Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Salvador, Marie & Claude

Three of my close personal friends here in the City of Light, Dali', Antoinette and Monet!   I would have loved to have met Marie and Claude especially, Salvador, I suppose but honestly I was never a big fan of his work.  But his museum, Espace Dali' was worth the visit. 

There he is in all his mustached glory!  Did anyone besides me see the film Robert Patterson made about him a few years ago?  He was not portrayed in the best of light, and it didn't do anything to make me like his work any better but Rob was good to watch.

And I have to admit, I'd love to own this lobster phone!

I've never cared for these lip couches and I never realized they were by Dali' based on Mae West's lips!  Knowing that I like them a wee bit better, but still not enough to want to own one.

He loved dripping clocks, its full of symbolism.

I also had no idea that he illustrated Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and I pretty much loved all the illustrations, especially this one.

This past weekend my DH I took the train out to see Versailles and Monet's home in Giverny.  I highly recommend doing both.  I had thought I had seen Versailles before but I was wrong...

Nice digs huh?  We wondered if the Revolutionists that stormed here from Paris had any idea how opulent Versailles really was. 

Here's the front gate, its painted gold, not solid gold. 

And here's my friend Marie.  She, Louis XVI and their children could have escaped the mob of Revolutionists but Louis was unable to get himself organized and get out the door and Marie would not go without him.  Was she simply a misunderstood Queen or truly a rich snob?  Historians are trying to paint her as the latter.  To be fair they inherited Versailles from two previous generations of kings, Louis' father and grandfather. 

I loved these two paintings showing the "gardening" at Versailles. 

At one point their "backyard" had a labyrinth for the royal children.  Its long gone, but these statues survived.  

One of the great reasons to risk the crowds and go to Versailles on the weekend is to see the Fountains!  Just amazing, and they cost a fortune to operate which is why they only run from 3:30-5:30 on Sat & Sun.  Fountain after fountain with smaller labyrinth like walkways were you turn a corner and find a new, even cooler fountain.  The Apollo was spectacular, its down near the canal.  One of the Kings had a river diverted to build this garden and fill it with fountains! 

We also walked over to see Marie Anoinette's private estate the Petit Trianon.  Much smaller than Versaille, more like a doll's house in comparison, but plenty big!  Our favorite area was her private garden and her very own Temple of Love.

Temple of Love

Cupid at the Temple of Love
There was a modern art exhibition going on, so interspersed through out the opulent rooms furnished in classical French decor was all this modern art.  Giant shoes made out of pots and pans and mobiles out of plastic forks etc.  Most of it I could have done without, but these yarn bombed lions were great!

On another day we took a trip out to Giverny to see Monet's private home and Gardens.  This is where he painted his famous Water Lilies mural.  

Monet's Home
Monet designed these gardens and hired at least 7 different gardeners to execute them.  At first he and his wife and children rented this home, but he eventually made enough money with his art to purchase it.  The town was quaint and its a really relaxing place to visit.

This house is filled with Monet's artwork.  I could have touched it we were allowed to get that close.  Made me wondered if it was real!  They also had much of his original furniture and the rooms were painted in his choice of colors. 
Monet planted the original weeping willows surrounding the pond, I imagine they've been replanted by now. 

I'm on the famous bridge, but you can't see it!

I love his esthetic, bed after bed of bright flowers.  I wonder if he planted to have flowers bloom in all four seasons?  But I wish he would have made winding paths instead of straight rows, that's the only thing I would have done differently.  

We've been very busy this trip, we also climbed the stairs to the top of the Arc de Triomphe followed by a stroll down the Champs-Elysées, but we forgot our camera!  And last week I visited the Pantheon, its an amazing feat of architecture.  Lots of famous people are entombed here, including the famous poet Victor Hugo, and the two famous Christian heroes Joan of Arc and Saint Louis, King of France.  The list goes on... 

This is Voltaire's crypt, he is directly across from Rousseau, in life these two men could not stand one another but they were the two great philosophers of their day and their writings inspired both the French and American Revolutions.

And just why is Paris know as "The City of Light?'  Paris was nicknamed this originally because it was a vast center of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment.  In 1828, Paris began lighting the Champs-Elysées with gas lamps.  It was the first city in Europe to do so, and so earned the nickname "La Ville-Lumière" or The City of Light.

No comments: