Davidsanders
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/08 18:52:17 (permalink)
I walked on down the road to St. Martin in the Fields Church, home of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Orchestra.

 
The National Gallery.

 
Trafalgar Square. A beautiful sight at dusk.

 

 
Next stop: Harrods

 

 
Decorations on Brompton Road.

 
The Godiva Chocolate Café at Harrods.

 

 
Hot chocolixir. “Three indulgent layers: warm chocolate ganache, steamed milk and milk foam.” Wonderful.

 

 
Godiva Milk Chocolate Sin Cake. The top is a layer of mousse praline and crunchy pieces. Served with warm Godiva milk chocolate sauce. Really fantastic.

 

 

 
Harrods Godiva Chocolate Café
87-135 Brompton Road
http://www.harrods.com/content/the-store/restaurants/cafe-godiva
 
 
After this light snack (!) I went back to the hotel and then walked back to Chinatown, and one of my favorite places, Jen Café, a wonderful Chinese dive, with very limited seating so you are often squeezed together with strangers. A woman sits in the window all day long making dumplings, and they’re fantastic.

 
I had an order of pot stickers…

 
and Chinese greens. The end of a great day.

 
Jen Café
4-8 Newport Place
https://www.yelp.com/biz/jen-cafe-london
 
Much, much more to come.....
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2017/02/08 19:03:50
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/08 19:24:43 (permalink)
Please allow me first, to congratulate you on your 40th international tour with the Chicago Symphony.  That is quite an accomplishment.  As a music major in college I know what hard work it is.  The practicing, the rehearsals, the performances, the travel.  I applaud you.  Bravissimo!
 
Now about the food!  Your pictures are, as always, fantastic!  London is a great city but of course I am partial to Paris because I lived there for so many years.  This is going to be a great trip report!   
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/08 19:43:59 (permalink)
Thursday, January 5th
 
 
I came to London armed with suggestions and reviews of bakeries. Today there were two around the corner from each other, Crosstown Doughnuts and Gail’s Bakery. I started with the donut shop. I was very excited about this place after reading the website and looking at the photos. Here are some of the choices for today.

 
I had a hard time deciding and went with the glazed cinnamon scroll (not a typo). I think I made the wrong choice. Even though I got there just as they opened in the morning, it didn’t taste particularly fresh, was rather heavy. I could be that it was just different than what I am used to. At any rate, I didn’t eat much of it.

 

 
Crosstown Doughnuts
4 Broadwick Street
https://www.crosstowndoughnuts.com
 
 
I headed across the street to Gail’s Artisan Bakery, where I had better success.

 

 
I went with a cherry, apricot (?) and ginger scone, with clotted cream and strawberry jam. I loved it. My one regret was that I also didn’t get one of the croissants as well. 

 

 
Gail’s Artisan Bakery
128 Wardour Street
http://gailsbread.co.uk/bakeries/soho/ 
 
 
From Soho I went to the Camden Passage area of the Borough of Islington. Not many of the shops were open yet, so I just walked around a bit. And stopped here.

 
I had a red velvet cupcake, which was pretty good, but I guess I wasn’t really in the mood for a third sweet so soon. I ate about half.

 
Hummingbird Bakery
405 St. John Street
Islington
https://hummingbirdbakery.com
 
 
Heading towards Westminster Abbey on the tube I saw the London Bridge stop. I had never in all my times in London actually been at London Bridge, so I got off and walked around for quite awhile.

 
Views from the Bridge.

 

 
I continued my walk until I made it to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

 

 
Just hanging out.

 
I crossed over the Westminster Bridge to South Bank. The London Eye.

 
The South Bank Lion.

 
Along the Thames looking back at Big Ben.
 

 

 
I crossed back over the Thames on the Waterloo Bridge and walked to Covent Garden.

 

 
 
I had decided on fish and chips for lunch today, and headed towards the Golden Union, a place I had read about.

 
I enjoyed this a lot, although the chips were nothing special, and they started getting cold rather quickly. This, unbelievably, was the small portion.

 

 
The fish was light and flaky, and very tasty. 

 
Golden Union Fish and Chips
38 Poland Street
http://www.goldenunion.co.uk
 
 
A return to Harrods Godiva Chocolate Bar. A warm chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream. I didn’t love this, and felt it could really have used the warm chocolate sauce that was served with sin cake.

 

 
The molten chocolate inside the cake was too sparse. It didn’t mix in as part of the cake, but was just a bit of a blob of chocolate in the center.

 
 
One of the highlights of my trip to London was the remarkable opportunity to see the stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. For those non-Potter fans, this production is a continuation of the original seven books and takes place where the epilogue in book seven leaves off. The production, which is presented in two parts over two nights, opened last July and was immediately sold out through September. The dates continued to be extended, and it is now sold out through February, 2018. I had been looking and then gave up, until just a couple of weeks before I left, I happened to be looking for concerts, etc. happening in London while I would be there, and decided to check again for the Harry Potter tickets. Low and behold, there was a Thursday/Friday pair available during my visit, which I jumped at. Tonight was the night. I really liked the first part, and I loved the second part the next night. I am really thrilled I was able to attend this fantastic production.

 
Inside of the theater before the start of the performance.

 
 
After Harry I went to dinner at Princi Pizza.

 
Diavola Pizza (spicy salami) 

 
Olive appetizer. I enjoyed my dinner very much.

 
Princi Pizza
135 Wardour Street
http://www.princi.com
 
 
Much, much more to come.....
post edited by Davidsanders - 2017/02/09 01:09:56
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/08 19:45:07 (permalink)
I am truly looking forward to this report. My daughter was greatly envious of the Godiva's goodies and now wants a passport to visit Harrod's. Guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet.
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ann peeples
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/08 20:33:21 (permalink)
What a fantastic report!
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/08 20:44:35 (permalink)
Am loving this report. This Italian is a real Anglophile......Reminding me of may a fine vacation there......
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/08 20:45:10 (permalink)
Congratulations on 40 tours!  That's fantastic!
 
Godiva, bakeries and more Godiva...I am so with you in spirit!  All of my faves in 24 hours!  
 
Can't wait for more...
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Davidsanders
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/08 21:50:12 (permalink)
Friday, January 6th
 
 
I started the day with the long walk back to Gail’s Bakery, hoping to get one of the great looking croissants. Unfortunately, I arrived too late, and they were all gone. I had a plain scone, but probably should have had the same one I had yesterday. 

 
One of my splurges for this trip was next: Afternoon Tea at the Dorchester Hotel.
I generally love to find a nice place for tea when I’m in London, and this one is one of the more famous and upscale ones. It’s in a delightful space and everything about it is elegant.

 

 

 
I started with four of the five sandwiches offered: roast chicken, egg, cucumber and smoked salmon. I passed on the tuna.

 

 
When I finished those, I was presented with another set of sandwiches. This time I “only” had three, the chicken, salmon and egg.
 
 
Next came the scones, two plain and two raisin.

 
The clotted cream, strawberry and pear jams. 

 
I was only able to eat two of the scones before the plate of desserts arrived. Every one of these was fantastic. The one on the left front of the plate is a passion fruit with mousse; the right front is a strawberry chiffon. 

 
The blueberry compote over a meringue on top of a tart. The meringue tasted like freshly toasted marshmallows on a grill, without the burn. 

 
The chocolate ganache inside the hard chocolate shell was to die for. 

 
After the four desserts I thought I was through, but the waiter came by and asked if I wanted a fifth! I said no, I couldn’t possibly. A couple of minutes later he brought a tray of them for a nearby table, and I just had to have one. It was an apple puff pastry that was light as a feather.

 
The Dorchester Hotel
53 Park Lane
https://www.dorchestercol...nt-bars/afternoon-tea/
 
 
 
After this magnificent experience I started on another long walk. I walked through Green Park to Buckingham Fountain, and then back to Westminster Abbey.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
I went back to Jen Café for dinner before my second of the Harry Potter performances. I had an order of soup dumplings.

 
and noodles and spicy pork.

 
 
I headed to part two of Harry Potter. The stage before the opening.

 
 
Much, much more to come.....
 
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2017/02/09 01:11:22
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/08 22:52:48 (permalink)
Saturday, January 7th
 
 
 
For my last full day in London I walked early to Westminster Abbey. On the way I passed Patisserie Valerie, a shop I had walked by many times but never stopped. It wasn’t great, but not bad.

 
 
The last time I had toured the inside of the Abbey was in 1985. I’ve visited the building several times since then, but decided to go back inside this time. No photography allowed. It’s amazing how many great and famous people have been buried there or have memorials. The notable musicians include Elgar, Vaughn Williams, Clementi, Britten, and of course Handel. The interesting thing about Handel’s monument is that the date of birth on the stone is 23 February 1684. When I saw it I knew something was strange, because he was born the same year as Bach, in 1685. It turns out that at that period in time, the new year in England began on March 25th, not January 1st.
 
 
After leaving the Abbey, I started walking and took my one and only selfie, with Big Ben in the background.
 
 
 
I made the very long walk to the Borough Market, the very large food market that I had read about but never seen. There were way too many things to look at, buy and eat!
 
 
 
Yes, they really do serve goat, and no, I didn’t have any.

 
Finally, something for me.

 
These croissants were much better than what I had earlier in the morning.

 
Borough Market
9 Southwark Street
http://boroughmarket.org.uk
 
 
 
Yet another trip to Harrods Chocolate Café.

 
 
It really is wonderful.

 
 
From Harrods I walked to the wonderful Victoria and Albert Museum.

 

 

 
 
My other big splurge in London was dinner at Wilton’s, a traditional British restaurant open since 1742! It’s a lovely restaurant, and I had a great meal.

 

 

 

 

 
I started with a prawn cocktail, which wasn’t what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

 
A wonderful filet, served with a Portobello mushroom and grilled tomato.

 
I loved these brussel sprout tops, with bacon and chestnuts. 

 
And the fries were terrific.

 
 
Wilton’s
55 Jermyn Street
http://wiltons.co.uk
 
 
 
Much, much more to come..... 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2017/02/09 01:12:23
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/08 23:27:29 (permalink)
Sunday, January 8th
 
 
 
I took the Chunnel to Paris early in the morning, and was out on the Champs Éylysées by the afternoon. One of my favorite sights, the Arc de Triomphe.

 

 
 
I love walking in Paris, even in the winter, and generally walk along the Champs Eylsees through the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens to the Louvre.

 
The Luxor Obelisk at the center of the Place de la Concorde.

 
 
Before getting to the Louvre I came across this new-to-me gem. Looking through the window I was captivated. I was very lucky to get upstairs and get a table in this very small and very crowded room. When I came down the stairs awhile later, there was a line all the way from the top to the bottom of the stairs.

 
I loved the sign: 2nd best croissant in Paris. I had to have one.

 
Before the croissant, however…… an apple tart…..

 
and a spectacular chocolate wonder.

 

 

 
After those, I went downstairs to the counter and got this croissant to go, and ate it outside. It was wonderful.

 
Sebastien Gaudard Patisserie
1, Rue des Pyramides
http://www.sebastiengaudard.com
 
 
I continued my walk through the Gardens, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

 
Approaching the Louvre is the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, designed in the same year as the more famous Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoille, and half the size.

 
A panoramic view of the Louvre.

 
I kept walking, looking for the highly recommended bakery Gerard Mulot. Crossing over the Seine.

 

 
 
Finally.

 
Waiting in line at around 5 p.m., I saw one lone baguette standing up along the back. I figured it would be cold and a bit stale. When the cashier handed it to me he warned me to be careful because it was hot! I have to say that this was one of the highlights of the trip for me. This warm baguette was absolutely sensational.

 
I also got this croissant, which while not quite as great as the earlier one from Gaudard, was still pretty amazing. But the baguette was really to die for.

 
Gerard Mulot
76 rue de Seine
Saint Germain des Pres
https://www.gerard-mulot.com
 
 
 
After the croissant and baguette I wasn’t exactly ready for dinner, but after going back to the hotel and resting for awhile I decided to go ahead. I had read a recommendation on Roadfood for Au Chien Qui Fume, so I gave it a try. I’m afraid I didn’t order the right thing. There was a filet special with foie gras, but since I’m not a big fan, I went with the steak frites. I also wanted to try the onion soup. I wound up with way too much food.

 
A little olive appetizer was brought to the table.

 
Of course the bread was wonderful.

 
I wish there had been a small bowl of the onion soup. It was very good, but, again, too much.

 
I even ordered a salad, which I certainly didn’t need. 

 
The steak frites was okay. The steak wasn’t the best cut of meat I’ve had, and after Wilton’s the night before in London, it was pretty much just okay. But I certainly did enjoy the experience.

 
Au Chien Qui Fume
33 rue du Pont Neuf
http://www.auchienquifume.com
 
 
 
I took the Metro back to the Champs Eylsees stop, which was about a 10 minute walk to my hotel. The street was really beautifully decorated.

 

 
 
 
Much, much more to come.....
 
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2017/02/09 01:13:45
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lleechef
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 00:16:34 (permalink)
Beautiful baguette and croissant!  They truly do make the best in Paris.  I was probably the one who recommended Au Chien Qui Fume.  I would have ordered something entirely different.  But an evening walk along the Champs Elysées can't be beat.
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 00:32:06 (permalink)
Monday, January 9th
 
 
 
After a rather disappointing hotel breakfast, the worst food I had had since arriving in Europe, I headed off for the day of walking and exploring. I took the Metro to the Louvre-Rivoli station, because I still remembered from 1974 when my mother and got off the Metro to go to the Louvre our delight in seeing the station. I wasn’t going to the museum today, just using the Metro stop as a starting point. 

 

 
 
My first sight was the Saint-Jacques Tower, all that remains of the former 16th century Church of Saint-Jacques-de-la Boucherie. It was the first of three today that were new to me.

 

 
 
The next stop was the incredible Hotel de Ville, the second new-to-me stop today.
As I approached it I was overwhelmed with its grandeur. It has been the headquarters of the municipality of Paris since 1357. 

 

 
For a much, much better photo of this magnificent structure, click this link. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Hôtel_de_ville_de_Paris_(panoramique).jpg
 
 
Crossing the Seine.

 

 
 
The third new-to-me stop today was Sainte-Chapelle. Begun in 1238, it has one of the most extensive 13th century stained glass collections anywhere in the world. 

 

 

 

 

 
The staircase back down to the main floor.

 
 
Next was Notre Dame. I had come here in 1974 with my mother, and have been back to see the outside a number of times, but I hadn’t been back inside in many years. It’s sobering to think that construction began in 1163. 

 

 

 

 

 
Forty-three years ago I had left my mother waiting for me down on the ground as I walked up the steps to the top. I had decided to try to climb up again this time, but there was an hour and a half wait to climb the steps, so I decided not to do it. Probably just as well!

 

 
 
For lunch I had a bowl of very good onion soup at a bistro near the Cathedral.

 
 
From there I walked around, heading back to bakery Gerard Mulot. Here’s the incredibly famous bookstore Shakespeare and Company. I am sorry that the rare book department was closed when I was there.

 
Some back streets.

 

 
 
Back to the bakery. A baguette, and apple and chocolate tartes. The bakery has seats for about six people, and I was lucky enough to find one, so I was able to relax and enjoy my treats.

 

 

 
 
On to the next stop, the Eiffel Tower. I took the Metro there, but when it came time to leave I started walking in the wrong direction to the train and wound up walking the 45 minutes back to my hotel.

 

 
Views from the top. Actually, the top observation deck was closed, so I had to “settle” for the lower deck. The Trocadero, site of the Palais de Chaillot.

 
Ferris wheel at the Place de la Concorde.

 
 
Dinner was with a colleague and her family who had also come to Paris before the Orchestra. The Creperie Plougastel is in the Montparnasse area of Paris, and the street is lined with creperies. It was a great choice. I had never been to a creperie, and really enjoyed my buckwheat crepe with mushrooms and cheese.

 
Our party also enjoyed this egg and sausage.

 
And the one with the salad on top.

 
Creperie Plougastel
47 rue du Montparnasse
http://www.creperie-plougastel.com/index.html
 
 
Much, much more to come.....
 
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2017/02/09 01:15:06
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 00:46:04 (permalink)
Tuesday, January 10th
 
 
 
I took the Metro to Montmartre this morning, known primarily for the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, or Sacré-Coeur. Looking up at the Basilica from the street near the train stop.

 
Sacré-Coeur is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. It was quite a hike!

 
Getting closer.

 
Almost there, a couple of more sets of steps.

 
Most of the time in Paris so far had been cloudy or rainy. It was nice to see the sun. Looking back down at the city before making the final push.

 
Can’t stop yet.

 

 
Made it inside.

 
I took the tram back down to the town.

 
 
While walking around Montmartre, I read in a guide book that there was a bakery which had a croissant that had been rated best in Paris. I had to try it to see if it was actually better that the one at Sebastien Gaudard. 

 
I’m sorry to say it wasn’t. It was okay, nothing special.

 
I liked these cookies better. What I didn’t like was that I ordered hot chocolate. She heated up some milk, not hot enough, and then stirred in some Hershey’s milk chocolate powder. Really?

 
Boulangerie Raphaelle
1 Rue Feutrier
Montmatre, Paris
http://boulangerieraphaelle.fr
 
 
I came back to the center of Paris and walked back through the Tuileries Garden, looking for this gem that I had been to last time.

 
I love the waffles with powdered sugar.

 
 
I walked around the neighborhoods around Saint Germain Des Pres and St. Michel to get to another bakery I had read about. It turned out it was closed, but there was this little place a few doors away.I’m not sure how to describe these. They were shells with peanut on the left and chocolate on the right, with cream on the inside. They were wonderful.

 
 
Since the Orchestra had arrived in the afternoon, I went to dinner with one of my colleagues. We went to Bistrot Paul Bert, a restaurant I had seen on a Travel Channel show with Anthony Bourdain. It’s a very small and charming place.

 

 
My salad was really good.

 
As was the bread.

 
The filet with a pepper sauce was terrific.

 
My colleague had chicken, which was sublime.

 
The fries were wonderful.

 
Possibly the best part of the meal were these heavenly mashed potatoes. A terrific meal.

 
Bistrot Paul Bert
18 rue Paul Bert
https://www.yelp.com/biz/bistro-paul-bert-paris
 
 
Much, much more to come.....
 
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2017/02/09 01:16:04
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 01:06:52 (permalink)
Wednesday, January 11th
 
 
 
After breakfast I met up with my physical therapist who was traveling on our tour as a guest and we headed for the Louvre. The Pyramid entrance.

 
The world’s largest museum, the Louvre is an extraordinary place, with way too many exhibits and displays to see in one, or multiple, visits.

 
Venus de Milo.

 

 

 
The Mona Lisa.

 
Cats from about 600 years BC.

 
Musée du Louvre
http://www.louvre.fr/en
 
 
After the Louvre we headed the several blocks to Sebastien Gaudard. I was hoping to get the same chocolate pastry as the other day, but it wasn’t available. I settled for another chocolate pastry, and, of course, another croissant. Stephanie got a croissant and a wonderful lemon tarte.

 

 
 
From here Stephanie went to meet a friend visiting her from London, and I went to the Musée de l’Orangerie. 

 

 
A great museum, the collection includes a set of Water Lilies by Claude Monet.

 

 
 
In addition to the Water Lilies, there is also the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection of paintings. Henri Matisse, Woman with Mandolin.

 
Henri Rousseau, dit Le Douanier, La Carriole du Pere Junier.

 
Musée de l’Orangerie
Jardin Tuileries
http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/en
 
 
For dinner, I didn’t want another steak frites, so I went to a small restaurant near our hotel where I had had scrambled eggs for lunch in the past. 

 
A pretty good salad.

 
The bread is always good!

 
I went with rigatoni, which wasn’t particularly good. I should have gone with the scrambled eggs.

 
Café Le Courcelles
94 Boulevard Courcelles
https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-courcelles-paris-2
 
 
Much, much more to come.....
 
 
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2017/02/09 01:16:59
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 08:45:04 (permalink)
David,

I wish I was as good at travelling (& reporting) as you are. Your report is superb.

The pastry photos remind me of a former boss who frequently did business in France. He developed a gluten intolerance late in life and it almost killed him to be so close to all the wonderful pastries that he did not dare to even touch.

Jim
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 10:13:05 (permalink)
This is an amazing report. Did you ever hear of a French pastry called Religiose(Spelling?) which looks sort of like a little nun, thus the name. It's mostly a layered cream puff, stuffed with chocolate mouse!! And you're right, bread in Paris is pure and simple a work of art!!!!
#17
buffetbuster
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 10:20:24 (permalink)
Beautiful photos and report David!  How long did you wait in line to get into the Louvre?
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 11:05:08 (permalink)
Terrific report, David!  Do you speak French?
 
I wish more restaurants here served olives as appetizers.
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 13:11:01 (permalink)
Toute est magnifique!!!  You were lucky to have such a clear day when you went to Sacré-Coeur.  Usually in January it's foggy and rainy and after climbing all those steps you can hardly see the basilique.
 
You got a fantastic shot of La Joconde!  (Mona Lisa)  Usually there are so many people you can't get close enough for a picture.  I used to spend every Sunday at the Louvre when I lived in Paris.  Except in the summer when there were too many tourists.  I never saw it all.  Perhaps my favorite of all the Parisian museums is l'Orangerie.  I could sit for hours and look at all the beautiful Impressionist paintings.
 
Out of all the 303 stops on the Paris Métro, the Louvre-Rivoli has to be the most beautiful.  I remember the first time I saw that station and I was absolutely floored by the beauty.
 
About the Cathédrale de Notre Dame, I went to Christmas Eve mass one year.  It was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had.
 
En espérant de voir beaucoup plus!
post edited by lleechef - 2017/02/09 16:29:14
#20
ChiTownDiner
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 13:32:16 (permalink)
Mesmerizing...love every photo and description....thanks for taking the time to post this! 
#21
Greymo
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 16:27:51 (permalink)
Just a wonderful report.................I am not into sweets, but the French bread, baguettes, and croissants have me wanting to return to France.
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Davidsanders
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 19:00:16 (permalink)
JRPfeff
David,

I wish I was as good at travelling (& reporting) as you are. Your report is superb.

The pastry photos remind me of a former boss who frequently did business in France. He developed a gluten intolerance late in life and it almost killed him to be so close to all the wonderful pastries that he did not dare to even touch.

Jim

I wonder what I would do if it turned out I couldn't eat the way I've been eating for a medical reason. If I was in Paris and couldn't eat the pastries I might eat them anyway. Of course, not having the intolerance and not having dealt with the ramifications makes it easy to say that.
 
David
 
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Davidsanders
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 19:01:20 (permalink)
leethebard
This is an amazing report. Did you ever hear of a French pastry called Religiose(Spelling?) which looks sort of like a little nun, thus the name. It's mostly a layered cream puff, stuffed with chocolate mouse!! And you're right, bread in Paris is pure and simple a work of art!!!!


Interesting. I never heard of the Religiose. It sounds wonderful.
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 19:03:38 (permalink)
buffetbuster
Beautiful photos and report David!  How long did you wait in line to get into the Louvre?


Thanks Cliff. A compliment from you is a treasured thing! 
Actually, getting into the Louvre was fairly easy. My friend had bought her ticket in advance because she was afraid of a long wait. When I went in with her there was virtually no line at all, except to get through the security screening, and that was only about 10 minutes. 
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 19:07:52 (permalink)
lleechef
Toute est magnifique!!!  You were lucky to have such a clear day when you went to Sacré-Coeur.  Usually in January it's foggy and rainy and after climbing all those steps you can hardly see the basilique.
 
You got a fantastic shot of La Joconde!  (Mona Lisa)  Usually there are so many people you can't get close enough for a picture.  I used to spend every Sunday at the Louvre when I lived in Paris.  Except in the summer when there were too many tourists.  I never saw it all.  Perhaps my favorite of all the Parisian museums is l'Orangerie.  I could sit for hours and look at all the beautiful Impressionist paintings.
 
Out of all the 303 stops on the Paris Métro, the Louvre-Rivoli has to be the most beautiful.  I remember the first time I saw that station and I was absolutely floored by the beauty.
 
About the Cathédrale de Notre Dame, I went to Christmas Eve mass one year.  It was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had.
 
En espérant de voir beaucoup plus!


The Louvre wasn't terribly crowded luckily, and I think that's why I was able to get such a good shot of the Mona Lisa. There was a little crowd around it, but I used the zoom on my iPhone 7 Plus camera to get the shot.
 
I know that I was very lucky to have the clear day at Sacré-Coeur. As a matter of fact, by the time I got back down to the town it was already clouding over. But I was fooled by my good fortune and went out in the afternoon without my umbrella, the only time I had done that. I wound up getting rained on, a light, steady, constant drizzle which never seemed to quit.
 
David
 
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Davidsanders
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 19:15:39 (permalink)
lleechef
Beautiful baguette and croissant!  They truly do make the best in Paris.  I was probably the one who recommended Au Chien Qui Fume.  I would have ordered something entirely different.  But an evening walk along the Champs Elysées can't be beat.


I think I might have read a reply of your on a thread that recommended the restaurant. I'm curious what I should have ordered. Other than croissants, pastries, onion soup and steak frites I'm often at a loss in Paris. I think I probably don't normally order a lot of things that would have been better choices.
 
David
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 19:28:57 (permalink)
Thursday, January 12th
 
 
After eight days in Europe with nothing to think about other than sightseeing and food, the Orchestra tour began today with a double rehearsal. We had been scheduled to play at the opening of the new Paris hall when we were here in 2014, but it had been delayed, so we had played at the older Salle Pleyel. One immediate downside, the new hall, the Philharmonie de Paris, was a 45 minute bus ride, instead of a three block walk. Here is a rather dark and out of focus photo of the hall.

 
This is a much better photo taken by my colleague Yuan-Qing Yu.

 
There is seating all around the Orchestra. This is behind the violins side.

 
Two of my colleagues from the cello section, Gary Stucka (walking to his seat) and Ken Olsen (seated). This is a view of the from the front of the stage looking out into the audience.

 
After the long day of rehearsals and long bus ride back to the hotel, I walked to a nearby bakery and found this, a pistachio and cherry cake of some kind. It was delicious. 

 
For dinner I had thought about going back to a place I had been to in 2014, but when I got there, they had remodeled and changed the menu, so I went into a nearby place.

 
The menu card on the table.

 
I guess it just had to be steak frites. It was fine, nothing special.

 
Bistrot Les 4 Saisons
268 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
https://www.yelp.com/biz/bistro-les-4-saisons-paris
 
 
Much, much more to come.....
 
 
#28
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 19:47:45 (permalink)
Friday, January 13th
 
 
 
My last day in Paris, with a concert in the evening, I got an early start to try to see a few more things in this magnificent city. I started at extraordinary Musée d’Orsay. Open only since 1986, the building was originally a railroad station. It was almost demolished to become a hotel in 1970, but was saved to become this glorious place. Focusing on Impressionism, it’s a bridge between the Louvre and the Museum of Modern Art.

 
While it’s nowhere near as large as the Louvre, it’s still massive, and becomes overwhelming. Here are just a few paintings from the magnificent collection.
Claude Monet, Champs de tulips en Hollande.

 
Monet, Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies.

 
Paul Cézanne, Nature morte aux oignons.

 
Monet, Les Dindons (The Turkeys)

 
Vincent Van Gogh, Roses et anémones

 
James McNeill Whistler, Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, better known as Whistler’s Mother.

 
 
Musée d’Orsay
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur
http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html
 
 
My next stop was the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme, the first of two Jewish museums that I had read about the night before. I wish I had done a little more research, because I realized after my visit just how much of it I had missed, including a Chagall and a Dreyfus affair exhibit. 

 
A well-preserved sukkah from the 19th century.

 

 

 
A silver Torah case and Torah scroll, Ottoman Empire, 1860.

 

 
The museum is housed in an old hotel which became a place where a large number of Jews lived at the beginning of the 20th century.

 
 
Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme
Hotel de Saint-Aignan
71, rue du Temple
https://www.mahj.org
 
 
As I left the museum I realized I was in the Jewish quarter of the city, and I turned down a small street with many falafel stands and Jewish bakeries and delis. I went inside a couple to look around, but didn’t have anything. 

 
The other Jewish museum I went to was a Holocaust museum, The Shoah Memorial. It’s a very moving memorial to the 77,000 Jews who were rounded up during World War II, of which only about 2500 survived. As you enter, the names of all the Jews taken are engraved on the walls. It’s pretty much the kind of place you can imagine, devastating and deeply disturbing.

 
Memorial de la Shoah
17, rue Geoffroy l’Asnier
http://www.memorialdelashoah.org/en/english-version.html
 
 
As I walked to the Metro to get back to the hotel, I happened upon a little pastry shop.

 

 
 
After our first concert of the tour, and returning to the hotel at around 11:30 p.m., I headed to the hotel bar for a little dinner of onion soup and beer.

 
 
Much, much more to come.....
 
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2017/02/09 19:50:09
#29
iceomat
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Re: January 2017 London and Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2017/02/09 20:22:28 (permalink)
Wow! Amazing trip report and spectacular photos! Thanks!
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