A good thing about a rainy day in Bordeaux is that there are lots of galleries and museums to visit. My favourite place to visit is not an art gallery or those museums that have lots of fragments of pottery and ancient bones. I prefer to see how people lived in the not so distant past. I like to imagine what the haughty looking woman in the portrait was really like. Was she cruel to her servants or was that just Madame looking very French? And why, when people must have paid large sums of money to be immortalised in oils, didn’t they insist that the artist take off a few of the chins and trim their waistline? There must have been an 18 century version of the airbrushed picture.
The Musée des Arts décoratifs de Bordeaux is housed in an old private mansion built in the late 18 century. The collection ranges from 16th-21st centuries. The most interesting rooms showcase Bordeaux when it was at its wealthiest. I like the fact that a rope-maker could rise to be ‘Upper middle class’ as the sign in the room said. He must have gone into selling his rope on a grand scale to afford the comfortable furniture and delicate decoration of the parlour that was on view. I’m sure Monsieur Rope-maker would have been amazed that people would wander through his parlour and find the way he lived interesting 200 years after his death. It’s also a reminder to seize the day.
At the weekend an outdoor exhibition of cows was installed at various places around the city. Sounds strange but they are oddly appealing.