14 July 2014 | Posted by Laurence Higham
It's Bastille Day in Paris! The Champs Elysees is festooned with tricolor flags, helicopters are flying overhead & ranks of soldiers, sailors & airmen are preparing to march in formation past President Francois Hollande in the blazing sunshine.
Meanwhile 47 students & 5 staff from Bridgnorth School are also in Paris to see some of the art treasures that the city has to offer.
Our first stop was the Place de Tertre where students haggled over the cost of a portrait with the local artists in this historic square. Van Gogh lived in this square & painted one of his 'Starry Night' paintings here. Picasso lived here for 6 months, Claude Monet would visit frequently & Edgar Degas could often be seen on the terrace tables drinking an absinthe. Today the square is full of artists & tourists buying & selling. Our students got some serious & some cartoon portraits completed & showed them to the staff who were enjoying a coffee while people-watching.
Afterwards we enjoyed our picnic lunch by the Pompidou Centre.
Followed by a guided tour of the Rodin Museum, where pupils learnt about the 'Burghers of Calais', 'The Thinker' & 'The Gates of Hell' before 'doing the conga' with one of the ancient statues in the garden.
Our day finished in the small village of Auvers sur l'Oise where pupils visited the house where Vincent Van Gogh lived & died after shooting himself in the stomach. Pupils felt a strong presence of the artist as they visited the bedroom in which he passed away surrounded by his paintings drying on the walls. Vincent went to his death a failure, depressed, poor, unmarried, childless & alcoholic but today three of the top five world's most expensive paintings are Van Gogh's & he is lauded as being an artistic genius. Particularly poignant was our visit to the small village cemetery where Vincent lies buried next to his brother with a single sunflower placed on his grave.