Friday, January 13, 2012

If I were in Paris... Friday, January 13, 2012

Of course, if you're a Friday the 13th-a-phobe, you'd stay home. Or maybe because the weather is only a cloudy 46 degrees. Brr...

This might be a good day to visit the newly refangled Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature, the Museum of Hunting and Nature. This is one I've never visited, but it is in the rue des Archives, in the Hotel de Guenegaud. The museum is not far from the Place des Vosges (another reason to go!) and is housed in two 17th & 18th-century aristocratic homes, preserved for this museum.  One houses the hunting part of the museum, and the other, the celebration of animals in nature. Paintings, tapestries, sculptures, and the various tools and equipment of hunting and animal preservation are presented; during the 16th through 18th centuries, hunting wasn't just a royal sport, it was one way that humans interacted with nature, where the preservation of the landscape, the forests and wild parts of "civilized" estates was key.

Currently there is a rather subversive exhibition by Francoise Petrovich, where she has placed her scupltures in rather irreverent juxtaposition to the art and implements of the hunt. Comic and controversial, the exhibition continues until January 22.

You can follow up by tucking into a nice cafe meal of lapin aux lentils.

Or at the Petit Palais, the final days of an exhibition about La Comedie Francaise, showing the company's treasures from close to 338 years... since the 1673 formation of the troupe after Moliere's death. The show includes paintings, sculptures, archival documents, stage settings (in miniature), and other objects from the company, actors, actresses, directors, playwrights, and designers.

And, at the Musee Balzac, is an exhibition dedicated to "la grisette," a female figure of the early 19th century, the dressmaker, seamstress, and servant. One hundred works--visual and literary--are part of this exhibition on the young, working class female professional... and her life, personal and professional, between 1815 and 1850, as Balzac's world embraced her.

If that doesn't appeal to you, you can take the Metro to the 18th and see Kathputli, dancers and marionettes from Rajasthan. This traditional Indian dance art--combining live dancers but focusing on puppets--is rarely seen by Americans. On Fridays, starting tonight until the end of the month, the show runs two hours from 7-9 pm.

Or, at the Odeon, one can see one of the great 19th-century French classics, La Dame aux camelias, orignally written by Alexandre Dumas and starring Jeanne Balibar, the French actress and singer. According to the description, this is a bit of a deconstruction of the original play, ironic rather than romantic, perhaps verging toward the notion of 19th-century realism rather than melodrama... which is where the play (and later film) have come to reside. This might be a very good twist on the rather dated (and puritanical) classic version.

Personally, I'd include a visit to Angelique for some cocoa--simply to warm my bones!

1 comment:

  1. I hope you meant Angelina's, since when I'm in Paris, that where I go for hot chocolate. And I wish I had read this last week, when I was in Paris. Good suggestions!

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