“c’est ici, bébé”

7/24/10   –   19:57

Paris has been and still is a center for the arts. As such, it is rife with museums with everything from ancient art to stuff that came out just this year. I bought a museum pass which grants access to all of about 60 museums in the area and wreaked havoc. And by that I mean I just went to the two or three major ones.

First stop, before the museums was Paris’ pièce de resistance of Gothic stained-glass work, the church of Sainte Chapelle. When I walked into the chapel, there was tons of light streaming in through fifteen stained glass windows illuminating the dark interior with what was supposed to be God’s grace. It was glorious. Or at least it would have been if they weren’t doing restoration work on the big three at the front of the chapel. So I got to take pictures of the nice side windows while the big ugly scaffolding covered the main ones. Even so, it was pretty great. However, I did notice one thing while I was there. I don’t understand people who bring cell phone cameras to capture big things like Saint Chapelle. I mean. Sure. It proves you were there. And maybe you didn’t want to lug around a camera, but come on. The grainy pics don’t really do the work justice, don’t you think?

I left thorugh the Palais de Justice and just a few minutes down the street, I found the beggar I was looking for last night. I gave him my loaf of bread and went on my way to the French Panthéon.

This wasn’t as spectacular as the Roman Pantheon, but it had much more interesting people buried inside it. I mean. Voltaire? Emile Zola? M. and Mme. Curie? Braille? Dumas? Hugo? The guy who made Lagrange error in Calculus? [He can go die. OH WAIT… haha] They also had a Foucault’s Pendulum inside the center of the building and this was tons more legit than the one at the Deutsches Museum because Foucault probably set one in motion near here. [I believe].

Afterwards, I went to a street market because I get hungry easily. That and Rue Mouffetard is “the most photogenic of Paris’ covered markets,” according to Lonely Planet, at least. There was a shop with a deal for 1 cuisse de poulet et pomme de terre for 2,80 and that was right up my alley. I haven’t had meat in a while and the rotisserie was set up such that the drippings from the chickens fell on the roasting potatoes at the bottom. Aka delicious.

After wiping the remnants of my dirty street meal [which was filling and awesome] rom my hands, I headed to the houses of fine arts. First was a pretty lightweight museum. The Musée de L’orangerie houses a lot of impressionist work but its claim to fame is Monet’s Water Lilies housed in two oval rooms with natural light illuminating the paintings. I wasn’t too much of a fan, but to each his own.

Across the Seine from L’Orangerie is the Musée d’Orsay. The Orsay’s specialty is 19th century art featuring the impressionists and the post-impressionists. I loved this museum. Not only were the paintings and sculptures great, the building is an old renovated train station and it was easy to navigate and not huge! :D A very enjoyable experience. Too bad you can’t take photos inside. That would’ve made it perfect. I took a discreet one anyway. There it is on the left. In any case, I discovered a new artist that I think is underappreciated: Bouguereau. He painted a piece, Dante and Virgil in Hell that I thought was very well done. His other pieces were great as well. Here’s another, more risqué, highlight. It’s called L’origine du monde and I thought it was pretty funny because I’m really 10 years old. Here’s a link [NSFW? Yeah. Mos def] Yeah. They had that in a nice gilded frame, alone. On a wall. Haha.

The Louvre was next and of course it had some of the paintings that define Western art, but overall, it was hard to navigate, enormous, and crowded. I only actually got through a wing and a half. But I did see some pretty great works.

For serious. Walking through their painting section, I immediately thought, “they just took every picture in the AP Euro text book and pasted it on the wall.” Except in reality it was the reverse. Wandering around the halls, you see signs everywhere saying “The Mona Lisa is this way.” They know people come here just to see that, of course. >_>;; It’s actually very underwhelming, really. It’s about the size of a Monopoly board. [Ok, maybe a little bigger] and i’ts very dark. Psh, Mona Lisa, I see you smirking at the crowd of people from all over the world flocking around your roped off self and training their cameras at your face. You like being famous, don’t you.

Here are some more paintings I think you should look up, which are probably less famous than the Mona Lisa.

– John Martin’s Le Pandemonium, Picot’s L’amour et Psyche, and Trioson’s Le Sommeil d’Endymion.

Here are some random Louvre inspired thoughts/rants:

– People who don’t know how to turn off their flash in museums piss me off. Severely. Once that paint starts degrading, I want you to know that it’s all your fault.

– You know what else gets me angry? People who take pictures in front of religious paintings while imitating the poses. Rrgh. No. Jesus is not giving you the peace sign. That’s a symbol for blessing.

– I overheard this while pacing the halls and it made me lawl and cry simulaneously on the inside:

“The Last Supper.” “Oh, the one where everyone’s eating?” “Yeah. I want to see that one.”

-_- First of all, I don’t think anybody is eating in that painting. Second, if they’re talking about the famous one, that’s in Italy. Dumbs.

I stopped by the underground mall that is attached to the Louvre [wow!] and I went into the Apple store. The first thing I noticed was that I lost the ability to type. Europe doesn’t use the QWERTY keyboard. They use AZERTY which really confused me. :x

Also. Whoever says the iPad is crap must never have tried one. I was rather impressed. But then again, maybe superficial crowd pleasers are what the iPad is good at. I was only on it for all of 15 minutes. So maybe I should say: “Whoever says the iPad is crap must have tried one.”

Look at me, forgetting important parts of my day. This is what I get for not writing these things immediately after they happen. I also went to the Arc de Triomphe [which was a triomphe to get to the top of] and I took some pictures of one of the most intense roundabouts ever. Then I strolled down the grand boulevard de Champs Elysees and stopped by the Fragonard parfumerie to see their pseudo-museum. It was pretty cool. Interactive smell exhibits! France is a center for perfume production so why not?

I made my way back to the hostel and stopped by the bubble tea shop again for dinner. It was pretty cheap and they had Thai chicken, rice, and a salad with siu mai and wakame for starters. I also had prune bubble tea which sounds really gross but is very good. I wonder if they have it at Lollicup… hm. For dessert, they offered me some of the cheesecake I helped them make the day before! For free! :D D’aww, they’re so nice.

What’s on the menu for tomorrow? Versailles with a side of modern art. Stay tuned.

~

By the way, the Flight of the Conchords taught me all the French I’ll ever need in that song at the top of the page. If you’ve taken even one semester of French, you’ll find that song hilarious. I do. Haha.

And also, if you’re wondering what the featured pic is, it’s a sculpture inspired by the guy that said: “…that’s going to come back and bite you in the ass.” It is probably the most amusing sculpture in that entire museum. If you don’t count Michelangelos’ Dying Slave going “hnnnnnnnnnnngggghhhhhh.”

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