Thursday, October 13, 2011

Full on empty

"You aren't going to write about this are you?" Remi has locked eyes with me to make the point. I lower the camera clutched in my hand back down into my bag. No, I don't need to write about everything. I don't have blogger fever. It is his birthday and some things are best left in the realm of the personal.

True, it is tempting. We are lunching at the METropolitan restaurant in the courtyard of the Collection Lambert in Avignon, one of my favorite spots in all of Provence. But hey, I have already written about it before, so why repeat myself more than I already have a tendency to do?

But Remi had taken the day off, it was his fête after all, so a glass of white wine was in order. Actually, two. And when the always charming serveur brought out two coupes of champagne, who were we to say no? 

And so we lingered. My back was to the rest of the tables but I could hear the bubble of conversation starting to fade. Having waited tables (something that every member of the population should be forced to do at one time or another), I dread being the hated 'last table that won't leave' so we offered to settle the bill so that our waiter could go. No need to vex a man who offers free bubbly, now is there?

Much to our surprise, not only the waiter but the entire equipe headed out, locking the restaurant up behind them as they did. "Just leave everything where it is. Stay as long as you like." Really? "Only in France," Remi sighed contentedly. And it is true. We sipped our espressos slowly and let the conversation drift into out-right philosophical realms. The trees shimmied their leaves. It was just too exceptional. "Come on, you have to let me write about this!"

We left behind our private little kingdom for another. The exhibition "Le Temps Retrouvés" featured the works of Cy Twombly as well as a selection of complimentary masterworks. I am a Twombly fan and was grateful to see the last exhibition curated before the artist's death. It was lovely to slide in between the layers of his paintings but also to watch the light play off them and the architecture as well.

Something about the sunlight trying to break beyond the flowing curtains and the endless horizon of Hiroshi Sugimoto's sea photographs made us both feel as we had slipped into another dimension.

We wandered from room to room gazing at stark Cindy Shermans, moody Louise Lawlers and a haunting series by Sally Mann. 

At every turn, the light played as much of a role as the art in charming us. Softness, whispers and again the absence of noise. It wasn't until we had reached one of the final rooms that we realized that we had seen the entire exhibit alone. We hadn't crossed another person save for occasional security guards that would nod at us, each in varying stages of a seeming Zen like state. 

One of the many phrases painted along the walls of the courtyard translates as "I believe in miracles." And big or small, yes, yes I do. All alone at both the restaurant and amidst the museum's changing colors and themes. We both left feeling full on empty. 


  1. Happy belated Birthday to Remi! Sounds like my kind of perfect day. While I'm sure the artwork at the gallery was beautiful it was the light coming through the windows that captured my attention. I love the light this time of year there's something magical about it.

    (Dylan and I took some fall pictures of the changing foliage for you to see soon.)

  2. A wonderful day shared with Remi and of course un petit peu with us. Merci!

  3. Joyeux Anniversaire, Remi and congrats to my fellow blogger for an inspiring post. Veronique

  4. The way the sunlight filters through those curtains is stunning. Mesmerizing.

    And yes, the irony of writing about this day is not lost!

  5. Oops. Heehee. I actually told Remi last night that I probably wouldn't have gone ahead with it if it wasn't for the curtains in the light--that was too beautiful not to share!

    Thanks everyone for the kind words and I'll pass on the wishes to Remi.

  6. J'adore la collection Lambert et son restaurant en terrasse à midi. Cette cour est un lieu délicieux. Ravie de voir que vous avez bravé l'interdiction de prendre des photos à l'intérieur, comme je l'ai fait moi-même souvent, aussi et d'abord à cause de la lumière... irrésistible !
    Bon anniversaire à Rémi.
    (suis arrivée ici via un lien chez Véronique à Seattle)

  7. C'est un lieu magique, non? Mais j'ai oubliée à noter que les photos sont permis --sans flashes mais bien sur--pour le première fois pour cette expo! Donc, allez-y!

    Et oui, franchement le METropolitan est mon terrasse chouchou dans votre ville...sauf si vous avez autres recommandations? ;)

    Bienvenue et bon WE!

  8. Sounds like a lovely celebration in a gorgeous spot! And that exhibit looks fabulous - Twombly is one of my very favorites!! And the light - so beautiful!

  9. Oh that is exactly how I imagine a restaurant in a sleepy village in France to be! I was captivated by your description and then having read your profile no wonder it was fabulous! I am thrilled to have discovered your blog and look forward to reading and enjoying more tales from France. Warmest of wishes from an old farmhouse in England - Glenda xxx

  10. Oh Stacey, of course you are a Twombly fan! That makes perfect sense to me. Thank you again for your amazing series in London...

    And Glenda, welcome! And for those of you that are as slow on the ball as I am and have not yet discovered her be-you-ti-ful blog, please take a click over to: --you won't be disappointed! And ps. Glenda, we have exactly the same tastes in movies! :)

  11. What a beautiful post, and yes, of course you had to write about it!! Just love the sunshine in the gallery
    Have a wonderful weekend

  12. Thank you so much Sharon for stopping by! Your blog inspires me to no end...I would love to hear how the puppers are...

    Wishing you a lovely weekend as well!


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