A Little Trip to D.C.

Do you like getting away for the weekend?  Someplace close to home but far enough that it calls for a night at a hotel? The weekend before last, Bonaparte decided that an overnight trip to D.C. was long overdue.  We dropped Chippy off at the doggie day care for a sleep over with his canine buddies. We spent a leisurely morning packing and we were off to make our way through traffic on I-95.

I still get a feeling of pride when I am in our Nation’s Capital.  The Washington Monument is always a splendor to see!

We hadn’t been to our Nation’s Capital in a while.  It’s our favorite place for a quick overnight—and I was so happy to be going there that I wasn’t even thinking about the politics. Both of us just wanted to have a good evening and enjoy the rest of the weekend.  Close to home, the drive rarely takes more than three hours unless we hit a major traffic jam.

Oh yes. My little emoji uses the same language that I do!  But an overnight trip truly is “Fan-f@!#ing-Tastic!

It isn’t as expensive as an overnight in New York and we always have a good time.

We regularly stay at the Marriott in Falls Church. It’s on the outskirts and not in D.C. proper.  The location is incredibly convenient because the drive is 20 minutes away from downtown D.C. And the price point is incredibly reasonable.

Our old haunt, Bistro Français on M Street in Georgetown sadly went out of business. It’s a shame because this little place had been around for over 40 years and was consistently good but the chef and owner decided to retire.

Bonaparte was devastated. And in his stubborn French way, vowed to “discover” another French restaurant.  He did and he found a winner– La Chaumière.

If you think the outside is adorable, just wait till you see the inside!

We got to the hotel, relaxed for a bit then got ready for our dinner.  I do not know what I was thinking but I wore a pair of very high heels.  I absolutely love the shoes and wear them to work quite often. But I didn’t think ahead about walking up and down M Street on the uneven pavement in such dangerous footwear.

These were the beauties I wore. They are lovely for the office but just don’t work for walking on city sidewalks or in city streets!  Personally, I don’t know how streetwalkers do it. I admire them!

I couldn’t walk.  Bonaparte was thrilled because the fact that I was unable to walk meant one thing–I couldn’t go into my favorite stores—among them J. Crew and TJ Maxx. The fact I couldn’t go into the stores because I couldn’t walk on the sidewalk to get to the stores made him merrier!  And so, my Frenchman was thrilled because not being able to walk meant I could not spend any money!

No shopping aside, we ended up having a great, great dinner.  La Chaumière’s interior has a rustic elegance. It’s comfortable and not intimidating. It’s larger than I pictured and as we left the restaurant after dinner, there was a line of people waiting to get in.

The interior is really very charming and cozy too! 

Bonaparte started off with a pâté—which he said was delicious. I had a pike quenelle. Let me tell you something. I love quenelles. The best way I can describe a quenelle is that it’s a lighter-than-air dumpling and it’s like biting into a cloud of flavor.  And the lobster sauce that the quenelle was floating was a sea of flavor!

The morsel that Bonaparte SHARED with me was absolutely delicious. Lots of good flavor but not overpowering…

This quenelle–was so incredibly light and heavenly that I HAVE to find a recipe. This is my new project!

As usual, Bonaparte went with steak and frites. I ordered the Magret de Canard—duck breast, in a black currant sauce.  I love comparing the duck I order in restaurants to the duck I make at home and this was heavenly.

I really should not be posting photos of food like this while I’m back on Weight Watchers. I’m hungry now. Anyway, this is the Magret de Canard. OMG. It WAS better than mine. I love duck!

I don’t know what it is about red wine, but if it is a “good” one, I can drink it without suffering from a headache or heartburn.  The wine we had was really good.

Do you like a good red wine? Try this. It was REALLY, REALLY good!

Coffee and dessert and we were let loose into the night.

Yes. We are a very wild couple. Our idea of D.C. nightlife is driving through the City and enjoying the sites. One of the things I absolutely love about Georgetown is that it is filled with young people. It’s just fun to see them out and enjoying life!

Yeah. Driving around Washington D.C. late at night is our idea of fun!

The next morning, was brisk and sunny. And after a hearty breakfast and a quick pack, we were off to the National Gallery of Art.

While Bonaparte enjoys eggs, and bacon, and sausage, and toast, I stick to my usual–a big bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit.  Oatmeal–I could eat it anytime!

Oh. And I dressed for comfort the heels were packed away!

The National Gallery is one of my favorite places in D.C.   I cannot even tell you how many times we’ve been here. And the secret on a Sunday morning is to get there early before it opens at 11 AM. We try to arrive before 10:30 AM

NOTE:  The earlier you arrive, the better your chances of getting a parking space. And on Sunday morning parking is easy to come by.  Park the car, walk around for a bit, people watch—it’s all part of the enjoyment!

A gloriously sunny day when the weather is still cold is the best time to visit a museum!

The fountain surrounded by flowers in the rotunda always gives me a good feeling..

Here’s some flowers I picked just for you!

So, this is one of the great things about the Gallery—you never know what kind of great exhibit you will come across. This visit it was the Della Robbia exhibit. Have you ever heard of Luca or Andrea Della Robbia? I hadn’t. And I like to think I’m pretty well-educated in the arts. I’m so pretentious! Oh well, you learn something new every day!

Come and look at some of the exhibit with me:

I was fascinated by the lemons and pinecones mixed with the greenery!  I need to find replicas of these things to hang at home!

I want to know the secret of keeping these colors so vivid after centuries and centuries. I can’t even keep a pair of black pants from fading after one season!

I love a great Madonna–and this one is beautiful!

This was almost creepy because IRL it looked like she was looking right through you!

This yellow, green, blue color combination is doing something to me. I want to wear these colors!

It was so kind of the Della Robbia’s to sculpt a bust of Francis I of France!

A beautiful Pieta–Della Robbia style.

And we end with a couple of Saints!

After the exhibit, we roamed around looking at paintings.  Now—my favorite artists are the French.  I love the Impressionists but I also love Delacroix and Courbet.  This time around we spent a good amount of the day admiring the Flemish and Dutch painters.  You know, I forgot how much I like the Flemish/Dutch painters.

Here’s a bit of what we saw. And you know, when I look at a painting sometimes I think of things that I’m sure others don’t.  I’ll explain:

I love Rembrandt’s portraits. I love the dark/light thing he has going on. But most of all, I dig the hat.  Why can’t I find a hat like that?

“A Young Man in a Large Hat” by Frans Hals is one of my favorite paintings of all time.  This young guy looks totally wasted. WHAT was he drinking? I’ll bet from the expression on his face that he was thinking of some girl he met the night before he posed for this. And the hat. The hat! I LOVE that hat. I want that large hat. It’s so much better than that dopey hat Pharrell wore in that Happy song video. And look at Young Man’s outfit. I would totally wear that.

Here’s another outfit I would wear. I am coveting that tan coat. It’s beautiful. The hat? Not so much–I would wear Young Man’s hat with that coat. But those boots with the red lining are to-die for.  It isn’t fair that men got to have the good clothes back then..

While the women looked like this?  That hat is awful. It looks like a wig cap–believe me, I KNOW wig caps!  And that thing around her neck. I guess its the way women hid turkey neck back then! Can we put some make up on this woman please?

I’m not crazy about the red hat on this Vermeer girl. I like the earrings in his other painting.

This guy looks miserable because I’ll be that turban weighs a good 25 pounds!

“Agrippina & Germanicus” by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. If I were Germanicus, I would want a refund from Sir Rubens for giving me that huge double chin.  I don’t think they had chin lifts back then but he could have given her a better profile!  Her hair is beautiful!

I see still life paintings like this and think “dinner”!  I’m still hungry!

See what I mean? I put more thought on the clothing. Why don’t they make hats like they used to?  Here are more paintings and sculptures from our little visit:

This gentleman’s neck thing is so much nicer than the woman a few paintings above. His is softer fuller, prettier. I would wear this one to hide my turkey neck!

I love the dress but she looks so depressed!  Oh wait. She’s getting ready to stab herself. Or maybe since tweezers weren’t invented yet, she’s getting ready to cut some lady whiskers off her chin.

I’m bewildered by the fact that men, even young men dressed so beautifully. If a young man dressed like that today, he would be banned from using the men’s room!

..and why can’t a lingerie company make a bra that could give us the same “lift” as this woman-and they didn’t have padded bras in those days. Bring back boning in dresses!

This is a Spanish painting but I can’t remember the artist. I LOVE this painting. The women are so cute. I love the look on the woman with the little coral bow and I love how you can tell the other woman is probably laughing behind that fabric!

I love a tricorn hat and I wish that they were still sold for regular use. I would definitely wear one. The rest of the ensemble does nothing for me. I think the over-the-chin look is just wrong! 

I’m amazed at how I’m naturally drawn to French painters. This is another one of my all-time favorites. “Elizabeth Throckmorton Canoness of the Order of the Dames Augustines” by Nicolas de Largilliere.  I love nuns. And this painting is so beautiful-I swear if you stand close enough, you can get a waft of that powdery scent nuns are known for. One of my faves!

I LOVE the Art Nouveau period in painting and this is one of the details in a series of paintings about Joan of Arc by Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel. He is best known for his illustrations in children’s books but I love the clean lines and the basic simplicity. 

Here we are in the Rodin section. Let me tell you something. I can’t stand Rodin. As a person.  He was a tool.  And if you ever get the chance, watch the film “Camille Claudel” starring Isabelle Adjani.   I can bet that Rodin took credit for this sculpture when Camille Claudel is the one who sculpted it…

This one too. It has Claudel written all over it!

And as we exit, we bid farewell to France’s greatest king, Louis XIV, the Sun King!

I hope you enjoyed our little weekend trip!  You don’t have to go far away to take a little trip. Sometimes the best way to chill and regroup is a little getaway during the weekend!

This has been played more than once on this blog but I can’t help it. Every time I go to a museum this enters my mind:  Mussorgsky “Pictures at an Exhibition”.

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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25 Responses to A Little Trip to D.C.

  1. Judy says:

    Great post, Catherine. I would love to explore museums and art galleries with you – you see so much!

  2. junedesilva says:

    Love your comments on the paintings! I bet it would be great fun to visit a museum or gallery with you!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi June. I must admit, Bonaparte loves going to museums with me because I always manage to make him laugh. Especially when we are in the company of stuffy people! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  3. hipchick66 says:

    Thank you for sharing the museum with us! Xoxo

  4. Kathryn says:

    An ideal trip to DC always includes a good French restaurant and the National Gallery! If/when you come back, my favorite French spot is Le Chat Noir on Wisconsin – you should check it out! And I too always visit that bust of Louis when I go to the Nat’l Gallery.

    • Catherine says:

      Oh…Kathryn. I’ll have to check out Le Chat Noir!! Bonaparte will only dine at French restaurants. I’m not kidding. He’s “special” that way!!! XOXOXOXO!!

  5. Catherine, it looks like you and your hubby had a great time. Glad you could get away. Thanks for sharing all the great pics! – Amy

  6. calensariel says:

    DC… Though we were in College Park, Maryland in January to see the kids one last time before they moved back here, the last time we were in DC was September 2015. That day I spent the entire morning by myself at the National Gallery. Well sort of. I was actually texting back and forth with Plato (from Plato’s Groove) about all the treasures I was seeing. Giggle. Everyone else in the tribe was across the mall at the National Air and Space Museum. But my favorite thing to see in DC has always been the Holocaust Museum… It just touched me so deeply. As did Gettysburg when we could get away from the kids to drive out there.

    • Catherine says:

      Lady Calen. Did your kids go to U of MD? Oona went there and when she was at school, we would always stop by and take her to lunch!!! Is this a “small world” moment? Oh–the Holocaust Museum in DC is something everyone should see. It’s pretty intense. And I think now more than ever people should make it a point to visit. XOXOXOXO!!!

      • calensariel says:

        No, they didn’t. Jesse (my s-i-l) actually graduated from Catholic University of America. But they lived right on the edge of the UofM campus in what used to be housing for the profs, etc. College Park is one busy little college town! Yes, everyone should see the Holocaust Museum. I’m waiting for the movie “Denial” to come on Netflix.

  7. angelin2014 says:

    Even though Washington is a long way from Stockholm, I´ve actually been twice. And loved the city! I have an especially fond memory of the second time when I stayed in a hotel in Georgetown and the fire-alarm went off in the middle of the night. Of course being a proper Swede (that is following the RULES) I rushed out with my keycard and my glasses (I normally wear lenses) and was left waiting for one hour on the curb in a very interesting and revealing nightgown!! I wasn´t alone of course, I got to know a very nice couple from New Zealand. But the fire was very fake news:)) and I try to console myself with the fact that if it had not been I would not be dead, just half naked.

    • Catherine says:

      Angelin. I’m sorry for laughing and I know that a fire alarm is serious stuff–but the fact you were outside in a revealing nightie is so funny. I”m sure you could have made LOTS of friends!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  8. doodletllc says:

    I laughed out loud all the way through the museum tour with you…I love it! Did you ever see Sister Wendy the nun/art critic…now that is something I’d like to see…you and Sister Wendy on a museum tour together. You’re the best, Catherine. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Jeanne! YES!! I HAVE seen Sister Wendy!!! I loved her. I haven’t seen her on TV in a while. She’s 87 years old so maybe she’s semi-retired. But I love all things nuns too! Sister Wendy and I would have a blast together on a museum tour!! XOXOXOXO
      Praying for your daughter!!!!!

  9. Yvonne says:

    I sent you a really long post first thing this morning and so pleased I had worked out Bloglovin so wasn’t always the last to respond. And its gone. Not lovin bloglovin.

    I cant redo but the Spanish painting is Murillo and he has a dedicated room in the Prado in Madrid. Love the National Gallery – great masterpieces and never crowded and lots of free concerts.

    Must try the restaurant and suits Georgetown as lots of French style chateaus in the area.

    I think you will like these photos of Georgetown.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Yvonne. I’m not crazy about Bloglovin’ either. I never go over there–and my blog is on bloglovin! I can’t figure it out and it’s too complicated for me. YES!! The National Gallery is never crowded and that’s what I absolutely love about it! I’ll check out the photos in a bit–I’m working on a post and this laptop is giving me major shit!!!! XOXOXOXO

      • yvonne says:

        Hi Catherine I have to use Bloglovin or google you as I cannot subscribe to you as WordPress won’t accept my email for some unknown reason. Gritted teeth emoji

  10. The one time I visited the States I loved the two days I spent in Washington and especially those Smithsonian museums – they were ace and especially the one about American culture – it’s an awesome place.

  11. Gracie says:

    Catherine, I recently started reading your blog (directed from another blogger) and have asked two questions on two recent posts, including this post. Neither comment has been shown in comments and of course questions were unanswered. I’m wondering if you only allow those commenters you know or other bloggers through the commenting gatekeeper. I realize my name may lead to skepticism but it’s my name and I won’t change it to be allowed to comment on a blog. I do like reading your blog and love your style but I don’t go where I’m not wanted. Thanks, Gracie

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Gracie!! I’m so sorry about this! I don’t know how your comments went unnoticed but it is a huge mistake on my part! When I get back from work this evening I’m going to my WP account to check things out! Again, my apologies!!!!!!

  12. Catherine says:

    Gracie. I just realized something. Your comments go into the ones to be moderated. Sometimes that happens with readers who aren’t subscribed. Thanks for the wake up call so that I can check the comments that need to be moderated. Again. My apologies!! XOXOXOXO!!!

    • Gracie says:

      Catherine I folllow through bloglovin and am signed up for emails. I think I did emails first and then Bloglovin and forgot to go back and stop the emails…..it’s ok because I don’t miss posts. Thanks for replying to my comment and also for researching the problem. I was starting to think your blog was a club I was excluded from 😉

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