I could never grow weary of waking to the cerulean of the Canal Saint-Martin, to the striking shadows cast upon the milk-white walls from the early wakening of the Parisian sun, or to the faint echo of the lonely Jazz street musician floating up, above the noise of the ever-busy walkway, and through my window.
Having been here for no more than two whole days, and having explored a mere fraction of what the city has to offer, I can say without doubt that my childhood expectations of this glorious place are already being surpassed. Paris truly is glorious. The atmosphere of the area surrounding the Canal Saint-Martin alone is enough to lock itself to the heart of any visitor.
Finding myself willingly clasped within the talons of this city already, I decided to venture further than the immediate environment of the canal and Place de la République on my second day. A trip to the nearby third arrondissement seemed apt, an area holding within it two museums that had piqued my interest; Musée Cognaqc-Jay and Musée Picasso. Setting off on foot, in an attempt to get to grips with my surroundings, the visual allure of the walk had me stopping for a snap or two every couple of minutes.
Half an hour later, and with a camera-roll already half-full, I arrived at the Cognaqc-Jay Museum; a gallery of the collection of predominantly 18th century French art donated to Paris by husband and wife Ernest Cognaqc and Marie-Louise Jay. The museum felt homely, with a few small rooms of artwork, all displayed and designed to look like little cabinets of curiosities.
There was a stark constrast upon arriving at the Musée Picasso. Where the Musée Cognaqc-Jay was hidden away, with no queue, and basking in its subtlety, the Musée Picasso was monumental, smothered in tourists and basking equally happily in its grandeur. Free entry to all on the first Sunday of every month meant that my choice to visit today was impeccably well-timed. The queue, though seemingly long and tiresome in the humidity, moved surprisingly quickly, and I was entranced by magnificent interior of the mansion within fifteen minutes. A brilliant and elegant white-wash accompanying the sculpted, grandiose staircases made it feel as though you were in the presence of something really special from the outset.
Having never personally taken great interest in Picasso’s work before, and unknowing of the breadth of his art, I was taken aback by how quickly I fell in love with some of the pieces.
Funnily enough, however, my favourite piece in the entire museum was not one by Picasso; it was Portrait of a Girl by André Derain: