Paris in Three Parts
Part I, Look What We Do For Art
We stood in the rain, wind and cold for 45 minutes to enter the Musée de l’Orangerie to see Claude Monet’s panoramic cycle of paintings, the Nymphéas (Water Lilies). Forty-five minutes later we entered the newly renovated museum soaking wet and relieved. Behind us in the queue were four American women bundled in Pashminas and hoods, laughing and complaining at the same time.
“Look what we do for art,” one of them proclaimed. I chuckled to myself — it was so true!
Granted, it being the first Sunday of the month, entrance to the national museum was free, contributing to the long line…but the lines seem to get longer every year at all the exhibits.
When I passed the Hôtel de Ville at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning riding the 96 bus to the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group, I noticed the line to enter the Robert Doisneau exhibit, “Paris en liberté,” was not only wound around three times at the back on rue Lobau, but had already snaked all the way down rue de Rivoli ending even with the front of the building. It mist have been a 1 hour wait or more. (Find a time to go between now and February 17th, 2007 — open daily except Sundays and holidays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and good luck finding a time when the line is short!)
Are the exhibits by far better than in the past or are people becoming more cultured? Or is this all a figment of my imagination? Art was always a major part of my life, hence the first places to visit as a tourist were the museums to soak up the impressionists’ works and experience the contemporary artists breaking new ground. But there was never a line to get in, or one that I can remember.
I think the French attitude toward culture is what’s driving the intense interest in art. It’s simply addictive…an addiction for which standing in line in the rain it is well worth…except that when we exited, the sun was shining and the umbrellas all tucked away! (Monet’s lilies are stunning and the rest of the collection of impressionists’ works is an art history text book in reality.)
Special note: Museums and monuments open on Christmas and New Year’s Day can be found at: http://en.parisinfo.com/
Part II, Turning into a Pumpkin
Night owls will be happy to learn that FINALLY (!) the RATP is launching their new program on December 23rd to keep the Métro trains on their rails Saturday nights and holiday evenings until 2:15 a.m., one hour later than the current (an antiquated) schedule! Friday nights are not to be forgotten, either — beginning
this coming July 1st, 2007, they will be added to the late night scene and as of January 1st, 2007, 30% more night buses will be maneuvering the streets of Paris and the suburbs. “En plus,” 500 taxis will be riding the moonlit streets, too, answering to a new phone number unique for all those waiting at stations.
This is big news for all public transportationists who have had to rush to catch the last train after a movie or say fast goodbyes after a great dinner at a friend’s. Especially on occasions such as New Year’s Eve! Imagine having to catch the Métro home before the strike of midnight when we worry it might turn into a pumpkin!?
Part III, Intimacy – In To Me See
Saturday afternoon upstairs at La Pierre du Marais, we learned to be creative…or at least allow our creative juices to flow. Slam poet James Navé stood before a group of all women who wanted to learn how free themselves from writers’ inhibitions.
The workshop titled “Writing from the Imaginative Storm” is a three-hour exercise on how to stop intellectualizing, editing and perfecting our work before we let the creative spirit take us away. Free association had us writing down hundreds of words, creating thousands of images we could later tap into when the pen hit the paper. We learned that “intimacy” really means “in to me see” — to allow the reader to become more intimate with the author through more fluid expression.
We all wrote, we all read our work and we all were enlightened. Patricia Westheimer, a journalist visiting Paris, wrote later that she “came home and wrote [my] column feeling more creative and free.” We would all agree.
Join James Navé in harmony with author and chef Susan Herrmann Loomis on Sunday, December 10, 2006, 6 p.m. in her home on rue Tatin in Normandy for a sumptuous Christmas buffet and a performance of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” This is the perfect way to celebrate holiday cheer, so sign up now for this unforgettably warm, rich, and delicious evening. (The cost is 100 euros per person. To reserve your place, email: [email protected])
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
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P.P.S. Mark your calendar to join us at Parler Paris Après Midi next Tuesday, December 12th. Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more information.