IT Travels with Jerry Sealy
National Geographic Traveler
art director Jerry Sealy put his jetlag to good use last week by writing us a blog entry at 4 a.m. the day after he returned from France:
Even a missed flight has a silver lining. When I found myself with an unexpected extra day in Paris
(let’s not talk about how a travel professional can be so disorganized as to have a ‘lost flight,’ as the French say, or, ahem, get off at the wrong Greek island as I did last summer), I quickly boarded the RER train from Charles de Gaulle Airport (a bargain at just over $10) and headed back to the city I love most. I had been caught up in World Cup
frenzy the previous day (as was the entire republic), and had missed taking care of some last-minute shopping and museum-going, so I was happy for the opportunity for another 24 hours in Paris.
First stop, a gift for the loyal dog-sitters back home at the exquisite Jean-Paul Hévin Chocolatier in Montparnasse, a whisper-quiet almost-sanctuary for fine chocolate. Next purchase, a beautifully crafted XOOS-label shirt ($44) for moi at neighboring clothier Michel Faret (10 rue Vavin; +33 1 40 51 71 37). For five weeks beginning in late June, virtually all Paris stores display the soldes
sign—signaling sale season—and with reductions of 30 to 50 percent, it’s impossible to resist a bit of French fashion. Finally, some wine shopping for a Sancerre to take home, then back to the hotel.
That evening, friends sent a text and we agreed to meet for dinner at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte (20 rue Saint Benoît; +33 (0)1 45 49 16 00)—the classic Parisian bistro that’s been serving delicious steak frites, and only steak frites (rare, medium, or well-done are your options), for decades. The beef is expertly prepared, fries crisp, and a second portion is always included. Dinner (with dessert and wine): $45-50.
Next morning, a slightly sticky Métro ride (Paris has had its share of heat this summer) to the newly opened—and quite wonderful—Musée du Quai Branly (a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower). I can only describe it as a magical mystery tour into world culture. The museum’s contemporary architecture
is bold, unexpected, and happily controversial; think deconstructed terrarium. Plants, moss, and grasses adorn the exterior of the building, and sweeping glass panels line the sidewalk offering expansive views of the museum’s wild gardens. Inside, a gorgeous collection of tribal masks, textiles, paintings, jewelry, and carvings from the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania are displayed in a space with such expert lighting and design, it’s almost mind-altering.
Tip: Get there early. The museum opens at 10 a.m. and queues can be long. If you arrive a little after 9 a.m., you’ll be one of the first to get in, and have the place to yourself—albeit only briefly. Don’t miss the Amazon headdresses or the Picture Box—a 12-by-12-foot room with multiple video projections of street celebrations and music from Nepal and India. You’ll feel like a participant in all the chaos.
- Nat Geo Expeditions