From Picasso to Pompidou

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GETTING AROUND BY MOTORCYCLE IS VERY POPULAR IN PARIS

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We finished our lunch and headed to the last two museums of our trip.  We were on the 5th day of our 6 day Paris Pass, but the following day was going to be a Monday which meant many museums were closed and we wanted some variety in our schedule.  It truly didn’t matter.  By the time we finished at Pompidou, we had seen 14 attractions using the pass (over 5 days) … and saved a bundle.    The afternoon plan was to do a quick browse through the National Picasso Museum, and then have a relaxing late afternoon at the Centre Pompidou looking at their contemporary art collection.    As we strolled through the Marais, we noted how many people ride motorcycles in Paris.

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THE CENTRAL STAIRS OF THE NATIONAL PICASSO MUSEUM ARE ELEGANT

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On a sunny Sunday afternoon, there was a fair line up to get into Picasso museum.  Of course there was the usual security screening, but after that, our pass put us in a line-up that alternated with patrons who had purchased timed tickets.  It took us about 30 minutes to gain access to the collections.  This museum is one of several Picasso museums around the world, and while the collections are extensive, many of the most famous pieces of work are scattered in major museums elsewhere.  In a way, it is fascinating to see some of Picasso’s lesser known work.

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SOME OF THESE WORKS ARE BY PICASSO, SOME ARE BY GIACOMMETI

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The museum featured an exhibit comparing the work of Giacometti and Picasso.  While it is true that some of the subject matter was the same, the two artists never met. The exhibit clearly identified that although they were aware of each other, it is unlikely they were an artistic influence on one another.  It was a strange exhibit, but still filled with interesting sculptures and paintings.

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PICASSO SEEMED TO HAVE A PASSION FOR GOATS

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OTHER IMAGES FEATURED BRILLIANT COLOURS IN SHAPES THAT LEAD THE EYE MANY DIRECTIONS AT ONCE

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THIS PIECE FASCINATED US … IT WAS CREDITED TO … UNKNOWN … WE’RE STILL NOT SURE WHY IT WAS IN THE PICASSO MUSEUM

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To be truthful, while the collections were interesting, our overall experience of the museum was underwhelming.  Unlike the Musee Rodin with its signature pieces, its lovely gardens and the house in its natural form, the National Picasso Museum feels much more like walking into a gallery building with a lot of white walls and a lot of art.  The labeling of the artwork was confusing and often the text connecting the works was vague and didn’t truly identify the significance of the work.  Thus … the pieces above I have left unlabeled, for we couldn’t find appropriate labels with dates to tag them.  We lasted about 60 minutes … admiring the work, but not particularly finding the building stimulating We headed back out onto the streets.  Perhaps we had reached our museum limit for the trip… or perhaps not.

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ART CAN BE FOUND IN THE STREETS AS WELL

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As we headed towards Centre Pompidou we noticed the above piece painted on a wall.  It is by the artist known only as EZK, and is part of the Art Against Poverty campaign, pairing a picture of an imporverished child against an image of a wealthy company;  in this case Vuitton.  The phrase beside it translates to “In What World Vuitton?” identifying that while companies charge huge prices for luxury items, children in other countries are often making the products for slave wages.

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A SUNDAY STROLL TO CENTRE POMPIDOU

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The weather was ideal, and we were looking forward to our late afternoon gallery stroll.  Centre Pompidou has a large square outside that is filled with buskers.  On the afternoon we were there, a didgeridoo player was entertaining the crowds and a dance troupe was asking for volunteers from the audience.  There was a long line to go through security but it was sunny and warm and the line moved quickly.  We joined the end of the line and were through the doors in 30 minutes.  The galleries were open until 9 PM and we were in no rush.

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paris-2016-984 CENTRE POMPIDOU HAS A MODERN EXTERIOR WITH ESCALATORS THAT TAKE VISITORS UP THE OUTSIDE OF THE BUILDING IN GLASS TUBES

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As we entered the main foyer, we oriented ourselves to the galleries.  On the very top floor is a restaurant called Georges that charges an immense fee which is somewhat mitigated by the views and the wait staff, who to our eye, all seemed to have been hired from a modeling agency.  The 5th and 4th floors of the museum have large collections of modern art, and then there is a special collections area which on this particular day was hosting a Magritte exhibit.  We decided to take a pass on the special exhibit due to the lateness of the afternoon (and the line-ups) but decided we would pay the price and enjoy a dessert and coffee at the top of Pompidou on the outside terrace of Georges before seeing more art.

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THE INSIDE OF GEORGES IS STRANGE AND EXOTIC AND EVERY TABLE HAS A REAL LONG-STEMMED ROSE IN A VASE

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THE MALE WAITERS ARE DRESSED IN TUXEDOS AND FEMALE SERVERS IN SWEATER DRESSES … THEY ALL LOOK LIKE MODELS

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THE VIEWS OF PARIS ARE LOVELY FROM GEORGES

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For two coffees and two desserts (which were delicious, but ridiculously overpriced … and we knew it when we sat down, and treated ourselves anyway) it was 40 Euros.  There is a much cheaper cafe on the 2nd floor above the main atrium, but once in a while on holidays, you simply say … let’s do this … and now we can say we have dined at Georges.

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THIS SALVADOR DALI PIECE WAS INTRIGUING.  IT IS CALLED (IN ENGLISH) PARTIAL HALLUCINATION.  SIX IMAGES OF LENIN ON A PIANO

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We loved the collections at Centre Pompidou.  The work was varied, vibrant, encompassed sculpture, painting, mixed-media … all of it with amazing stories contained in the work.  We stayed for 3 hours but would definitely go back and explore more on another trip.

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THE SCULPTURE COURT ON THE 5TH FLOOR

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PETE LOVED THIS JEAN DUBUFFET PAINTING

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THIS WORK LOOKED LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF A TIM BURTON MOVIE

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A GIACOMETTI ON A GRAND SCALE, LIT SO THE SHADOW GIVES BODY TO THE WORK

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CREEPY VENTRILOQUIST DUMMIES OF FAMOUS PEOPLE.  YES THAT IS YOKO ONO ON THE FAR RIGHT

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THIS SONIA DELAUNAY PAINTING HAD VIBRANT COLOURS

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EVEN THE VIEWS OUT THE WINDOWS WERE LIKE LIVING ART WORKS

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I could post a lot more pictures, but it was time to make our way back to our hotel.  We were so glad we finished the museums of Paris with Centre Pompidou.  We enjoyed a slow stroll through the Marais and went home for a rest, and then enjoyed a light meal at a cafe in Montmartre.

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THE MARAIS IS FILLED WITH CLUBS AND RESTAURANTS ON NARROW STREETS

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Tomorrow … a trip on a high speed train to Mont-Saint-Michel

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Fenton & White (or in this case … White & Fenton)

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