Bonjour my bookworms!
How are you all?
I hope the first month of 2020 has gone well so far.
I’m coming to the end of my second week in Paris and I’ve a lot to tell you.
When I last updated you it was last Tuesday afternoon and I told you all about my first 24 hours in Paris.
Well, a lot has happened since then.
Last Tuesday evening, after I had wrote to you one of the boys I look after brought up at dinner about going to Versailles (the area not the palace, though the palace is in the area) the following day to see his grandparents at something they were doing. His mum said she didn’t mind him going as long I was able to go with him. I didn’t have a problem with that. Who says no to a free ride out to Versailles?
First, a little context before I plunge into this story. Wednesday in France is half day for all school kids. All schools close at lunch time and they have the afternoon off.
So on Wednesday after he’d finished school and then had is organ lesson the pair of us headed off to Versailles. It is quite an easy trip to Versailles. Take the RER C from your nearest stop. It is one train all the way there, but you’ve got to make sure that you get the right one. The right one, in case you’re wondering is the VICK train. It takes you all the way to Chateau Versailles.
I didn’t get chance to take any pictures on the way up to the palace because my little child was in a rush to get to his grand mother. I had been given very strict instruction that we had to leave Versailles by 17:30 so after passing on those instructions in the best french I could manage I left the boy with his grand mother and went to visit the gardens of the palace of Versailles.
It was really cold that day. If any of you saw my photos of Versailles on Instagram it was a beautiful day, and though I’m sure you couldn’t tell even from these photos, the water in all the lakes had frozen over. It was really cold!
The frozen shivery part of me when I got on the train that evening wishes I had got round the chateau, which like the garden, I would have got into for free by the way, but I hadn’t wanted to rush seeing everything in the few short hours I had.
I met up with my boy and his grand parents at about 5 o’clock and I spent half an hour persuading him it was time to go, so in the end we left bang on half past five.
The train was waiting for us in the station when we got there so we just hoped straight on. The journey seemed to take longer coming back than it was going and we also hit commuter traffic. The train was packed! I was squashed up against the window with hardly any room to breath.
The rest of the week passed a lot more uneventfully, though still hectic as two of the children had two different recitals on two different nights. By the time the weekend came round I was ready for a lie in.
Which is why on Saturday I didn’t get an early start to the Musée Marmottan Monet and ended up in with all the crowds.
For any of you who don’t know the Musée Marmottan I’ll put a little description here, but I’ll also leave a link to their website.
The museum was originally an old hunting lodge for some rich duke during the 1800s but it was late sold into the Marmottan family (the name) and was a few family members down the line it was gifted to the Académie des Beaux-Arts. The Académie opened it as a museum in 1934. However it get most of its fame from it”s large collection of art works by Monet that it houses that were bequeathed to the museum by Monet’s second son and only heir.
This collection included the famous painting ‘Impression: sun rising’ where the impressionist movement got its name. In fact every time I see this painting I sit and stare at it for ages and ages. I can tell whole stories just from that picture and every time I see it I see a different detail. It is amazing.
But all this wasn’t my main reason for going to the museum on that Saturday. No, I was there to see an exhibition. This exhibition was all about Mondrian. Most people, even if they don’t know the name will have seen at least one Mondrian painting. The one with the big bold black lines and all the squares in red and yellow and white. Yeah, you know the one. Well, the exhibition ended with exactly the painting you are (probably) thinking of. But it started with his early career and his figure drawings and landscapes and it told the story of how it progressed and developed his own style. It was so interesting to see and I’m glad I did, despite the huge crowds that were there that day.
They weren’t Louvre-sized crowds but more than that space could probably bare. There was information on a lot of the walls, big font so you could read it from a distance. Everyone formed a nice little semi-circle around it so they could all read it at the same time without disturbing anyone and then always you would get someone who stepped in the middle so you couldn’t see a thing. That was the only thing that ruined it for me. And it didn’t just happen once, once I could ignore, but it happened so many times.
Museum etiquette everyone: be mindful of those around you.
I saw the rest of the permanent exhibitions upstairs and then I wandered down to spend a bit of time with Monet and his sunrises and his water lilies.
When I went into the museum the queue was half way to the corner of the street and it took me about fifteen minutes to get in there. When I left they were queuing round the corner and down the street. I’m glad I got there when I did!
And I suppose that is all I have time for today. I apologise for how long this post is. I won’t leave it so long before I post again. I’ll tell you the story of how I almost got abandoned in the middle of Paris at half past ten on a Tuesday night another time!