Pompidou and Puppy Love
[posted by Amy]
Today was my first (and probably last) trip into Centre Georges Pompidou. This is the colorful "inside out" building that is home to a large collection of modern and contemporary art. We spent most of our time in the Dada exhibit, which thrilled Colin to no end. In fact, after two hours, he was only about a third of the way through the collection! As for me, I made sure to see the urinal ... er, I mean, "fountain" ... and the Mona Lisa with the mustache and beard, which took about 10 minutes. Don't get me wrong -- I like the whole idea of the movement. I just don't care much for row upon row of examples. So, my valuable introspective lesson of the day today is that I appreciate, but don't like, modern and contemporary art in general.
I suspect, however, that old Tristan Tzara would have been proud of my choice for "favorite piece" in the gallery. As pictured to the left, I was particularly fond of the green "flaming wheelchair" signs. OK, I know, they actually mark the emergency exits for handicapped individuals. But you have to admit, it kind of looks like a wheelchair with flames shooting off the back. Bad joke of the day: "Wow, that brings a whole new meaning to 'Chariots of Fire,' doesn't it?"
I decided to refrain from having a caption contest for this particular sign, since I don't want to come across as making fun of the physically handicapped. Actually, I think it's cool that the building's designers thought to incorporate a safe escape for everyone into their plans. Paris itself is not very handicap-friendly overall, but if you can make it to the Pompidou Center, you can enjoy weird art safely.
The bright side to my trip to Pompidou (other than the aforementioned sign) was the view from the tube. While it's not a great place to take pictures of the city, it definitely has a good view. I think this view provided my favorite look at Montmartre and Sacre Coeur to date. I don't think the view is worth the price of admission alone, but it's definitely a great bonus to the visit. Plus, it's a wacky place to take pictures of your friends and family, as evidenced to the right.
This evening, we took Joe, Kate, and Beanie to the Eiffel Tower. Since we had already been up to the tippy top, Colin and I brought Didge along and took a walk while the Webers explored Paris from above. I shot a better video of the Eiffel Tower as it "sparkled" the 9 o'clock hour, which is now uploaded to Youtube. Colin, Didge and I also checked out the view of La Tour Eiffel from the Trocadero, which is on the opposite side from the Parc du Champ de Mars. (A lot of guidebooks say that this is where the money shot of the tower should be taken.) I have to say, I disagree. In terms of a nighttime shot, you just can't beat the view from the park because there are no other distracting lights in the foreground. During the day, Trocadero might win out, but nighttime belongs to the park. The one thing that Trocadero has over Champ de Mars is that you can get better posed pictures with the tower in the background. If you climb up the stairs, the person in your picture can sit on the cement wall and enjoy good lighting from the Trocadero on their face. From the park, you'll be shooting largely in the dark, which would set your flash off brightly and probably wash out the tower in the background.
Since I'm on a recommendation tangent at the moment, I'll throw in another plug for climbing the Arc de Triomphe. I asked Joe and Kate what their favorite view of Paris "from above" was, and Joe named both the Arc de Triomphe and the Centre Pompidou as his two favorites. He ranked them over the Eiffel Tower, largely because he couldn't tell what everything was from the top of the tower. However, Kate said that going all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower is still a "must do" in Paris.
Indeed, there is something romantic about La Tour Eiffel. Even Didge was overcome with love while sitting beneath her this evening:
In case you can't tell, Colin is getting some serious tongue action here. (Or is that necking? I can never keep these things straight.)
I think you can almost hear Colin's "arrrrrrgh!" when you look at this picture. Didge really nailed him.