We've been doing a lot recently, and instead of loading up one post, I'm going to break it down into several episodes. I've just been too lazy to write more often.
Back in the days of the Pierwige, back before I stayed there, Paul was already living there and there were plenty of foreign students and young working people. Among them were Peter and Jeanne from Switzerland. They were not a couple, then, but they did become a couple and are still so. They came to Paris a few weeks ago and we all went out to eat on Tuesday evening and then to the Stein exhibit on Thursday morning.
The Stein Collection -- a great exhibit. I don't think I've ever seen so many Picasso and Matisse paintings together. Apparently Leo and Gertrude collected mostly Picasso and their brother and his wife took to Matisse. No matter. They collected early, before these artists became famous and overpriced. When they could no longer collect Picasso and Matisse or Cézanne, they started collecting newer artists. It's all interesting. Leo, the elder brother, left Gertrude when Alice B. Toklas came to live with her. And that's the Gertrude Stein I was more familiar with, the writer who befriended Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. We got to the Grand Palais a few minutes before opening and with our Carte Sésame we were in the direct access, no waiting line. It's so refreshing to see exhibits before the crowds come in and you can't see anything. (Last year, at the Monet exhibit, I saw the difference. I saw it once with Rita at 9:00 a.m. and then went again with the Pickars and Paul one afternoon. They allow too many people at once in the Grand Palais and it's tiring to try to see anything. You can get close. You can't stand back. Just keep moving.)
Before going to the exhibit, we all met for dinner on Tuesday evening. Of course, over the years I had heard stories of the Pierwige before me and of Paul's friends there, so I felt as though I already knew them. Paul had found the restaurant on Lafourchette.com. He reserved us at Au Gourmand, where you get a 40% discount when you reserve via the site. Very, very nice. It was an excellent meal and, with the discount, not expensive, at all.