Monday, January 19, 2009

Musée des Beaux Arts

Sunday 18th broke damp, dank and blustering! This is the perfect weather, to spend indoors, warm with a good book and a hot toddy. Well, not for this little black duck – as there were a couple of bags of laundry requiring immediate attention.

We’ve finished breakfast, and it’s off to find a launderette within the city of Lyon. So, I don my jacket, cap, gloves and scarf head towards the tourism office at Place Bellecour.

Walk out onto the Quai Perrache and then a left into rue de la Charite. Then it is a walk of a few blocks before reaching Place Bellecour. I must add walking through French streets is like performing a Morris Dance. It is a series of leaps, lopes and side-steps to negotiate the many sticky globs of sputum and an even greater number of Pal-bags (i.e. dog bogs!)

Finally I find myself entering Bellecour, which I may add is devoid (virtually) of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian. Stride across the square and acknowledge, by way of a nod, the statue of the ‘Sun King’, King Loooueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee – the XIVth.

The Tourist office is devoid of…..tourists; compared to yesterday
where humanity was oozing out of every nook and cranny! However I make my enquiries as to the location of a possible launderette within our vicinity. The staff at the Tourist office is most helpful as they always take that extra step to assist with their enquiries. Alas however, the nearest launderette is closer to Bellecour than to our hotel - the Tourism assistant apologises profusely, and wishes me a pleasant day....

Hence back to the hotel load up with the laundry - and the rest is history. However, after completing the laundry and making my way back to the hotel, I notice a launderette not two blocks from where we are staying….and why hadn’t we noticed it before?

Maria is quite happy to spend the day in the hotel room and allow her feet to fully recover from yesterday’s promenade around the ‘old town’ of Lyon. Whereas I have decided to visit the Musée des Beaux Arts uptown at the Place des Terreaux which is the precinct for the theatre district. (I have my nose tilted upwards as I type this. As there is a mirror across the way so I can see whether my nasal hairs require trimming.)

I must stress, the only method of exploring a new city, town or district is by ‘Shanks’ Pony’. It’s free and you tend to see more than if you were driving or being driven. So I gave the Metro the bum’s-rush and walked uptown to the museum.

This precinct is called des Place de Comedie which is bordered by amazing 17th and 18th century architecture. The most impressive of these is represented by the the Town Hall, designed by the architect Simon Maupin started in 1646. The building is surmounted with ornate sculptures and gilding. By today’s standards, it may appear gaudy, however architecture of the 1600-1700's were designed purely to impress, and I suspect gain monarchical favour.

Within the square and facing the Musée des Beaux Arts (The Museum of Fine Arts) is a massive statuary and fountain called ‘Fountaine Bartholdi’ designed by the sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who also designed the Statue of Liberty located in New York harbour.

You enter the Musée des Beaux Arts vide an ornate garden with bronze statuary and friezes from the Parthenon. The interior of the museum is ornate and reflects the architecture and interior design of the day. Within this sanctum sanctorum, is an impressive collection of pre- and early Christian exhibits, through the Dark/Middle Ages and Reformation.

1 comment:

Kamala said...

Hmmm so Michael - did the nasal hairs require trimming?