We went from macro to micro today.
Paris is a city filled with grand museums, from the Louvre with its 35,000 pieces of art to the L’Orangerie, where Claude Monet painted his famous water lilies on the walls. There are museums devoted to Pablo Picasso, to Auguste Rodin, and to Claude Monet. There’s the massive Pompidou, dedicated to modern art, and the magnificent Musée d’Orsay, once a train station, which today houses some of the world’s best Impressionist paintings.
So when we arrived today at a moment of art and culture with Devon, we chose … the Museum of Dolls (Le Musée de la Poupée). OK, it wouldn’t have been my choice. But this is Devon’s trip, and the six rooms and 600 dolls came with a kids’ quiz and all. Just in case dolls are your thing, here is what you’ll find in the museum, which is open in afternoons only and costs about $9 for adults and $4.50 for kids:
- Dolls from 1800 to 1959.
- A doll repair shop.
- Dolls for the collector, some costing more than $1,000.
- Dolls in porcelain, paper mache and wax.
- Dolls representing people from every corner of the globe.
- Doll sheep, mice, elephants, dogs, cats, puppies, bears and more.
- A Mickey Mouse doll from the 1930s.
- A Shirley Temple doll.
- Doll-sized Coca-cola and champagne bottles.
- Doll-sized cars, strollers, cribs and school desks.
And, of course, a replica of the Eiffel Tower.
What’s more the doll museum is right next to a playground in the Jardin d’Anne Frank, one designed for kids ages 2 to 8. I didn’t qualify but Devon did, and again found a friend, this time a little girl who spoke English.
Like every day in Paris, this one had its highlights for all of us. The best for me was meeting one of my favorite former Emerson graduate students for lunch in a cafe beside the whimsical fountain outside the Pompidou. Devon charmed her and vice-versa (“Can you give me French lessons?” Devon asked.)
Another was discovering that this Thursday night, Mozart’s Requiem will be performed in St. Sulpice Church. It’s within blocks of our apartment and the Requiem, which I’ve sung several times, is one of my favorite pieces of music. We’re going.
The third? That leads to today’s dramatic finish. The day we arrived, when a robber ran off with Devon’s suticase, we began to acquire dolls to replace those she’d had stolen. The first she bought were a miniature mama bear and daughter bear, which came in a French book series sold at news stands. It cost only about $6. Devon loved the bears and decided the next day she wanted the papa bear and brother bear, too. The trouble was finding them.
We began to stop at newstand after newsstand. No luck. After a half dozen or more tries, Kathy decided we needed to take the Metro back to Montparnasse, the busy Metro stop where she was pretty sure we had bought the first two bears.
When we walked out of the Metro, we saw news stands, one on either side of the street. The man working the counter at the first was not encouraging.
“It’s not going to be easy,” the man said in English, explaining that the bear series only came out monthly.
That did not discourage kathy. We crossed the street. And there were the father bear and brother bear. Victory.
By the way, they are now named “papa” and “Jerry.” Honest.
Tomorrow, after climbing Notre Dame, we will continue our journey into haute culture with a visit to …. a magic museum.