Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday 17 December - Musée de Luxembourg and St. Sulpice

It has been raining lightly all day. The Musée de Luxembourg is a small gallery in the Jardins de Luxembourg close to the Senate building. There was an exhibit entitled "Paul Durand-Ruel, the Impressionist gamble,  Manet, Monet, Renoir." All the paintings on display had been bought originally by Paul Durand-Ruel who had an apartment in the rue de Rome. There works by Renoir, Monet, Manet, Camille Pisarro, Gaugin, Degas, Sisley, Rodin, Millet, Courbet and  others, practically all of them new to us  but all familiar by their style. 
Claude Monet Bateaux de Plaisance 1872-3
Camille Pisarro Entree du Village de Voisins 1872
The exhibition was well attended and worthwhile. However, it was quite small and we were left with several hours to kill before a concert at St. Sulpice which is close by.
After chocolate, hot for Mary and ice cream for me, we found out that the Jardins de Luxembourg were closing so we walked around the area in the drizzle. The temperature was about 11C so it was quite pleasant. The wall of the Mines building is heavily pock marked as a result of the fighting to liberate Paris in 1918.
There are several of these stone or concrete table tennis tables in the park close by
We had dinner in the Nostrand a good restaurant overlooking the Jardins de Luxembourg. A bottle of Saumur Champigny helped to pass the time. The place was filled with local people coming in to have an after work drink. One lady arrived in jeans and a sweater, presumably she lived in an apartment above. There was a white cat who had sneaked in and surreptitiously made a nest below a Christmas tree. I took a picture but the waiter noticed it and moved it out. It turns out this is a famous cat. It appears in a recent book about cats of Paris. It is even on the cover. For more information and additional pictures and video click this link 
Roxanne under the Christmas tree
Near St. Sulpice on a wet evening
St. Sulpice earlier in the day.  The forecourt was surprisingly empty.  A large number of pigeons were roosting in the tree to the left.
Radio France were recording a Christmas concert in the church of St. Sulpice. It consisted of three performers, the organ, the baroque Ensemble Sagitarius and the Radio France choir. The organ was a bit spotty and the opening work, Bach's Prelude and fugue BWV 547 was a disappointment. The prelude did not flow. I have heard this piece played better in this particular church. The baroque was done very well although I am not a fan of this genre. The choir was excellent and performed very well. At one point they filed down and sang from both sides of the audience - right next to us. The seats are not comfortable but there was an interval during which hot wine was available. The scent of hot wine permeated the church for the second part. There were slots in the program for the audience to sing. I never thought I would be singing French carols in French in the largest church in Paris.
We were sitting just under the pulpit.  The chairs had been turned around to face the organ.
The program will be broadcast on France Musique on December 24.

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