Europe 2010: First Full Day in Paris

After a surprisingly good sleep, I took a quick constitutional around the neighbourhood to scope it out and then Gregg and I sallied forth for our only full day in Paris together! For the rest of the week, Gregg will mostly be at the gallery sitting his show while I plan to sightsee, write, and search out Nia classes.
We walked down to Montparnasse station–about a fifteen minute walk–to catch the last day of an exhibition at the Musee de la Poste that Gregg really wanted to see. The beautifully mounted exhibition showed the collection of Louis Aragon, one of the three founders of the surrealist movement. During his life he collected many of the big names of the 20th century–Picasso, Ernst, Matisse, Miro, etc. The show was like a mini version of the Pompidou, only much more intimate and less crowded. Gregg particularly enjoyed seeing all the links to surrealism and the historical context. Of course, he bought the catalog!
Check out a good summary of the show written by another blogger.
After the Musee de la Poste, we walked (and walked) to Luxembourg Gardens and from there to Ste. Germain. By this time it was noon and time to stop for lunch! We treated ourselves to a lunch at Les Deux Magots (hey, we’re in Paris!). We sat outside and enjoyed the ambiance and very good omelettes aux fromage, jambon, et fines herbes. We tried not to look too closely at the bill!

One thing (well, one of many things) that we are finding very charming about Paris is the fact that all the stores were closed on Sunday. How civilized — a day off from consuming. As a result, the streets and parks were packed with families just enjoying the sunshine. The atmosphere was so relaxed.

After lunch at Les Deux Magots, we took the Metro to the Marmatton Museum over on the right bank not far from the Bois de Boulogne. The Marmatton normally shows Monet paintings but right now there is a special show on of paintings that Monet did towards the end of his life when his work was bordering on abstraction.They’ve paired these late works with works Abstract Expressionists (Pollack, Kandinsky, Miro, etc.) who were apparently influenced by Monet.
What an amazing job they did of displaying the paintings–just so beautifully hung and presented. We really enjoyed wandering around the exhibition and of course bought the catalog afterwards! I particulalry loved the Riopelle piece they had–a real stunner.
After the show, we took a taxi back to our lovely apartment for a well-deserved rest. I passed out in our sunny loft bedroom for about an hour–last vestiges of jet lag. We then set out to meet the gallery owner and get acquainted.  The gallery is just a three minute walk from here–we couldn’t ask for a more convenient location. The gallery is run by a young woman (probably mid thirties). She was there with her mother and father, her husband, and her two adorable children (7 and 11). Everyone seems to help out with the gallery. The mother showed me the platters of food that would be available for the opening along with the wine glasses (plastic!) and chips and nuts. The gallery also gave us several bottles of sparkling wine so we’re all set.

None of them speaks much English so our first meeting was challenging but doable. We stumble along quite well; my accent is improving (or at least so they said, but I think they were being kind!). Anyway, the gallery space is lovely and we look forward to setting up the show on Monday (more on later).

After the 6 pm meeting at the gallery, we walked another few blocks to a dinner party we had arranged from home through a friend. An American man, Jim Haynes, hosts dinner parties every Sunday throughout most of the year–he’s done so for thirty years. People from all over come to his home and drink copious amounts of wine and are served a three-course meal. While the food itself wouldn’t win any prizes, we had a wonderful time connecting with people from the States, Canada, Scotland and various European countries. We passed out quite a few of Gregg’s invitations so hopefully some of the people we met may come to the opening on Tuesday. There must have been at least 50 people there. All the ones we met were very interesting — artists, actors, writers, etc. Some lived in Paris and come to the salons frequently while others are travelers like us. It’s a wonderful forum for getting people together.

And that’s it for our first full day in Paris. Stay tuned for the story of our Monday when the paintings arrive and Gregg hangs the show (and I experience my first workout class completely en francais).