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Weekend in Paris

I am shaking my head in disbelief at the sound of the title of this blog. It sounds more like a romantic comedy movie than what I did last weekend!

I have not travelled much (and it is my first time in Europe) but when I have, the job of navigator has fallen to me. I was thankful for my meagre experience as I disembarked from the train in Paris. It was time to tackle the metro and find the AirBnB in the 19th arrondissement (district). With metro app and google map in hand I made my way without a hitch. Once topside from the metro I had a three block walk to the flat. I passed three mothers pushing strollers...ok...that made me feel safe!! Top floor of a five story building and no elevator...Spanish speaking housekeeper...lesson with the keys and I had officially arrived!!

That was Thursday evening and my travel companion, Allan Tyler, (old friend from Manitoba) arrived later that night from London. We have never really had the opportunity to visit one on one and we talked late into the night. I tucked into bed realizing I had not only the gift of seeing some wonderful art this weekend but also of getting to know a friend on a whole new level.

Day 1 - Short metro ride to the Seine River to have a round about walk to find tourist office to pick up museum passes. It is my first sighting of the tower. Ok pinch me...I really am in Paris!!

First museum - almost goes without saying but there is the pyramid of the Louvre with what I think is a sunshade. Once inside, the white side is opaque but three other sides of black are transparent. Through the gate and another map in hand, I made a beeline for this...

I am not going to post all my pictures I took in the museums except for this one. I have always called her the Nike of Samothrace but she is more commonly known as 'Winged Victory' as she was carved in celebration of a Greek naval war victory. I had no idea how famous she was when I used her for my first year alien charcoal drawing. The crowd around her was constant with cameras going non stop. I wonder why we love her so much? For me, she occasions a different sort of victory; a moment when all doubt was washed away, if only for awhile, that art school was where I was supposed to be. Seeing her in person was on my obscure 'bucket list' of things to do. A list I never really believed I would get to do because that is just how life is. But there I was, I could have lingered longer but there was much to see.

Only a morning in the Louvre sounds sacrilegious but forgive me oh gods of art!!! A walk through the Louvre's Tuileries Garden and we arrived here to the Musée d'Orangerie, home of Monet's large, curved lily pond paintings. That's a Henri Moore sculpture by the stairs.

I said no more pictures of art but this is a shot of the people. One of the didactics on the wall stated that Monet created these paintings especially for display in the oval galleries, to be a place where people could unwind and relax from the frenetic stresses of urban life. Looks like they still are working their magic today. There was a hushed, almost reverent atmosphere which was very opposite to the bustle of the Louvre. Attendants shushed people when they got too loud.

Phones don't always take the best photos but here's a gem from the end of the day en route to the metro station. This is the Place de la Concorde at the very west end of the Tuileries Garden. It is a busy traffic circle - well oval - with the Obélisque de Louxor.

Day 2 - Musée d'Orsay used to be a train station and a model of Lady Liberty greets you upon entering.

This is above the entrance which Lady Liberty faces. This place is a place of clocks.

Here's one on top floor in the restaurant where we ate lunch.

Here is yet another on the opposite end of the top floor which holds the galleries of the Impressionists. Another happy place for me!

The afternoon brought us to the Centre Pompidou which holds modern art.

Day 3 - This is Sunday on our walk to Le Marais area after having a yummy brunch at a gluten free restaurant called 'Thank You My Dear'. This shop lined street reminded me of the Victor Hugo painting that I needed to reference when I was creating nearly full scale back drops for our local community theatre's production of Les Mis. From my romance with street scenes like this, we arrived to a different reality of the Forum des Halles, a huge modern underground mall packed with crazy Sunday shoppers. Yuck! But this mom did brave it and started her Christmas shopping.

I am so thankful for my weekend in Paris! For Allan, allowing me to drag him wherever I desired to go and enduring my geeky excitement and explanations. It has been wonderful to see so many artworks in person that I have only seen in photographs and then so many more to go along with each artist. I was astounded at the number people attending the museums on a weekend in November. Announcements in the Louvre were repeated in so many languages that I lost count. Paris is truly an art mecca and what I experienced is but a fraction. I suppose there will have to be some revisions to that bucket list...

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