Friday, October 8, 2010
gorging on art
I am back after four hours spent wandering through the L'Orangerie in the Tuilleries. First off, it's a beautiful art space, remodeled in 2006 (its 4th iteration). Light pours in through the glass walls, roomy display spaces (comfortable places to sit) and what's hanging on the walls is the best of what went on in France ~ mostly ~ during the Impressionist and post-Impressionist periods. Artists I've not seen ~Chaim Soutine, Marie Laurencin (the only woman represented), perhaps André Derain, too. The museum's two large oval galleries are for the Monet Nympheas, Water Lilies, eight huge installations.
This is called Soleil couchant, "Setting Sun." Fortunately, in this museum, photos are allowed without flash. I helped myself to its banquet of goodies.
Everybody does a nude, and the pictures, like the women, are all different. The most luscious is this Renoir.
She's pink and plump and glowing as if just out of a hot bath. Next is Derain.
Followed by (a very fuzzy) Picasso.
Here are two more beautiful Renoir's. One is the painting of the two girls at the piano. It reminded me of my friend Patty, a woman who most probably could have been a concert pianist if hormones hadn't gotten in the way.
We went to college together and I heard her playing Chopin's "Fantasie Impromptu" and thought to myself, wisely, "I want to know the person who can do that." We've been friend for 52 years.
Well, enough about art. Here are a couple of photos I know you've been waiting for. One is of Carton's, the sine qua non croissant bakery.
The hotel still gets its morning croissants from this wonderful place. Some things never change.
This is the beautiful floral shop right across the street from Carton's. It has wonderful cut flowers, boquets, and plants to put in your flower boxes on the little terraces of your apartment.
I went over to rue Christine late this afternoon to check out Le Christine, a delightful restaurant I first learned about through the SF Chronicle's Travel section (which I don't think they have anymore). Mr. C and I went there on our last trip here and I wanted to go for dinner tonight. But I was too early, and I see they're open for lunch tomorrow, so that's on the dance card. I ended up eating, again, at L'Atlas, this time having a huge bowl of mussels in a delicious tomato-wine sauce and, again, with powder-dry Sancere. Next to me sat two gents from Romania who, when they discovered I was an American, wanted to be sure I understood they were NOT Russians. "Ve do not like zee Russians!" I assured them I didn't think they were Russians. More likely Portuguese. They thought that was OK and said, yes, because of the "ch" and "zh" of the languages. Right? Right, I assured them. And I do remember being in Portugal and remarking that I thought all those folk were speaking Russian. No, it was Portuguese.
I am back at the hotel after dinner and a lovely walk. It's Friday night, the weather is mild and warm, the cafés are jammed. Much street music, people dancing and having a fine Indian Summer time of it. Back in my room, the computer is charged to 85%, life is good. Tomorrow is a shopping day, not an art day. I have sent off a boat-load of post cards, most of which will reach their intended addressees well after I return. If you don't get one, don't take it personally. I just didn't find the appropriate card. I'm going to try to go over to Notre Dame tomorrow; no trip here is quite complete without lighting a candle to thank God for having such a place and for letting me come to it. I'll let you know how it goes.