In France a lot of things slow down on Sundays and most places are closed. This doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to museums though. In fact on the first Sunday of each month, the museums not only open, but are also free to visit.
I was lucky to be in Bordeaux for the first Sunday of January (the first Sunday ever for 2015) and I took advantage of this to explore two of the major museums of Bordeaux. I began with the Musée Des Arts Décoratifs, which contains a collection of homewares, furniture, paintings, curtains and wallpaper from the centuries past. There were some very interesting designs. The musuem itself was previously a house for important people within Bordeaux, and some of the rooms retain the same layout, colour scheme and furniture as it did back in the 1700s.
In addition to the ancient furniture there were some newer pieces on display. These were the works of Martine Bedin who began her career in furniture design and is now an established architect. The exhibition displayed furniture designs she had previously abandoned, now readapted years later. It was interesting to see these designs amidst the older furniture- sometimes their presence was quiet and it was easy to miss them- at other times it was glaringly obvious that these pieces came from a different era. I really loved some of her white vases, influenced by architectural designs, and probably the items I would most like to house in my own home one day.
The second stop was the Galerie des Beaux Arts, the Fine Art Gallery. Here a temporary exhibition was on display to celebrate the works of Bissière, and to mark the fifty years since his death. Roger Bissière (22 September 1886 – 2 December 1964) was born near to Bordeaux and lived there over a number of years, starting a law degree then moving into painting. Whilst this exhibition focused on his use of the human figure in his early works and documented his move further and further into abstraction, he is also well known for his stained-glass windows, such as those of the Église de Cornol and the Église de Develier (Switerland, 1958) in the pictures below.
I really enjoyed this exhibition as you could really see the progression of the artist’s style throughout his lifetime. There was an impressive number of works on display- three floors entirely dedicated to a single artist. It was also very crowded, as I think a lot of the locals were also making the most of the free entry. I also enjoyed going to the Museum of Fine Arts across the road. This held a diverse selection of paintings from the past few centuries, including a few historic tableaux of Bordeaux itself. All in all it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon and it didn’t cost a cent.