Paris rain is the most beautiful rain, humbling plain old wet raindrops worldwide. If you’ve seen Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, you’ll know that to truly embrace Paris, you must enjoy the rain. Today, Anna, my 17-year-old daughter and I set out on our first day of adventures on a morning with a small chance of rain. Our plan for the day: walk to the Luxembourg Gardens, followed by lunch on the terrace of Les Deux Magots, and finishing the day in the Rose Garden of Rodin’s Musee with an ice cream. But within the first block we felt sprinkles and by the fourth block we were caught in a lovely down pour. We marshalled our umbrellas and continued for several blocks but realized we needed to shift to plan B.
Since it was a day suited to indoor-activities, we decided to visit the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville without knowing whether the museum was open or its current exhibitions. It was our lucky day—the museum was open. We shook off our damp umbrellas walked up stairs in the cavernous white entry-way eading to a temporary exhibit hall with a sign Raoul Dufy. Inside was la fee electricite a mammoth painting,624 square meters, floor to ceiling, three walls, with so many intricate details that its hard to imagine how long it took to paint. I stood with my mouth gaping for a while, and then just basked in it’s lovliness.
Below are a few photos taken without flash and including Anna’s shadow.
We also enjoyed the retrospective of Kees Von Dongen, remarkable in its depth. Each salon is devoted to a different period of time and stylistic period of his art. A Dutch rebel, Von Dongen moved to Montmartre in 1898 where his first success was a showing of drawings and a new series of pictures. Through the years, as he developed his talent as a painter, he worked in a neo-impressionism style, portraits and nudes in primitivism, and exotic paintings from travels to Spain and Morocco.
After the museum, the rain had stopped so we walked down George V to the Champs Elysee, strolled down the wide boulevards, and ate lunch at an overpriced outdoor café. We took the metro back to Hotel de Ville and walked over Pont Marie to the Isle Saint Louis to our adorable hotel.
At the end of the day, quote from Van Dongen is on my mind. “Living is the most beautiful picture. The rest is just painting.”