Paris, Je T’Aime ~ Midsummer Dream
By Marina Rybak
I have been in love with Paris as long as I can remember. Being here is a wish come true, and in July the city, minus a few locals, is as spellbinding as ever.
The trade fairs are over, but while stepping away from the trend forums, why leave the city? The month is bookmarked by two quintessentially French events, steeped in pride and pageantry. What is left in between is an abundant cultural overload for personal picking and choosing.
La Fête Nationale or Le Quatorze Juillet ((the fourteenth of July) celebrates the storming of the Bastille. The festivities of Bastille Day, as known to an English speaker, commence with plenty of pomp and circumstance around the Champs-Elysées, culminating with fireworks spectacular.
The final day of Le Tour de France on July 21 promises to be exhilarating, especially this year, the 100th anniversary of this prestigious competition. It is worth staying on at least until then and witness history in the making around the Arc de Triomphe.
There are few “first of its kind” exhibits not to be missed; some are on the tail end of their run:
Behind the Seams: An Indiscreet Look at the Mechanics of Fashion is on view through November 24. This “Vanity Fair” in its own right is an absolute must-see new lingerie exhibit at Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Dating back to the 14th century more than 200 historical items from public and private collections are on display. The structured objects and devices, which encaged and manipulated a human form, reveal society’s aspirations and changing tastes in the pursuit of the physical ideal. Both women and men utilized these, sometimes-torturous tools of the trade to achieve the artifice of perfection. Also on view are contemporary designers examples of the “art of restraint” – whimsical, light-hearted, and thankfully less serious. Thankfully, one can exhale now without smelling salts.
Murano: Masterpieces in Glass from the Renaissance to the 21st Century is on view at Musée Maillol through July 28. In France for the first time, this major exhibition reflects on the beauty and grandeur of the delicate art form. Recently I met the great Seguso, the glass artist from one of the ancient Murano dynasties. I feel I am a Venetian now, just by association.
I would not omit sublime Marie Laurencin’s first French retrospective at Musée Marmottan Monet. The exhibit is extended till July 21. An important 20th century artist, she is one of my favorites. I adore her effervescent, dreamy color palette, brush stroke technique, the dominance of grays and the deep dark watery eyes of her subjects. I feel I am floating in the clouds when I immerse in her paintings.
And there is no activity more inspirational than the art of doing nothing.
I love to escape into a lazy world of simple pleasures – a morning stroll in Jardin du Luxemburg with a quick pause at the monument of Eugène Delacroix, then descend down rue Bonaparte to the cooling fountain on the tree-shaded Place St. Sulpice.
I will cross the Seine to the Ile St. Louis for a chilling scoop of Berthillon ice cream; and then heading towards Place des Vosges in the Marais where on the midsummer day time stands still… I am very close to heaven.