Musee des Arts Forains and Arts Decoratif (Paris 2015)

PantheonAfter the Cluny Museum in the morning, we went to the Pantheon. Were glad we had the “go to the front of the line” tickets. Otherwise we’d have had to wait forever and we found it a big bore. Lots of graves. Famous people – Victor Hugo, Zola, Voltaire – but dead and unavailable for a conversation.

ad towerThere was, however, an interesting church (seen when we got lost, which despite GPS, happened a lot). Take a look at the spiral staircase on the left with the little landing balconies, and the chimney flue (I think) on the right. The black blotch in the middle is not Bat Man ready to fly to the ground. It’s the back of an illumination light.

Forains theater door
Onward to Musee des Arts Forains.

It contains artifacts from fairgrounds and music halls, including old carousels. The pictures on line looked interesting. The outside of the museum was enchanting, fairy-like. But the tour I really can’t recommend. Total kitsch, boring, a commentary that was false enthusiastic – like watching an old children’s TV show. Can you tell how much I hated it? We left after about 10 minutes, even though it was one of the most expensive tickets. My advice? Avoid it! Musee des Arts Forains







Because we abandoned the tour, we had time to just run down to the Musee des Arts Decoratif, which had been on my wish list, but I wasn’t able to fit it in. That one was really worth while. Just take a look. By the way, the little face on my home page is from a special exhibit about buttons. Thousands of them.

Decoratif bat vase
Decoratif bass fiddle dresserDecoratif Deco stairs
Wouldn’t you love to have that stair rail? Or the bat vase or the funny dresser? The artifacts were from all periods. The little flute pitcher much earlier. I don’t remember about the crazy chair.
Decoratif flutist jarDecoratif weird chair











A charming riding toy for a little child. And below that, an early “Hummel” in ivory, a reminder of mortality.

Decoratif  swan toy
Decoratif skeleton

Antique Sarreguemines Coffee Set

Coffee setCoffee set marked Flore U&C Sarre- guemines.

The factory supplied most of the original tiles that decorated the walls of the Paris metro and Napoleon commissioned decorative pieces from them for his apartments at Versailles.

I bought the set when I was living in Germany. Did I have a use for it? Hahaha. I was a ballet dancer with a tiny apartment and in Germany at that time, you didn’t visit one another’s apartments, you met at a restaurant or bar. This may have changed, but while I lived there, I never had a visitor in for coffee. In fact, I didn’t drink the stuff; my beverages consisted of carrot juice, apfelsaft (apple juice sold in the canteen for theater staff,) and after performances, red wine at the Italian place where we wound down. But this set had to be mine.

I bought it at my favorite “antique” store where, with the exception of a flokati rug, I had found all the furnishings in my apartment: a painted glass lamp with little crystal beads, a rocking chair, a carved coat rack with a beveled mirror to hang on the wall, a couple of chairs and a solid wooden table that took me almost an hour to drag home. In the midst of my spare décor, the coffee set glowed like an expensive painting.

When I moved back to the States, the husband of a dancer friend was being transferred to NYC and he offered to ship some items home for me. I sent the coat rack, the flokati (which has long since become scraggly and been abandoned), and this set. The lamp, a true antique, I opted to keep with me as carry on. Unfortunately, I had a plane change.

The second airline insisted the package was too big. I tried to explain it was an antique but to no avail. The box that came off the baggage carousel tinkled and was full of painted glass shards. Only the beading was intact. I have wondered if I had been then as I am now, I could have saved it. Dancers are trained to listen to authority – the teacher, the choreographer, the stage manager, the coach. It has taken some time to become a person with my own authority.

Writing this, I feel such regret for that lost lamp. It was precious because it lit a special time of my life. From the 6th grade on, I had been determined to be ballerina, never mind my short legs. After years of struggle, I won a place in a good company. After every performance, I went home and turned on that light. Under it, I examined my battered feet, ate my skimpy meals or read. I was happy!

I have no such close connection to the coffee set but its beauty continues to holds me.

Restored Pie Cabinet – Guest Post

Pie Cabinet brought back to life. Richard writes: My great grandmother’s pie cabinet, used to store paint and chemicals by my grandmother in her basement. Repaired and restored in my garage for our china cabinet. One of the shelves had to be replaced because it was ruined.

[ED: Research says the pie cabinet was likely introduced to the United States by the German people who immigrated to Pennsylvania, better known as the Pennsylvania Dutch. This makes sense because Richard’s ancestors were German. The pie safe was generally kept away from the wood stove so that the food could remain as cool as possible. This one has lost the usual punched tin that would have been in the doors. The narrow slits on the side were probably screened. That way the pies and other food stayed ventilated but pests (except for children) couldn’t get in.]

Antique Bookcase

Antique Bookcase with desk. Solid oak, decorated (over-decorated?) with applied flourishes, carved front, brass studs and fittings. Beveled mirror.

I really don’t know what to call this. The center door opens to reveal a desk. If any of my readers can identify the style, I’d be grateful.

My parents bought this in the early 60’s and I loved it. However, at some point it was given to my sister. I was sad about that, but heck, she liked it too. Then one year for my birthday, she shipped it across the country to me. Must have cost a fortune. Was that nice, or what?! The brass is the pits to clean. No wonder modern furniture is so featureless; who has time to polish? Nevertheless, I treasure it. Take a gander at some of the detail below.