I returned from Paris last night, so I thought I’d write a little bit about what I got up to and about the museums. My friend and I went to Paris from Tuesday to Friday and we packed a lot into the trip. He’d not been to Paris before, so we tried to go to all of the sights. Briefly: we went to Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Musée d’Orsay, Champs-Elysées/Arc du Triomphe, Musée du Louvre, Tour Eiffel, a Melody Gardot concert and the Pompidou (although we didn’t go inside). We had to get up at 7am each day to make sure we could go to all these places, so I’m quite tired now that I’m back.
I’ll talk quickly about the Musée d’Orsay. We found out when we got there that it was free entry for EU passport holders between ages 18-25. So that’s a really good reason to go if you ever get the chance. If you don’t fit those conditions there are other concessions prices as well. And if not, it’s 9 euros so still not too expensive. Currently there’s an exhibition on called L’ange du bizarre which features loads of artworks from the ‘dark romanticism’ movement (I didn’t really know anything about it and had only heard of romanticism anyway), including work from symbolists and surrealists, too. It was a massive collection of works, by artists such as Hans Bellmer (one of my favourites), Dali, Goya, Ernst, Fuseli, etc. along with screenings/excerpts of films such as Frankenstein, a Hitchcock film (can’t remember which one!), part of Buñuel/Dali’s eyeball slicing film (Un Chien Andalou) and various other dark/occult inspired films.
I was mostly just really happy to see another exhibition which felt relevant to my own work. It was also very informative and there were a lot of interesting descriptions and introductions to be read. I was also surprised to see Hans Bellmer’s work in an exhibition, because I’ve not seen his work except for scouring through bad jpegs online.
When we went to the Louvre, we did not get in for free but it was worth it all the same. When I got in, I went looking for the Asian arts room but wandered through European sculpture for a short while, then ended up in the Islamic arts section, which I stayed in for the remainder of my time (with a brief trip to the shop to see if they had any sketchbooks for sale – yes, I did not bring my sketchbook. A mistake). I learned about calligraphy and bookbinding while watching the interactive computer screen things dotted around. I looked at lots of pots, bits of armour, gravestones, etc.
It was really interesting and when it was time to go I wandered in the direction of the Mona Lisa but then decided to leave it and wait until my next visit, because it was quite busy and I didn’t feel very impassioned about seeing it. I will probably return to Paris in a couple of years’ time, so I will hopefully be able to spend a full day in the Louvre. But before going to France again I’d like to visit Japan again! Or Korea… of course all of these things cost a lot of money, and my trip this week was really expensive (although we managed to budget well, Paris is an expensive place). So I will try to save some more money over the next few years.
I also want to mention briefly that when we were walking to the Eiffel Tower, I found the Japanese culture centre. It had a really nice book shop, a mini gallery, a lady playing classical music on a grand piano, a library and a tea house (which was by appointment over). We spent max. 20 minutes there and I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t have enough money to spend on books, but it was lovely and I hope I can go there again when I eventually visit again. Luckily we have the Japan Centre in the UK anyway.
I think I’ll stop writing now but I’ll leave you all with the start of a big drawing I am doing, probably to put in the postgraduate exhibition (in a month’s time) as I have been given a little extra space to fill up.