Friday, August 21, 2009

Picasso Museum in Paris is inspiring.... and closing!

Yesterday I saw the Picasso Museum here in Paris. It was truly AWESOME!!! Stunning. Pictures are not allowed, but I took some covert ones (sans flash) until I got caught, which thankfully did not happen until the last room. I wasn't the only one... Anyways, here are some of my favs... (btw, if you click on the pics you can see enlarged versions.)

This was one of my highlights, seeing both of these - and seeing them together!
This was cool...
Such a famous piece, and I saw it!!
This was quite amazing to see in person, I loved it.
Not only did I really like this painting, but it gave me a chance to capture a bit of the spirit of the gallery.
Oooh la la... Picasso knew how to capture the spirit of a woman!
This is one of my fav Picassos of all....
This was amazing, and it was in a big room, so spent lots of time just reflecting on it from different angles...
This was delightful, i's a series of studies, but somehow all together they just pop.
This was neat. This HUGE mural had it's own room and tiered seating.
Just one of the awesome scultpures, I love his whimsey...
This is a cast of Picasso's hand! SO cool to see....
OK, now outside.... This is the front of the building... and there is this HUGE mirro that is something like 4 stories high.... you can see how it is propped up from the left, so I think it is temporary perhaps (?) and done so they could get a start on renovating the building before it shuts down in a few days (I've written about the upcoming closure below).
This is the exit door from the museum, and as people exit you see doubles. It is really interesting, and I may go back to take more shots another day (this is when my battery died).
The sun pouring into the building throught he coloured glass windows and falling on the railings, a very clear effect, captivating.
No, this is not a painting... It is just a reflection on a white wall from the coloured glass in a window.
Me all warped by mirrors in the sculpture garden... Hey, I like the skinny factor!
I got caught taking a picture of Maryanne and Branwen from across the sculture garden, so they got me back....
Me happy and hot in the sculpture garden...
The result of my post-museum doodling while sitting in the museum cafe in the shade afterwards.... solo, I might add... I am a s-l-o-w museum visitor, need lots of time to savour and let what I've experienced sink in, so the girls were off to do more sightseeing while I amused myself in the shade.... this is the result...
If you are inspired to see the museum, unless it is this week, you are going to have to wait awhile... I feel VERY lucky that I happened to be here now, not a month from now!

A little info gathered online:

As the Picasso Museum prepares to close for a two-year refurbishment, the artist’s sketchbook stolen in June is yet to be recovered. The Picasso Museum is closing Aug. 23 for a 20 million euro ($28 million) overhaul to make way for more visitors and upgrade security equipment and wiring. It’s one of several French arts institutions to have been robbed or vandalized recently. As global museums accommodate ever bigger crowds, protecting their collections becomes increasingly tough. (Picasso Sketchbook’s Fate Is Mystery as Museum Security Tested)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Random Pics and Reflections from Paris

Random pics and observations from Paris.... beginning with me and my awesome niece, Branwen who is with me in Paris. We have great fun together...
My new friends Shawn and Jessica, from Boise, Idaho, who I met in Barcelona. We managed to get together for lunch when they passed through Paris, and shared more stories. They spent 3 months in Europe and are on their way home now - good stories and pics on their blog.
My fav French beer - although hearing me trying to order it in French has brought much amusement to servers here... along with the handle of my new luggage! I am done with the backpack; this fine specimen rolls, but can also be used as a backpack in a pinch can also be carried as a duffle bag. My next city transfer is going to be soooo much more pleasant!
Taking a picture of B with all things Perrier: her drink, the bottle, and there is an umbrella too, but this was the best pic of the lot. Oh, wait, what is happening in that ad behind her???!?
Close up of the ad.... it appears to be for a science exhibit.... lol...
Said bag doing double-duty on it's way home as a grocery cart.... that is one loooong baguette!
My little black tattoo on my shoulder got some pink highlights for the day, courtesy of my art pens and my niece's creativity... BTW, the tattoo is a Japanese symbol for "sisters" which I had done in memory of my dear sister Carol Leigh, whose presence I feel a lot on this trip.
Marketing innovation in Paris: there was a guy going down the street hanging little moped ads on bicycles....
Now this may just look like a random truck. In fact, it's where the construction workers who are doing road work here go for their lunch break. We had walked by and saw them inside, with baguettes and wine. Ah, only in Paris... Oh, there are more stories about this one... As we sat having our coffee with this view, the truck began a rockin'..... Much giggling from us... then we got busted when taking pics... by rather cute guy in the crew. Many bonjours and blushing in the ensuing days....There are phallic symbols in Paris , which I'm sure I'll post pics of later, but there's not a lot of subtlety in the essentials, such as this series of condom ads, such as thie one for the ladies....
... and this one for the gents.... But they are amusing and get to the point (so to speak). I liked the innovation.
And the subway station immediately adjacent is well prepared to support the cause... In Paris, you never know when.... heh....
Branwen and her friend Maryanne who travelled here at the same time. Maryanne has demostrated a remarkable talent for running across us sitting in coffee shops or bars, it's really weird, she hasn't needed to call B one, but they have gotten together numerous times...
The mailman at our building. It is really interesting to watch, as none of the apartments have numbers on the doors. There are numbers on the mailboxes, along with names, but I do not believe there is any relationship to the address (do people just write the building address on the mail?!). He (and sometimes she) spends much time reading envelopes and looking for the appropriate box to drop it into. In the upper left hand corner of the boxes there is some kind of cross reference guide, but not sure how much it helps. One day, we saw the postman return about 20 minutes later with 1 more letter, I guess he recognized a name on a misaddressed envelope and came back to make sure it got to it's owner. So French that they care about these details....
Elegant coffee and crossoint served to me one morning at a local cafe (I know, only crumbs as evidence!); the cookie was a nice surprise. Now, notice the pattern on the table, hand painted...
This pattern was repeated everywhere in the restaurant including, yes, the loo! This included the toilet seat, toilet paper roller, garbage can, toilet brush etc... They are also very into Marilyn Munro at this place, and her pic is everywhere too. It's really quite cool upstairs in the restaurant, shall try to take pics one day...
Exterior of said cafe... it's worth clicking on this image to enlarge it and see some of the details.
My niece doing the crossword puzzle I made for here when a search for a book of English crosswords proved fruitless...
I think I finally figured this one out. The backs of stoplights here have a red + that is only alluminated when the same light is red on the other side. When the cars get a green light on the other side, this red cross goes out. Didn't seem to be a sign to pedestrians, as there are the usual green/red walk/don't walk signs here. My theory is that they are there for jaywalkers (which everyone does) and cyclists (which are everywhere and fearless) so they can tell which lane of traffic entering a roadway has the red light. An absence of a red + and no cars in sight, means it is ok to fly across, as the other roads coming into the intersection or square must have red.....
Signs advising there is a spot nearby to plug in your electric car. I have also seen signs indicating the distance (e.g. 2km) to the nearest such place.
There is one of these plug-in parking spots down the street from us, right by our local park. It appears there is a fine if you use these spots to just park. Show your plug!
And the ground markings for the spot....
Awesome freshly squeezed orange juice on a hot afternoon, along with a cafe of water if you want to thin it down, or just extend it.... and one of my doodles in progress sitting on the table, as I am always doodling when I am in cafes (the mermaid did eventually get a face)...
This really cool glass ceiling was in a book/art store I was in the other day.... Said bookstore/artstore in the St. Denis area.... they had Moleskines - yeah!!!! And got some more cool skinny pens for doodles... Only I could spend 49.50E and walk away with just paper and pens.... LOL....

That's it for this round... there are so many other things I have observed here, will try to continue to capture them in between my posts of the sights of Paris... ;-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wandering the charming Passages of Paris

Today I began to explore the covered passages of Paris. I travelled to the Bourse Metro stop and walked a couple blocks to the entrance of Passage Panoramas.
In case you do the same trip, I admit the picture above is from the exit where it joins Passage Jouffroy, as I forgot to take a pic upon entering.... I was so excited to arrive!!

This fellow greeted me as I entered Passage Panoramas, the oldest of the existing passages....
My first glimpse inside, oh my!
Here is a bit of information from the cover of "The Covered Passages of Paris" by Guy Lambert: "An innovative architectural type in the 19th century, the covered passage was the result of a perfect correlation between the concept of the city, the rise of the luxury goods trade and a new type of social life. Multi-purpose, it was intended as much for circulation as for all manners of amusement. Among the forty-odd passages which enhanced the French capital from the late 18th to the mid-19th century, only seventeen still fulfill their initial function."
Here is a bit more context from Lambert's book: "Unlike the more monumental passages built later in other European countries, the Parisian covered passages are systematically residential. Entrance halls for the apartment occupants or the tradespeople who lived over their shops, they were, and still are, private and protected property; the opening and closing of their gates regulates their life."

This is the shop I bought a few treasures in, including the aforementioned book. Everything in this shop is hand made, and the selection includes many items that are made from leather scraps from factories (including the cute little orange leather wallet/purse thing I bought).
You can buy a genuine stamp from the year 1900 for 1700E....
Beautiful vistas throughout, with the natural light streaming in... lovely even on a rainy day, I imagine....
Lots of little cafes....
As many locals as tourists... in fact, probably more locals than tourists....Then I crossed the street to the next one: Passage Jouffroy:
This candy shop practically lit up the whole area with it's yellow cheeriness and spectacularly artistic displays... (I resisted temptation to go in)....
This shop brings to mind a passage (pun not intended!) from Lambert's book that jumped out at me: "(Walter) Benjamin provided, in "Arcades" (1927-1929), one of the finest literary images of the telescopic awsthetics of which the passage is sometimes the theatre, "In the arcades, one comes upon types of collar studs for which we no longer know the corresponding collars and shirts. If a shoemaker's shop should be neighbor to a confectioner's, then his festoons of bootlaces will resemble rolls of licorice. Over stamps and letterboxes roll balls of string and of silk [...] and lying in the fixative pans from a photographer's darkroom is birdseed." It paints quite the picture, doesn't it?
Several old hotels face both a passage and the outside street....
A wee fresco painting advertising the wax museum....
This was a cool pic, using an adjacent store window's reflection... There are tons and tons of books, including quite a few English art books.....
Cool clock.... still going strong....
Cool light fixture....
Then I crossed the street to my final passage of the day, Passazge Verdeau:
This was beautiful, but not very busy. Being August, many shops are closed, and it seems in this passage that this was the trend throughout...
A few other pics, from the three passages I visited today....
There are some neat old tiles....
Neat riding horse....
Busted!!! Got caught taking pictures of a movie shoot... oops!!!
I honestly did not see this sign when I first went in!! LOL.
All in all, it was a fun day exploring the passages, and I expect I'll explore more....