Wanderlust: Paris, July 2014, Part 2

This is my second post showcasing some of the places I visited during my summer trip to Paris (Part 1 can be found here.)

Autumn is probably my favourite time of year, the season's earthy palette seems so vibrant in the low autumn light. Part of me still craves the heat of the sun and I find myself wishing to return to Paris and the glorious weather we had. Next year perhaps!

During our July trip, we packed rather a lot into the six days we were there. One of my favourite hidden gems that we stumbled upon was the Cite de l'architecture et du patrimoine, the City of Architecture and Heritage. This architecture museum comprises of both permanent and temporary exhibitions, which covers a large chronological span of buildings, from ancient to modern. 

Much of the permanent exhibition is taken up with full size plaster replicas of building facades, columns and rooms. My favourite section comprised of replicas of early church interiors which were used as exhibit spaces for modern sculpture and furniture. As you can see in the picture below, the modern forms looked pretty alien in their ancient environments!

ecclesiastical architectural details.
During one of my wanders I stumbled across the beautiful window of Faucon. Apologies for the reflection in the image, I think I was just mesmerized by the chocolates and macarons. Somehow  all food in Paris, even in small bakeries, looks both wildly decadent and enticing!

As we were staying in Montmartre, it would have been inexcusable not to visit the Musee Montmartre, which is also surrounded by the Renoir Gardens. The permanent collection is composed of paintings, posters and drawings by some of Montmartre's leading artists, including Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani, Kupka, Steinlen, Valadon, and Utrillo. 

Just below the gardens is the only surviving vineyard in the city, which has existed since the medieval period.

 On the swing in the Renoir Gardens

More idyllic garden space

The musee d'orsay has to be on every tourist's list when visiting Paris, the museum collection mainly comprises of 19th century and early 20th century French art. 

During my visit, I was particularly bowled over by the temporary Van Gogh exhibition, "Van Gogh / Artaud. The Man Suicided by Society" Based on an essay by Artaud, an artist in his own right, the exhibition explores Van Goghs place in a society which rejected his work - 

"Challenging the thesis of alienation, Artaud was determined to show how van Gogh’s exceptional lucidity made lesser minds uncomfortable.  Wishing to prevent him from uttering certain "intolerable truths", those who were disturbed by his painting drove him to suicide. "

The Pompidou Centre is another mecca for art lovers visiting the city, the modern art museum boasts a unique building and the views from the top are particularly spectacular, as you can see below!

During my visit there were two stand out exhibitions, the first being on the work of the architect Bernard Tschumi, who drew inspiration for his designs from many other mixed media sources, including the movement of actors on film. Tschumi was particularly interested in movement and movement within spaces.

The second temporary exhibit which blew me away was the video installation "The Clock" by Christian Marclay. The Clock is a 24 hour montage of thousands of time related film excerpts which are edited to be correspondent with the time during the film. (e.g the 3:10 to Yuma scene which talks about the 3:10 to Yuma, is shown at 3:10 exactly.)

View from the Pompidou looking to the hill of Montmartre and Sacre Couer

View looking towards the eiffel Tower.
Our good friend Kathryn said that we could not go to Paris without visiting Sainte-Chapelle, the medieval gothic chapel situated at the heart of the city on the Île de la Cité.

The chapel is considered to represent the pinnacle of gothic architecture and was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including Christ's Crown of Thorns. It was completed in 1248 and is literally awash with stained glass and beautifully ornate detail. 

We visited at the weekend, therefore the chapel was very busy and we had to queue for around half an hour. It may therefore be worth going during a quieter weekday morning! However the building is an absolute jewel, the colours inside as the sun hits the windows are dazzling. Therefore it is and an absolute must, just be aware that there are building works currently taking place and currently the rose window is obscured.

Finally, a little bit of street art for you

I wonder where the top of the stairs lead.... where is the man going with his briefcase?