Saturday, December 2, 2017

Paris, France: The Wrap Up

It wasn't the best flight experience prior to arriving in Iceland (my luggage was too big and I wound up tragically discarding it), but the bear and I managed quite well. On the train ride from Charles De Gaulle Airport to Paris with leisure books of Paul Celan and Jean-Michel Basquiat, I enjoyed a tofu and spinach knish and a LARABAR (things stuffed into my bag from Mom's Organic Market). By then, my overstuffed tote bag was riddled with holes from the weight. I tried not to think about left clothes, towels, and tossed Inkkas sneakers.  I have bought some new shoes. It's just not the same.
After checking in, I headed to the Musee d'Orsay, a museum that I missed the first two Paris visits. It was always closed and unattainable.The line wasn't long and I immediately walked inside the impressively designed museum in little time. Auguste Bartholdi's small version of the gift to the United States.
Always a pleasure to see Jean Auguste Dominique Ingre paintings. He has an illustrious collection here and at the Louvre where one can see his famous The Odalisque and The Turkish Bathers. This oil painting from 1854 above is a splendid, colorful study encased in a dramatic gold frame entitled, The Virgin Worshiping The Host.
Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, Georges Clarin, oil on canvas, 1884 or 1907.
A Young English Woman, Fernand Khnopff, marble, 1898. 
The first Paris evening starts to come through openings of the grand second floor Roman numeral clock.
My dream Art Noveau bedroom.
Walking through the neighborhood after enjoying Cloud Cakes Vegan Cafe.
A beautiful orchid shop.
Shakespeare and Company is a fantastic bookstore where books fill every nook and cranny. They have spiraled stairs and labyrinth mazes that please the bookworm spirit. I spent a grand time up in the poetry section reading Sylvia Plath and Audre Lorde.
On a Friday night, I spent four hours at the Louvre, happily browsing through paintings and sculpture. I was thrilled to see Marie-Guillemine Benoist's Portrait of a Negress, which reflects a depressing time of great portrait artists rendering a specific woman of color and titling the model her race and gender as opposed to her real name. I wish they were a bit more original-- call her the brown Ariadne, a mortal portrait version of the Egyptian Goddess Isis, or some other enchanted fable deity. I liked imagining that she had a purpose, a legacy to behold. I couldn't just take a picture and walk past. I stood there idolizing every inch of her, inventing answers to riddled mysteries forming in my mind.
A tiny, blurred capture of Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. It's my second time seeing this small world famous portrait of mystery. And just like before, the vast crowd made it difficult to get a great picture, much less a proper view at the composition. In this case, the art history textbooks give better clarity.
Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, one of my favorite women painters to discuss, has many gorgeous paintings at the Louvre including this one, Self Portrait with Daughter, oil on canvas, 1789.
Hotel Josephine in Montmatre is named after famous actress, dancer, cabaret musician, and French agent Josephine Baker. I would love to stay there sometime-- not for the free Absinthe samples-- for the eclectic rooms patterned in beautiful flowers, bright colors, jazzy black and white photographs, and cozy large beds.
Every now and then, I took pictures of buildings just because the architecture astounded my artist eye.
Unfortunately, the Museum of Romantic Life was closed. I had been looking forward to seeing this former home of Romanticism painter Ary Scheffer-- a place where he used to rendezvous with author George Sand (the great female writer who was born Amantine Lucile Dupin). The two apartment also had an array of famous guests like Ingres, Eugene Delacroix, Charles Dickens, and more. It is now one of three literary museums in Paris.
A cute Montmatre souvenir shop. 
Passing through Moulin Rouge. Of course, I watched Baz Luhrmann's film later on that evening for nostalgia's sake. Plus, I love Ewan McGregor singing me to sleep.
I spent most nights at the Seine River, reading books and thinking. I found it very peaceful and quiet, the smooth ripple of the water, the sights of the boats passing to and fro. In the distance, there is Notre Dame Cathedral. I looked at the majestic gargoyles, large, grotesque, and powerful creatures that grace atop various pillars. I thought back to this Fox Kids cartoon, Gargoyles, that I used to watch with my family. It was a great idea-- statues coming to life after the sun set and transforming back to stone in the daylight.
Bringing Basquiat to the Seine.
I had the luck of having a falafel joint in the neighborhood. They had a €8 meal special (falafel sandwich, little chopped fries, and a drink). The falafel was delicious, especially the crispy fried eggplant at the bottom (really spectacular). The sesame sauce, however, was bland and uninteresting. I wish they had used some flavorful hummus.
I stopped in the Museum of the Modern Art of the City of Paris and found the most oddly constructed desk of dark gray and bright crimson red.
I also enjoyed the modest paintings of Anna-Eva Bergman. Ranging from small intimate scale to large masses of texture exploration, her works are flat oceanic landscapes with a stream of centered lines that operate as a point of temporary escape.
One of many Eiffel Tower selfies.
A quick pencil sketch. The trees made it especially challenging.
Abandoned pastel rainbow colored carousels.
I didn't get to visit the Centre Pompidou. I walked past it several times.
Views of Iceland from the window. Very, very cold yet a beauty in the ice caps, a picturesque end to a nice early winter vacation.


  1. Beautiful photographs; it looks like an incredible trip overall! Your visits to the Seine sound very relaxing!

    1. Thank you, Julie! It was a wonderful, relaxing trip! :)

  2. Ahhh, the art and the sights... love that you got to make some art of your own, and love your adorable traveling companion, too!

    1. Heehee! Thanks. My teddy bear loves coming along on these excursions! In Paris, one cannot help but crave making art. :)

  3. I love the traveling bear! What an amazing vacation! I've really loved reading about it and of course I love the gorgeous pictures!

    1. Hahahaha! Thanks!!! I really appreciate your compliments (and the bear does too).

  4. It's all beautiful! It's been a couple of years since I was last there and you've made me want to head back immediately :)

    1. Thanks Jenny! I would love to come back again myself. I missed a bunch of spots. You should definitely go back though! :D

  5. What wonderful photos!!!!! Sounds like a lovely time! I wish I was able to travel there!!

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! I wish you could go too.:( It's a great place-- especially for vegans and art lovers.