Monday, November 27, 2006

Musee du Quai Branly

Now I know that this is a blog about the Adirondacks, more or less, so it must seem strange that we post things about Paris every now and then. Well, we can't help it. We simply love Paris, and there it is. But this post about the French capital does have some relevance to the Adirondacks.

During my last trip to Paris in late September, I visited the new Musee du Quai Branly, a long overdue addition to the museum scene of the city. This museum is devoted to tribal and so-called primitive art from all over the world. The collection is extensive and stunning, a living catalogue of many brilliant cultures that preceded us, and some that persist. The building is a marvel, the latest installment of Jean Nouvel's rather iconoclastic career. Glass gives way to moss-laden walls, which terminate into rust-colored masses, much of it suspended over the garden. And it is the garden that really struck me. Here, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and a five-minute walk from the Boulevard St-Germain, I found myself gazing upon paper birches and all manner of ferns, from delicate wood ferns to gargantuan ostrich ferns. The garden is meant to be a collection of specimens from all over the world, a horticultural encyclopedia to match the collections inside. For me, it was a little piece of the Adirondacks firmly planted in the Right Bank.

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