Friday, July 1, 2011

Stops Along the Way

Since I've arrived in Paris, I have proven myself completely unable to get to a destination without getting distracted.  In addition to being a great way to see the city, the fact that I am perpetually tacking on kilometers to otherwise short trips has done much to offset the quantities of wine, bread, and cheese I've consumed.  One time, I left to get a baguette, and ended up here:
Hôtel de Ville.  It is very nice, but they don't have bread.
More recently, I decided to take my first stab at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, where I will eventually be spending much of my time.  That went ok.  Much more interesting is what I stumbled upon on the way.
Rocking some bling at the Jardin de l'Arsenal.
Walking around the city, I find myself constantly jostling for space, then will suddenly find myself almost completely alone.  On my way to the Bibliothèque, I wandered into the Jardin de l'Arsenal, which was practically empty, except for a few stray couples strolling or sitting on park benches, and this lovely little sculpture in a corner filled with pale pink roses.  Since I am continuously wearing Peace Love Bling pearls, I figure it would be rude not to share them.
Monument to Barye.
A previous post has revealed my unabashed love for Barye, the so-called Michelangelo of the Menagerie.  Turns out I'm not the only one to love him, as he has a nice little park named for him.  Square Barye juts out into the Seine, on the triangular, easternmost point of the Ile Saint-Louis.  The few Barye original works to have been initially installed en plein air have since been removed, but this monument is crowned by a 20th-century cast of one of Barye's more famous works.

At the bottom of the Monument to Rimbaud.
I am consistently drawn to sculptures, both by affinity and for my work, so I spend much of my time looking at monuments--big, important, commissioned stuff.  On this walk alone, I came across an equestrian of Louis XIII, a monument to Beaumarchais, some sculptures by Emmanuel Frémiet in the Jardin des Plantes, and a surprise Delacroix painting tucked away in Eglise St. Paul St. Louis (not a sculpture, but certainly monumental).   But the city is full of little things too--tiny gems that are easy to miss, transient events that slip away as soon as you notice them, graffiti that might disappear at any moment.  I like the graffiti.  In a city like Paris, where it is easy to get overwhelmed by the richness and density of just being there, the graffiti seems like a quiet, contemporary voice inserted into the cacophony of the city's long history.

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