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.
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.
As this is my last full day in Boston and also a blizzard day (16-18″!), and as I have no books left from the library (I had to go back and cancel my extra holds yesterday 😥 ) this list isn’t going to go through any alterations before the actual end of the break tomorrow around 7 pm (at which point I will be at the airport) (unless I finish The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur SUPER QUICKLY), I can get away with posting this a bit prematurely.
I have packed my bags and read my last book.
- The Secret Lives of Color, Kassia St. Clair: An excellent and really interesting book about the histories of various culturally significant colors (like Mountbatten Pink, Lead White, Cerulean, et al.) featuring odd and various anecdotes from the past. Each color discussed gets a few pages. Very far from dry, perfect for increasing your store of random information for use at parties and family gatherings, and a very aesthetically pleasing book.
- Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, Bruce Handy: I’m a huge children’s lit reader. Possibly more so than I was as a child (and that’s saying something). Watching the author discuss and examine childhood favorites (Goodnight Moon, Peter Rabbit, Green Eggs and Ham) through an adult lens, with an attention to various social/cultural movements, is so fascinating. It doesn’t hurt that the author is really witty. I think I audibly chuckled a few times.
- The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, Hyemin Sunim: Part of what inspired my very crunchy and zen resolution list (the other part being that I’m just a crunchy and zen person) (well, I try to be zen). Beautiful illustrations and lots of crunchy and chewy food for thought. So glad I stumbled on this in Shakespeare and Co. (And so glad BPL carries it!)
Contrary to my usual preferences, if was a very nonfiction-heavy vacation. But I feel edified, improved, and most importantly full of odd anecdotes to share.
Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Or happy holidays, happy days, happy days are getting longer.
Here are some fashion exhibits that I’m looking forward to possibly attending in the year of 2018.
Despite writing and keeping this blog primarily for myself, as a way to keep writing casually and to share the things I’m brimming with excitement about… I can’t help but feel guilty when I ignore certain topics for what I feel is too long.
That’s why I didn’t post for two days- I’m distinctly aware that I owe books a day in the spotlight, but reading hasn’t been particularly satisfying for me recently. I only recently pulled out of the refraction period caused by Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark. I read that over the fourth of July. Over a month ago.
The book that got me out is the one that I’m still very much in the middle of- Balzac’s Cousin Bette.
Because of this I feel like saying anything on the subject of what I’m reading right now is both premature and a bit too tenuous. I don’t want to do anything that might cause me to lose the reading momentum for another month. Especially because I need to know what happens to Cousin Bette and Steinbock and Hortense and Adeline.
So instead of talking about what i’m reading right now, I’d like to share one of my favorite middle school and high school genres: historical fiction.
Continue reading “Historical Fiction, A Way Back Book Obsession”
I have a lot of exciting news to share that I can’t share yet because not everyone in my physical life knows the news yet- but stay tuned for a thrilling announcement.
On a less significant but still exciting note: I won $150 dollars off of Dad this morning. It’s been a good day.
Other news: I’m away this weekend and into Tuesday, being back Tuesday night and possibly posting again on Wednesday. So a short hiatus, in honor of Independence Day and family visiting. So instead of checking in here, do enjoy your barbecues and illegal fireworks, popsicles and movie nights with the family.
Other other news: I’ve been very excited by the growth of the blog in the past few months, and you may remember that last month was the first that views exceeded 1.0k. This being the last day of the month, you may be interested in an update of the blog views- with 2 more views we will breach 1.0k yet again! Which generally does happen in a day, statistically. But it is early and presumptuous to celebrate, so again stay tuned for Wednesday for the final word.
Now back to the actual links game that we play every Friday: Continue reading “Friday Links: 6/30 Edition”
Okay, firstly, I promise I’m not obsessed with Halloween. Now that I’ve put that out there, let me completely convince you otherwise. Continue reading “Links for Fun: Halloween Edition”