Paris Trip 2010 Day Three – The Pompidou Centre

Our third day in Paris happened to be the first Sunday of the month, a day when most of the National museums in Paris have free entry. Decisively we chose the National Museum of Modern Art housed in the Pompidou Centre, reachable within walking distance from the Châtelet-Les Halles station.

Paris 2010

Like every other morning, our daily journey in Paris began in Gare du Nord Station. Little did we expect what was to come later at night.

Arrived at Les Halles and greeted by many statues around the area.

Paris 2010

This set of tourist-like family statues intrigued me. Boy seems to shout, "Look Ma, the sky is falling! ".

Paris 2010

Named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France who decided its creation, the Pompidou Center is a building turned inside out.

All the escalators, lifts, air and water ducts have all been placed on the outside. Like an oil refinery, the pipes are colored (blue for air-con ducts, green for water pipes and yellow for electricity lines).

Boasting works of art encompassing painting, architecture, photography, cinema, new media, sculpture and design, the exhibits are divided between two floors, one for modern art (from 1905 to 1960) and the other for contemporary art (from 1960). We started on Level 5 with the former. Not that we had any idea of what to expect. Armed with a thin pamphlet, we navigated our way through fauvism, cubism, surrealism and whatever-ism and names like Braque, Picasso, Matisse, Dada, Delaunay, Giacometti. Our heads started spinning, and we gave up attaching names to works. At time I was really overwhelmed and awed by some exhibits, other times I was self-refraining from scratching my head too obviously.

Paris 2010

Ad Reinhardt, Ultimate Painting n° 6, 1960. No kidding. Almost entirely black. In the center, there is a 90 degree cruciform structure barely discernible.

Paris 2010

Henri Matisse. Polynesia, The Sea. 1946. Gouache on paper cut-out.

Paris 2010

Paris 2010

We took a break in the afternoon for lunch at Le Bistrot Beaubourg (25 Rue Quincampoix),  an affordable restaurant serving classic French  food. Seated ourselves on the sunny terrace, we took our sweet time with lunch, like everyone else.

Paris 2010

Marinated fresh sardine fillets. Very salty. 5 Euros.

Paris 2010

Tripes or soup made up of potatoes and cow stomach. 8.25 Euros.

Paris 2010

Onglet or hanger steak with fries. 10.80 Euros.

Paris 2010

It rained a bit after our lunch. Waited a while before we returned to the Pompidou to continue the other half of our visit.

Paris 2010

Room of minimalism. My ideal living room.

I remembered clearly there were only Jovie and another museum guy when I entered the room. I took a step, squatted down and made a shot as Jovie pointed her camera at me. And I heard a faint giggle from my left.

Paris 2010

On the way back.

I wasn’t feeling well by the end of the day as flu crept in. Already had symptoms of running nose and sore throat early in the morning, and it got worse by late afternoon. Bite the bullet, fight another day. Reluctantly we got back to the hotel, and I took a nap after some pills.

Our dinner at a Chinese restaurant around the hotel neighborhood, opposite Gare Du Nord station, was a dramatic episode. By the way, the Chinese restaurant here operate in a very different manner. You choose the dish, and they weigh them for the price before sending straight to microwave for reheat.

Anyway, our meal was disrupted halfway by a sound not unlike punctured tire, and we saw police cordoning off the area outside the restaurant. Swiftly, the owner of the restaurant and his friends shut the main door and locked it! Subsequently they got back to their seats and resumed their card game. We managed to keep calm as other patrons continued their meal nonchalantly. About 10 minutes later, the boss peeped a bit and opened the door again as we had finished our meal. When asked, the boss told me there seemed to be an explosion earlier, but it seemed to be ok now as the cordon was already removed.

I was glad to travel light that night without my heavy camera. We pressed our way back to hotel through the night without looking around much, and heaved a sigh of relief once we had reached. Whew!

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