Museum Hopping in Paris: Last Weekend

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I’m still way behind on my actual life (as exemplified by the fact that I’m writing about Paris museums while sitting in my grandparents’ breakfast nook in Spain…). I have yet to write  post about what I did during my class trip to Grasse, but I truly and sincerely believe that it will someday be written and public.

In the meantime, I’ve really enjoyed my ‘new tradition’ of checking out the lesser known Paris museums on the weekends- and finding some real hidden gems.

Here’s what happened this most recent weekend- because my flight to Spain was only yesterday.

  • Musee Marmottan Monet: Absolutely adored this museum. It’s a bit out of the way but chock full of beautiful pieces by Monet and Morisot. I’m a bit biased because I’m already a huge impressionism fan, but standing and absorbing some of the basement rooms with the hugest Monet waterlily paintings actually gave me tingles.
  • Maison de Balzac: I visited Balzac’s house too! It’s out of the way in the same out of the way that Marmottan Monet is, so they made the perfect joint Saturday excursion.  I haven’t read a ton of Balzac (Eugenie Grandet, Pere Goriot, and Cousin Bette) but what I have read I really enjoyed.  The garden is lovely and has a great view of the Eiffel tower.  Inside there are some busts of Balzac done by Rodin, but my favorite room would have to be the one with all of the character sketches. There are tons of etchings done that were used to print illustrations and I looked at them for maybe an hour. It was fun to recognize characters I had read about (Vautrin was a standout), but even the unknowns were so full of character and individuality. Bonus: the museum is free.
  • On Sunday I went to the Catacombs. Dad and I had tried to go when we visited Paris two summers ago and bailed out because of the long line. Thankfully Sunday was pretty blue-skied and sunny, so I went with the intention and understanding that I would have a long line wait to reflect and meditate on my life. I even packed some study materials. That worked for about an hour and a half of queued up equanimity and then I started getting cold and lost feeling in my feet.  The last hour was a bit of a doozy (for a total of about 2.5 hours in line). The upside: the catacombs are pretty cool and the report I did on the Paris underground junior year of college gave me some fun insight.  I wouldn’t go again because there are only so many bones you can look at, and I’m not sure if it was worth the long wait, even i hindsight. But I do think satisfying my curiosity and checking it off my list was worthwhile.  It’s a very French thing, there are stone placards with meaningful and poetic bits of Latin and French text which I had fun reading and translating to myself. There are a whole lot of femurs and skulls take second place. Frequently they’re artfully arranged (there was a heart and a cross and a pillar in there, I remember).  Still, with the exception of a few sacra, I do wonder where the other bones went. Also, has it ever occurred to anyone that old femurs look rather like cinnamon bark?

So that was my weekend, briefly summarized as art, literature, and bones.

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Links 2/17

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A links post with a one day delay. I’ve officially started on a two week break (but can’t get too excited because we have two exams the week we get back) and I’m debating whether I should go to The Catacombs today or take a joint trip to Maison de Balzac and the Monet Marmottan Museum. It’s a rough life full of hard choices.

  • Yara Shahidi was on Stephen Colbert, is turning 18, having a voting party, and is an amazingly well-spoken individual. I know it’s a cliche to say this, but we need more people like her in the world.
  • In spite of my issues with The Shape of Water, I do think it’s a bit unfair to sum it up as ‘the film where the woman has sex with a fish’. That being said, someone designed a dildo inspired by Fish God. You can find anything on the internet and this is why we don’t deserve nice things.
  • The inspiring knitwear of Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2018 collection.
  • The Obamas’ official portraits have been unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. They’re both pretty amazing, both from an historical and artistic standpoint.
    Buuuut: here’s a counterpoint and a deeper reading.
  • Wisecrack on how Monty Python shaped modern comedy (via postmodernism, the comedy of the absurd, and political satire).
  • A thought-provoking personal essay about an ‘accidental wedding dress’ and accepting that life rarely/never comes with the closure of a settled and final happy ending.
  • Similarly, this comic on the numerous ways to fill your heart and live a meaningful and love-filled life.
  • A surreal video of a very fluffy doggo swimming underwater.
  • The Louvre has created a Valentine’s-inspired Pinterest board. I’m particularly in love (no pun intended) the Antonio Canova’s sculpture of Cupid and Psyche.
  • I’m not planing on watching the newly reimagined/animated Peter Rabbit film ever, but there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle about a scene involving food allergies. I don’t think there’s much to be upset about but part of the reason I am steering clear of the film is that even from the trailer it struck me as being crass and mean-spirited. And I wasn’t even a Beatrix Potter kid.
  • And… a Disneyland social club is being sued for using ‘mafia-like’ intimidation tactics. What even is this world and what are people? Watch out for the White Rabbits or you’ll be swimming with the… flounder?
  • Reaffirming my goal to spend less time on my phone and computer.
  • I didn’t cry at this animated short, but I won’t lie- it did give me the feels.

Slowly Catching Up: Museums the Weekend Before Last

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My posts are slowly catching up to my actual life, and two weekends ago I hit four (!) museums in Paris.
Bonus tip: A bunch of museums in Paris are free the first Sunday of every month.

Where did I go?

  • Musee Cernuschi: A small museum of Asian art, actually free and replete with Tang dynasty horses.
  • Cinematheque Francaise: A museum of cinema history, focused on the early days of film technology, featuring a lot of very old projecting equipment. I was hoping for something a little more on the art than the tech side, but it was pretty cool.

And then on Sunday-

  • Cluny Museum: The Cluny is the Medieval History Museum on the left bank of Paris. This was probably my favorite of the weekend. Lots of cool/amazing artifacts and architecture. Reliquaries, sundials, pope rings, etc.
  • Musee Picasso Paris: Probably my second favorite of the weekend, even though it was super crowded due to the free day.  On the other hand, it’s a small museum and I’m not generally the biggest Picasso fan, so it was the right choice for me.  There was also a great exhibition going on on 1932: The Erotic Year.

Saturday Links (and an aside on pastry)

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I am indeed more sane today! It’s amazing what a Chipotle burrito can do to pull back together the resolute American spirit.

And as goes my stress- I had my favorite pastry and a beautiful pear for breakfast today, went to the pastel exhibit at Petit Palais that I was looking forward to, bought a few things that I’ve been searching for (for years), and have a classic financier tucked in my desk for breakfast tomorrow (with a persimmon and maybe some chocolate (?).
So what is a classic financier I hear you ask? The almond one. My bakery had a pistachio-chocolate one (half and half), the almond, and a cherry one.  How does one choose?
Well, I like fruit in pastry, but I usually have fresh fruit with my breakfast (I stole an excellent pear from my landlords today) and didn’t want to be outfruitied.  And then I was considering pistachio, but when I got there realized I wasn’t feeling chocolate.  It’s always best to start with the classic anyway.

So life is good.

Here are my links

Listen to Why I’m Stressed

It occurred to me that today is a links day but guess what? I don’t have many links and I’m feeling stressed and over-stimulated, and I felt like writing a links post would be not an excellent thing for my brain.

So I want to do what I often do when I’m stressed and make a list of what’s bothering me.  It kind of helps.  Especially because when it comes down to it I’m kind of living my best life.  There’s nothing seriously wrong in any way whatsoever.

There are a few too many focuses and that’s a hard thing for me to handle because of who I am as a person.

So in the order in which they occur to me:

  • We have three tests coming up in the next two weeks. For one I have to memorize approximately 100 synthetic molecules, their names, and the families they’re classified in. And recognize them by scent.  And review the 130 natural materials that will be trickily sprinkled in… For another I need to recognize something like 50 or 60 fine fragrances, with names and brands, and scent families.  I don’t even know what the other one is at this point. Maybe chemistry?
  • There’s a French one coming up. Do I even have to take the French test? (My French is good enough that I’ve been told I don’t have to come to class).
  • I finished my green beans but didn’t eat the broccoli I bought this week and I’m worried it will go bad.
  • I need to go grocery shopping on Sunday and I’m slightly stressed about what recipes to shop for.
  • In three weeks we have a field trip to Grasse for a few days to study the mimosa harvest. And most people (including me) are staying the extra weekend days. But that means I have some trip planning to do, and my last trip planning experience didn’t give me a huge amount of faith in my abilities.
  • Speaking of trip planning, a week later is the start of our two week February break. I have no idea what is happening there.
  • It’s hard to go back to working all day. I hate sitting so much and feeling so exhausted after. Smelling for 8 hours is actually really exhausting. I need more physical activity and stretching.
  • I want to try a financier pastry but I don’t know what kind to buy. It looks like they come in almond, pistachio, and chocolate varieties.
  • Speaking of which, what kind of bread should I get this week?
  • Lol I need to find a summer internship.
  • I discovered that Chipotles exist in Paris and I REALLY miss Mexican food so I’ve asked some friends to go with me tomorrow, which is kind of a worry for me. Just the planning and timing.
  • Speaking of my plans tomorrow, there’s an exhibit at the Petit Palais that I have to get to (it closes Sunday) on the pastel art of Degas and Redon. Must make that happen.
  • I left my favorite necklace and my iPod at home. I miss them.
  • My grocery shopping? I need to get a jam but I’m torn between four types. (Figs or mirabelle or Reines Claudes or fruits rouges?)

I think that’s it! Stay posted for links (and hopefully sanity) tomorrow!

Last Links of 2017

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Happy New Year’s (Eve) depending on where you are!

This is the last selection of links for the year of 2017, and it’s a blessedly short one.

Do you have New Year’s plans? It’s been bitterly cold here in Boston and will continue to be so tonight, so my evening looks like a cuddly warm stay at home affair. If I manage to stay up past 9:30. Jet lag. It’s still real.

Links from the USA

Happy Christmas Eve Eve! I arrived home yesterday afternoon and am super jet lagged and being treated to a very New England ice storm.

It’s excellent.  We’re going to see The Last Jedi tonight and I think my excitement will be such that I will stay awake.  I’ve heard lots of interesting things about it but have so far avoided any spoilers.

I have a healthy (and scented!) collection of links this week!

The year-end photo compendiums are coming in, here are two favorites…

On the fashion front:

And the more miscellaneous: