Bastille Day 2017: A Franco-American Celebration

Red, White, and Blue Tower (Image courtesy of Lisa Michaux)

 

I’m blessed that this is the fifth time I have celebrated Bastille Day in Paris. Each year has been different, see my 2016 Bastille Day in Paris, and 2017 was no exception. In honor of the 100 year anniversary of America’s involvement in WWI, France’s new President Emmanuel Macron invited President Trump to join the festivities. And since Paris is always a good idea, Trump said oui, oui!

 

Eiffel Tower Closed for Trump Visit (image courtesy of Lisa Michaux)

 

With the arrival of Tump and his wife Melania on July 13, security around the city was heightened. In preparation for Macron and Trump’s dinner at Le Jules Verne restaurant in the heart of the Eiffel Tower, the building and grounds were closed to the public in the afternoon. Our apartment is a few blocks from the Tower and we knew something was up because of the din of helicopters circling the area—a rare sight and sound in Paris.

French Military on Parade (Image courtesy of Lisa Michaux)

 

On July 14th, we took a pass on the parade that marches from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Élysées to the Place de la Concord, but were able to see some of the military regiments decked in their dress uniforms making their way to the festivities.

 

Bastille Day Apéro (image courtesy of Lisa Michaux)

 

After the morning parade, Parisians love to picnic along the Seine and eventually make their way to the Champ du Mars—the large green space in front of the Eiffel Tower—in preparation for the evening concert and fireworks display. This year we hosted friends from Minnesota that will be joining us on bike trip in the Alps and to watch stage 17 of the Tour de France. In honor of the Franco-American theme, I had Bastille Day-themed plates and American flag napkins. Ironically, the napkins were purchased in Paris and the plates were brought from home.

 

La Fontaine de Mars (image courtesy of Lisa Michaux)

 

For dinner we visited one of our favorite restaurants, La Fontaine de Mars. Barack and Michelle Obama dined here during their trip to Paris in 2009, so we felt it was a bipartisan move on our part to eat here as well. We enjoyed confit de canard, chicken with morels, and beef tartare accompanied by champagne, rosé and a lovely Gigondas red. The restaurant was buzzing and provided great service and delightful people watching.

 

The Eiffel Tower in Blue (image courtesy of Lisa Michaux)

 

Fireworks surrounding the Eiffel Tower (image courtesy of Lisa Michaux)

 

Fireworks finale at the Eiffel Tower (image courtesy of Lisa Michaux)

 

After dinner we walked just a few blocks to watch the fireworks that were set off below (and from!) the Eiffel Tower. It was spectacular to see the display with the backdrop of the grandiose ironwork of the structure. We were also close enough to hear the orchestra playing and to revel in the meticulously timed explosions that danced along with the music.

 

The Tower in Purple (for Prince??) (image courtesy of Lisa Michaux)

 

As a native Minnesotan, I especially enjoyed the fireworks display when the Tower was purple—I couldn’t help but wonder if it was for our own Prince.

I can’t wait to celebrate my next Bastille Day in Paris!

Location, Location, Location: The Wedding Feast at Cana and the Mona Lisa

WeddingFeast1
Veronese, The Wedding Feast at Cana (1563), oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre, Paris.

The Italian artist Veronese painted the spectacular Wedding Feast at Cana in 1563. This massive work—measuring over 22 feet high and 32 feet long—hangs in one of the busiest galleries of the Louvre in Paris, yet despite it’s size and magnificence, it is often missed and/or ignored. More than 6 million visitors each year turn their backs to Veronese’s masterpiece as they jostle for position and gaze through the bulletproof glass and take pictures of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

WeddingFeast2
Photo courtesy of Lisa Michaux

 

Here is my version of the Mona Lisa Selfie—you can see all the other cameras raised in the air and have to wonder at the quality of those photos! I especially love that the “Do Not Touch” signs on either side of the painting are almost as big as it is!

By contrast, here is the crowd in front of the Wedding Feast at Cana. You can even see one photographer on the right focusing on the Mona Lisa located on the opposite wall.

 

WeddingFeast3
Photo courtesy of Lisa Michaux

It is sad to think that all these people crowded in front of the Mona Lisa missed The Wedding Feast, a fabulous work that contains 130 people as well as several dogs, a parakeet, and even a playful cat. Veronese crossed the time continuum and we see Jesus, his Mother Mary, and a couple of apostles dressed in traditional biblical garb in the center of the work, while the rest of the guests at this fabulous feast are decked head to toe in contemporary 16th century Venetian fashion.

 

 

Back in Paris

Croque Monsieur flavored pop snacks—probably only big with the French kids ;)
Croque Monsieur flavored pop snacks—probably only big with the French kids 😉
Ketchup flavored chips—gluten free and vegetarian! But actually look more like small rice cakes and not actual potato chips
Ketchup flavored chips—gluten free and vegetarian! But actually look more like small rice cakes and not actual potato chips

I am back in Paris to gather art and ideas for an upcoming sale that my art business, Michaux Fine Art, will be hosting in St. Paul, Minnesota in November, and also to see the city in my favorite season of the year.

When I arrived in Paris, it was sunny and clear and absolutely gorgeous! I wish I could say that I hit the ground running and accomplished incredible things upon my arrival, but I’m not that girl. The flight from Minnesota gets to Paris at the perfect time for travelers to experience the full flavor of the morning rush hour. After finding my luggage and my taxi driver, I promptly fell asleep in the cab and woke up an hour later in front of my apartment. I had tried to use my language skills and engage in stilted conversation, but kept yawning (considered very rude in France) and then finally gave up and closed my eyes.

Most of my neighbors in St. Paul, Minnesota have cabins “up North,” or in Wisconsin. Paris is our cabin, so I usually get here a day or two before my husband to do all the little things one has to do when they get to the cabin. We call it “putting out the dock,” but thankfully I don’t have to do any physical labor that involves power tools, lake water, or giant

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Bonjour!

Bonjour and welcome to my website! For way too long I have wanted to have a place to write about my adventurLisa_SunflowersCroppedes in Paris and post my pictures, and now I have finally taken the plunge! Yikes—it’s cold in here! However, according to my Lululemon bag, I’m supposed to do something everyday that scares me, well, this would be it for a while!

My name is Lisa Michaux, known by my neighbors in my Paris apartment as Madame Michaux. I had a particularly nasty neighbor downstairs, we will just call him Monsieur Quatrième Étage (Mr. 4th Floor to my 5th floor), who didn’t appreciate that I wanted to look good in Paris and would wear my heels in the apartment. When he saw me he would say my name and accent each and every syllable while shaking his finger at me—Ma ´Dame ´ Mi ´Chaux—did I say that he didn’t like me very much??—so, I decided to take his condescending treatment of my gorgeous married name and make it a beautiful thing 🙂 Merci Monsieur!

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