Sunday, December 31, 2006

au revoir Paris

Well, the trip is over...images all what will I blog about!? Hmmm. This is my last lunch. Delicious moules from Noirmoutier at a little local cafe on rue St. Antoine within view of the Eglise St. Paul. They were the best. Our little hotel had sweet views up and down the street. We could see the sign and beyond it, rue de Rivoli. Up to the right, rue des mauvais garcons becomes rue de moussy and La Poste is right up the street. You know me and my love of post offices. It was a wonderful time, I miss Paris, le Marais, the Cite, long walks with lots to see, and am hoping for a return stay next year. In the meantime, what to blog?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Joyeux Noel Printemps style

The windows at Printemps department store were amazing. The theme was Moroccan for some reason and Moroccan music played at each window. Pots and Pans were animated as marionettes, controlled by computerized string mechanisms visible at the top of the windows. The little pots and pans had such character, it was easy to think of them as little gnomes or even, people. They were belly dancing, painting things, cooking, and more. We loved them. the colors were all pink, red, orange, gold, yellow. Each window was a different single color. The best!!

Joyeux Noel Galleries Lafayette lights

The lights on the Galleries Lafayette buildings were so beautiful. They changed colors, which was hard to catch with the camera. OOh I wished for a video camera. The buildings opposite the stores reflected the lights and the entire area was lit up by them. The reflections on the cars were beautiful, too.

Joyeux Noel Galleries Lafayette style

The tree in the center of the main Galleries Lafayette store is very impressive as is the behind the dome structure. We went up to the top most levels to see how the stained glass dome looked from behind. Wow!

Joyeux Noel BHV style

We were so happy that we were back in Paris in time to see the Noel windows in the department stores. BHV weirdly used taxidermied animals. ew! and yet, they were compelling and raised questions. Who knitted that scarf and hat set for the donkey? Who sewed the tiny cape hood for the goose? Why are the bunnies wearing Tutus?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More food in Paris

We had lunch at a cafe near Chatelet. The chairs in the non-smoking section were comfy arm chairs. Chuck had quiche with frites. What do you think? Did he get enough frites?

musee quai branly, Paris

The new museum of...what? anthropology? Ethnology? We had heard about the new museum quai branly and knew that the building itself was supposed to be interesting and one either loved it or hated it. The contents of the museum were drawn from the musee de l'homme and the old museum of Oceania and Africa that was out by the bois de Vincennes. We went there on Sunday but found the crowd to get in daunting. Instead of waiting in line, we crowded into the gift/book shop and got claustrophobic. We decided to stay outside and look at the building, the garden and the building with the gardon ON it. The latter was our favorite part of the museum. We pretty much felt that it was architecturally confusing with no clear intent. I'd like to have seen the inside to find out how they used the space. There was a nice reflection of the building on the windows of a building behind the museum, and we had good views of the Eiffel tower. I liked taking the picture of myself in the window with the reflection of the trees. Next trip, I'm going inside!

Back to Paris

Lucky us, really, really lucky us...we get to go back to Paris and spend 5 days more in our favorite neighborhood. The train ride on the TGV was FAST but couldn't resist taking a couple photos. We returned to the little Hotel, called le Grand Hotel du Loiret, on the rue des mauvais garcons (Street of the bad boys!) where N & J had stayed. We had a room overlooking the OOPS! store with it's cool home objects. We arrived at the Gare de Lyon about 5 p.m. and after dropping our luggage off at the hotel, went to the laundramat and fun thing, we saw Diane, who we knew from the Cite. Then another time, we saw Ala, and then one nght while taking a walk at night, Johan came up behind us (scared us half to death) and invited back to his studio for wine and to see his new paintings. Such FUN! Felt like we'd come home, and here's our favorite Paris symbol.


Our friend in Bezier decided to take us on a drive to Serignan and Serignan plage (the beach.) As we got closer to Serignan, I remembered why the name of the town sounded a bit familiar. Last year, a colleague of mine, Daniele Reide, went there to do an installation in a museum. I was so excited that I was going to get to see it, it seemed so amazing that I'd be in that very place. So here are two images of her installation...bits of paint, adhered to the wall in some mysterious, invisible, magical way. The piece fills a section of the wall. The photos, naturally, don't do it justice. There were lots of pieces in this wonderful little contemporary museum in this little town. Both Chuck and I liked the chair paintings and the small "postcard" pieces. The light installation is by Daniel Buren. I really liked being able to walk through it and took lots of pictures of it. I'm just posting this one, however.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Toulouse, art museum

The contemporary art museum in Toulouse is in an old slaughter house that has been fabulously renovated. I love that they had windows looking out onto their grounds. They were in the process of installing a new exhibition so only the upstairs galleries were open. A large group of little boys and girls were coming in right behind us, uh oh, we headed quickly to the bathrooms to make sure we got their before them...race those kids for a stall. As I was coming out of the stall, 2 little girls were pushing to get in. "Arretez" I said, bending towards them, "je depart, vous entrez, comprennez?" or something to that effect. "Oui, madame" they said. Otherwise, I'd have been in a stall with two little French girls. The exhibit was very interesting. Pieces from Africa, the south Pacific, and asian countries along with pieces of work from the permanent collection. Really visually stunning. There was only one piece of written information about the gallery owner who donated his collection of artifacts, that was it, nothing to tell us where the pieces came from or what they may have been used for. I would have liked some information about that. There was a small group of people with visual impairments touching and holding pieces with the help of museum staff. That was really nice to see. We left the museum very satisfied with having walked all that way. On the way back across the river, we stopped at a bakery and bought a variety of pastries to bring back to Bezier. When we got to the train station, we stood, with many others, craning our necks up at the board, to see which trains were being cancelled...not ours, so we got back to Beziers without any problem, at 8:20p.m. More than a day would have been nice, another time hopefully. Oh, the Canal du Midi runs right in front of the train station. That was cool to see.


Our day trip for Toulouse was planned ahead of time, but we started out with some tripdation that morning as a "social action" (meaning a strike) had been declared by the railroad workers. It was to begin at 8p.m. that night and end at 8a.m.two days later. We would be on the train returning to Beziers at 8p.m. so would the train go or not. We wouldn't know until later in the day. We arrived at the train station, big and busy, and bought a map of the city. We saw lots of buses out front so we went out and asked the driver if they went to the old city. He was very nice, telling us where to get off so we could start our visit to the old section. A great tourist information office was right there and we found out where the contemporary museum was located. We walked through the city hall, beautiful brick building with ornate courtyards, and out into a plaza where a market was in full action. Food, books, new and old stuff stalls. We walked through the pedestrian only old town, enjoying being somewhere totally new and unknown. We found a little corner restaurant, local people eating there, and had lunch. Then we began our long trek to the museum across the river.

Friday, December 08, 2006