(click to enlarge) Where we went yesterday: the Fondation Vuitton museum in the Bois de Boulogne, a magnificent, mind-bogglingly interesting building designed by Frank Gehry.
Not easy to get to. Lynn bought tickets online for the navette, the little bus; we took the metro to the Champs-Elysees and stood in the long lineup for the bus. The little busses were ferrying back and forth slowly, so the lineup moved slowly too; we stood for nearly an hour before we got on.
(CORRECTION: Just heard from my friend Juliet, a Canadian who’s lived in Paris for many years. Check out her terrific blog about her travels and life in Paris: https://julietinparis.net/ She wrote:
Getting to the Fondation Vuitton couldn’t be easier! You take the metro (number one line) to Les Sablons and from there it’s a short walk.)
Okay, now we know. Merci, Juliet.
When we got to the Fondation, another very long lineup for tickets to get in. Lynn had been before and never had to line up for bus or tickets. What we hadn’t known but realized then: the huge crowds were because of the special exhibit: the Courtauld Collection, an incredible assemblage of Impressionist paintings, almost all of them by French painters, now housed in London.
After the long wait to get there, I did not want to stand for another hour to get in. Basta. So I said, I’ll go in next time, let’s just admire the building and then walk in the park. I mean, just seeing the structure is breathtaking – like a futuristic ship with metal and glass sails billowing.
To see the other side of the building, we learned we had to pay 5 euros to get into an amusement park area for children; after protesting, I paid it and we went in – and what did we find but the back entrance to the museum, with no lineup at all? So we got in painlessly for an additional 5 euros. USEFUL TOURIST TIP.
The exhibition was so crowded it was hard to see the paintings,
but I shoved myself forward to take this stunning Van Gogh. I’ll go again to the Courtauld next time I’m in London; last time I went, this museum crammed with masterpieces was almost empty.
Gehry’s building is amazing. We climbed to the top with a view of the park and the city; there are nooks everywhere, surprising landings with different kinds of art, huge light-filled gallery spaces with high ceilings – just gorgeous.
We finally went back into the park to stroll and find lunch, ended up surrounded by families near a manège – one of the ubiquitous ornate merry-go-rounds that are in every French town – at a snack bar, resigning ourselves to a dreadful instant lunch. But this is France; we sat outside at a picnic table with, for Madame, a hot corned beef sandwich and for me, spinach and salmon quiche, both delicious, with chunky hand-cut fries, salad, and a half bottle of Merlot. Each. That’s a simple child-oriented picnic lunch for the French.
Madame tossed our little salad.
It was cold – 4 degrees in the morning, just like in Toronto – and continued with a chill wind all day. But eating outside in the sun was wonderful.
The navette back to the Champs, and we strolled along with the massive crowds, Lynn pointing out the smashed glass and boarded up banks caused by the gilets jaunes, who will be out, somewhere, this afternoon. But thousands of people were shopping, buying ridiculously expensive French luxury goods, no problem.
A long walk, popping into bookstores – I bought Educated because I’ve heard nothing but good things about this memoir – until finally I suggested we take the bus home. The busses are slow but just the best way to see Paris. We did a little shop for wine, jam, fruit, cheese.
Do you see what I see? Skippy peanut butter – in a French grocery store! Don’t tell me the world isn’t changing for the better.
Madame made scrambled eggs and creamed spinach, and then we read all evening. Educated is indeed very good.
A perfect day.
PS. Saturday morning – just in from marketing with Lynn. It’s bloody freezing!