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Chasing Art and Other Paris Adventures

Chasing Paris Art

No one appreciates art more than the French. The minute an art exhibit opens (or much before), advance tickets get sold out and lines to enter form outside the museum doors. Sunday is of course, the worst day to worm your way in amongst the art-lovers, but if that’s the only free day you have, then so be it…but one must be clever to enter.

Rule number one is to start out early in the a.m. While much of the city is recovering from Saturday night’s revelry, or leisurely enjoying their traditional Sunday lunch, art aficionados are gearing up for rain or shine to catch a glimpse of a Picasso, Van Dyke or Walker Evans.

Knowing the queues could be around the block, we chose three exhibitions in order of popularity, each within a Métro ride away and set out on the ‘chase.’

“Picasso et les Maîtres” at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (on till February 2, 2009) was top of the list, but so it was for hundreds of others, too. At 11:15 a.m., there was already almost a two-hour wait to see the works of the great masters from which Picasso drew inspiration and “the ways in which he twisted their ideas to suit his own creative endeavor.”

Back on the Métro we hopped for only two stops to the Musée Jacquemart-André where the works of one of Europe’s greatest ever portrait painters, Anthony Van Dyck, has been brought from collections all over the world to be exhibited. Luckily, the line wasn’t quite out the door by 11:45 a.m., but we waited a good 15 minutes to get tickets and do a B-line for the Café Jacquemart-André for a Sunday lunch prior to visiting the museum.

The museum was at one time the private residence of “a pair of inveterate collectors who devoted their entire lives to building their artwork collection” — Edouard André (banker) and Nélie Jacquemart (his wife). The café overlooking the garden is in the overwhelmingly splendid former Dining Room of the mansion, with Brussels tapestries and a Tiepolo ceiling. There is no more elegant setting for a very affordable and finely prepared luncheon fare. We were fortunate to get one of the last tables before the queue was out the door and into the garden.

No wonder, we call a goatee beard a “Van Dyck!” The portrait artist surely inspired the style, worn with elaborately curled mustaches and a tuft of hair on the chin. Only the women he portrayed escaped the facial hair! Many of the aristocratic men in his portraits wore long hair and beautiful pearl earrings…not too different from many of the denizens we encounter in Le Marais!

Exiting, having successfully chased and caught the art we were seeking, there were others, perhaps tired of the chase, just enjoying the garden and the midday sun on their faces…unbearded, but wearing earrings, nonetheless.

If you’re into the ‘chase,’ then get ready for the biennial “Mois de la Photo” from November 2nd to December 1st, when the profile of photography and its status is raised “as an exciting art form.” I’ll save the Walker Evans exhibit at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson (on until December 21st) for the next ‘chase.

36 Hours in Paris

Thirty-six hours in Paris simply isn’t enough. But, New York Times journalist Seth Sherwood tried — exploring exclusively Le Marais over one weekend and reporting on his findings of what’s hot and what’s even hotter. No doubt, since moving here 11 years ago, by sheer chance, what was then a scruffy little enclave in the center of the city has turned into the chicest part of town. Quelle chance! (I’d rather be lucky than smart!)

Read all about it: 36 hours in Paris —

Ogling with Google

Ogle the earth using Google, particularly your favorite places like Paris. Reader Larry Levy went “gaga” when he discovered he could see his own apartment on rue Saint-Martin using Google Earth. It’s almost as good as being there yourself. Here’s what you do:

1. Go to
2. Download and install the program.
3. Search for your favorite address on the planet.
4. Click on any little camera icon. A box with a photo of the area opens.
5. Click on “Show full screen.” A fish eye enlarges.
6. Turn the “eye” so you can see 360 degrees, just as if you were there!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Get Out and Vote!

If you still have questions about how to vote absentee, can’t decipher the forms or still need your ballot, contact the Democrats Abroad France Voting Assistance Officers:

Tony Paschall, Telephone:, [email protected]
Barbara Tucker, Telephone:, [email protected]


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