Last weekend, I took a trip to Chartres, a small town in the Eure-et-Loire region of France just southwest of Paris, to see the famous gothic cathedral there (anyone who's ever studied art history will be very familiar with it and its 176 stained glass windows!). Though it was freezing and there wasn't much to do in the town itself other than eat and drink (which we took full advantage of), the cathedral was absolutely breathtaking: probably the most beautiful I'd ever seen in my life. I'm not so sure I would recommend honeymooning in Chartres, but it's definitely worth visiting for a day or two to see the cathedral if you have an interest in art history (or religion, for that matter). Another highlight of the trip was our visit to the stained glass museum, where we learned how stained glass is made and viewed some contemporary works that utilized the "archaic" medium.
the cathedral at Chartres
modern stained glass
On a modern/urban note, this weekend the FIAC (Foire International d'Art Contemporain) took place in Paris at two locations: the Grand Palais and the Cour Carrée du Louvre. The fair showcased the "crown jewels" of contemporary art galleries hailing from Paris, London, Madrid, Milan, Brussels, New York, Los Angeles and other large cities. Some of the pieces were conceptually interesting, some shocking, some downright weird-- and of course some looked as though they could've been made by my 6-year-old niece. There was a man made of noodles, a compressed square of roadkill, a bicycle made of salt crystals-- such is art nowadays. Nonetheless, the Grand Palais provided a stunning and slightly ironic backdrop to the roadkill and noodle men, while the people watching was nothing short of extraordinary: almost everyone there looked as though they had just stepped out of the Sartorialist. Amongst the chic/dapper crowd, a few pieces that caught my eye:
the aforementioned bicycle
this piece is deeper than it looks.. on the opposite wall there was a framed sketch of a woman on a bed with the text "You made me feel like nothing." The coolest part is that the fluorescent signs reflected onto the glass over the drawing so it looked like they were part of the picture.
one of the more normal pieces
the Grand Palais