We finished out our last 2 days in Paris on the museum pass, which means going to as many museums in 2 days as one can manage. Whew! We started at the D'Orsay (Impressionisme and pre- and post- Impressionism). My second visit, but I could never be there too much. In fact, I felt like I would be happy to live there and wake up to all my favorite painters each morning. I got really focussed on Van Gogh again, especially his self-portraits. My sense is that his vision was opening (had opened to) the realms of energy and light, but he just thought that meant he was mad. You can virtually see his head pressure in his self-portraits. Going to Arles while I am here for sure. Long walk.
Then we wandered in Rodin's gardens. The sculpted plants intermixed with the wild collections of beautiful flowers--his powerful bronzes--the day in general--clouds and light playing to perfection in the sky. All perfect. Turns out that the beautiful building there that is now a museum was once a church school for the daughters of the elite. It was shut down and taken over by artists, including Rodin, who had studios and living quarters there. (Isadora Dunan, Jean Cocteau). The carefully sculpted gardens went wild, which Rodin apparently loved. The whole thing was about to be shut down and bought by the city, but Rodin fought to keep it...et voila! We can enjoy it today.
Finally to the Louvres (which I said I would never visit again--Ha!). Went happily throught the endlessly graceful (how could they carve all that flow into stone?) and sometimes huge and powerful (especially Athena) Greek & Roman sculpture. Felt very fulfilling to wander there. Then to the grand rooms of Napoleon III. The dining room for about 50 people was my favorite. Beautiful paintings (of the hunt) everywhere including the ceiling, of course; gold everywhere and cupids holding up the fantasticly huge and sparkling crystal chandeliers. Long, magical walk home along the river. So warm. No one in Paris goes to sleep until 2 AM at the earliest.
Museum day 2. . .the Cluny (medieval). I love that whole period (They got to wear beautifully colored velvet robes, yum. That's for me!) . Loved the building perhaps more than anything in it. The ceilings with geometric patterns of arches flowing from central pillars. The unicorn tapestries were closed, unfortunately, but others depicting the very nice life of the elite were still there. In this period they depicted as much about their delightful lives, hunting, romancing, bathing, playing in the woods, as all things religious. Finally, walking, walking, walking, across the river to the Pompidou, which was largely closed, so we had ice cream instead. At that point, it was a good tradeoff.
Yesterday, a travel day to Numes. Things went quite smoothly until we started driving to our hotel. We got 2 hours worth of lost. But the place where we are staying is so lovely. A refurbished ancient family estate, well outside the city. I so love Paris, but it is good to be somewhere quiet. I slept like a log. On Sunday, we head up into the mountains, my abode for the next 2 months.