09 June 2011

Montpellier - Musée Fabre

Wednesday, June 8 ~~ overcast and cool morning, sunny and warm afternoon

We woke later than expected (I had forgotten to set the alarm, and we both had had a rough night), so we just had time to get cleaned up and pack before check-out time.  We left our bags (and camera, so no pictures for today...) with the hotel, and had a light breakfast.  We ran into some unexpected sprinklings of rain, so we went back and grabbed our coats from the hotel, and then headed to the Musée Fabre - the "must-see" museum in Montpellier.  Our "luck" held - it was Wednesday, and the museum was closed until 1:00 :-(. 
Fortunately, we planned for *flexibility!*  We had 2 hours to kill, so we walked around centre-ville, ever so slightly aiming for the quiche place (Le Fournil St. Nicolas) for lunch.  On the way, we tried to see a nearby church (Notre Dame des Tables), but it was closed.  We banged our heads a bit, but then we ran across a church that had been closed the other day, and *it* was open! We enjoyed the sculptures and paintings in the Royal Chapel of the Blue Penitents - *definitely* check out the pictures of the very amazing crucifix.

After lunch, the sun was out, and we got back to the museum just before it opened.  We spent the next 2+ hours absorbing the paintings and sculptures - I fairly ooze culture now :-).  I do wish that I knew more about the mythology, especially about the different saints - I felt completely clueless when I saw paintings of saints with their different symbols.  I know they impart an entire story to those who know the mythology, and so I know I missed out on a lot.  Fortunately, I did remember enough about the Greek and Roman myths, including the Iliad and the Oddessy.

Greuze was **amazing!** 

A couple of works really stayed with me - there was a painting of a fellow and a sculpture of another, and there was just "something" there that made me want to know them.  The artists definitely captured something fundamental.  Interestingly, another sculpture (of Moliere) was breathtaking, and showed him as an amazingly handsome man, but not necessarily someone I would care about.  I suppose that tells you more about me than about the works :-S.

We left the museum, grabbed our bags, and went to the train station to get our tickets to Nimes - painless again - it was a half-hour ride, and we got to Nimes about 5pm.

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