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Paris Diary: May 2016

An idyllic month in Paris -- complete with all kinds of weather, two fabulous groups of women, one jocular man, our recently graduated as a doctor niece Annie, numerous art exhibitions, some totally touristic pursuits and too much good food to mention!

By Katherine Tilton

Just the word 'Paris' conjures conflicting concepts that can confuse the mind, feed the senses, expand the imagination and ignite the heart.

In reality she never disappoints.

Typical touristic pursuits continue to bring joy.

Marcy and niece Annie before we go up to the top.

The views are spectacular! Hausmann had a good plan.

The Catacombs compel.

There's always a line to view the macabre -- but not so morbid really -- display of skulls and bones.

It's a long way down. Curious to imagine how and who transported the bones, skulls and more bones deep into the depths, much less organized them into such charming and thoughtful patterns.


Being a flâneur in Paris offers a visual feast with surprises and beauty around every corner. --

Artist's studios.

Grafitti on a charming street.

Chestnut trees blooming in the Palais Royale.

I spotted this chic woman carrying her dog by Square Boucicaut.

The dog's name aptly translated as 'sweet face'.

What a blast to stroll on the Champs-Élysées the first day ever it was closed to traffic! Beautiful weather enhanced the occasion and buskers added to the high energy.

Wandering in the work of art that is Monet's garden at Giverny is always divine.

Marcy, Eloise, Mimi and Wanda meander in the water garden. Even French rain can't dampen our spirits!

One can stroll in the gardens at Versailles (which I adore) --

-- but the palace is a crowded mass (mess) of tourists all eagerly taking photos (yes, me too), bumping, pushing, greedily claiming a spot of space. I have to remind myself to breathe, look, to be present; to see, feel, imagine. What it was like to live here in the day? Possibly as crowded, competitive and completely unconscious as it is now.

Always a pleasure to examine the deliciously detailed textiles that the queen wore. Detailed paintings like this are a treasure trove for textile lovers.

Other Artful Parisian Pursuits

So many art exhibitions, so little time -- but I managed to happily view more than ever before.

An artful collection of boxes waiting for the 'homme de detritus', I was reminded of the pattern created by these stacked boxes in the street ----

-- when I went to the Monumenta 2016 exhibition 'Empires' by Huang Yong Ping at the Grand Palais.

Tall stacks of shipping containers, surround a giant Napoleon's hat; all under the massive weighty skeleton of a foreboding snake

Reflective, uncomfortable and definitely monumental.

The Grand Palais always presents thoughtfully curated, powerful exhibitions.

Seydou Keïta's moving and beautiful photos capture the essence of the sitters and the unerring eye of the photographer. Accompanying videos provide a peek into his process and vibrant unique personality.

The 'Carambolages' exhibition, also at the Grand Palais, indicates the curatorial direction of the future. 'Listen with your eyes' says the neon sign giving the only instruction as you enter. No titles, long explanations or interpretations are provided with the work. It is up to the viewer to follow the sequence and make their own connections.

Classic and modern paintings with weird and shocking elements, primitive and contemporary sculpture, indigenous garments, functional weapons, exquisite porcelain and ritual objects, displayed in a non-linear but totally connected progression.

Paintings by (left to right): Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adolph Hitler displayed in the area with implements of aggression.

Suit of armor with cannonball hole provides a sobering reminders of the paradox we inhabit.

A stunning, exciting, thought provoking exhibition, I saw it twice.

There was a compelling Paul Klee exhibit at the Pompidou.

I was drawn to these untitled Klee marionettes. Perhaps it's the textiles...

And gleefully absorbed many previously unseen (by me) Klee drawings and paintings.

The Henri Rousseau exhibit at Musee d'Orsay was fabulous as well. 'War or the Ride of Discord' boldly captures the discordan gruesomeness of war.

Then there were the Fashion exhibitions!

Especially touching at Anatomy of a Collection exhibit at the Palais Galleria were the garments worn by the majority of the people, the workers, the 99%. Mended and stained, the skirts emanated the energy, labor and patchwork of everyday life.

Fashion Forward at Musée des Arts Décoratifs presented 300 pieces from the 17th century to now. Historical references in contemporaryfashion become more obvious when viewed in an exhibit like this.

And in addition...

We peeked in the windows of the shops in the arcades at the Palais Royale.

Cindy put her stash in a bag. That's Christina smiling in the background -- having fun and she doesn't even sew

Linda, Cristy and Veronica checked out the good stuff as we all shopped for fabric.

I followed this glam guy in all his sartorial splendor out of the Metro to get a better photo, but he was too quick...

Annie made a selfie swap.

Marcy and I made a silly selfie in the hat store.

The ever entertaining Fabian from Paris Charms and Secrets led us on an informative and totally fun electric bike tour.

Paul and Marcy took photos of Eloise and Wanda posing on the plinths in the sculpture garden at the Palais Royale.

We all ate numerous superb dinners.

Had the best latte EVER at Comptoirs Richard.

Enjoyed a cocktail in the cave at a local hangout.

And pondered the view as I flew over Greenland, noting all the icebergs...

A girl can never have too much fun!

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© Marcy Tilton