Day 3. Why would a couple who live in France go to a French restaurant in London? We were meeting a friend and Côte Brasserie was his choice. The two course lunch menu at £12.95 was very reasonable. I had an artichoke risotto which contained plenty of  vegetables. The dessert, chocolate mousse, was also very acceptable. We are great fans of Bistro Pierre too. It seems that British initiatives are providing the UK with better French restaurants than we have managed to find in France. Our friend recommended a visit to the little known Sir John Soane Museum in Holborn, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, to be precise.

It was raining slightly, so we divide into a Flying Tiger shop. Where else can you buy colourful elastic bands, salted liquorice sweets and a rain cape?

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Sir John Soane was an architect and collected a huge range of artefacts on his continental travels.


He knocked three town houses into one in order to display them. He loved letting light into buildings and in order to do so removed several floors leaving narrow walkways and balustrades, heavy with huge vases. If I had been his wife I would have protested, ‘You’re not planning to remove yet another floor are you darling?” Walls were also removed in order to replace them with  up to three layers of paintings on hinges –  ingenious and not to be seen in any other home. We were there at 4pm when the clever idea was demonstrated to visitors.

There were not a lot of explanatory panels, but the guardians in each room were experts in their fields and happy to answer questions. The Egyptian sarcophagus in the ceiling-less cellar was lowered into place using hooks and ropes from the four corner pillars of what was left of the walls. You only have to ask!



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