Château d’Auvers and other cultural events

Last weekend I got a visit from my sister and we decided to take a little trip to a castle outside of Paris. We were debating on Friday evening and we finally picked the Château d’Auvers-sur-Oise which is 1h30 from Paris. Since we are both interested in castles, we saw this visit as a great opportunity to have a walk in someone’s chambers and admire the interior design of the XVII century.

Château d’Auvers-sur-Oise

We arrived at the castle which was rather small. We were thinking of spending at least the same amount of time as our journey to this place. I was still an optimist and suggested a walk in the park that was advertised on the website. My first disappointment was when they told us that the whole place is renovated and there are some art installations showing us works from the Impressionism. If I wanted to watch a documentary, I would have stayed home. My sister was in a good mood and cheered me up but I still have more or less negative feelings about the castle.

The art installations were mostly big screens that displayed the above-mentioned docu movie. It was somewhat interesting but looking and pictures of the painting are not nearly as satisfying as seeing the real deal. I was impressed by 2 of the 8 rooms. One of them was a recreation of an artist atelier. I was preoccupied with taking pictures so I’m not sure whose atelier they recreated but I think it was Monet. Anyway, the impressionists preferred painting in nature, so this room was not that important.

The next room was also arranged in an interesting way. In comparison to the other rooms with simple flat screens, this one was more 3D and every small screen was painted in different colors which made the whole ambiance more interesting.

We then went to the garden which was as small as the castle. It was somewhat our fault that we made a poor choice. In the summer, one can enjoy the maze which is not a lot of fun during the winter when you can see through the branches.

The Brassens market

On Sunday we started the day with a book market. The Brassens market was originally a place where they butchered animals before selling the meat. Nowadays you can browse through some second-hand books and maybe find a treasure. I have lived in Nice and the market there was incredible. Every day of the week it had a different theme and books were one of them. This one was not so impressive although it’s named the most famous market for old books in Paris. It’s in the 15th arrondissements aka in the southwest of the city. To go there, one needs to ride the line 13 of the subway. I was unease the whole time because I have heard some bad things about it. It turned out not so criminal but I wouldn’t recommend this place if you like to display your gold jewelry and other expensive accessories.

Carnival de Paris

The 23rd of February was also the Carnival de Paris. It’s an annual event dating from the XVI century. People disguise and put masks on before starting a procession from the Père Lachaise Cemetery. The procession ended at Place de la Republique where everyone gathered and started celebrating the Carnival. Music and dancing in the streets is something that has always fascinated me and we walked next to the processions for some time so that we can check out all the participants.

Centre Pompidou

We ended our very cultural weekend in one of the museums with the longest working hours. Centre Pompidou is famous for its unusual modern architecture. The whole façade of the building is made out of pipes. The construction is very geometrical and pleasing for people who like Sheldon don’t like chaos.

The view of this building is breathtaking. There is a cute restaurant worth visiting especially during the summer. One can see all the important buildings from up here – the Eifel Tower, Sacre-Coeur, Notre-Dame. The pipes that can be seen on the façade are actually the escalators that take visitors up to the last floor.

The temporary collection was a mystic experience. I was happy that we did it after dark. It was like walking into a cemetery. Some rooms were full of black and white pictures of people from the beginning of the last century. One room was covered with white sheets that gave the illusion that ghosts were floating through it. In another one could observe rectangular objects covered with black sheets so it looked like coffins. Some light bulbs were hanging from the ceiling and those that were directly over a “coffin” were turned off. The whole exposition was accompanied by a quiet heartbeat as the music background.

Little Red Bars for a Valentine’s Date

Arriving in Paris, I got the opportunity to taste cocktails in the top cocktail bars in the world.
Starting with number 36 – Little Red Door

Since the very early age of 15, I discovered what a pleasure cocktails are. So in the last decade, I mastered the art of “cocktail tasting” and bar hopping. Discovering the new best bar in my hometown become my kind of sport. Of course, I never drink more than two a night.

Arriving in Paris, I got the opportunity to taste a whole new palette of savors. In the city of love getting drunk is not that hard. I started by googling the top places to drink cocktails. Little did I know, but 2 of the top 50 cocktail bars in the world are here in Paris. Being a Virgo, I can’t wait to get to the bottom of this new list that I found.
Starting with number 36 – Little Red Door. My first guess is that the name is inspired by the tale “Little Red Riding Hood”. Who knows?

You could never accidentally stumble upon this bar. It’s one of those places that you have to know before coming here. The street is the most ordinary one in the city, the grey facade of the building is in the typical Parisian architecture, only a bright red door catches the eye. Don’t be scared if the door does not open when you push it. The actual way to enter is on the left. Sometimes a guy is standing in front of the bar, giving you riddles or asking for a password. There is no password other than being nice and having a sense of humor.

The bar is a very small, cozy place. If you’re a cocktail enthusiast like me, you would probably prefer the bar from where you can observe the whole process of making the BEST cocktails in the world. Sadly, I did not come alone and the group decides to sit on the comfy chairs. The quiet chaos in the furniture is very pleasing to the eye – it’s the exact amount of hipster that a millennial would need to feel in his element.

The waiter/waitresses are very helpful with tips if you’re overwhelmed with the menu. Once you come here, you’re hooked. The menu changes often and you can always discover a new flavor. The names of the cocktails are inspired by words in different languages, often with a definition that does not exist in any other language/culture. To be honest, I don’t recognise most of the ingredients as well.

After a very long discussion, we decide to choose 4 different cocktails that we will all try. Our final decision is this:

Madrugada (Spanish) – The late-night silence of the walk home, the early morning city sounds

Mauri (Te Reo Mãori) – Our connection to each other and the world around us. We share a force of life, principles, emotions

Počemúčka (Russian) – Why is the sky blue? Why are strawberries red? Why does that person keep asking questions?!

Ubunto (Nguni Bantu) – I am because we are; together we are greater

Overall, it’s a great experience that one should try at least once. It could be a very nice place for a casual St. Valentine’s date.