The last time I walked through the Luxembourg gardens was in late fall and the mood was melancholy. Yesterday it was anything but. A gorgeous sunny day had everyone out, adults and children, taking advantage of the rays. Kids were sailing boats on the bassin as Parisian kids have done for generations while their elders were sitting in the ubiquitous green park chairs reading or simply turning their faces to the sun.
The trees haven't yet begun to leaf but the first crocuses are peeking up and there is a palpable sense that the long cold winter is over. The warm sweaters I brought back from California to get me through the rest of the winter may never see daylight.
We've had friends visiting from home and so been seeing exhibitions, shopping and eating at a bit more than the usual pace. The J.M.W. Turner exhibit at the Grand Palais was jammed with visitors, even on a Sunday evening and probably needs another viewing; enormous, as most Grand Palais shows are, it tries to show how Turner was influenced by and in many cases drew directly from the work of other artists.
The Edvard Munch exhibition at the Pinacothéque de Paris was also crowded and noteworthy for the absence of even one version of the picture he's most identified with, The Scream. In fact the secondary title of the show is "l'Anti-Cri" (the Anti-Scream).
On an evening that offered a stunning sunset, we walked to the lovely Théâtre des Champs-Elysées to attend our first Paris opera, a wonderful staging of Verdi's "Falstaff". Who knew opera could make you laugh out loud? The crowd in the theater made for fascinating watching as well, a mix of people coming from the office, young people out for a special evening and the occasional "did you see that!?"
It's such a pleasure to be out on the streets in the sun again; I hate to belabor the point, but coming from someplace that has two seasons at best, it's worth noting how the emergence from the cold depths of winter into sparkling sunlight warms more than your physical being.