April Fools an Hour and Some Odd Minutes Early

French Word(s) of the Day: imbéciles d’avril (awm-bay-seal dav-real)- April Fools

April Fools Day is not my thing.  I’m not good at thinking up pranks that aren’t illegal.  And if they were legal, I’m afraid to do them to someone for fear of retaliation.  I’m like the French: I surrender quickly.

But today shall be different.  I’m celebrating April Fools!  (Like an hour early.  Unless you’re actually in Paris right now, then I’m right on time!)

I’m going to probably be dragging out this Paris trip for the next year, but you don’t want me recounting my days.  All I do on a daily basis is work and watch episodes of Parks and Recreation.  Trust me, it’s better this way.

Sam showed us a taxidermist in Paris, only he wasn’t your typical “here’s your dead cat in his favorite position” type of guy.  Oh no.  He was an ARTIST.

If by artist I mean someone who takes the carcass of one dead animal and attaches it to another dead animal.

Oh yeah, he went there (if you please excuse the fact that these were obviously taken by an amateur who can’t deal with glass windows):

Winged Monkey Tortoise squirrel

Because of the winged monkey, I’m guessing he’s a Wizard of Oz fan.  I don’t know what the tortoise-shelled chipmunk looking longingly at a beetle would make him, but I’m going to go with “eccentric.”

These can be yours for over 100 euro!  I know, they’re a steal.  What?  You’re not interested?!

Ah what fools these mortals be.

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Love the Louvre

French Word of the Day: fatigue (fah-tea-gay)- tired

I hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day.  I spent mine filing my taxes. (I can hear you all swooning at how romantic that is.)  It was true romance between Uncle Sam and me.  I wanted to leave him, but he told me that I couldn’t because he needed me [to give him even more money].

Valentine’s Day posts have become my grand tradition, mainly because “sparkly love hearts” is the most common term used to find this blog.  I even had someone search that term in Arabic.

For all you sparkly lovers out there, here you go:

sparly love heart

For my follow French enthusiasts, it’s Louvre time.

These Roman bros are just as excited as you are.  Check out the fist pumps:

Roman Bros

We’d had a late night before the Louvre, so we were not as awake as the above gentlemen.  We were channeling this statue:

Naked Statue

The people next to it are incredibly unimpressed.

Really, people just weren’t that interested in the art that day.

Check out the Mona Lisa.  Or don't.

I mean, that’s the Mona Lisa, and only about 5 people are paying attention to her.

I hope you all enjoy her huge wall.  It’s a such a big wall for such a small painting.  She also gets her own security guards.  She is truly the Beyonce of paintings.

But what about the other side of the wall, you ask?  You’ve always secretly wondered what was on the other side of that ridiculously large wall.  Well, I’m here to show you!

Titien "Portrait D'Homme"

Look how depressed Titien’s L’Homme au Gant looks (translation: Man with a Glove. Painters are super creative with names).  He knows nobody’s here to see him.  They’re all about Mona.  He’s so sad that he can’t even put on both of his gloves.  I mean, he doesn’t get security guards or a bullet-proof glass case.  What does a guy have to do to get some credit around here, anyway?

The Winged Victory was out for renovations, but we did get some Venus de Milo action.

Venus de Milo

The man behind me pushed me while I was taking this and then cut in front of me, so you will have to resort to Google to get a better view.

Don’t worry; karma got him in the form of a group of school children.

Sam and I managed to get everyone lost in the museum.  To be fair, many of the staircases are closed off for no apparent reason.  On the maps of the Louvre, it looks like there are stairs up ahead, but it generally turns out to be a wall that says “Do not enter.”  The museum’s cartographer is playing a cruel, cruel trick on all of the tourists.  Or developing the world’s best maze.

It took us 45 minutes to find an exit.  That’s potentially a problem if there’s ever a fire.  Not they ever have to worry about that; it’s not like paintings are flammable or anything.

But enough about fire hazards; this is a Valentine’s Day post.  I’m ending it with some lovers.

Painting Flirtations

Proof that musicians have been kryptonite for women for all time.

But let’s go for some real love action here.  Cupid is the reason for the season (or a guy who got killed because he was helping people get married- same thing).  Here’s the master of love with his lady love:

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss

Love to everyone!

A Bunch of Dead People

French Word(s) of the Day: pierre tombale (pee-air tum-ball)- tombstone

Strangely enough, we spent a lot of time in cemeteries checking out the gravestones.

People would flock to Oscar Wilde’s grave to kiss it (while wearing lipstick so it would show, of course). Apparently someone didn’t like that, because a plastic wall has been placed around it since the last time I was there.

Oscar Wilde

Not that it stopped anyone.  His wasn’t the only tombstone with a sign of fans.

We had no idea why everyone was placing Metro tickets on Proust’s grave.

Proust

Other people thought we knew where everyone was, so they would stop at whatever grave we stood by.  Jokes on them that not everyone we stopped by was famous!

Not that it mattered.  We had someone ask us who Chopin was.

Jim Morrison Chopin BalzacSerge Gainsbourg

Parisian gravestones also go for a bit more of an artsy look.  Here were my two favorites:

Man coming out of a graveCats

Ricardo loooooooooved his cats.

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre Cemetary

The French get creative on their stones, but this tombstone intrigued us the most:

Fortune Teller

How does Christophe know?!?!?!

That’s the puzzle I leave you with today.

My Main Man, Monet

French Word(s) of the Day: les nymphéas (lay nym-fay-ah)- the waterlilies

My friend, Jenna, is currently a student at the Art Institute of Chicago which means she can get me into the museum for free.  As many of you know, this is my favorite price.

Claude Monet is my absolute favorite painter of all time.  (In case you couldn’t tell from my Giverny post.)  I see his work and it makes me feel happy inside.  Impressionism can do that to a girl.

The Art Institute has one of the largest collections of Impressionism in the world courtesy of Mrs. Bertha Palmer.  I’m going to feed into a rumor here, and imply that she might have been under the influence of alcohol/ drugs when she bought many of these.  (I’ve no idea if that’s true, but if she was alive now the tabloids would be all over that.)

Bertha Palmer, Source: Wikipedia

No one can resist a few painting photos, so without further ado here’s some Monet:

This painting I did not previous know existed is of my beloved train station in Paris, Saint Lazare.  I lived right next to it for a year and a half.  I assume he painted this just for me.

If anyone has any suggestions on where to find prints of these paintings, please share!