In Paris

Paris! Today I went to Paris in order to attend a conference on opera celebrating the 400th anniversary of the art form. You can see more about that here.
But the conference doesn’t begin until tomorrow so having arrived a day early I decided to walk my feet to bleeding stumps in pursuit of the visual arts.
First I went to l’Orangerie, that I hadn’t seen for years since it has been closed for refurbishing. With my magic wonder card (also known as the ICOM card) provided by my workplace I jumped an enormous queue and got in for free. Love that card. Love it.
First I went to see the famous Nymphéas by Monet and they were beautiful, of course, but not something that really excites me. However the rooms have the best karma and if it wasn’t because I was busy walking my feet to bleeding stumps I could have just stayed there for hours writing postcards, looking at the Japanese, and relaxing. But on I went to the see the rest of the Guillaume-Walter collection which included some very nice Derain’s (masterpieces they don’t want to lend out, grrr…), a lot of juicy Renoirs that made me remember an old professor of mine who kept referring to him as the porcelain painter – sure thing. I guess you could say the rest of the collection was everything in between Renoir and Derain (such as more Monet, Cézanne, Picasso etc.). Plus a dolls house reconstruction of one of Paul Guillaume’s homes with the collection on the walls. Very cute and instructive.
I really liked that place. Small and top quality. Hereby recommended.

Then I walked through the Tuilleries towards the Louvre having a sandwich in the park on my way. The weather was wonderful. Arriving at the Louvre I kept the magic card at the ready, but to no use. The ticket sellers were on strike. They seemed to be there all of them, just not working. Something about salaries. So I just walked in like the rest of the hordes.

Strike at Louvre
Being there not working…

Since I have done this museum thoroughly on several occasions I felt quite relaxed and just strolled around. The rooms weren’t too crowded so no fuss. Said hello to Monna Lisa and her Italian friends and colleagues, went for a tea and a lemon meringue pie (pie!) and added the large French canvasses to my list (Géricault, Delacroix, David, Ingres – love those guys).

There are several ways of coping with tired feet. This couple kept it simple and…slept.

Then I walked to the opposite wing to see my favourite room: Rubens’s large celebration of Marie de Médicis, queen of France.

Rubens, Marie de Medici

I find the paintings so amusing, starting with the Fates spinning the golden thread of Marie’s life supervised by Jove himself, moving on to her education with teachers such as Minerva, Mercury, the three Graces and Orfeus, etc.etc. throughout her glorious life. It ends with some kind of apotheosis where she and her son reconcile on earth as well as in heaven. I just love it – that lady knew how to promote herself. Besides, the room in which the works hang is beautiful.

After having shopped a little bit I walked to Centre Pompidou to get some dinner and see their new hanging of the first half of the 20th Century.

Centre Pompidou by night. The projection onto the square is by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist. Like her a lot.

The restaurant was nice (even though the waiters were way too posh for the customers – not only me!) and the view was magnificent. These pictures were taken from one of the tubes on the facade and the view from the restaurant was the same just without the blue lights.

Lights. Pompidou


Boy and Lights, Pompidou

The new hanging of the modern collection was nice so I was happy to have included it.

Three museums in one day…too much? Of course! But then again – life is short and we can sleep when we get old. Right? Right.



February 15, 2007. Art, Travels.

One Comment

  1. Sarah Airey replied:

    We are freelance picture researchers working on an ART GUIDE TO PARIS and have seen yor photograph of the Pipilotti Rist installation outside the Pompidou Centre. Do you have a 300dpi scan of this image at about 176 x 142mm that we might use in the book, to be publised by Quadrille Publishing in London, April 2008. We would of course credit you as the photographer.

    I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

    With kind regards
    Sarah Airey
    Picrure Research
    +44 20 8348 4564
    fax: +44 20 8341 2232

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