After this yummy start of the day, we walked to the Pinacotheque de Paris in Place de la Madeleine. The exhibition was the first retrospective about Art Nouveau, since 1960. You had everything from jewelry to furniture to posters. Art Nouveau is a movement that was theorized and practiced starting the late XIX century. It’s characterized by curvy lines and arabesques, or as some would say “noodle style”. They basically saw art everywhere: in life and everything else. The movement was a response to classicism and the industrializing society. With Tiffany in the USA, Jugenstile in Germany, Sezzessionist in Austria or Neue Kunst in Holland really goes to show how international the movement was. The first application of Art Nouveau was in 1893, by Victor Horta on the Hotel Tassel. Those who criticized (marxist, amongst others) the movement claimed it was noodle arabesques, which they found intolerable.
I have minimalist taste, so Art Nouveau is not really “my thing”, but when you put it in context (like most art movement), how it broke away from the previous movement and the current state of the society, you can’t help but feel moved. You sway along the lines whereas the colors make you feel youthful and glorious.
It was forbidden to take pictures, but I will post some of the works that were exhibited.
My sister, being the New Yorker she is, insisting on having brunch in Paris. Being the good sister that I am, I went along with her plan. She heard about this bakery/restaurant, Bread and Roses. So yeah, if you are in Paris, I urge you to try it! The bread is moist and the right amount of chewy/crunchy! The strawberry jam tasted fresh, I like to have chunks of real strawberries in my jam, that’s how you know it’s “authentic”.
Bread, jam and croissant.
René Lalique. Boucle de ceinture, c. 1900. Argent, or et émail. Collection Robert Zehil, Monte Carlo, Monaco. © Robert Zehil, Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Paul Berthon (1872-1909)
Because it’s Paris, we walked some more afterwards, going back to St Germain-des-Pres. If there’s one thing my sister and I love to do in Paris it’s visit Le Bon Marche. This luxury shop of food, fashion and furniture. Because it’s a luxury shop, extra attention is given to product design, and it turns into a museum of beautiful things, or food. And, because we have almost nothing in Lebanon (we don’t sorry), we discover new products we’ve never even heard of! Red fruits mustard, Eggplant caviar with caramel, walnut vinegar…