Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Interim Update #1,258

Very reluctantly, we left Paris on October 18th, vowing to return as soon as events transpire and permit. All our visits to Paris over the years have been wonderful, and this last was perhaps the best. We landed at Dulles at 3 in the afternoon and by 5 were at daughter Rachel's in Truxton Circle, near the NOMA area of DC. We'll be here until November 8th, then on to Knoxville and Vicki's sister's place there, and then on to our west coast base in Middle California, with daughter Rebecca and grand-daughter Penelope. We've been away more than four months and, despite weekly Zooms and such, are much looking forward to being reunited with our little family.

Paris Out-Takes, 2

Liquor store of my dreams...on closer inspection, turned out to
be a popular pizza parlor, the bottles filled with colored water

"Helluva party," episode 1,739; which reminds me to note the
unforgettable sound of a Paris dumpster's worth of bottles
cascading into the dump truck

There were perhaps a dozen or more Marks and Spencers in
Paris--very helpful for those accustomed to scones and clotted
cream for breakfast--but they are quickly disappearing now,
as Brexit proceeds and the British (re-) discover that they are truly
on an island, cut off from their only significant trading

Do not stand under this tree (birds...dirty, disgusting, filthy,
lice-ridden birds

Defaced ghost-sign on a building on Rue Montorgueil; France 
still dealing with its colonial past

Debris from a fire in one of the fashion/fabricants next door to
us; Parisian building features significant fire-breaks; thankfully

Fashion all around; Parisians by and large are
quite well-dressed, although the footwear most
commonly seen on younger women was of the
Doctor Marten's variety; same as in London

The great upholder of tradition, classicism, and dignity in French art
of the early 19th century was Ingres; what a surprise then to see this
little Ingres painting at the Petit Palais...Henry IV Playing with
His Children at the Moment the Spanish Ambassador Is Admitted,

French public art is perhaps unconventional but 
always worth a look

In Paris, art pervades all aspects of life

Impressive pastry department in the local Monoprix (a common supermarket)

I have long resisted touring the Opera Garnier--
it is more significant in the city's history than in
music (IMHO)--but finally relented, only to find the
grand hall itself closed for rehearsals; maybe
next time...

Seven weeks in Paris, and, I am pleased to say,
we never once visited a McDo's

Despite there being some of architectural interest

Don't mess with the bus driver: a list of offenses
and fines

As we left Paris, Halloween merchandizing was already well 

Paris Out-Takes, 1

Paris is a city of 6-story apartment buildings, each apartment of
which, in many cases, has a little half-balcony: requiring half-umbrella

And half-tables

In a kitchen shop: carrot sharpeners; seriously

Dining in Paris has gotten way more international these days; 
Asian fare is quite the rage, if the long weekend lines outside tiny
Japanese and Korean restaurants is any gauge; "French tacos"
is another matter...actually a chain...

Seriously; the idea of French tacos seems to take the notion of
fusion perhaps too far

Ratatouille is no longer welcome in Paris

18th century aristo doggie bed in the Carnavalet

Ad board in the Metro...apparently for milk of magnesia...hmmm...

Sic transit, Gloria: the La France evening newspaper building, now
a Carrefours Express...

Dali would have been proud

Collection of water pitchers at the brasserie down the street; nowadays
you rarely have to ask for une carafe d'eau anymore

The Auberge Nicholas Flamel is in Paris' oldest
house, that of Nicholas Flamel, a late Medieval
figure whom 18th century writers have built a
legend of alchemy and immortality around...and
continued by Victor Hugo and J. K. Rowling, 
among others; there is not a grain of truth in
any of this, of course, but as they say, it's a good
story; we have eaten at the restaurant many times, 
especially with special friends and on special 
occasions; we visited in 2021 but decided not to
eat there: no outside seating (Rue Montmorency
is not much more than an alley), inside very cozy,
and a menu that was quite limited and did not
appeal; maybe next time; anyhow, while we were
in Paris, an article appeared somewhere describing
strange carvings on the house; I suspect these have
always been there and don't express much more
than the usual Medieval piety; but it's a good story,
or was good for a story; anyhow, one column of
said carvings is above

At the Basilica Saint-Denis

Also at Saint-Denis: something new to us, a
stained glass window hinged to open for air

Still processing this one...

Near our apartment, a skateboard park created
out of a tiny triangular junction

Alas, we did not visit Euro Disney on this 
visit (no grand-daughter with us!), but did 
get to the store on the Champs-Elysees; the 
security guard was on me in a second for not
wearing a mask while groping Elsa and Anna

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Still More Louvre Loonies

 But wait, there's more...

"Can't we just talk?"

Vicki examining a detail of David's Leonidas

One more reason not to go on cruises...

Nessie's last stand

Extreme sic transit gloria mundi (look it up)

Etruscan comfy chair (a throne)

French Luger

"Stop with the flashes already!"

Louvre, 4

Saturday, October 16th, we made our fourth and final visit to the Louvre for this campaign, mostly finishing up the collection of French painting, looking at the Gallery of Apollo, Etruscan artifacts, and assorted decorative stuff. The Friends of the Louvre deal will get us in next spring, too, so it's been a good plan.

In the David (and his followers) Hall

David version of Madame Recamier; unfinished, as noted before,
because they did not get along, she, a banker's wife and socialite,
he, a Revolutionary

Obligatory Coronation of Empress Josephine by Team David; way
too big for my camera

David's The Lictors Bringing Brutus the Bodies of his Sons, 1789;
emphasizing public duty over family loyalty, based on Voltaire's
play; incited more than one revolution

I was gratified to see yet another Elisabeth-Louise
Vigee-Le Brun in the big hall, perhaps the Louvre's
most prestigious; another self-portrait with her
daughter Julie

And even more gratified to see her name inscribed among the
collection of biggies that adorn the hall

David's Leonidas at Thermopylae
Now in the adjoining hall, mostly Delacroix and his followers,
which Vicki calls the hall of death and dying; Gericault's massive
Raft of the Medusa 

Antoine Jean Gros, Napoleon on the Battlefield of Eylas, 1807

Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapale, 1827; it's a long story but
basically he didn't want all his wives and concubines to fall into
the hands of his conquerors, so had them executed

Delacroix, The Capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders, 1204;
where most of the Medieval Christian relics came from...

Paul DeLarouche, The Children of Edward [in the Tower], 1830;
we last saw his Execution of Lady Jane Grey at the National
Gallery in August; don't know what his deal was, painting such
moments in another country's history; beautiful, dramatic works

Moving right along, we are now entering the Gallery of Apollo,
long closed for renovation; built for Louis XIV, aka the Sun King,
for his fondness of the classical sun god; now housed what remains
of the royal jewelry, gems, and such; also thirty-some paintings
and a similar number of stucco sculptures; and more

Among the royal gems, this interesting figure; the tongue actually

And this beauty

And this crown made for Louis XV; not all the jewels are real

Portraits of assorted kings, including personal 
favorite, Francois Premier

The Hyacinth diamond, pinkish, 22 carats, which Louis XIV is
said to have liked wearing in his lapel 

Assorted further gems, precious stoneware, etc.; the Sun King
collected them himself

Central ceiling of the hall, done in the earlier 1800s by Delacroix,
Apollo slaying the serpent...

Greatest and largest of all museums...jusqu'a la prochaine fois...