This morning we bought train tickets for us and our bicycles to Tours for tomorrow afternoon. It was so easy; we’ll see if it is as easy actually getting our bicycles on the train. The past two days we have been busy helping Jocelyne Alloucherie set up her installation ‘Occidents’ at Le Grand Palais. Hers and two other works accompany the three-week long performance of Les Grand Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. Le Grand Palais is an elegant iron and glass structure with an open light-filled interior, built around the same time as the Eiffel Tower, for the 1900 World Fair. All weekend it was a-buzz with workers setting up the bleachers and the stage for the ballet and at opposite ends the different artists and their crews setting up their works. Talk has it that the Grand Ballet received by error, the installation bill for President Sarkozy’s official press office that had been there earlier in the week. Must have been some fancy installation! That bill was for 8 million euro. One euro today is costing us around a dollar and sixty cents Canadian. We were given ID badges allowing us entrance and in we rode each day on our bicycles. The place was so big; it was preferable to ride my bicycle to the washroom at the other end of the building. There was a lot of plastering, painting, cleaning, climbing, go-foring (our bikes came in super handy!) and hanging of works. I cannot get over the price of paint here. Although it is very good paint, the price paid in paint alone to cover approximately 600 sq.ft. would at home buy the paint and have it professionally applied as well. I will try and enlist Paul’s help here to get some photos onto this site.
Tonight is opening night. I did not bring any gala clothes.
The Paris Plage opens today. Each summer for August, the city closes the road that hugs the Seine, covers it with sand and equips it with lounge chairs, umbrellas and even a temporary swimming pool, but it is cool today and has been very much like mid-late September weather (in Montreal) since we arrived here a week and a half ago. I will check it out later.
Tomorrow we head out to explore the Loire region on our bikes. There appears to be an interesting bicycle trail that follows the Loire River from Tours into the wine – chateau district. We will stop wherever and look for a hotel or gite as they are called here along the way. Friends: Janice and Michael have generously offered their house in a village south of Tours at Mirebeau near Poitiers, so we will aim for there for the following day or so. I have no real idea what we are embarking on in terms of biking difficulty. We are solid bikers, but are by no means well equiped for a cycling tour, but I am keen and curious. In coming to France for this residency, I realized that my central attitude and plan of action will be one of openess. I will work with what comes my way and that also includes wine, bread and cheese.