A Week Back in Paris—Part Quatre: The New Old Musee Carnavalet and Black Friday!

Back home in the States, the day after is filled with Black Friday sales, lines of vehicles wasting emissions to enter local malls and outlets.  Crowds of people stressing over what to get loved ones.

Black Friday Reaction GIF by Macy's

Even Santa gets a piece of Black Friday!

In Paris, however, we masked up, got into the car and headed to The Musee Carnavalet.  Just a bit of a background—this museum is centered around the City of Paris. It’s a great and interesting collection of artifacts, items and history dating way back. WAY. BACK!  It’s chock-full of wonder and had been closed for a few years while being renovated.

Paris's history updated for the present at the Musée Carnavalet | Financial Times

Renovated and in some ways restored with new items–it’s better than ever!

The first time I went was quite a few years back—and I loved it. This time, we entered into a brighter, lighter and more intensely curated treasure trove. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite museums ever!

We drove. Yes. We picked up the car and drove. Mainly because our day would be spent doing various things. But I’ll get to that later.

As usual, we headed to which is now deemed “our place’ for breakfast. Café de Paris. And, as usual, we enjoyed coffee, croissant and tartine.

And once again, we enjoyed our breakfast in the cozy little corner of Cafe de Paris, radiator to my side and enjoying coffee in the warmth of this little slice of heaven!

The weather continued to be on the damp and chilly side but to me, that’s never a big deal. To The Frenchman, it gives him the ultimate pleasure in complaining in his native language in his native home. He was so happy to be in this complaining frame of mind!

Bundled up in Beret, scarf and warm coat. I lived in this ensemble for the entire week! One photo for every day!

We headed to the Musee. Our scheduled time was 10:30 AM.   And you must remember that my husband grew up and spent a huge amount of his adulthood time back in Paris. This means he knows the city (except the 18th arrondissement—read part three) like the back of his hand. Sort of.  This time it wasn’t a loss of direction. He knew exactly where to drive. This time it was locating the nearest parking garage or parking space.  In the first place there is a ton of construction going on in Paris and many areas have limited street parking. This was a detriment.  We had no choice but to find a garage.  We did. And the space was so small that my hips were wider than most of the spots—I’ll return to this later on.

We arrived at the Musee, masks worn securely, and Passe Sanitaire at the ready and entered into a space, which, in my most humble opinion, is one of the greatest that Paris has to offer.  And rather than blah, blah blah—yada, yada to you, I’m posting pics for you to enjoy!

Here we are! The new and improved entrance into the Carnavalet. It’s so stinking airy and beautiful. I just love it. Check out The Frenchman at the window to the far left!

An expanse of an apothecary store front, and signs hanging from the ceiling. This is a virtual wonderland!

Visually fun!

I would love to have these hanging on my living room wall!

Full frontal of store front!

No my friends–I was not at the Catacombs. I was so cringed out by this until…

I read it was a fake skeleton.

Two parts saint is better than no saint at all.

I just liked this composition.

Jewish tombstones dating back to around Medieval times..

I would love to have a copy of this for my kitchen!

An homage to the Parisien brothers who created the hot air balloon!

Marcel Proust’s bedroom–and let me tell you, it looks so much better than it did before the renovation!

If you are fortunate enough to be visiting Paris between now and April 22, you HAVE to stop by the Carnavalet to check out the Prouse exhibit! I wanted to see this so badly!

Ugh. I can’t get away from Philadelphia. I found Benjamin Franklin staring down at me.

The iconic cat poster..

..and a cat on a moon..

..and one my favorite Parisian women–Juliette Greco with a rather large cat!

..and what’s a reminder of Paris without a Moulin Rouge poster?

We spent three and a half hours here, and quite honestly, could have spent more but we had an appointment at Zazi Films to visit with The Frenchman’s cousin, Hugo Gelin (Shameless plug. Hugo directed the last three episodes of Lupin on Netflix. And those last three episodes were the greatest! In addition, he got to direct the great Omar Sy- I wish I worked for Hugo).

Lupine on Netflix: his reunion with Omar Sy, freedom of tone ... director  Hugo Gélin tells part 2

Yes! Shameless plug!  The Frenchman’s cousin Hugo while directing Omar Sy in Lupin. Being as I can’t name drop in America..I may as well do it where nobody knows me!

But back to the parking garage.  I’m disappointed in myself for not taking photos of this space because it had to be seen to be believed.  I don’t even think a full fleet of Matchbox cars or trucks could fit comfortably.  One woman was having major issues getting out of her space while another truck was trying to get in at the same time. We were stuck.  The only thing left was to get my control freak on. I exited our car on the passenger side hoping my hips wouldn’t get bruised in the small space. I put my hand out—luckily the air was spacious. And…I started directing traffic.  I motioned for the truck to back up and out. Then directed the stressed-out woman to exit the parking garage in a safe manor by walking ahead of her car and hoping she wouldn’t step on the gas too hard.  Upon her exit I went back to the truck and motioned it into an empty space.  I got back into our car and we were on our way. Since it was a weekday, I asked my husband if we could stop at an employment agency so I could apply to be a traffic cop.  He didn’t do what I asked. I wonder why.

Cop Stop And Go GIF

Move over buddy, there’s a new traffic cop in town–but she directs in little, tiny French garages!

So, after a lively visit with The Frenchman’s cousin, we strolled the Champs Elysees.  It was now raining and shoppers scurried into nearest shops. We headed to a very convenient branch of Galeries Lafayette, all gloriously festooned with Christmas decorations and live music.  The French know how to do Black Friday!

Ahhh. Guerlain. I have such wonderful memories of shopping here with Daniele!

The Frenchman doesn’t look happy because he thinks I’m going to do a lot of shopping.

This “small” branch of Galeries Lafayette used to be the Virgin Records store–and it was great back then.

Do we REALLY need to be reminded to play?. Oh. Wait. I think the message is to play video games..

I’ll just find goodies to eat.

Since it was more of a lazier afternoon, we drove around a bit more, did some more shopping, dropped the car off and stayed “in” for dinner.

We did manage to spot a couple more bears. I almost joined this bad boy because I wanted his tartine!

More sights.

A lone cyclist. Let me tell you–my husband was soooooo ticked off by the bike lanes because it made the roads narrower and that meant more congested traffic. He was complaining like a Frenchman–oh–he IS a Frenchman!

We did takeout at a Middle Eastern place and I have to say. The food was okay. I’ve had much better in NYC and home in the Philly area—which proves that not all food in Paris is spectacular.

Another day done and tomorrow it is off to revisit Versailles and more adventures!

Stay tuned…………….

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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9 Responses to A Week Back in Paris—Part Quatre: The New Old Musee Carnavalet and Black Friday!

  1. Thank you for sharing your Parisian experiences! It is always interesting and fun to see what you have to say!

  2. Marsha says:

    Thank you so much for sharing with us! We moved to Tucson three years ago, and haven’t even been to Phoenix which is only an hour and a half away, so I am living vicariously through your stories. The museum’s stark white walls really are an impactful backdrop for everything displayed. What a visual treat! And those adorable bears! And they don’t look dirty and worn despite being outside and exposed to excited people wanting to “pet” them.

  3. marsha57 says:

    I honestly had no idea the French were that into Christmas! I would probably get hit by a car or a bicyclist as I oogled at the decorations! This museum sounds like something I’d love! I have an excellent idea…next time you and the Frenchman go to Paris, how about taking a couple of Hoosiers along? You think I’m kidding…I’m not!! I think getting to know a city well is fully immersing yourself in it. London is easy, but Paris is intimidating!

    Ah, well, I can dream! Thanks, Cathe, for another lovely post!


  4. Donna says:

    Thanks from me as well! We’ll be in Paris for 3 days in early September (following a river cruise in southern France) and really thinking about how to best spend our time.. We’ve been to Paris a couple of times, but not been able to visit The Musee Carnavalet. Your pictures have inspired me to put this on our to-do list.

  5. Susan says:

    What a wonderful time in a city I love! We’ve always stayed in apartments, cooked some, done laundry, etc. trying to live as if we actually lived there. Carnavalet was closed last time we were there. A museum we loved was Musee de Marmottan, way out in an area I’d never visited. And of course Vanves flea market- the big one was kind of intimidating although we had great food there! And lord of Django Rhinehart music! I want to go back so so much!

  6. Fiona says:

    Haven’t been to Paris properly since I was eighteen. Must go back. Musee Carnavalet looks absolutely fascinating.

  7. Juliet says:

    What an absolute cracking museum!!! I was blown away when a gravel-guy and I went to the musee de artes et metiers, it was just superb and even the grump enjoyed himself immensely. There was something very spacious and clever but also incredibly stylish about the spaces created and allowing room to really appreciate the exhibits – just superb. I have just remembered I had a question – when are you going to do another baking/cookery vid for you-tube???

    • Catherine says:

      HI Juliet! Sorry for the delay in answering. I swear to god in heaven, that job is mentally killing me. I used to love it so much now I literally dread going into the office. I am so drained when I arrive home from work that I can’t even write. I’ll try to get a cooking/bakes video up at some point because I want to talk about the laminated dough and how it really is a challange for home cooks. XOXOXOXO

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