The trip takes an Alpine leap.
Day 76: From Strasbourg, Dole is a 3 hour trip by train. Just west of the Alps in the Jura Mountains (namesake of the Jurassic period), Dole is outside Dijon on the Doubs River. Destination: Musee des Beaux Arts to see Judith by Jacques Bellange. A long way from the station so I need to figure out the bus system.
Mon – closed; Tues-Sat: 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm (Wed 8pm); Sun: 2pm to 6pm
About 2.5 hours by train takes me to Bourg-en-Bresse, and Le Logis de Brou for the night. A 20 minute walk in the evening with bags means I think I will hail a cab.
Day 77: I am in Bourg-en-Bresse to visit the Musée de Brou and Judith by Pietro della Vecchio. A short,straight walk down the boulevard from the hotel, the Brou Museum is housed in the royal monastery of the same name – unique in France as it has three cloisters with different floors. The collection here includes paintings (note the portrait of Margaret of Austria by Bernard van Orley, in addition to works by Gustave Doré, Gustave Moreau and Utrillo). a walk in the cathedral is a must, too.
(Oct-Mar) Daily: 9am to 12 noon and 2pm to 5pm;
(Apr – midMay) Daily: 9am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 6pm;
(midJun – midSep) Daily: 9am to 6pm; (mid – end Sep) Daily: 9am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 6pm
The next choice may seem “radical” because I actually meant to visit Geneva as part of my later journey in Switzerland. But then I realized it is much closer to major cities in France, so across the mountains I go. The direct train from Bourg-en-Bresse to Geneva leaves about 6pm and arrives about 7:30pm. So after a leisurely day, I can depart on the hour and 1/2 hour trip across the border to Switzerland. And check in at Les Armures in Old Town Geneva.
Day 78: Unfortunately, once I arrive I have hit a dead end. I am in Geneva searching for the Sedlmayer Collection which owns Guido Reni’s depiction of Judith but I can find no record of the collection – except as the owner of this painting. curious … I could simply show up in Geneva, head to the town square and begin shouting “Does anyone know where i can find the Sedlmayer Collection?” Or maybe I should head to the one place I do know exists and ask if they have any knowledge – and even that is not clear. Somewhere in Geneva resides Judith by Palmezzano but neither the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire nor the Ariana Museum (aka Swiss Museum of Ceramics and Glass) lists it among the collections. So I shall have to visit both. At opposite ends of town.
A few steps from the hotel is the Museum of Art and History. The best-known painting is The Miraculous Draught of Fishes (1444) by Konrad Witz, which obviously concerns a fish out of water. I am crossing my fingers they can help with my mystery of the missing Palmezzano.
Mon – closed; Tues-Sun: 10 am to 6 pm
The Ariana Museum requires a short walk to Cours de Rive for the bus in direction OMS, that will take 25 minutes to deposit me at the Appia stop on Avenue de la Paix at the Museum. The Museum is on the edge of the United Nations campus, near the Palace of Nations. Devoted to ceramic and glass, it contains around 20,000 objects from the last 1,200 years that represent the breadth of artwork during this time. No stone throwing allowed.
Mon – closed; Tues-Sun: 10 am to 6 pm
Day 79: There is a direct train from Geneva that takes slightly over an hour to Chambery. This picturesque town in the Rhône-Alpes region has the unique Fontaine des Éléphants – homage to the Comte de Boigne, a native son who amassed a fortune working as a mercenary in India in the 18th century. My goal is the newly renovated Le Musée des Beaux-Arts – where one can view Judith painted by Mattia Preti, Bugiardini, Beaubrun and a sculpture by Ladatte.
Tues – closed; Wed-Mon: 10am to 12pm and 14pm to 18pm
It’s only an hour more to Grenoble. I can enjoy a few more sites in Chambery – like the elegant apse of the Ste-Chapelle that was built to house the Holy Shroud that ended up in Turin – before pushing on to the All Seasons Grenoble Centre Gare. And enjoying the mountain countryside from the window of the train.
Day 80: I will probably sleep late before trekking to Musée de Grenoble to look for Ambrosius Benson‘s brazen Judith with the Head of Holofernes and another by Pietro della Vecchio. This is a big freakin’ museum (57 rooms of 14,000 square meters) so I will need an audio to maneuver the history of western art 13th to 21st century. Then I can head to the ancient series of fortifications on the mountainside overlooking Grenoble – the Bastille. Maybe I should just stay in the fort for awhile, and wish the world away.
Mon – closed; Tues-Sun: 10 am – 6:30 pm