It is a sad state of affairs that is highlighted as one walks into the Paris Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme: bullet-proof glass, a metal detector, and multiple locked doors to pass through.
At the extensive Pompidou Center, AM was delighted to discover two exciting and previously unknown artists, Simon Hantaï (an abstract expressionist type who folded his canvasses before painting them, and then opened them up, and/or wrote in small, minute detail over a period of a year on a single canvas), and Kupka (whose work is significantly earlier and whose colors and abstractions are particularly striking).
AM was especially interested in seeing the Dada collection, and MM discovered Picabia’s vast ouvré. Duchamp/R. Mutt’s urinal, sadly, was not on display, but many other interesting pieces and small press goodies were. We both admired the Chagalls, of course, and we argued a bit (an old argument) about Pollock.
MM was thrilled to see Matisse’s woman in a “Romanian Blouse.” But in the end it was too much: we didn’t even make it beyond WWII to the provocative contemporary art on the next floor. More photos here.
We both adhered to the traveler’s principle of packing light, but since a week has transpired, it was time to do our laundry. The hotel was willing to oblige and we, being naïve, decided it might be expensive but worth the extra expense. At the last minute, however, AM receive a price list and we discovered that the cost of laundering would amount to twice the cost of the goods we had to launder. It was MM who suggested we hit the internet, and with the help of someone’s online finding-a-laundry-in-Paris how-to (since misplaced, sadly), AM was able to locate a wash-and-fold service within five blocks of the hotel.
The owner, Claude, was bemused that two guests from the Royal St. Michel (with that name, perhaps he thought it was a 5-star hotel) would walk five blocks to his small shop, but the price was much better and we left our one-load bag with him and in broken French/English arranged to pick it up in the evening–much better than hassling with our hotel’s exorbitant itemized laundry list.
Anybody who’s spoken with us about this trip knows how excited we were to take the new, improved bullet train, the TGV; MM had even brought along a recent article from The Economist on the network throughout France and connected countries and the European goal to have train travel be competitive rival to the airline industry. You can imagine our excitement at seeing the comfortable and arty seats–and our distress at discovering that the ones we’d been assigned would face backwards.
Our evening was spent back in Basel, as we’ll be taking the bullet train to Paris in the morning. Since we only caught a few glimpses the other day on the way to and fro the Tinguely Museum, we were lucky to discover, through a leisurely (and increasingly desperately hungry) stroll through the old town and on the banks of the Rhein, that Basel is a beautifully laid-out city with understated but elegant residential buildings, verdant parks, an ageless church, and a lively quay and river life.
We’ve said goodbye to OH in Weggis (which we’ve learned, by the way, does NOT sound like Vegas–at least not if you want a local to understand you), and an early ferry to Luzern and then the train to Basel acted as portals into the French wine country. First, however, we had to walk to France: