Side note: just testing a new layout/theme for the website. Let us know what you think either way– we’ll probably be experimenting for a while.
On the advice of a friend, we sought out the Musee des Arts & Metiers and Pascal’s Arithmetic machine. Luckily, the museum was covered by the Paris Museum Pass, and wouldn’t you know it, the place had its own Metro stop. Sweet! The A&M covers all manners of science and inventions– vehicles, communications, machines (think: gears), computers, and mad scientist laboratories. This one was definitely a nice break from the usual works of art. Minus the attitude on the way in, we had a nice time cruising through the various exhibits and especially liked the Chapel and Foucault’s pendulum.
Next up, we visited the Musee national de l’Orangerie. The l’Orangerie is yet another museum housing works of the Impressionists, most notably wall-length murals (yes, plural) of Monet’s Water lilies. OK, so just a bit of commentary on Monet’s obsession— err… “work”… with those water lilies. Essentially, the guy built his house then created a huge water lily garden out back complete with Japanese bridge. Then, he proceeded to paint the same freakin’ garden hundreds of times. W…t…h…?? Once or twice, sure, that would be awesome and creative. But seriously, hundreds of times?? What makes him less insane than, say, Van Gogh? Yes, the latter ended up in the mental hospital, but at least he seemed to paint different stuff and didn’t get famous for painting the same thing over and over again. I know some people are really into Monet, but I really don’t get it. Aaaaah… art.
Anyway, the museum also had tons of works from other artists which really impressed us. We were especially surprised to discover some of the Picasso’s pre-Cubist work downstairs. This one was especially interesting to us, from his “blue period” (the color palette explains that well)…
The Centre Pompidou: modern art. Before coming to Europe, no other phrase sent me running for the hills faster than “modern art”. Difficult to understand, usually just plain weird, I’m not usually a fan of the stuff, but as Rick Steves mentioned (paraphrasing here), after seeing so much religious art, going to a place where somebody smashed a piano and glued the pieces to the wall can be refreshing. And it really was. I didn’t get a lot of it, but there were a lot of thought-provoking pieces as well as a few bittersweet ones.
One more museum post to go– later!