Paris is, in my opinion one of the truly original cities of the world – it does not care what anyone thinks – I don’t find Parisians arrogant, I find them direct and straightforward. I love the architecture of the city – the austere but elegant Hausmann buildings contrasted with the extreme baroque and Rococo of the era of the building of Versailles – its ‘over-the-top’ gilding, mirrors and vast spaces and the incredible workmanship from painting to furniture, porcelain and, of course, food. There is always something quirky too – this time I came across a shop selling ‘Cryofitness’!
I am fascinated by the history of Paris and the history of France – especially the Napoleonic era coming after the extremities of the ‘ancien regime’ – such a momentous transition from absolute monarchy to revolution, chaos and republic then back to monarchy and empire. All the while creating a sense of originality and style. We started with the magnificent Louvre Museum – crazy numbers of people but this time I just booked us into the Delacroix Exhibition with a timed entry. This allowed for a leisurely examination of the work and career of Delacroix, one of the primary interpreters of the Napoleonic era – you will recognise his famous painting of Liberty carrying the flag of France. A quick walk over the Seine via the Pont du Carrousel brought us to the amazing and historic Sennelier art shop, where you just have to buy something!
On then to Montmatre – crowds, but with Nadine and Terrina found the exquisite Musee de Montmartre and Renoir’s garden, and exhibition of fascinating drawings by young children of their experiences of the First World War and an extensive overview of Kees van Dongen’s oeuvre.
The second day took us to Giverny and the home of Claude Monet – it was in its absolute glory – if possible, even better than last year – and then to Versailles and its Baroque magnificence. Extraordinary Hall of Mirrors and just learning more about the life led by the absolute monarch and his family is fascinating. The last member of our group, Lee joined us for dinner – again in the gorgeous Place des Vosges.
Then the best, in my opinion, for last – the Musee d’Orsay – impressionism, sculpture, art nouveau, the romantics and its simply beautiful, beautiful building. Then onto the fast train to Avignon and our arrival into Entraigues sur la Sorgue and a wonderful welcome dinner by our hosts, Claude and Sylviane.