Why this blog?

To understand why this blog was created and where it got its name, start here

Friday, May 31, 2013

It's still raining in Paris

Oops. I forgot my umbrella!

Summer seems very far away.

We took a walk in the rain near Notre Dame yesterday. The gargoyles were busy, and tourists huddled under umbrellas awaiting their turns to visit.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chagall: Between war and peace

If you visit Paris this spring, try to see the Chagall exposition at the Musée du Luxembourg.

Marc Chagall had a long and prolific career, living to be almost 100 years old. We see constantly recurring symbols in his work: images of his natal town of Vitebsk in what is now Belarus, images of his wife Bella, Biblical characters, vivid representations of his dreams, and political statements on the horrors of war and religious persecution. He has been called the "quintessential Jewish artist of the 20th century." His drawing is sometimes considered naive - his compositions full of people and animals floating in mid-air, but he is an undeniable master of color.

Each time I see an exposition of his work I find myself humming music from the Fiddler on the Roof which was inspired by his paintings.

You can take a virtual visit of the exposition here:

Au dessus de Vitebsk - 1922
La danse - 1950-1952

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Impressionists in Normandy

This year's Normandy Impressionist Festival is not to be missed. We began our exploration of the event with a visit to the Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris for an exhibit featuring Eugène Boudin. We then spent a weekend in Normandy with friends and took advantage of the proximity to visit some regional expositions.

First stop: the Musée de Beaux Arts de Caen for an exposition entitled "Summer at Water's Edge." We then drove along the coast, past the resort towns of Deauville and Trouville where visitors no longer dress like this:

Next stop: Le Havre to visit the exposition "Pissarro dans les ports." As you might expect, the port of Le Havre, heavily bombed during WWII, no longer looks like this:

After visiting the Pissarro exposition, we drove north along the coast to the town of Etretat, immortalized by many impressionist painters.
Etretat in the rain

Check out the size of the people below the cliffs!
The view from the top is stunning.

We had dinner in a lovely restaurant overlooking the town.

The next day, we stopped by the ruined Benedictine Abbey in Jumièges on our way to Rouen.
Jumièges Abbey
Last stop: the Musée des Beaux Arts in Rouen featuring an exposition entitled "Dazzling Reflections - 100 Impressionist Masterpieces." You have until the end of September to follow in the footsteps of the Impressionist painters throughout Normandy.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rainy Paris

Will it ever stop raining?? And today, Paris had record low temperatures.
 Nobody occupying the wet chairs in the Tuileries gardens.

  It's a good thing I have a new umbrella.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Paris trees in bloom

Spring is late this year, but the flowering trees of Paris are finally showing their springtime colors.
Horse chestnut (marronier) flowers
Paulownia flowers

 That's a paulownia tree on the left and a horse chestnut (marronier) tree on the right.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May in Paris

You gotta love the month of May in France - it's full of holidays. Especially this year when the political holidays are added to religious holidays. The most important is probably the First of May when everyone has the day off. It is the "Fête du Travail" or "Labor Day" which we in the U.S. celebrate on the first Monday in September. Thousands of people take to the streets waving red flags.

The second week of May featured two more holidays:  The 8th of May, VE Day, marking the end of WWII in Europe and defeat of the Nazis. And the 9th of May was the Feast of the Ascension, a Christian holiday which always falls 40 days after Easter. Since Ascension always falls on a Thursday, it is common for people to take the Friday off (faire le pont) and to have a 4 day weekend. But this year, since both Wednesday and Thursday were holidays, and kids were out of school all week, lots of Parisians had two-day work week and a five-day weekend. Paris streets were quiet - except for tourist areas with endless lines of tour buses from all over Europe.

May 20th is also a holiday this year - Pentecost Monday (lundi de Pentecôte) - celebrated 50 days after Easter - another three day weekend. However, for those of us who are retired, every day is a holiday.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ireland in photos

A few more favorite photos from our recent trip to Ireland . . .
Old Library in Trinity College
The Gap of Dunloe seen from pony cart
The lakes of Killarney National Park
Astronomical structures at Knowth
Passage tombs at Knowth
petroglyph at Knowth
Kylemore Abbey
thatched cottage

If you'd like to see even more photos and videos  from our trip to Ireland, you can find them here at Patrice's Google+ site.