Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So Many Pictures...

... so little time! Few words today, then. My I-Phone weather forecast once again proved wrong in predicting rain, and we awoke to a glorious day. Breakfast on the rue Monge again, and a walk across the Seine...


... to the Right Bank, the smart boulevards, the shops...


... and the Palais du Louvre...


... which we plan to visit this evening. For this morning, it's the Musee des Art Decoratifs, where amongst other delights we found this recreation of a Renaissance bedroom...


... this detail from a Medieval painting ...


(I took many pictures of paintings, including details such as this one. But I can't post them all!)
And this Art Nouveau dresser, with a familiar face in the mirror...


Here's a Deco study, which I wouldn't mind importing to Los Angeles. I nice space for a laptop, I think...


Here's a view of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs (a part of the Louvre) taken from the third floor, looking down over a special exhibition ot Deco jewelery, to which we were denied entry by one of those officious guards because we had the wrong kind of ticket...


... and here's a part of a wonderful exhibit in a special section set aside for toys. I would have showed you the horses, the space ships...


We stopped for lunch in the Rivoli area at a restaurant that was showing the Tour of Turkey cycle race on wide screen TVs...


It did not look promising, but they served us what we agreed was one of the best omelettes we have ever eaten. A long walk after lunch, starting in the gardens of the Palais Royal, where we found this young man smiling charmingly at his uninvited guests...

... and this rather strange lady feeding her invited ones--pigeons and sparrows both, if you look closely...


Walking around the back streets, we came upon the Passage Choiseuil, an historical arcade I had somehow missed on previous visits. Ellie found an art supply shop where she spent a happy twenty minutes, whilst I enjoyed an unexpected encounter, outside the store, with a fellow enthuiast of the Buddhist teachings who had traveled widely in the 60s and had met several of the important teachers along the way. We agreed in our hope that the world is on the cusp of a great transitional moment. Patrick, my new friend, is expecting some important shift of consciousness starting in 2012. His theory has to do with 2,500-year cycles, too complicated to explain...

We continued on to the Place de l'Opera and down the rue de la Paix (the most expensive street on the French Monopoly board) to the Place Vendome...


... by now looking with some desperation for a place to sit and enjoy a cup of tea. Not the best area to be looking, unless you want to spend fifteen dollars for your cuppa. We did eventually find one on a back street, but paid too much and got too little in return. On, then, to the far end of the Jardin des Tuileries for the walk back to the Louvre. By this time, the rainstorm long promised by my I-Phone was threatening to arrive...

... and did, in fact, for a few minutes, break. (Remember that Richard Serra corten steel sculpture I showed you a couple of days ago at this precise location? Gone! Each of the two huge slabs of steel must have weighed tons, and the task of removing them must have been monumental. But they were gone. Vanished. We were somewhat relieved...) Anyway, here you see people starting to flee from the storm's onset...

... and the mini dust storm blown up by the sudden gusts of wind...

... but miraculously, our weather karma held good and we had no more than a few drops of heavy rain before reaching the Louvre. Ellie's research once again proved invaluable: she had found a less-used method of entry to the museum, so we managed to avoid the huge crowds gathering for the less expansive evening access at six o'clock. Neither of us has visited the Louvre for years--not since the I.M.Pei remodel job--but we were not surprised to find ourselves awed, once more, by the spectacle of the Victory of Samathrace at the top of a long, majestic flight of steps, no less awesome for the crowds that massed around her.


Unbelievable crowds--most of them, be it said--rushing headlong down the Grande Galerie...


... for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa!

We did wonder a bit what she has done to deserve so much more attention than any of the other sublime works of art in this incredible collection--including several other pictures by Leonardo. We did take lots of pictures along the way, but too many, really, to be useful; and besides, the quality of the photographs conveys little sense of the images themselves. You need to be there! You might be amused to know that I--or someone very much like me...


... was scheduled to give a lecture in the auditorium. I wish! Here's a view of one of the great atria from above...


... and a spectacular view of the storm taken from one of the upper floors...

... and another from the Pont Neuf as we crossed back to the Left Bank for dinner.


We had noticed a Lebanese restaurant on our walk the previous evening, and opted for it as a change from the usual Parisian menus. A good choice. We enjoyed an excellent array of Middle Eastern far, and the company of a charming French couple--Chris and Naoumi (sp?)--at the neighboring table with whom we exhcanged a lively bi-lingual conversation about San Francisco (where Chris had lived for several years); America and France and our respective presidents (they do NOT like their new one, but DO like ours, and proposed a swap that we declined!); and the world at large.  This is the kind of experience that makes travel truly interesting.

The rain held off even after dinner, and we arrived back at our hotel quite exhausted from the day--but dry!

3 comments:

They call him James Ure said...

Wow. I love the medieval painting. Its funny, I don't buy any of that Judeo-Christian demon, devils and hell but I find it artistically appealing. It's kind of like an early form of surrealism with all that twisted imagery and interpretation of wild hell scenes.

I also don't buy the demon/gods thing in some forms of Buddhism. However, I can appreciate the artistry of the paintings of demons, etc.

As for the Mona Lisa? Wow. I don't think I want to see it THAT BAD. I wasn't much of a fan of the hype of that painting anyway.

Caroliine said...

Hello Peter,
I'm NoƩmie's daughter, whom you've met when you were in Paris, in the Lebanese restaurant. She showed me your card so I checked your blog and here I am.
It is really cool, I have not read everything yet but I enjoy the reading.
Best wishes!

Robin said...

haha.. I am sure u are more than qualified to give that lecture on his behalf.

nice shoesssssssss