Peering out the window this morning, to see a sea of umbrellas, it helped me to decide what to do. A combination of a rainy day and running out of time prompted me to visit a temporary exhibition.
I try to save museum visiting for rainy days or nights if I can. Most museums have at least one night where they stay open late. If you plan it well you can spend the days out and about and the evening, or if it decides to rain, indoors.
Considering that I always visit Paris in the winter, this plan has worked well for me. If it rains, you will generally find me in a museum. Rather than soldiering on with the days plans, I adjust to suit the weather.
It has rained on and off during my stay but not enough to need to escape the streets.
Palais Galliera has either not had an exhibition that I was interested in or was closed due to renovations. The giant advertising placards in the metro stations screaming Alaïa had me keen to visit the museum that concentrates on fashion and fashion history.
Alaïa the short statured, unassuming Tunisian born son of wheat farmers graduated as a sculpture student and moved to Paris in 1957. He worked for Christian Dior, Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler before setting up his own atelier by the late 70’s.
For 20 years, in his tiny workshop, he privately dressed women of high society in his finest creations including Marie-Hélène de Rothschild and Greta Garbo.
By the 80’s his prêt-à-porter , ready to wear garments were making a huge sensation, so much so when he won Best Designer of the Year and Best collection of the Year at the Oscars de la Mode by the French Ministry of Culture in 1984, the singer Grace Jones carried him on stage!
Tina Turner, Raquel Welch, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Naomi Campbell, Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama are all fans of his sensuous, draping, perfectly styled and designed works of art.
The quiet darkened rooms full of absolutely stunning pieces of fashion pulled in crowds of not just young women, but stylish older French women with their husbands, noting every pleat and exquisite detail. Design students quietly sketched and small groups of young children were lead around by a very funky looking woman, trying to control their glee when they spotted a long slender dress that appealed to them. No wonder French women always look great, they teach them young!
Leaving the gorgeous Palais Galliera, slightly disappointed that I couldn’t take some photos to add to my blog, although I was very tempted when the security guard was distracted and the crocodile skin waistcoat was begging for me to take a photo, I couldn’t drum up the nerve.
I understood the sign to read that the exhibition continues over the road. Maybe I understood incorrectly.
Over the road is the free Musée d’Art Moderne, I have visited it before and although it is good, I didn’t want to go again.
Stepping outside the Eiffel Tower’s peak was covered in cloud and it was raining.
In order to take shelter, until I decided what to do next, I ventured over the road.
To my surprise I had read the sign correctly more gorgeousness was awaiting.
Within the warmth of the museum and a bird’s eye view of the Eiffel Tower from the windows, I decided to stay a bit longer and re-visit the museum.
The permanent artwork had changed a bit since I was there last, so it was worth the visit.
Being so close to the Eiffel Tower was tempting me to get closer but to brave the cold and the rain dulled my motivation. Stepping out of the museum as luck would have it, it merely drizzled from time to time. Eiffel Tower here I come.
Although the Eiffel Tower pops up unexpectedly from time to time and gives me a thrill and encourages me to pull out the camera, I rarely get up close and personal, unless I am showing someone around Paris.
Since my 25-30 visits to Paris, I have never climbed to the top.
It’s a long story and I won’t bore you with the details.
However I was curious to see the Wall for Peace. It was installed in the year 2000 and how I have come to miss it is probably due to me not visiting the Eiffel Tower from the direction of Ecole Militaire, the Military School of Paris.
Trudging along, under the Eiffel Tower, passing the lines of tourists who were waiting to go up to the summit, I wondered if they had considered how much they would actually see with the cloudy misty day.
The rain had started again, the mud from the pathways was catching on the bottom of my coat and licking up my stockinged legs, which was not pleasant and the light was fading.
The light was fading …. that could only mean one thing. Soon she, the Eiffel Tower would transform from a dark brown silhouette against the menacing dull cloudy sky into a golden tower.
Rain and mud or not, I quickened my pace, I wanted to be at the Wall For Peace at that moment.
Glancing behind, to make sure that the lights hadn’t come on, I couldn’t resist another shot.
Juggling with my lime green umbrella and in an effort not to get the camera wet, I snapped up a few quick shots.
Keep moving, I tried to tell myself or you will miss it.
Suddenly amidst my trudging, the realisation hit me, and my heart sank.
I still don’t have an attachment for my tripod, therefore no tripod shots.
It will be too dark anyway, I muttered under my breath, but I trudged on.
Arriving at the Wall of Peace, the street lights had flickered on but not the tower.
Thinking it must almost be time but of course others had the same idea and placed themselves directly in front of ‘my’ shot. How dare them. I was getting anxious.
Generally I am patient, I wait until people move away and snap when the opportunity is ripe but no, they had plonked themselves there for the duration.
Many people gather for this moment, for the lights to come on and cheer and take selfies.
I had considered asking the two remaining girls that had firmly staked their ground directly in front of the tower, if they would move for a moment, just so I could get a shot, people free but that would mean sending them out into the rain, where I was staking my place.
They were waiting for the tower to light up for the night also.
Wet and cold, I decided to give up. I was not far from rue Dominique, a charming, if not up-market street where I knew I could escape from the cold.
So much for straightening my hair earlier in the morning, I must have resembled a merino sheep. My hair was getting bigger and my hands were getting wetter and number with the cold.
Either my photo blockers got bored or were just admiring the tower in the last strands of light because one, and then the other, moved away.
If I wasn’t so cold and the bottom of my coat wasn’t so heavy and wet, I would have jumped up and down in joy but instead I excitedly fumbled with my cold numb fingers at the controls of the camera and voila, like magic there she was in her night time glory!
I am guessing the city of Paris use energy saving lightbulbs because slowly but surely she began with a warm gentle light and knowing the stylish Parisians, they probably have it expertly timed that as the light fades, she glows even more golden.
Shivering with cold and shaking with excitement, I got my shot, handheld, I guess if I had had a tripod it would have been better, but I was happy. Considering I had no intention of visiting the Eiffel Tower today, I can hardly complain.
A warm cafe and a glass of celebratory wine was in order and I knew the perfect street to find it.Azzedine Alaia – wiki page Palais Galliera – official website in English 10, rue Pierre 1er de Serbie, Paris 75116 Nearest Metro: Alma-Marceau, Boissière Musee d’Art Moderne – official website in English 11 avenue du Président Wilson
Paris 75116 Nearest Metro: Alma-Marceau or Iéna The Wall For Peace – link in English Map Paris Military School
21 Place Joffre,