Today was serendipity.  We started out with the intention of visiting the Élysée Palace, the official residence of the French President.  It is open only open once a year,  this weekend, during the Journées du Patrimoine, which are the cultural heritage days that take place in many European countries.

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By the time we got to the Élysée Palace in the early afternoon, the line to get in was closed for regular attendees (however, pregnant mothers, those with children in strollers, and those with special privileged access could still get in – the police had a book where they were checking names).  In fact, the kind policeman said that those in line were going to be waiting 6 hours.

So, nearby was the Petit Palais.   It is a lovely museum with a fairly extensive though small collection.   Because it was the Journées du Patrimoine, they had free entry to the special exhibits as well as a few activities for kids.  Even so, it wasn’t crowded and it turned out to be a lot of fun.   The architecture is beautiful and overall the size of the museum is just right.   Near the end of the day the weather turned grey and made for some beautiful shots from inside the garden courtyard.

Our favorite activity was drawing with Pastels.  They had a temporary exhibit of Pastels and the activity connected with that.

The quotes at the Pastels exhibit are worth passing on, though I seem to have only captured one: “Pastels, that so workable, so fragile substance, with its suggestion of the pollen of flowers, and the lustrous ash that powders the wings of butterflies, is above all suited to rendering the smoothness of women’s skin and the crumpling of fine fabrics.”

You’ll see more blog posts from le Petit Palais, as we study the artwork there and visit the cafe!  Note, admission for the permanent collection is free.  Admission is extra for the temporary exhibits (like The Art of Pastel from Degas to Redon that we saw today).