Anyway, after arriving in Paris, I really didn't have a specific plan in mind. I mean, there are sooo many options. I started by paying a visit to Notre Dame de Paris. It's such a beautiful cathedral, and I just couldn't resist.
*Sigh*... It's so beautiful. I just have one problem: photographing the stained glass windows. My photography friends, how do I do this? In even the best of my pictures I still can't seem to capture the vivid colors or the detail I want. Part of my problem here was that I couldn't use my flash, but even still. What settings ought I to be using?
After my time at Notre Dame, which I personally felt was less crowded than I would have expected, especially for a Sunday, I chose the Musee d'Orsay as my museum of choice. Upon arrival one thought immediately struck me: Tanstafl. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Everything costs. Sometimes you pay with money directly, sometimes you pay with money indirectly, and sometimes you have to pay with less tangible items. Yesterday I paid with time. Time and patience. The lines were...long. They kept moving, which was encouraging, but they were long. Before getting in line to enter, I bought myself a crepe and a soda. Crepes are such delicious distractions. Once inside, I really had to shell out some hefty amounts of patience. I hate tourists. Yes, I know that's hypocritical because I am one, but all the same, I hate tourists. No one has any consideration anymore. Everyone is just interested in making sure they get a good long view at whatever they want without any thought for anyone else. In short, people are rude and thoughtless. I can't tell you the number of times people walked into me or bumped me out of the way or suddenly blocked my view by stepping immediately in front of me. There are quite a few people who deserved tickets for their traffic violations.
That said, I enjoyed the art. Well most of it. I was good; I took notes. I went through every exhibit, walked through every room, looked at every piece. If it's worth doing, it's worth over-doing. I liked Degas and Pissarro, but not so much Renoir and Cezanne. I got to see Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, a favorite of mine. I loved a piece by Henri Fantin-Latour of Charlotte Dubourg:
|Picture from Wikipedia, Public Domain.|
Monet for me was hit or miss, and I think it's largely based on subject matter. Some paintings I liked, some I just passed over. You know, when the Impressionists bother to paint something other than naked women, they're really pretty good. I have question for them though: where on earth did you find so many naked women in fields? As a woman with many female friends, I have never nor do I know anyone who has ever spent an afternoon lying naked in a field of flowers, so who are these girls and why do they not have clothing? So much for realism.
They had an exhibit on Neo-Impressionism, which didn't do much for me. Henri Provensal and Francois Garas and their 'architecture of the strange', a sort of fantasy architecture, was interesting though. They had an exhibit that was labelled something really mundane but I thought of it as Weird Furniture, which is basically what it was. I'm not into symbolism as it turns out, but I can excited about a beautiful ornate room. The Salle des Fetes is just gorgeous.
Finally, they had a temporary exhibit on Impressionism and Fashion, which was awesome. I love old clothes. I'm glad I didn't live back then, because it would take me half a day just to get dressed, and they went through 3 or more outfits a day. It was cool exhibit, although heavily over-crowded. The main message was that even though impressionists didn't necessarily paint their subjects with an incredibly amount of detail or even necessarily correct physiognomy, they recorded what people, especially townspeople, were wearing day to day at a variety of events. Everything from a dress for an afternoon at the park to a ballgown is represented in their work. They were obsessed with modernity and focused on Parisians, and Parisian women were known for their particularly meticulous outfits. I found one that struck me as absolutely a Meredith dress. My sister is a big fan of purple and as soon as I saw this dress I just had to smile.
|Dans La Serre, and the dress of Prosperie de Fleury|
Purple polka dots. In the 1800s. Love it.
All in all I had a great day. My feet hurt and I fell asleep pretty quickly when I got home, but it was worth it. And I learned some stuff about impressionism.