Monday, July 11, 2016

The other half of Monday...the part that didn't include food.

We couldn’t just eat food all day, so we slowly made our way to some other tourist attractions. The kids are growing tired of seeing all these buildings and museums, and I can’t blame them. I wouldn’t have understood the value myself at their age. I’m hoping, though, they can look back at it and see the beauty in traveling so young. 

And if not, they will have these wonderful photos to remind them of the times they had travelling where I can guilt trip them to understanding how privileged they are to travel the world at such young ages. 

We made our way to Notre-Dame under much protest. The line was long, but the wait was short, luckily. 

I’ve been struck by the number of beggars in Paris, most seem to be of Syrian decent, at least, that is what some of the signs they have held have said. Most have children, some very young. They sit on the streets and in the stations, holding out their hands or a cup. Often, the women don’t even make eye contact with you. Cultural difference? Strategy? I don’t know. I’ve also seen people begging with newborn puppies, which was equally as heartbreaking. 

How have we come so far, yet fail to meet the basic needs of so many people in this world? No person should have to live on the streets and as countries, we should have services in place to ensure that people fleeing violence are taken care of when they seek refuge. Yet, that doesn’t seem to be the case, and this makes us less civilized then we would like to admit. The Statue of Liberty welcomes the poor, the hungry, without discernment. However, we, too, fail to protect our must needy or care for them in the way humans for care for one another. It is not the “American way.” France appears to be no different in this regard. 

Inside, the vaulted ceilings arched over head, decorated with intricate arches and chambers. Much of the detail was lost to the naked eye down below, but the beauty was not. We made our way from stain glass window to stain glass, admiring the kaleidoscope of colors that shone down on us in divine light. Most impressive was the organ, one sitting high above guests. The music from one of these must strike awe in the hearts of church goers. 

After picking up said pastries (see previous post), we headed to Jardin du Luxembourg, created in 1612 by Marie de' Medici, the widow of King Henry IV in France. She had the palace built in the style of the Pitti Palace and a park imitating the style of the one she had known as a child in Florence. There are many statues here, of queens, French women, famous writers and artists, but notable for American tourists is the small scale model of the Statue of Liberty also sculpted by Bartholdi. These very gardens are featured prominently in Victor Hugo's Les Mis, where the main characters first meet and their love story unfolds. There was a pond with boats, where children gleefully chased their rented boat around with a wooden stick to push it off when it came close enough to the edge of the fountain.

There was also a children's play area in one corner of the park, where we paid the two euros for the kids to run around and enjoy being kids for an hour before we headed to the Centre Pompidou for the modern art exhibitions, featuring among others, Salvador Dali.

I've always had a slight, strange obsession with Dali, mostly because his surreal style is so out of the ordinary. I am much more interested in modern and contemporary art than the classic styles, even though I see the beauty in them, I don't feel drawn to them in the same way I do newer art. Product of my time? Perhaps.

The Centre Pompidou did not disappoint. It not only houses modern  and contemporary art exhibitions, but also the public library. The building itself is a sight, housing tubes and pipes on the outside instead of the inside. We took the tubed in escalator up to the 6th floor. Whoops! We had meant to go to the fifth, but the view was stunning.

before finding the exhibitions that were included in the Paris Museum Pass we had bought. Inside, we explored Monet, Picasso, and Dali, to name a few. The kids and I talked about what they saw in each image or display, sometimes differing a lot from each other or even what I saw. I love the way contemporary and modern artists don't limit to paint or drawing or even sculpture using marble or bronze, etc. Art was made from light, from hair, from a variety of objects, limited only by the imagination of the artist. I think this is what interests me the most, the way in which artists see art in everyday objects. Like cous cous or a urinal. Who would have thought...

Our day ended here, as we headed home for some rest and relaxation and a light dinner.

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