Friday, 20 May 2011

Cycling by the Seine

Museum of the day was the Museum des Arts Asiatiques –Guimet, this museum is located in the 16th, just a little bit down the road from Palais de Tokyo. I took the same cycling route as the time I had visited the Musée d’Armée, down along to Bastille and across the Pont de Sully to the south side of the Seine before just following the combined bus and bike lane west.

This route while enjoyable for me, it is not for the faint hearted, it involves a combination of wonderful dedicated bike lanes along tree lined avenues and fighting tooth and nail with bumper to bumper traffic, while travelling at speed.
nice bike lanes

One tip, don’t hesitate. There are a number of on and off ramps and bridges along the south bank of the Seine and these can result in you being cut off mid cycle, if you don’t just go for it you will end up looking like a two wheeled deer caught in the headlights.

Another thing I remarked upon on my way to the museum was this:

That's right a Segway tour of Paris. Hmm before passing too much judgement on this concept I decided to look up this tours website to get a little more info, well to be honest more so the price of the tour. The result is barely any info on their website, no prices, duration, frequency or routes. Guess this is all something they do by phone. After reading some of the many, granted positive reviews of these types of trips on line and some more in depth research into price(starting from €85), I still remain largely unconvinced. Most of the people I saw on the tour seemed to be spending most of their time looking at their Segway rather than taking in the sights and to top it off the slow group were blocking up one of the nicest stretches of cycle lane I had been on. Maybe that is the main reason I have not taken to the idea. If you want to stand up and sight see, walk. 

Without continuing too much on this tangent I’ll reserve further judgement until I decide to blow the whopping €85 euro on a four hour segway tour.

After finally arriving to the Museum, I cruised in with the now usual no queue, no cost routine. 

Note ably on entry there was a large pink replica of the Taj Mahall occupying the first and principal exhibition space. I quite enjoyed the spectacle actually, as the contrasting colour was quite striking. 

As for the rest of the museum I must confess the content was not so much of interest, mainly due to the fact that I have little or no knowledge of Asian art and religions (most of the information I have gleaned through the years has been from Apu from the Simpsons). I sped through most of the exhibits, sometimes pausing to read from the hand-held info boards that were located by most of the entry points.
There were a great many statues and sculptures, mostly grey and lacking any kind of accompanying information. 
this one should work the cafe oz weekend shifts
 How every things did perk up temporarily, when I passed though into the Japanese section where there was some lovely screens and art, as well as more Ming Dynasty Crockery than you could shake a baseball bat at.

While the overall exhibition was not to my taste I would recommend going with a friend(possibly Asian) who has some knowledge and interests in these things and can help promote some enthusiasm about the history of one of the greatest civilisations in the World. 

However what I did thoroughly enjoy was the Architecture, the building was amazing with an interesting sequence of architectural spaces that circulated around the large central exhibition space and eventually leading you back to the Stairwell that would bring you to the next level of exhibits. The building also very elegantly used discrete materials that were very well detailed so as not to dominated the often grey or monotone items it exhibited.
beautiful circular bordmarked marked concrete pillars
 While the visit was enjoyable, I would recommend having an interest in either Asia or Architecture before going.

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