Monday, January 31, 2011

An American in Paris

The Louvre and the Glass Pyramids by I.M. Pei
Paris; the city of lights, the city of lovers, the city of bread and cheese. Paris goes by many names but it is a perfect tourist destination. I spent 4 days in Paris and it was the perfect ammount of time to relax, take in the city and see all the sites. I know if I spent longer than that in Paris I would have gotten bored but with 4 days I got to see everything I wanted to see and got to spend ample times in the cafes reading and drinking coffee, which is essential to the Paris experience, I feel.

Day 1
My first day in Paris was Boxing Day. It was also a Sunday, I knew because of this I had to do a museum. A lot of museums are closed on mondays so if you find yourself with a monday on your Paris itinerary you need to plan accordingly. The Eiffel Tower, the churches and the Pompidou are open on Mondays. (The Pompidou closes on Tuesdays instead) So, make your plans to see these sights on Monday and see the major museums on Sunday or Tuesday. I chose to hit the Louvre on my first day in Paris. After a BIG Paris style breakfast of coffee and croissants I ran over to the Louvre around 9 am. There was little to no line and I got my museum pass for Paris. I am 26, this means I cannot buy discount tickets for all the museums in Paris or cannot enter for free like some museums are for people under 26. I have to pay full price. The museum pass helps me get a discount on all my museums and allows me to skip all the cues! A well worth purchase for someone like me who was planning on spending most of her vacation in art museums. This pass will also get you into Fountainbleau and Versailles with no cue, so if you plan on hitting these sites go ahead and buy it because the cues for these sites are massive and the prices to get in can be hefty if you are over 26. You can buy it for 2,4 or 6 day periods. 4 days was 50E I believe but at 8 to 10E a museum and with me doing at least 4 museums a day with the exception of Louvre day, it was a bargain for me!
The Musee Pass
 The pass also has all the hours of the museums, a handy metro guide to the museums and a guide on how to make the best of your time in Paris. (Like which museums are really close to each other) Inside the Musee Pass. The Pass was one of the highlights of my trip!

The Louvre
The Louvre was originally a palace in the 12th century. It became a fortress for the army/governement employees when Louis the fourteenth chose to go live in Versailles rather than stay in Paris. It became a museum in 1793 with only about 600 paintings in it (all of french origin.) It is now one of the largest museums in the world with THE largest antiquity collection outside of Greece. I was blown away by the ancient Greece, Roman and Egyptian antiquity section of the Louvre. You will see famous pieces like Venus Di Milo (G), The Flying Nike (R) and The firing Luna. (R) As a costume designer you can learn so much about a culture and about a people by the art they create and by the clothing you see the figures in the art wear. The marble statues in the Greek section were some of the most beautiful things I will ever see, I'm sure. However, I despise people who use their flashes in an art museum. It destroys the art. The flash makes the paint less vibrant and takes years of the art. I'm also a firm believer that anyone who puts their hand on an ancient statue (on purpose) should have their hands cut off. Have some respect for that object that is hundreds of years old!

There are several sections to the Louvre. The Richileu section holds most of the french antiquities (it's red on the map), it also holds the armor, the crown jewels of france, and the tapestry and fabric art.
The red part of the Louvre holds the paintings. Most of the paintings of the Louvre are of french/benelux decent however they also hold a large collection of ancient italian art, most of it from the renaissance and the pre renaissance. The Mona Lisa can be found in the red section of the Louvre, however when one sees it you will notice HOW small it really is and you frankly won't be able to truly enjoy it due to the large amount of japanese tourists pushing you and taking pictures. I come to a museum to take in, study and enjoy pieces; apparently the new thing to do is to come and take pictures of the art to put on facebook.

Le Comedie Francais
After the Louvre I walked to the Le Comedie Francais. The theatre company which was started by Moliere. They were starting a show in about 10 minutes, so I grabbed a last minute ticket and sat down. I had no idea what I was going to see until someone handed me a program. "Le Trois Seours!" Oh thank god, something I've seen before! My french is not so good, so seeing a show I have seen/read before will be a good thing for me! The Comedie Francais is in a beautiful theatre, the roof was painted and it was covered in gold from top to bottom. However, do not pay the extra money to sit in the king's box. The site lines are terrible! There was a group of people who had shelled out the big bucks for the seats there and they spent the whole show leaning and turning different ways because they couldn't see. You buy the king's box not to see the show but to be seen by the common folk.
The show was good, the set and costumes beautiful but I found the lighting to be a bit boring especially to the show I saw later that night.
Note the King's Box

The ceiling of the Comedie Francais

I saw a production of "The emperor's new clothes" done by a company in the style of Artaud. It was a great show! The lighting was avant guarde, the set was minimalist (as I always like) and to top it all off full frontal male nudity. I will never think of Hans Christian Anderson in the same way again. Viva la France!

After this I went back to Montmarte where my hostel was. Montmarte is the home of Sacre Couer and Moulin Rouge. Don't go to the Moulin Rouge except to have your photo taken. It is 150E to see the show, ridiculous right? I have NEVER paid that much for a show and I have seen stuff on broadway. Their boobs better do some amazing things for 150E.
Sacre Couer. A must see for Paris visitors!

The Red Light District of Paris

No comments:

Post a Comment