Friday, February 24, 2012
Monets and toddlers
Last week, while my Mum was still visiting, she and I went to see the Musée Marmottan Monet in the 16th Arrondissement. On Monday we had to wait in for a plumber, Tuesday we were getting a furniture delivery so Wednesday was the only day we had free for a bit of Paris culture. Wednesday is also the day Florence's Halte Garderie (nursery school) is closed so we had to take her with us. Encouraged by the observation in Stephen Clarke's new book Paris Revealed that the museum is deserted by Paris standards we set out undeterred and arrived not entirely by design at the start of the French lunchtime and, yes, it was quiet!
The museum is home to the largest collection of Monet's work in the world along with many other works by artists of the Impressionist movement. The painting that started the entire movement Impression, Soleil Levant is the star exhibit, but there was no waiting in line for twenty minutes just to get a glimpse of it. We had the room in which it is hung to ourselves with as much time to gaze at the glowing sun as we wanted. If the week started with the usual tedium of suburban life this was another one of those "I can't believe we're really doing this!" moments. (Rather like the conversation I overheard last night as I drove Savannah & Georgia's friend back home from a playdate. Busily complaining about playground politics, Savannah stopped mid-sentence to say "look, the Eiffel Tower" then without drawing breath carried on her rant about the mean kid.) Only in Paris!
So... should you take your almost two year old to the Musée Marmottan? Surprisingly the museum let us take Florence's pushchair into the galleries (after we had lifted it up the twenty steps at the entrance!) un-surprisingly she didn't want to sit in it for long. Luckily she wasn't tempted to run around or touch things (much), but the large empty spaces did make a satisfying echo and it was hard to keep her quiet. There was one scary moment when she seemed to set off an alarm by getting too close to a painting but we whisked her away quick and no one seemed to notice! There were a few disapproving looks but nobody seemed to mind her being there too much. Now I know that this treasure trove is there, so close to home, I will certainly go again but next time, to preserve my sanity, on a day when Halte Garderie is open.