Paris Focus: Claude Monet’s Water Lilies

This third photo essay about Paris is of the wonderful Water Lily paintings by Monet seen in the Musée de l’Orangerie, Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, France

During the 1920s, the state of France built a pair of oval rooms at the Musée de l’Orangerie as a permanent home for eight water lily murals by Monet.

Outside the museum is the Rodin bronze statue of the ‘Kiss’ (Le Baiser) ‘The Kiss’ was originally inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and depicts two of its characters; Paolo and Francesca. The sculpture is located just outside the entrance to the Orangerie Museum and is adjacent to the Place de la Concorde.

The bronze sculpture of the ‘Lion crushing a Serpent’ is by Antoine-Louis Barye (1796-1875) in the Jardin des Tuileries close to the back of the museum.

“According to Claude Monet’s own suggestion, the eight compositions were set out in the two consecutive oval rooms. These rooms have the advantage of natural light from the roof, and are oriented from west to east, following the course of the sun and one of the main routes through Paris along the Seine. The two ovals evoke the symbol of infinity, whereas the paintings represent the cycle of light throughout the day.”

I don’t quite know what I was expecting to see, but it wasn’t this.

The Water Lilies: The Clouds

The Water Lilies: Morning

“The painter wanted visitors to be able to immerse themselves completely in the painting and to forget about the outside world.”

The Water Lilies: Green Reflections

The Water Lilies: Setting Sun

“The first room brings together four compositions showing the reflections of the sky and the vegetation in the water, from morning to evening, whereas the second room contains a group of paintings with contrasts created by the branches of weeping willow around the water’s edge.”

The Water Lilies: Morning with Willows

The Water Lilies: Clear Morning with Willows

The Water Lilies: Trees Reflections

The Water Lilies: The Two Willows appears in the header image.

A tip: if you want to visit this museum and Musée d’Orsay, buy your joint ticket here to avoid the usual long queues at the other one.

Source: Musée de l’Orangerie

~wander.essence~  Photography

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Paris Focus: Rue Mouffetard

The second post about Paris is a photo essay of the food market and shops along the Rue  Mouffetard in Paris, France

Every thing you need for your kitchen can be found along this street from basic foodstuffs like bread, cheese, fruit and vegetables to flowers, wine, useful household goods and the aesthetic details like the beautiful lavender inspired napkins and tablecloths.

Not to mention ice cream.

~wander.essence~  Photography

A Small World

This happened 40 years ago, but has always stuck in my memory.

I settled into my seat with a sigh of relief. My young son curled up on the seat beside me, peering out of the grimy window. My partner was sitting behind me, asleep already, with my two-year old daughter beside him. At last I could relax from the horrendous 4 day train journey we had just undertaken from Tunis to Casablanca. I was tired of being molested by Algerian men who thought nothing of putting their hands on my thighs or brushing against my breasts despite the fact that I was travelling with my partner and with two very small children. It made no difference to them. I was not a person with feelings, I was an object of desire.

Then from behind came a hand on my shoulder. My own hand formed a fist – I was in no mood for any more physical contact. Before I could turn around I heard someone exclaim my name. As I turned my head, a face I instantly recognised appeared before me – my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Merv from Bradford, England. I gasped, and stood up to hug him tightly. How could this even be possible? The last I had heard of him, he was in Melbourne, Australia. The last he had heard from me, I was in Johannesburg and married to an Englishman. That was two years ago. A lot had happened since.

As the bus from Casablanca to Tangiers began to shakily move off, we stood looking at each other with huge wide grins on our faces – what a serendipitous moment!

~wander.essence~  On Journey

On Journey

Trees of burnished copper and gold,
smoky purple canopies
and twiggy red limbs
Line the A30 heading east.
The “Welcome Home” copse on the hill,
stands guard on entry to Cornwall.
But I am going the other way
No time to stop for a photo today.
Flocks of Starlings rising like a speech bubble
From the farmers’ fields
Into the watered silk sky
before falling back down again.
And pretty roe deer feed by the side of the road.
Sheep. So many sheep. And even lambs in Devon.
Dartmoor rises like a humped backed whale
On my right.
Signs to the Pathfinder Village on my left.
Where one of the three speed cameras lies.
I slow, although I am not speeding.
The sight of the arched blue bridge
Over the motorway,
Means I can pick up more speed.
More cars mean more concentration
On the road.
Keep your distance
Stay two chevrons apart.
A phallic symbol rears up from behind the Mendip hills.
Closer by an ancient water tower squats.
Leaving Bristol behind I can relax
And admire the green valley with its low-lying mist,
or the River Avon full to the brim,
flood meadow not yet  flooded.
It won’t be long.
So many articulated lorries headed for Birmingham,
Manchester and the North.
I am glad to reach the Worcester turn off
Where the Malvern Hills look malevolent
as they crouch like a sleeping dragon
on the horizon.
The low slung sun dips in and out behind black clouds
And blinds me on the summits
as I try to avoid the potholes at the side of the road.
Welcome to Herefordshire
You Can.
Can what?
There is the Clee Hill, once a welcoming sight
As I headed home to lovely Ludlow.
Now, its peak shrouded in cloud as I pass it by,
still keeping watch over the medieval town.
Finally the Shropshire Hills.
The Longmynd, Caradoc, Ragleth Hill
loom in the background.
I have arrived.
5 hours later.

~wander.essence~ On Journey/Poetry

No Problem

Another late night shift at the restaurant where I worked had come to an end. The books were balanced and I was ready to go home when Mike, a waiter I was friendly with, asked me if I’d like to go to Joseph’s place with a couple of other colleagues for a few drinks. Joseph was a barman and a really kind person, often giving me a lift back to my bedsit after my shift as he hated the idea of me walking home on my own in the early hours. Being a newcomer I was more than happy to accept the invitation just so long as I could get a lift home afterwards. No problem.

An hour later we were in Joseph’s tiny, but cosy, kitchen in the southern suburbs sharing a few cans and a pretty decent Malay curry and laughing and chatting and exchanging stories and jokes. The atmosphere changed abruptly when there was a knock at the door. It was 2 am. Mike looked up at Joseph and raised his eyebrows questioningly. Joseph shrugged his shoulders and made his way to the front door. Whilst he was gone Mike told me to keep quiet and let him do any talking. I asked him what was the problem.

The date, 1974, was the problem. The country we were living in was the problem.The fact that Mike and I were ‘white’ was the problem. The fact that Joseph was a ‘Cape Coloured’ was the problem. The fact that we were in a designated ‘coloured’ part of Cape Town was the problem and visiting a house that by law Mike and I were not allowed to be in was the problem.

What would have happened to me had that knock at the door belonged to the security police I will never know. Thankfully it was a neighbour who had seen the lights on and who wanted to join the party.

No problem.

~wander.essence~ Prose