18 September 2018


Today we went to Loupian, expecting to have lunch out and visit the Roman Villa (mosaics). I had (mostly) worked out how to use the car's GPS, and faked an address for the restaurant (I challenge anyone to find an actual street address for a number of places in France), and looked up the Villa's information - we had been to both with our Sète accueil group, and were excited to introduce them to my parents.

Well, I can say I got us there alive, but following "the voice" led us on a merry path! Chez Patou did not disappoint - we all had entrée salads and shared a plate of scallops - mmmm mmm!

Calendos grillé

La Nordique

Saint Jacques

Back to the car, we watched a grape havester (probably?) drive by the Place de la République

We got to the Villa, but this is the only part we got to see 😳
Closed on Tuesdays - just our luck!

All was not lost:
- we drove back to Sète, and stopped for a quick peek at the Théâtre de la Mer

History of the Theater

- we got Mom's cell phone set up with a French SIM (10€ + 2€/month)
- and we rented a wheelchair at the Corniche (~16€/week)

We're off and rolling!

17 September 2018

Heritage Days - with Parents!

Last weekend was Heritage Days in Europe (Journées Européennes du Patrimoine), which means many monuments, museums, and important cultural sites were open to the public - either free or with reduced fees. With my parents visiting, we took advantage of the situation, and went to two museums :-)

Our first stop was at the Musée de la Mer (Sea Museum). We had been before (see this post), but this time there was something special! This model was built by Repetto Joseph-Pascal, whose grand-daughter was on hand to explain all about the special exhibit on display. He hand-made all the pieces for each model, including tiny working pulleys and doors that opened. This one took more than 4,000 hours to build!

He had had an amazing career - first as a carpenter in a shipyard, then building models. He invented a machine for pulling ships in to dry-dock, that reduced the time from 4 days to *one* hour! That's certainly something that any engineer, and (I'm guessing) anyone else, would find impressive.
He won an extraordinary 3 "Master Work" awards for his models, several more honors, then was inducted into the Legion of Honor, and the Order of National Merit, and a whole bunch more that I didn't recognize, but are evidently a big big deal here! Here is his grand-daughter, proudly showing photos of his works :-)

We continued our heritage education by lunching on Tielles at La Haut, then checking the views from Mont Saint-Clair.

Then, on to Paul Valéry Museum!

I love this one, every time I see it :-)

13 September 2018

Picasso Museum Barcelona

Picasso Museum Barcelona

The Picasso museum was high on our list for Barcelona, so after a relaxing afternoon, we headed that way.

This is the only place where an entire series of Picasso paintings are all on display together. His versions of Velasquez's Las Meninas formed part of this series of more than 50 works; other elements were Jacqueline portraits and his pigeon cote. These were all from his later period. It was interesting to see how he kept the focus while still shifting elements around.
Las Meninas

We expected to see a lot from his blue period, but there were only perhaps half a dozen. There were a number of paintings by Cézanne and others - from what I read, it seemed that these were on loan from the Musée d'Orsay in exchange for some blue period paintings.

There were some ceramics, but (for me), not as nice a collection as that in Céret (see my post on that here)

- the ticket line is difficult to find - we wandered in and out, then found the place to borrow lockers, audio-guides, and wheelchairs - they finally directed us to the ticket line.
- after you buy your ticket, you have to get in another line to scan it :-\ We missed that part, but the very nice fellow at the elevator did it for us!
- the ticket line was non-existent at 6 pm - when we left (~7:15), the line was about half a block long (I'm sure we would have seen this one!)
- wheelchairs are first-come, first-served; no ID (or anything except a museum ticket) to borrow it.
- no photos!!! The one above is from the museum map 🙄