Friday, February 26, 2010

Stormy Friday in Paris

Another rainy day: perfect for a visit to the Musée d'Orsay. This was not my first visit, so I wasn't too disappointed to find the second floor closed for renovations. So many of the best paintings and sculptures had been moved and tucked in out-of-the-way galleries on the other floors that I didn't really miss any of my favorites.

The Orsay doesn't seem to mind photography without flash, so I had fun, starting with the Symbolists:

Moving on to Impressionists, post-Impressionists, and Romantic sculpture, wherever I found it:

The easiest subjects to photograph are tapestries because they can be shot head-on and there's never any glare. Here's a detail from the Burne-Jones Adoration of the Magi tapestry, worked by Morris & Co., a relatively new acquisition in exquisite condition and brilliant color:

Here's a miniature set from the Paris Opera, probably for Aida, since it's Egyptian:

A quick, fierce storm raged across Paris as I was wandering the galleries.

The wind created waves in the Seine, blew trees sideways, and wrecked countless umbrellas. From my vantage point on the first floor (second floor, by American counting), I could see a bright blue sky pushing the storm eastward. Even before I left, it was a beautiful day again, but very breezy.

Here's a photo of the salon, with its wonderful garland chandeliers:

Walking home, I passed more interesting shops (don't you want a giant polar bear? I do) and this art-nouveau Metro station.

I met up with my husband at our hotel. On the way, I'd gotten a crèpe fromage for lunch from my favorite stand at the end of our street (4 Euros), and then shot this little still life on our coffee table:

You can see a bottle of warm Diet Coke, a staple when we travel. Also some caramel éclairs from Gosselin, wrapped in a paper pyramid, a tradition I love. Also the remains of my crèpe, and my iPhone, which I used mainly to look at photos of my cats, especially Possum.

We went for a long walk around the Latin Quarter, where my husband likes to visit a certain scholarly bookstore that usually stocks lots of books he wants, as well as most of the books he's written or designed. And then we headed to Charlotte for more chocolate, including the fatal pitcher of chocolat chaud:

I made a point of visiting Charlotte's quaint little loo, which is outside, through the kitchen and on the opposite side of a courtyard. It's a tiny closet with the sink outside the door; I guess the stairs lead up to someone's equally quaint apartment. The sink is outside, and as you can see, there's no drainpipe from the bowl; your feet may get splashed. Unheated and primitive, but spotlessly clean:

Before the chocolat chaud (made with cream, which my GI tract forbids) nearly killed me, we did a little more exploring. Here's the graceful interior of the Church of St. Louis, where were heard organ practice. It's popular for weddings and concerts because it's so airy and golden — a nice alternative to all the dark and gloomy Gothic churches everywhere:

As I was sitting and listening to the ancient pipe organ, I thought about mortality as my stomach began its revolt against the cream. I was able to snap just one more photo, in case it was my last.

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