Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Visit to the Petit Palais

Spent this morning reading my newest book, actually one that I read several years ago.  I'd loaded it in to my Kindle Books before leaving since we planned to visit the town of Chatou on this trip.  Yes, this is the book that first tweaked my interest in Renior's painting; "Luncheon of the Boating Party" by Susan Vreeland.    The book is a "novel" about the story behind the painting and each of the models within the painting and their relationship to Renior.   Hopefully it's all based on historical facts but even if she's taken a great deal of literary license; the book is fun to read from the first page forward.

I did a bit of housekeeping today; wood floors seem to create dust bunnies and with the construction going on in our hallway; a bit of sweeping is necessary occasionally.   We could have paid to have someone come in weekly but decided to do it ourselves. 

About two o'clock we dressed and headed out; the sun was shining but it was cold.  We first walked to rue Bonaparte to check out the Beau Arts School that is only a couple of blocks from our apartment.  The students were returning from their lunch break and we walked in with them into the courtyard.  We checked out the bulletin board and found that yes, tourists can visit the school but only on the second Monday of each month.  Well we've missed that opportunity this trip so we walked back to the apartment to leave some of the newspapers that we'd picked up at the school. 

Back out on the street we headed for our Metro Station and were just about there when Jim commented on how cold it was and that he should have worn his overcoat instead of just his blazer.  Back to the apartment for a change of coats and then finally we were off on our planned journey for the day.  Only two changes in the Metro and we'd arrived at the Metro Champs Elysees Clemenceau. 

We walked down the street noticing that many of the Christmas decoration were finally gone and those that have not yet been removed have finally had their lights turned off.  The beautiful Petit Palais was only a block away; always a joy to visit and free except for special exhibitions.   Not crowded today and we walked right in with the exception of problems at the security check point.  The umbrellas in my pockets set off the alarms and it took a while to figure out what the problem was.

This is a stately building that was built for the 1900 Exposition and has been retained as a place to exhibit a portion of the vast array of art owned by the government.  There are paintings here by nearly every well known artist; one or two from each and sometimes you have to search to find them among the lesser known works.
One of my favorites was back on the wall today.  In September it was out on loan to another museum for a special exhibit.  It is Claude Monet's "Sunset over the Seine" that was painted in 1880. 

Jim had never been in the downstairs portion so most of our time was spent there.   I'd seen most of it with the girls last September.  Consequently, I found a spot to sit and read my book on my cell phone while Jim perused the art.  Suddenly my cell phone went off; as I desperately searched my purse the guard came to glare at me!   By the time I found the phone it had stopped but I knew that Jim had missed me and was out looking.  I searched the halls and finally found him.  The cell phones paid off again!

We then went upstairs and enjoyed our old favorites before getting our coats and heading back outside after an hour of enjoying the art.   It was four o'clock by now so we decided to walk up the Champs Elysees as Jim has only been there at night on New Years Eve on this trip.  Remember, he was sick with his cold on the day I walked it last week.   Always a fun walk, I began by standing in the middle of the street for two changes of the lights to get some photos of the Arc de Triomphe at one end and the Ferris Wheel at the other.  Jim was very patiently waiting for me on the curb when I finally completed my journey across the broad boulevard.

Along our walk we enjoyed visiting three different car dealerships to see the old and new cars on display.  Watched people rent two Ferraris and there was also a Lamborghini available; for twenty minutes you can drive one (with a partner provided for the drive) for eighty nine euros!  A bit steep for my ideal of fun.  Hopefully they get to put the pedal to the medal and make the engine roar at sometime during their twenty minutes.

Soon we were at the Arc de Triomphe and headed down into the Metro for our journey home.  The train was very crowded and we stood for a good portion of the trip.  After we changed lines we each got a seat for the remainder of the journey.
We stepped off the Metro at about six o'clock and headed towards our last destination of the day, the Cafe Flores on the Boulevard Saint-Germain.  Another famous coffee shop since the days of Hemingway.  We enjoyed sitting outside, under the red hot heaters along the top of the overhang, and Jim had Earl Gray Tea and I enjoyed a cappuccino. 

By seven o'clock we were back in the apartment and enjoying some cheese and olives before starting our dinner.  A lovely evening.  Hope you enjoy the slideshow: 

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