Fifty eight years ago, in 1951, the classic musical film An American In Paris was released and it is still discussed even today. This film, directed by Vincent Minelli, won the Oscar for Best Picture. It is the story of an American G.I. who stayed in Paris after WWII to pursue his dreams of becoming a successful artist and meeting Ms. Right.
Less than two months ago, I was an American in Paris, and my agenda was a tad different than Gene Kelly’s Jerry Mulligan . Now the only ones talking about it now are Mastercard and American Express, and hopefully, the Air France stewardess who took my card and said she would call.
We’ll hold that thought for a while and instead, take you back about six weekends. My annual 4-day 3 nights Parisian Weekend was something I always look forward to, and upon arrival, the local forecast was for some fine weather. Back home, my fellow New Yorkers would flock to the movies, the race track, Central Park, the museums, or, they would just shop till they dropped when not visiting any of the other myriad locations of interest that make New York a mecca for tourists.
For me the price was right, and the timing was magnificent, so instead of standing on line at my local Cineplex at some point over the long weekend, I flew out of JFK in New York on the night of Thursday, the 5th, and on Friday morning I was checking into the Hotel Relais-Bosquet on the Rue de Champs du Mar in Paris.
“Bonjour! Parlez-vous Anglais?”
“Oui, Monsieur? ‘Ow can I help you?”
“Je vais au Musée d’Orsay. Um, I’m going to the d’Orsay Museum. And the Louvre after that. Can you call a taxi for us?”
A few days of wandering around these world class museums, a spot of coffee at a sidewalk café on the Left Bank, and the sheer elegance of Paris,
…was just the ticket. Being able to see with my own eyes some of the art from some of my columns truly pleased me. But Paris, and travel in general, is not just museums, or sidewalk cafés.
Take a look at these vintage travel posters, and see if you can sense and feel the excitement of travel, and then maybe you will understand why I travel so often.
By the way, then take a second look at the posters and consider that as works of art, they have additional value. Just because certain Tourism Groups, ad agencies, or State Ministries of Travel commissioned unknown artists to create these works doesn’t mean they can’t be admired in their own right.
But life isn’t just about travel and art, is it? Of course not. Well, maybe it might get to be, someday, if I can manage it. Yet, after necessities like job and family, get their moments, again and again, and between trips, we dream of even more travel.
I’ve already said my au revoir to Paris, at least until the next time. You, however, may indeed say bonjour and cava to another column here at The Arts. So until we meet again, please enjoy your baguettes, croissants, and brioches and enjoy that steaming cup of freshly ground French Roast coffee. Merci.