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This will give you an idea of some of the activities we have enjoyed. Each month we have six to ten activities to choose from in addition to our monthly Member Meetings and Special Interest Groups (book clubs, coffees, French lessons, brunches and other get togethers). We are a busy group!
The Ladies of the Marais Walking Tour
Discover some of the oldest hôtels particuliers (town mansions) of the Marais district through the story of their illustrious owners and the few well-to-do women who ran them: aristocrats, courtesans, rich widows, and wealthy daughters. Explore the streets they strode, admire the architectural settings of their lives, the style of the rooms they once inhabited and the objects they once cherished. The lives of the Ladies of the Marais, full of anecdote and a wit that is so vividly revealed in their journals, reflect the realities of the prosperous society of the Grand Siècle in which they lived. This is a walking tour, so comfortable shoes are recommended.
French 18th Century Interiors (part 3)
Listen as Kelly teaches us how to recognize the different periods ofFrench furniture through the knowledge of the symbols and codes that distinguish each style. Looking closely at the creations of famous French ebenistes, we can read in them, their account of the fashions, the social habits and the cultural legacy of the previous centuries.
The superbly restored Museum of Decorative Arts dazzles the visitor with its extensive furniture collection set in original period rooms. Many of the rooms were transported here with all of their original contents. In many cases, these rooms narrowly escaped destruction when their original settings (which ranged from town mansions, private clubs, to convents and priories) were demolished. The study of the excessive opulence of a privileged society with a taste for abundant ornamentation helps us appreciate the desire for sombre grandeur of the enlightenment’s “modernists”, and their search for purity and new sources of inspiration – design values still sought after today. Each tour stands on its own, no prior tour knowledge necessary.
Art Deco (Part I): Musée des Années Trente
The theme of the visit is the discovery of the Art Deco Period! This artistic and design style was born in Paris before flourishing internationally. This discreet museum possesses world-renowned pieces from the 1920′s and 1930′s in its permanent collection and we are fortunate to be also visiting special exhibits on Christofle silver and silver plate, Deco pieces from the “Design Industriel” period, and drawings and engravings by the 30′s graveur-dessinateur Raphaël Drouart. In addition, there will be a new exposition on the animal sculptures of Bugatti.
This class is the first of a 2 part series on the Art Deco Period. After Sandy’s highly successful series of classes centering on the Art Nouveau period earlier this year, she leads us now into the amazing world of Art Deco 1930′s Paris. This museum is the best and foremost example of Decorative Arts from this important period.
Smart Lunch – Café Lecture: Paris Commune of 1871
Everybody knows about the French Revolution. But what do you know about the strange, strong and strident Paris Commune of 1871? The one when Paris actually seceded from France, when the French government actually bombarded Paris? Hailed as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution, the conditions under which the Paris Commune formed, its controversial decrees, and its violent end make its tenure, though short, one of the more important political episodes of the time. Jean-Manuel will help us tuck right into that story of hope, anger, and fear, of dreams and slaughter, of high principles and hard bullets.
And before Jean-Manuel’s stories, we will have a nice lunch to tuck into, if you wish, at Brasserie Alaux.
Hôtel de Beauvais
Don’t miss this chance to explore the fascinating history of the Hôtel de Beauvais, one of the grandest of the former Marais palaces. Built by the royal architect Antoine Le Pautre for Catherine Beauvais, first lady to Anne of Austria, in 1657, it is an excellent example of French Baroque architecture. In addition to a rich architecture, it has welcomed some renowned visitors. In 1763 the hotel came into possession of the Bavarian ambassador, who received a visit that year from Mr. Leopold Mozart, his wife, and children, including Wolfgang, age seven.
Lighthouses: Musée Nationale de la Marine
France has a long coastline and a rich lighthouse heritage. We have an opportunity to visit a special exposition dedicated to the Lighthouse. The history of these French monuments begins with the lighthouse of Cordouan, built in 1611. Today, 150 “sentinels of the seas” echo their light beams on France’s 5500 km of coastline (mainland and overseas). In the nineteenth century, it was in Paris that the industrial age of light beams began: research, laboratory science, manufacturing. With the Eiffel Tower as its emblem, Paris was truly the “capital of spotlights.”
Isolated, often living in harsh conditions, men and women, whose job has now disappeared, gave life daily to these “fires of the sea”. In this exposition, we’ll explore their stories as well as the scientific and technical development of the Lighthouse.