This past Sunday, I had one of the nicest days since coming to the old world late this summer.  Although it was warm and sunny, not typical for my time here, I spent a portion of the day indoors at two events.

The first weekend event was the Nancy record swap.  I’ve been to record shows in Portland, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Austin, etc., but this was the first record show outside of the US I’ve been to.  The size of this show rivaled most US shows, especially for a fairly small city.

I was really hoping to find some rare European gems much cheaper than you would typically see in the US (my French want list: Magma LPs, Serge Gainsbourg LPs, stuff by and produced by Jean-Claude Vannier, early France Gall records, stuff by Anna St. Clair, Francoise Hardy LPs that I still haven’t been able to track down).  I didn’t have the greatest luck.  The French have plenty of Nana Mouskouri records to sort through, just like the US.  I was a little surprised by how high some of the prices were, particularly since the Euro is approaching 1 & 1/5 times that of the dollar.  I was still able to come away with some records for under 40 Euro, which I was pleased… now I just have to wait to listen.  Here’s my loot:

Although I did spend some time outside to enjoy the weather, I squeezed some time in at the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Nancy.  On the first Sunday of every month the museum has free admission, so I took advantage.  I was actually really impressed by the quality and quantity of the art in the museum.  The museum has a load of work from great French painters such as Bastien-Lepage, Monet, Manet, Dufy, Bonnard, Valadon, Derain, etc.  There’s a nice modern and recent acquisition section with some paintings from Modigliani, Gris, and a nice later period Picasso.  There was also a collection of glass skulls.  Wild!

Upstairs at the museum is not really my bag, but still interesting: loads of paintings of chubby babies with wings set against black backgrounds.  One thing I have noticed is how well French painters portray passionate eyes (check out any Renoir), and there are many examples of this here in the Musee des Beaux-Arts, especially in the rooms upstairs.  There are a few paintings by Rubens and Caravaggio here, as well as a nice collection of Flemish paintings from the mid-16th century and mid-18th century Italian art.  Finally, located throughout the museum, but concentrated in the basement, is arguably the world’s largest collection of Daum Art Nouveau glass work.  There’s a special exhibit at the museum now of this pretty amazing stuff.  In the basement of the museum is remnants of the original building structures built in 1673.