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Paris II: Museums

Our second and third day in Paris were museum days.

Note to self and all fellow travelers- BUY THE MUSEUM CARD before you go to any museums if you want to see more than two or three museums. It’s worth the cost if you make it to three, and it lets you skip the line- which is priceless if you’re only in the city for a couple of days.
Last time I was in Paris, it was the middle of winter, and all the Europeans were at
school/working/hiding from the snow. So there were lines, but nothing ridiculous.
This time it was not only a German, but also a French long weekend. I wanted to take Andy to the D’Orsay, which has a whole lot of Impressionist, post-impressionist and generally beautiful art that I fell in love with a little bit last time. But the line was H-UUUGE…So we headed across the park, to the Orangerie, where the line was much, much shorter, but also moving much, much slower.
Andy wandered off to get food while I kept the place, then I wandered off to get food while he queued.
The Orangerie is the permanent house for several of Monet’s water lily landscapes- with rooms built specifically for these works so that you can get a 360 view.
Unfortunately, there were ‘no photo’ signs everywhere, and I am a good girl.
Rather excitingly, they were also hosting a Freida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (wife and hubby team) exhibition…

I was familiar with some of Freida’s self portraits- mum had a book of them that we flipped through occasionally growing up), but didn’t know anything about her life.

It was a little crazy. Probably ‘tumultuous’ and ‘tortured’ if you want the artistic words.
She apparently said she had two great accidents in her life.

The first was a physical bus crash, which left her immobilized in bed for a period of time, and later forced her to wear a corset/brace to stand, then left her in a wheelchair. The time in bed began her painting career and also explain the hundreds of self portraits, and the recurrent health problems that came as a result of the crash- for example her inability to have children-  make for the themes of many of these paintings.

The second accident was Diego- the ‘elephant’ to her ‘dove’, whom she married – against her parents wishes of course- when she was 22 (he was over 40), divorced 10 years later, and married again the next year. She had multiple affairs, and, as her health deteriorated, he took up with her younger sister. But they remained velcro’d to eachother.

Anyway, the exhibition was quite beautiful- although Diego’s style was not my favourite.

After the Museum we had to head back to the apartment. In the morning, a fuse had blown, and we lost power in our apartment. Andy tried to switch the fuse, and the box made a loud bang, and flashed a little. So we called the landlord.

We explained the ‘Bang’ part of the terrifying fuse box. They tried to poke it into action anyway. It made a louder bang, a very impressive flash, and smoke started coming out of the box.

We got an upgrade to a larger apartment:

From which, Andy would be very excited to let you know, you could see not only the Sacre Coeur, but also the Eiffel Tower.

The next morning we got up (somewhat) bright and (slightly) early, and headed to D’Orsay, with Museum cards in hand.

There was a bit of a ‘no photo’ rule in D’Orsay as well, so you’ll have to make do with several hundred photos of the rather beautiful ex-train station interior.


(Did anyone watch the 4400?)

D’Orsay was one of the last museums we saw on our ’09 tour- which hit up the V&A, British Museum, Tate Modern, National Gallery and Lourve all in the space of two weeks- and it was one of my favourites. This time ’round I still went gaga over the art nouveau (but realised that Andy is an art deco man- relationship ruined!), and really enjoyed perusing.. but realised that generally my tastes have shifted to something even more modern.

Older art- the religious stuff you find in the Lourve, is beautiful for its richness and can be appreciated for the pure skill involved in creating such a masterpiece. But with excessive viewing, they can blur into one. The impressionist/post-impressionist stuff adds a new angle, but still involves multiple artists adhering (to a certain degree) to a style. There are always a few that really steal your heart (mine flutters for Mondrian, and goes a little gooey for Van Gough), but that sense of familiarity can still set in.

Modern Art seems to have the singular aim to be innovative- and while I’m sure someone in 100 years will look back and be bored by the theme, and even though much of it is hideous and terrible and tacky, I like this quest for uniqueness.

Anyway, after hitting up some art we went for a stroll along the Seine.

We passed by and stuck our head into Shakespeare and Company- a beautiful, old bookstore that shouts out to every part of my DNA that wants to read, and all the other parts that want to Hoard things.

After stuffing our faces with Asian delights, we skipped across to the Lourve, where we walked through the top floor, realised that this had taken us 1.5 hours, and then ran around trying to find the Mona Lisa so that Andy could pose next to her.

That evening we headed to the Centre Pompidou, which houses the biggest modern art museum in Europe (so says wiki!)… but I’ll have to show you those photos later…

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