Petit Palais and the Grande Arche

I can now cross two more items off my bucket list, and I am happy to do so – I’m sorry to say this but being a tourist when you live in a city often feels like a chore, and as much as I would love to feel the same zeal I did at the beginning, I just don’t. Shaun and I decided to check out the Petit Palais today, one of Paris’ 2 fine arts museums on Winston Churchill Avenue (off the Champs-Elysees) that were built for the 1900 World Exhibition. While I was disappointed by the overall collection – especially after having to pay 5 Euro for entrance – I was overly impressed with the temporary exhibition on Pierre and Alexandra Boulat, a father and daughter who have both worked tirelessly as photo-journalists. While Pierre Boulat’s photos focused more on daily life, society, and Paris, his daughter’s had a heavy focus on women and on the Middle East. The exhibition alone was worth the entrance fee, and I would highly recommend it.

A table decoration from Louis XV depicting the royal family as monkeys. So accurate.
Had some fun shooting water droplets in the garden of the museum...
One of the beautiful staircases inside the building
One of Pierre Boulat's photographs of Yves Saint Laurent, just before the debut of his first collection
Pierre Boulat's image of Truman Capote, a true American legend


Since we had a little time before our plans for Fajita Night with some other friends, Shaun and I decided to check out la Grande Arche at la Defense (metro line 1). All we knew was that it was a modern interpretation of one of France’s classic arches. It was incredible. It is stunning – in a classy, modern way that is completely surprising and totally unexpected. The skyline was unbelievable – fog hugged the tall, futuristic buildings like a warm blanket, and the grey sky made for the perfect backdrop to the monstrous glass skyscrapers.

La Grande Arche
The view, plus me.
Le Dome, and some other modernistic buildings
The center of the arch

And of course, I couldn’t resist a little sugary goodness:

Yum...a waffle with powdered sugar.

Generally, I think the most interesting part of the day was seeing 2 completely different sides of Paris: nostalgic, old, and beautiful; and modern, industrial, and still beautiful. I often forget that Paris is a modern city – most of the city is so old, and so beautiful in such a uniform way, but seeing la Defense reminded me that France is not just our cliche view of it. It was rather refreshing.


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