Musée Marmottan Monet.
Row Boating with Monet.
Act I: Musée Marmottan Monet
If the phrase, they have a Monet’s Water Lilies, has ever enticed you into a museum in New York or London or if you love Impressionism or art or anything that looks good then a day in the 16th of Paris starts here.
Speaking of starting a day in Paris the work that started the very form of Impressionism is at this museum and it’s called Impression, Sunrise. It’s by Monet and when I was here I had the work of art that started the very art form of Impressionism to myself for and I did time it twelve minutes. But even if you don’t in this uncrowded museum have it to yourself sometimes rather than have a piece of art to yourself it’s fun to share it with people in the world who appreciate and love what you appreciate and love. It charges the atmosphere the way art was meant to.
A mansion that was gifted as a museum to the people of Paris and to you, it shrugs with a, this old thing, when you compliment its walls which are wearing Monets and Degas and Renois as a non-occasion like only a true Parisian can wear the best in artistic fashion.
Act II: Le Chalet des Iles
Remember in Pirates of the Caribbean when Captain Barbossa so smugly and melodramatically says, “Gents, take walk.” From the museum, it’s time to step out onto Rue Louis Boilly, point yourself toward the west, and gents, take a walk.
For if you just head west for a minute or two from Musée Marmottan Monet, you find yourself in the depths of the wooded Bois de Boulogne, a park more than twice the size of central park and where they filmed the opening scenes for the movie Gigi. Paris high society used to flaunt their s&*t in their convertible carriages in this enchanted forest but now it’s your turn but in a ferry and a rowboat on the lake.
I don’t have any specific instructions except for to make your way down a few paths for a few minutes through the woods of France and soon you run into the shores of an enchanted lake called Lac Inférieur and if it isn’t the most romantic thing on earth then I haven’t yet found it.
When you hit the shores of the lake take a right and walk the shoreline until you come to the enchanted ferryboat and its captain who I’m not convinced is not a mythical creature. Who’s the opposite of the boatman that ferries souls to Hades? Anywho the ferry sails regularly between the shore and a restaurant called Le Chalet des Iles that sits on the island. The ferry leaves every few minutes so just keep an eye out for it or the restaurant and then wait across the lake from the restaurant and you can’t miss the ferry. It’s free.
I didn’t need a reservation when I dined at Le Chalet des Iles and we got a lakefront table that we shared with a few flowers who sat between the shore and us. We ordered some food that was good and a bottle of pink Champaign that was amazing and we drank it on the shore of the enchanted lake out of an enchanted ice bucket.
However, I did ask and they said sometimes you do need a reservation but if you don’t have one they have a bar area that is always open without reservations.
When you’re done with the Champaign sit on a couch on the shore of the enchanted lake and wait of for the enchanted ferry to take you back across to the enchanted shore of Bois.
Act III: Bois de Boulogne.
Head north along the eastern shore of Lac Inférieur for a few minutes until you come to the rowboat rental place. Rent a boat if it’s open, which is from about noon to 5 pm and 6 pm on the weekends from what I could gather and from the end of February into October, although the guy that was working there was busy and my French is rusty and nonexistent. But, look, it’s Paris and it’s a public park so you never really know but if it’s not open then keep strolling along the shore of the enchanted lake. Either way you win.
If you find the rowboat rental place open and you’ve got the cash, which isn’t bad after you get your deposit back, then row to the right of the island as you paddle for it and then do a lap around the island and under the enchanted bridge. I find that to be a perfect time and distance to spend on the lake that isn’t too long but not too short.
As you come back around the island keep watching through the trees because suddenly the Eiffel Tower will come into view from the east and yes, you will be in a rowboat in an enchanted lake in the middle of Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Insert here the lyrics of any Dean Martin song for a more accurate description of what this feels like.