Monday, 6 June 2016

that famous staircase

m u s e e   g u s t a v e   m o r e a u

Usually when people come to Paris and I ask them what's on their list and what they want to see, I almost always get the same replies: the Eiffel tower, Champs Elysees and other famous landmarks. Not this time. Met up with 3 girls from London who were in town for the weekend, asked them over brunch what their plans were and got this answer: "that staircase" (and eating a lot of patisseries).

That's not a strange answer if you're on Instagram. It's also perfectly normal that I immediately knew which one they were talking about. More than just an app for sharing pictures, Instagram lets you share your obsessions. About tiles, doors, floors, flowers and the list is long. Don't even get me started on avocado toasts and coffee because we're here to talk about that staircase.

It's located in the Gustave Moreau museum in the 9th arrondissement of Paris where the painter lived and worked. Transforming the house into a museum was his last project before dying and even though he called it a "small, sentimental museum" he did leave about 25.000 pieces of art whereof 15.000 by him, so the collection is not exactly what I would call small.

You can visit both his private apartment as well as his studios located on the two upper floors. Salmon coloured walls, old wallpaper, faded tones, tired wooden floors, the recent renovation work has done a great job in keeping the original feel of the place. And a smell of old apples. Actually that's not quite true as I found out later when I got home and still couldn't get rid of the smell and finally remembered I had fresh yeast in my handbag, but it added an extra charm to the place.

And then there's the staircase of course, a very unique spiral staircase that Gustave Moreau's father - who was an architect - built.

Musee Gustave Moreau - 14 rue de la Rochefoucauld - 75009 Paris

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Thursday, 7 April 2016

from venice with love

It's starting to dawn on me that my blog is called the unpretentious blog to paris and I'm moving to Washington DC in a few months... which gives you an insight into the kind of problems I'm dealing with as a blogger. Still, I need to find a new name. I've already been cheating quite a few times by posting travelling pics that have very little to do with Paris. And so I've asked myself if this is really the right time to write a blog post about Venice instead of Paris. Like I said, tough decisions as a blogger. (Also I like to repeat the word blogger as it's been more than a month since my last post.)

But Venice it is, because it's such a beautiful place and it doesn't matter if everybody says so and you've heard it thousands of times before. It's still true. You just need to work your way around the city to avoid the tourist crowds. Makes it easier to pretend you're not a tourist but a traveller. It also helps if you're not walking around with a selfie stick.

g i u d e c c a

Speaking of being away from the crowds, the island Giudecca is the best place for an evening stroll while you're watching the sun set over Venice.

s a n  m a r c o  i n  t h e  f o g

Well clearly I can't guarantee the legendary Venetian fog during your stay. Trust me I would if I could because nothing quite beats that magical misty ambiance running through the streets and canals of Venice. But no matter the weather, if I could give only one advice regarding Venice it would be to get up insanely early one morning to experience Piazza San Marco all empty, see the sun rise and feel the city slowly come to live.  

b u r a n o

I have a thing for muted colours and faded pastels which is one of the many reasons why I fell in love with Venice, but you should definitely take a boat and visit the island Burano where all the houses are painted in bright and vivid colours. Our Vaporetto driver told us that once there was only one big fisherman family living on the island and they all had the same name. In order to tell them apart the women started painting the houses in different colours: one family became the ones from the purple house, another the green family etc. I'm afraid this isn't true at all so I've resisted looking it up on Wikipedia and suggest you do the same.

Other than that, just get lost. In the good sense of course by strolling around and seeing where you end up, have a few Spritz, get the view from San Giorgio Maggore if you can, walk into a few churches and for the rest just admire all the beautiful facades.

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