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.

Fashion Exhibits 2018

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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.

Doings in Milan

I’m not going to go into the details of why I’ve been referring to my long weekend in Milan as a #SeriesofUnfortunateEvents, but instead focus on the positive.

Because it was a beautiful city and traveling is hard and once my phone is working again (the bad luck has followed me!) I’ll only (mostly) remember the good and happy parts.

So I set up a Google Map before I went (bluntly titled ‘Milan 2017’) and divided my places into ‘cultural’, ‘walking’, and ‘shopping’ designations/destinations.

Let’s have share time!

Cultural: I was mostly going for a cultural/high-brow/pretentious weekend to myself. The things I loved most are In CoLoR

  • The Duomo and the Museum: It’s the one big church that everyone is supposed to go to but honestly (as you can see from my colors) I found some of the smaller ones more worthwhile. It’s a big cathedral, not colorful, not particularly unique. But grand.
  • La Scala: The 6,50 euros I spent on la Scala cheap seats (for a philharmonic performance) were some of the best moneys I’ve spent in my life. It’s awe-inspiring. The people watching is as amazing as the performance, which sounds silly but you can very much see that people-watching is what the space was designed for. The boxes are each like a tableau of attendees, all spread out in front of you across the way. like so many paintings or television screens, so many snapshots. Also red velvet.
  • La Scala Museum: My phone wasn’t working when I was at La Scala for the performance, so it was very worthwhile for me to go back and take photos. (And check out a box).  They also had some Maria Callas costumes on display, which was cool. Reminded me of how much I like ‘Addio del passato’. Which just autocorrected to Addio del pasta. Oh boy.
  • Santa Maria delle Grazie: Not the church itself, but The Last Supper in the building adjoining. It’s set up so well, though you do have to reserve your place for entry. They let you in with the painting with a small group of people for a carefully timed fifteen to twenty minutes. It’s actually a pretty excellent way to view it- very few people, lots of space, uninterrupted views. Mind blowing and so striking.
  • Pinacoteca di Brera: All of the Madonnas and Childrens to put my own struggles in perspective. Gorgeous Titians, Veroneses, Botticellis, Bellinis, all that good stuff. The area around it is lovely of a nighttime walk.
  • Museo Poldi Pezzoli: Another art museum with an immense and majestic staircase with a fountain and goldfish and a room full of watches.
  • Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore
  • Sant’Eustorgio
  • San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore: I’m pretty sure the first thing you’re supposed to say when you walk into a church isn’t “Oh fucking fuck”, and yet. This church is so beautiful. It filled my soul. 100% worth seeing.
  • Santa Maria Presso San Celso: this was my other big church favorite. Beautiful ceiling moldings and all that. Honestly pick this and the one above over the Duomo. Go to the Duomo piazza to see the church from the outside and feed the pigeons. And to check out Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, not for the shopping but for the architecture.

If I could add anything that i didn’t get the chance to see, it would be Bagetti Valsecchi, an ornate ducal residence with difficult hours.

Walks:

  • Sforzescu castle: I lived super close to Sforzescu, and while I didn’t go into the museums, walking through the court and the gardens outside it was lovely.
  • Navigli: The Navigli are a set of channels in the South of the city, and something I almost ended up skipping. I was lucky to roll in when there was a huge street market of antiques and vintage clothes happening. Beautiful and lots of fun.
  • Piazza Mercanti: A cute little corner that’s seen better days. It’s pretty central, but still a bit hidden. By all means roll through.
  • Casa degli Omenoni: This is not a walk so much as a neat building facade that one can walk by. But what a cool facade.

I ended up not sticking to my shopping destinations at all, but ended up doing these:

  • L’Erbolario: Where I finally succeeded in getting myself a bottle of Meharees, a spicy musk perfume (reminiscent of Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle) that I’ve been wanting forever (and regretted not buying when I was in Milan two years ago).
  • Kiko Milano: Turns out Kiko Milano is cheaper in Milano. Especially when they have a buy three get three Black Friday sale. Eyeshadow sticks.

Food:

  • Granaio: Gelato.
  • Farini: A lovely pizza place just by San Lorenzo Maggiore, where they sell different types by the slice. Delicious. I ate three, Two probably would have been better.
  • Juice Bar: A cheap eatery in my train station (Milano Cadorna) that had a yummy Vegano sandwich with what was perhaps the most delicious roast pepper I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
  • Centro Botanico: My nearest health food store, because it’s me. I bought hummus and bread and peanut butter and lived on it when I wasn’t going out to eat. And Fuji apples.

NYC Doings

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Ahhh, I’ve fallen so far behind but what can I say, I’ve just been loving summer.
I was in NYC this past weekend- well, starting Sunday and then getting home ridiculously late last night/early this morning.
With Mom, for Mother’s Day and ending with that bit of interview that I mentioned earlier as the deciding factor in my life to come. I’ll be hearing back in five weeks or so. Keep your fingers and toes and everything crossed. Continue reading “NYC Doings”

Paris Places

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Unfortunately I’m sick- some combination of outrageous hours of dance practice in preparation for our show and protests outside in the cold have done me in.  I’ve skipped my classes today and gone to Yale Health twice for a sore throat, lung pain, cough, aching joints, fatigue, and pounding headache. Verdict? I don’t have the flu!

Which is excellent because I need to be able to go to class and practice.  But it doesn’t actually make me feel any less sick.

So I’m being lazy and only uploading the list of places my parents and I put together before visiting Paris, a list of the places we wanted to see.  As I cuddle the radiator in my dorm, wearing pajamas and Caron’s Parfum Sacre for its imagined medicinal properties, Paris in the summer (+ health) seems particularly dreamy.

If you’re going to Paris, maybe some of these will make it onto your itinerary. If you’ve already been, what am I missing? (Unfortunately, quite a bit- this doesn’t include the things we stumbled on completely at random, which were, of course, the best discoveries). Continue reading “Paris Places”