Thursday, June 2, 2016

Paris Diary: May 2016

On the Pont Alexandre III bridge. Photo by Marcy Tilton

Just the word 'Paris' 
conjures conflicting concepts 
that can confuse the mind,
feed the senses,
expand the imagination
and ignite the heart.
In reality she never disappoints.

Typical touristic pursuits
continue to bring joy.
Marcy and niece Annie.
Looking at the Trocadero and Paris from the Eiffel Tower.
Plus the views are spectacular!
Hausmann had a good plan.

The Catacombs compel.
There's always a line
to view the macabre, 
but not so morbid really,
display of skulls and bones.

It's a long way down.
 Curious to imagine how and who 
transported the bones, skulls and more bones
deep into the depths,
much less organized them 
into such charming and thoughtful patterns.


Being a flâneur in Paris offers a visual feast 
with surprises and beauty around every corner.
Artist's studios.
Grafitti on a charming street.
Chestnut trees blooming in the Palais Royale.

I spotted this chic woman
carrying her dog by Square Boucicaut.
The dog's name aptly translated
as 'sweet face'.

What a blast to stroll on the Champs-Élysées
the first day ever it was closed to traffic!
Beautiful weather enhanced the occasion
and buskers added to the high energy.

Wandering in the work of art
that is Monet's garden at Giverny
is always divine. 
Marcy, Eloise, Mimi and Wanda meander in the water garden.
Even French rain 
can't dampen our spirits!

One can stroll in the gardens at Versailles
(which I adore) --
Reflections in the Hall of Mirrors.
but the palace is a crowded mass (mess) 
of tourists all eagerly taking photos 
(yes, me too)
bumping, pushing, 
greedily claiming a spot of space.

I have to remind myself to breathe, look, 
to be present; to see, feel, imagine. 
What it was like to live here in the day?
Possibly as crowded, competitive and
completely unconscious as it is now.
Always a pleasure to examine
the deliciously detailed textiles
that the queen wore.
Detailed paintings like this are 
a treasure trove for textile lovers.

Artful Parisian Pursuits

So many art exhibitions,
so little time -- but I managed 
to happily view more than ever before.

An artful collection of boxes waiting for the 'homme de detritus'.

I was reminded of the pattern created by 

these stacked boxes in the street --
when I went to the Monumenta 2016
exhibition 'Empires' by Huang Yong Ping
at the Grand Palais.
Tall stacks of shipping containers,
surround a giant Napoleon's hat;
all under the massive weighty skeleton
of a foreboding snake.
Reflective, uncomfortable
and definitely monumental.

The Grand Palais always presents
thoughtfully curated, powerful exhibitions. 

Seydou Keïta's 
moving and beautiful photos
capture the essence of the sitters
and the unerring eye of the photographer.
Accompanying videos provide a peek
into his process and vibrant unique personality.

The 'Carambolages' exhibition,
also at the Grand Palais,
indicates the curatorial direction
of the future.
'Listen with your eyes'
says the neon sign
giving the only instruction as you enter.

No titles, long explanations or
interpretations are provided with the work.
It is up to the viewer to follow 
the sequence and make their own connections.
Classic and modern paintings with 
weird and shocking elements, 
primitive and contemporary sculpture, 
indigenous garments,
functional weapons, exquisite porcelain
and ritual objects,
displayed in a non-linear 
but totally connected progression.
Paintings by (left to right):
Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower
and Adolph Hitler were in the area
with implements of aggression.
Suit of armor with cannonball hole.
Sobering reminders 

of the paradox we inhabit.

Stunning, exciting, thought provoking.
I saw it twice.

There was a marvelous
Paul Klee exhibit at the Pompidou.

I was drawn to these untitled Klee
And gleefully absorbed many previously 
unseen (by me) Klee drawings and paintings.

War or the Ride of Discord by Rousseau.
The Henri Rousseau exhibit
at Musee d'Orsay was fabulous as well.
'War or the Ride of Discord'
boldly captures 
the gruesomeness of war.

Then there were the Fashion exhibitions!

'Real' people clothing at Anatomy of a Collection

Especially touching at Anatomy of a Collection
 exhibit at the Palais Gallieria
 were the garments

worn by the majority of the people,
the workers, the 99%.
Patched and stained, the skirts
emanated the energy and labor
of everyday life.

Contemporary fashion at the Fashion Forward exhibit.
Fashion Forward 
Musée des Arts Décoratifs presented 300 pieces from 
the 17th century to now.
Historical references in contemporary
fashion become more obvious
when viewed in an exhibit like this.

And in addition...

We peeked in the windows 
of the shops in the arcades
at the Palais Royale.

Cindy with some of her stash.
Linda, Cristy and Veronica checking out the good stuff.
Shopped for fabric.
Followed this guy 
in all his sartorial splendor 
out of the Metro
but he was too quick...

Annie making a selfie swap.
Marcy and I in the hat store.
Took silly selfies.

Fabian from Paris Charms and Secrets.
Enjoyed an informative and fun
electric bike tour in Paris
with our fabulous and entertaining
tour guide Fabian!

Paul and Marcy taking photos of Eloise and Wanda.
Posed on the plinths in the 
sculpture garden at the Palais Royale.

Ate numerous superb dinners.

Had the best latte EVER

Enjoyed a cocktail in the cave
at a local hangout.

And pondered the view 
as we flew over Greenland,
noting all the icebergs...

A girl can never have
too much fun!