The Eyes of Texas

We had a very busy but fun day today.

We were changing rooms within our hotel, so we needed to have everything repacked before we left so the hotel could move our things.

Today we have planned to visit the Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV), which is located in a suburb of Paris called Neuilly-sur-Seine. The FLV adjoins the Jardin d’Acclimatation. The Metro stop we needed from Concorde is seven stops for straight out towards La Defense, a mostly business district with the Grand Arch de La Defense . It is a short walk from the Metro stop to le Jardin, which is adjacent to FLV.

It’s Monday and also a religious holiday, so we’re unsure if the FLV will be open, but we find that it is. The structure looks a bit like a spaceship, with complex architecture and a stair-stepped waterfall in front.

The entrance is around the side and we found a long line. There was a short line for those that had a ticket bought on the internet. So….. my wife bought a couple of tickets for the first entrance available, in 30 minutes. We actually entered 30 minutes before the entrance time in our tickets, do we saved a lot of time over those people standing in a rather long line.

Through security (scan all your stuff and you) , then we’re in the lobby ready to get oriented. They have an app for the exhibit we’re here to see, the Courtauld Collection that we download from the App Store; it includes audio narration for each room (6) and a number of the more notable pieces. The Courtauld collection is primarily Impressionism, certainly my preference. But in addition to this rotating collection, there are some other exhibits in addition to the building itself, which is very interesting architecture.

There’s a story behind the creation of the collection itself , assembled by Samuel Courtauld and his wife Elizabeth, mostly between 1923 and 1929.

Courtauld was passionate about art and he and his wife had the financial resources to assemble a private collection of astounding proportions and establish them as significant patrons of the arts in the 20th century. Upon her death, part of the collection passed to a foundation he created and part stayed with him as his personal collection until his death in 1947. The collection is part of the Courtauld Institute, part of the University of London and is in Paris for the first time since 1955. The exhibit ends June 17th, so we’re we’re very lucky to have caught the tail end of the four month exhibit period.

The collection includes works by Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh, George’s Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin and watercolors by William Turner.

Édouard Manet une bar aux Folles-Bergér, 1882
Degas, Two Dancers on a Stage, 1874

Renoir, La Loge 1874

Vincent Van Gogh, Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889

We were taking a breather near the rear entrance to the museum when we heard, then saw, a welcome sound from home. We exited the museum to watch and listen to the University of Texas Alumni band’s performance. It was the University of Texas Alumni band who has been touring in celebration of WWII D-Day 75 and was finishing its tour here in Paris. This was their last appearance on the tour. My wife, a UT Graduate School Alumni was aware the band was in the city and we’d hoped to catch their appearance.

Of course, any UT band has to play The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You

A moving performance of Hymn to the Fallen.

Their entire performance is here.

The trumpet played in the band’s performance at Normandy actually came from the D-Day invasion and was carried by a member of the US Army, who was shot, but never let go of the trumpet. He went in on the landing craft with the trumpet strapped onto his chest. When his boat was hit, everybody on his boat was killed except for him. He was the lone survivor on his boat. He survived, and the story of the trumpet came to the fore in 2007 when he died. A band member played Taps at the D-Day ceremony at Normandy with this bugle.

After the performance was completed, a French woman standing nearby asked my wife what the performance was about and it was interesting to try to explain the concept of a longhorn bull as a mascot for the University (which university was it?) and the Longhorn Hook Did she really understand ?

There are some other exhibits, but it seemed more of these were “modern” and not as much to our taste.

We reentered the museum to spend some time admiring the architecture and the views.

We ended up spending about four hours here between the FLV and the UT Band performance, but it was a great day and there’s so much more to see in the FLV than we had time for today.

As we walked back towards Le Sablons Metro station, we came upon (at least) eight tour busses full of UT Alumni Band members getting ready to leave, along with trucks to carry all the instruments. We chatted briefly with a couple who’d been part of that tour. Though the tour has officially ended, a number of members are staying on and going elsewhere.

Our hotel had indeed upgraded our room, so we were more satisfied with the new room for the balance of our stay here.

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