Our last week with Abigail was filled with long days and trips to exciting places. Despite the heat and constant walking we managed to keep up and stay conscious for class time, in addition to spending as much of our afternoons and evenings together as possible. On Monday we spent the day trekking between the many covered passages, or arcades, near the Opera area (think Nichols Arcade in Ann Arbor). It was nice to get out of the sun and even better to experience the shopping culture of the 19th century.
Tuesday we spent the day in Giverny, aka Claude Monet's country home. Obviously we were all thrilled to see where Monet lived, worked, and hosted other cool important people. Once again it was VERY warm, which despite the discomfort was preferable to rain because so much of the good stuff at Giverny is outside. Inside his house the walls were filled with Japanese prints, a few small paintings, and collections of things like porcelaine plates or vases. We hurried out of the house however, so that we could get another look at the garden out front and, more importantly, locate the lily pond. Everything was beautiful and I kept having those "Monet PAINTED HERE" moments.
The next day we made our last trip through the Musee d'Orsay (though not my last) and then quickly hopped in another bus to make our way out to the Barbizon School. The first thing we did was head into the Barbizon forest where realist painters like Millet and Courbet would go to paint landscapes and physically be out in nature. You could see why these artists would choose to work there, the light, the trees, the rocks, it all fell together naturally to form such beautiful scenes.
After that we visited Millet's studio which now exhibits some of the work, primarily Millet's, created in and around the Barbizon forest.
Thursday we began with a guest lecturer at the Musee des Annees 30 (Museum of the 1930s) where we got to see some really cool 20th century art, appliances, and furniture.
After that we met Abigail at the Petit Palais to jump back and view their collection of 18th and 19th century French art. The juxtaposition between the art nuveau of the morning and the work at the Petit Palais was fantastic.
Friday was our final day with each other, our professor, and our lovely in country organizer, Judith. We started the day at the Musee d'Art Moderne which was essentially just a wandering exploration of the museum since Abigail knew very little about the art. We did however begin with the Dahn Vo show as a group and got to see some really interesting pieces relating to Vietnam, America, and McNamara.
Next was a heaping plate of curried vegetables with a bowl of couscous and peas.
And finally a citron cheesecake with strawberry sorbet. Needless to say I've never felt more full nor more happy. I think Abigail was secretly trying to stuff us to the point of euphoria so that we wouldn't all start crying when we had to say goodbye (tears were shed anyway).
We finished up our time together with a relatively spontaneous trip to the pompidou center. Even if we barely covered contemporary art in our program, we all still wanted to go to spend a little extra time together and have a chance to listen to one last lecture.
I'm so thankful for the time I got to spend here and especially for the people I got to spend that time with. I've been given so many amazing, mind blowing opportunities while I've been here and I wouldn't want to have spent my summer any other way.