Sunday, June 7, 2009

Paris, day 98

Today marks our 98th day in Paris. To celebrate, we made some saucisson (salami) sandwiches, with a fresh baguette, and some cornichons (pickles). Yum!

The night before we made chili on the kitchen floor! (Our cuisine really is tiny.)

Today is the first Sunday of the month, which means that most museums in Paris are free! So with Picasso still fresh in our minds from Barcelona, we decided to go visit the Picasso museé in Le Marais --- a very hip artsy district that once was a swamp until the Knights Templar drained it in the 12th century.

Pictures are not allowed, but I managed to snap this one of Picasso's "l'Acrobat." I call it "Booger 69." It is one thing to take a photograph of a painting in a museum; but it is entirely another thing to take a photograph of a painting in a museum. Rather than faithfully capturing a work unobstructed, I desire more to capture people experiencing the work, which gives the work a context and depth missing otherwise.

Here is my favorite picture like this, taken July 5, 2007, at the Louvre. We see Carla taking in Whistler's Mother, while a bespectacled man walks through the frame. Not only do we instantly recognize an American masterwork, but we see the concentration of a beautiful woman surrounded by the bustling museum.

After going through the Picasso museum, we found the National Archives. We quickly toured an exhibit of some of their more interesting holdings, as well as the beautiful building. The archives even contain documents from Charlemagne in 797! (Charlemagne's father was King Pepin the Short.)

At the end of our visit to the Archives, we still had time and so we came across another free museum: Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, which is the Museum of Hunting. We wouldn't have gone if we knew that was what it was about, but we are glad we went.

This exceptionally odd and charming museum has room after room full of different stuffed animals. On the ceiling of one room were the heads of five owls, with their feathers covering every part.

In another room there was an funerary ibis sculpture from 400 B.C. Egypt, just sitting on a table.

I kindly greeted a 3.5 meter polar bear.

And Carla was wooed by a stuffed gorilla.

Once we had visited all three floors, we rushed home to have some leftover chili, and our standard roquette avec betteraves salad. Yum!

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