Monday, May 28, 2012

A tapissier in the Louvre...

Without question, the highlight of my trip to Paris was seeing the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries in the Cluny Museum. But tapestries were certainly not under-represented in other museums, either! The Louvre has rooms and rooms of tapestries, many of them woven at the Gobelins studios there in Paris.

If given the time and opportunity, I could learn sooooo much from looking closely at these tapestries! Look at how waves are woven in the detail above. I could study this for months, and still would weave an imperfect copy, I am sure.

I loved this game bird, as I have woven a few myself in the past, though not with this much detail.

This one gives new meaning to the french word for tapestry: 'tapisserie.'

And there were several that were very reminiscent of the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, especially in the clothing. The 'worn velvet' seen above is used in the Cluny tapestries, as is the brocade fabric from the piece below, though neither are as elegantly done as in the tapestries at the Cluny. It makes me wonder if these might have been practice pieces? Or pieces done as cheaper imitations? That whole set of tapestries is quite a mystery, and seeing these that are so like them adds to the mystery!

And my son was a good sport, posing for me in front of this Coronation tapestry. Did the new king really stand beneath it like this, I wonder?

I am home again, but am going through my photos and trying to make sure I will not lose what I experienced there. I have come home looking forward to being at my loom.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Goodbye to beautiful Paris...

Our last day in Paris was a rainy one. Not many people were out.

It was a good day to go see some of the historic and beautiful passages, the old covered shopping areas that are probably precursors to the modern malls, though it was not a great day to shop there, as most of the shops were closed.

We could never really figure out when things were to be opened for business. Few shops or restaurants posted their hours of business. We finally decided that they were open when they wanted to be, and closed when they didn't want to be opened.

This was a typical door sign.

We did find some fantastic kitchen supply shops open. They were shops that catered to foodies, professional chefs, and restaurants. Julia Child surely shopped here. Several had photos from their long-ago, historic pasts. What amazed me was that they looked exactly the same now, except for the addition of a few plastic bags and some fire extinguishers.

Without spending much money we ran out of shopping time, as well as museum time, sight-seeing time, Paris time.

We headed to the airport, and made it safely back to Boston, with so many beautiful memories of our time in the glorious City of Light.

-Posted from my iPad

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Running out of time, but not running out of Paris...

Neither I nor my son are shoppers. So we've found it to be pretty easy to pass by most of the shops we've passed by here.

However, I do love a good flea market, and Paris is reputedly where flea markets began. So this morning, we headed out to a flea market. (Actually, we headed out to go to church at Notre Dame, but when we saw the line to get in there, we just kept going.)

A few of you who know me, know I have a weakness for heads. There were some great heads there, but having carried a large head home on a plane from California recently, I decided these heavy, pricy ones could just stay here in Paris.

In fact, lots of things were nice, but priced a bit high for basically unusable bric-a-brac.

So we left the market with pretty empty bags and had lunch, then headed back towards the Metro. As it started to rain, we ducked into the most wonderful patisserie, where we indulged in a pear and chocolate torte, a decadent super chocolate something, and the best cafe au lait I've ever had.

This evening we went to church service at this St. Eustache cathedral, which we have passed every day. It is the highest ceilinged cathedral we've yet seen, and it has the largest organ in France, which is saying something! The service included a concert, which was quite impressive.

Tomorrow is our last day here, so we are gathering our things, and trying to figure out what we still want to do before we head back home tomorrow evening. I have become quite fond of Paris. It will be good to get back home, but I will miss all the things I have been enjoying here; accessible and amazing Art, chocolate in just about every form, good public transportation, and the world's best cafe au lait.

- Sent from my iPad

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mona Lisa, Michelangelo, and much more...

We spent much of today in the Louvre. It is a place filled with treasures.

Yes, we saw her. And Venus de Milo, and Michelangelo's 'Slaves,' and Winged Victory....

... And many things that aren't listed in the art history books as being that prominent, but that are quite wonderful.

We saw this girl, who must be the first iPad user ever.

And this guy was surely the original iPhone photo taker. It cracked me up to watch people go through the galleries photographing every single piece of art, using exactly this same pose.

After exhausting ourselves at the Louvre, we went to see Monet's huge Waterlilies installation in the Musee de l'Orangerie. There was a lot more fantastic work there, as well. Then back to the d'Orsay because I had missed the Morris and Co. tapestry there that I had particularly wanted to see.

By then, I had exhausted both of my camera batteries, (not to mention my own batteries) so we went back to charge them and to get some dinner. Then back out to take some night photos at the Louvre, and to see the Champs Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe.

That was quite enough for one day, don't you think? My feet think so, too!

- Posted from my iPad

Friday, May 18, 2012


What adjectives does one use to describe a place like Versailles?

Of course, there is no other place like Versailles; I'm sure it is one of a kind.

Marie Antoinette's hamlet was my favorite spot there. It is where she went (with all her servants) to live out her fantasy of living a 'simple peasant's life.' I guess I am a natural when it comes to being a simple peasant. I simply adored the iris growing along all the sod rooftops.

The smaller chateau was pretty impressive.

And at the main Chateau, the rooftops were not simple at all!

In fact, I spent a good deal of time looking up. The ceilings were each filled with art, some even framed with gold.

The place was crowded. I'm sure we walked well over ten miles, and saw just a small portion of the gardens and buildings.

What adjectives do you use to describe Versailles? How about 'stunning,' 'overwhelming,' and 'exhausting?'

- Posted from my iPad

Thursday, May 17, 2012

...just another day in the City of Light...

We began the day with a walk in the park. It was a holiday here, so lots of kids and families everywhere.

We visited several more incredible cathedrals; there seems to be one on every corner, each from a different century.

And mer-horses.... who knew they existed?

We waited until late afternoon, then headed down to the Eiffel Tower. It is stunning by day.... evening,

... and by night, when it becomes very 'sparkle-y' for five minutes at the top of each hour, eliciting 'Oohs' and 'Ahhs' from the hundreds of visitors from all over the world.

Back to the apartment to get some rest, before we head out for more tomorrow. A demain...!

-Posted from my iPad

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A mon seul desir...

Today began with the realization of one of my life-time dreams: to see the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries in the Cluny museum. One of them (Hearing) was out for cleaning and some restoration work, but the other five were there in all their beauty and glory.

The Cluny is an amazing museum, housed in a hotel and Roman bath structure from the end of the second century.

After the Cluny and a lovely lunch of crepes, we went to the d'Orsay museum, home to an extensive collection of Impressionist paintings. Photos were not allowed in the museum, unfortunately, but their website gives you an idea of the wonders there. It is also a beautiful structure, housed in a former train station. I felt like I was in the movie, "Hugo," with the added plus of Great Art.

We are learning our way around the city, and I am very glad to be with my son, who speaks French very well. We keep our energy up with frequent chocolate croissants!

-Posted from my iPad