too often running around with my Eyes Wide Shut.
It begs the question, how many Paris treasures have I missed?
What a ridiculous mistake, lethal in a city
where small details really matter.
So lately, I've been rethinking a few bad habits.
Rule #1: Pay attention!
Instead of walking with my head in the clouds looking for
something shiny and new, I make a real effort to lean in
and take into account what's right in front of my face.
Case in point, Place de Furstenberg is one of the most
iconic plots of real estate in the city,
a place where it's easy to get "lost" in the fantasy.
Filled with design studios, art galleries and high-end boutiques,
it offers classic Paris beauty in the extreme -- graceful, elegant --
the Paris of your dreams -- but on steroids and three cups of coffee.
This pretty little street embodies the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
Its central island is essentially made up of a lamp post,
a foursome of Pawlonia trees and that perfect play of light
and shadow that Paris is best known and loved for.
Home to countless photographs and movies competing for the best
widescreen angle, this is heart-stopping euphoria at its best.
I guess you could call Place de Furstenberg the Melanie Wilkes of Paris.
Sincere, sweet, enduring, approachable, gentle..... almost too good to be true.
So be careful; don't get blinded by this natural beauty.
There's more here than meets the eye.
"Don't ignore the five senses in search of the sixth."
opportunity -- Musée Eugene Delacroix comes to mind --
as I lusted over every square inch of Place de Furstenberg.
Talk about missing the mark!
Too many of us suffer from this "blind spot" when it comes to the obvious.
One of my biggest fantasies -- perhaps yours as well --- is to
step into one of the mansions that line this exquisite street.
You enter the museum through a typical Parisian courtyard, invited
to experience the ultimate insider's Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous fantasy.
Whether you enjoy Delacroix's paintings or not,
it's worth a stop at this exclusive address.
This is your chance to be a fly on the wall in a real apartment
on one of Paris' most beautiful streets.
And snoop to your heart's content.
"Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of
the greatest sources of happiness in life."
Linus Pauling, American scientist & humanitarian
His influence was felt far and wide; unlike so many artists we've know
and loved, his star shone bright while he was still alive.
Delacroix was well known for his decorative projects in the
Church of Saint-Sulpice, the Hotel de Ville, the Palais Bourbon and the Louvre
but my personal favorite is his canvas of "Liberty Leading the People",
a high profile work that captures the spirit of a nation.
Alas, this particular masterpiece does not hang in his namesake museum;
The precious oil resides in the Louvre -- and now the Louvre Lens in
Pas-de-Calais -- as well as on my desktop wallpaper....
The patriotic frenchman declared,
"and if I haven't fought for my country, at least I'll paint for her."
And paint he did, creating a work so momentous, it's said to have
influenced Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" as well as Batholdi's gift
to America, The Statue of Liberty.
His unflinching portrayal of the July Revolution of 1830 -- a narrative not
well known by those of us not educated in France -- the Goddess of Liberty
(often referred to as Marianne) is loaded for bear as she faces adversity.
Head held high, she steers the "ship," carrying the tri-color of her nation.
Her strength, coming not from the bayonet she holds,
emanates from her womanhood, bare breasts unleashed
in a passionate defense of personal freedom.
Delacroix has strategically included all classes of people in the painting
but flaunts those most in need of liberation -- working folks and women
front & center -- in a work that bears striking significance still today.
"Nevertheless, she persisted."
Women's Battle-Cry 2017
didn't stop with "Liberty Leading the People."
His enduring friendship with French romantic novelist George Sand
lives on in letters and portraits in the museum.
Sand referred to him as "My good old man."
They shared a love of Shakespeare, Spanish art and
composer Frederic Chopin, one of her many lovers.
The woman who changed lovers as often as I change the oil
in my car was a steadfast friend to Delacroix.
Respect earned, respect paid at the museum.
"Love seeks to give, while passion seeks to take."
George Sand, French Writer
True, it's postcard ready -- no Photoshop required -- but even if you've already
seen it, give a second look -- and this time search beyond its selfie-worthy stage.
With it's special frame of reference and natural surroundings -- mansion,
courtyard, garden and artworks, the Delacroix Museum deserves your attention. You'll feel the mark of time.
And better yet, you have permission to be a voyeur in one of the mansions
that line the exquisite little rue that's always left you burning with curiosity.
My mother used to boast she had a friend who
lived on "the place," her favorite address in Paris.
How she loved visiting her "bonne amie" on that pretty square.
I like to imagine the street as it looked then -- late 40's/early 50's -- a
bit quieter perhaps but always dripping in timeless beauty,
an oasis away from the grit of city life.
And here we are in the 21st century, forever moonstruck over what the 17th
century wrought, still admiring 19th century painter Eugene Delacroix
and all the history and artistic refinement that comes with it.
So the next time you suffer the attention span of a flea, open your eyes,
take a breath and appreciate the small details of Paris.
Believe me, you won't walk one false step.
There are many good journeys and beautiful days ahead.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."
Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher