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Thursday, 18 September 2014

My week in Paris: Day 4, Dinosaurs, Marvel, and Modern Art

Welcome! In this post, we are going to explore a Marvel Museum, the Parisian Museum of Natural History, and a centre for modern and contemporary art!

Continuing my trip through Paris with Juliette, we began our 4th day at the Marvel Museum! The first of its kind in the world, there was a grand exhibition at Le musée d'Art Ludique. It was an incredible display, featuring more Marvel history than I had ever seen elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the museum had a strict "No cameras" policy. However, after some internet searching, I managed to find a couple of photos from the museum, as shown below.

Actual helmet used in filming of Iron Man 1 and 2
Actual Mjolnir (Thor's Hammer) used in Thor and Thor: The Dark World
The museum was a lot larger than I had expected, and contained so many things! It started with Captain America, exploring the concept of the character and featured art and comic pages from the very beginning. Framing this, was the Hydra motorcycle and Captain America's Shield used in Captain America: The First Avenger movie. The museum then explored the development of other Marvel characters including Spiderman, the X-Men, Fantastic Four, other Avengers, and even the Guardians of the Galaxy.

All along the way, the museum had early drafts and artwork from the 1960s, as well as more recent development of the characters. There were also videos of Stan Lee, other artists and writers, even philosophers and their thoughts on comics and superheroes.

The museum was experimental and has finished, but I sincerely hope that it re-opens elsewhere as it was an impressive display and really a credit to the entire industry. My description probably falls very short, but should it re-open, I suggest you go.

One last point, it seems that almost all of the concept art and development of the Avengers, and their respective characters, is due to Ryan Mienerding. His work was featured everywhere and so, if you're interested, look him up on Facebook or Tumblr.

After the Marvel museum, we went for a short walk over to the Museum of Natural History! It was a fairly nice day, overcast, but still nice to be walking outside. Deciding that the walk to the museum itself was a little too short, we took a tour of the nearby gardens.

There was an incredible variety of flora present, and Juliette and I had a nice time not only literally stopping to smell the roses but also in comparing the names of flowers in French and English.

Just outside of the park, we happened upon this:

I took these photos mostly for my sister, Danielle, who is working toward being a geologist. Black quartz, from Brazil, with a mass of 4050 kg (8929 lbs), I thought she'd find it interesting.

Finally deciding that we were ready, we went into the museum. The first floor had probably the most impressive display of bones and animal specimens that I had ever seen.

Any animal I could think of was there! If not entirely on display in the middle, there were rows upon rows of shelves full of bones, brains, hearts, and other tissues. I found it all fascinating, and this time, had fun comparing the names of fauna. One particularly funny moment was when we saw the bones of a whale. Juliette asked me if I could make the noise, as I had been making the noises of other animals along the way. Now, while I'm sure she was hoping for a quiet demonstration, I rolled my head back and let loose a long, low, moaning whale song. No one at the museum seemed bothered by this. We both laughed and carried on.

The higher you climbed in this building, the further back in time you went. We stopped when we saw dinosaurs!

My pictures hardly do the display justice. I have been to the Royal Ontario Museum and the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which both have exquisite dinosaur displays, but I must admit that the one in Paris is quite formidable as well. While I was always interested in dinosaurs, my knowledge of them is far less extensive than that of most of my friends. While they were thinking of dinosaurs, I was reading books about space, haha. Still, Juliette and I had a great time!

This one looks like he's smiling at me.

Very cute.

Taking a leap into the modern, or at least contemporary, Juliette and I walked to le Centre Georges Pompidou, as seen below.

Inside, there were several exhibits featuring, you guessed it, modern and contemporary art. While there were entire floors featuring countless works, I must admit that I did not take any pictures of any of it. To be honest, I did not have much of a connection with it. Most of this, I'm sure, is due to my lack of knowledge on the subject. I have never studied art, and what little I know of it is from friends, or from books I have read on other matters, such as history. So, academically speaking, I have no reference frame for anything artistic which is more modern than 200 years ago. The other reason, somewhat related, is that I am a bit of a romantic and I happen to enjoy classical works much more.

However, I was interested in the view of Paris, as you can see below.

Not the greatest photos ever, but they were taken through glass. Do you see the building to the right of the above picture, far in the background? That's le Sacré Coeur church, surrounded by la butte Montmartre. Juliette and I visited there later in the week, and you'll see it in an upcoming post.

Et c'est tout pour aujourd'hui! (That's all for today) Thanks for stopping by and, once again, I hope you found it enjoyable. Next time, we'll find out about Juliette's surprise event, and visit some churches!

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