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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Musee National Gustave Moureau, Paris

We were trying to decide between the Moureau Museum and the Maillol Museum. I don't know really know why we'd picked these two but it wasn't because the names sounded vaguely similar! I wish I could tell you our decision was based on strong preference, or well informed research, but  the prosaic truth is we ended up at the Moureau because the metro line was better for something we had planned later that afternoon! 
Paris is filled with wonderful small museums including several I've detailed on the blog (the Jaquemart Andre, the Bourdelle, the Marmottan-Monet and the Dubuffet Foundation ). The eponymous Musee Moureau  preserves the home and studio of the Romantic painter Gustav Moureau. It's charming to see the personal rooms and period furnishings of both the painter and his family, along with the top floor studio where he worked and displayed his art. 

The Victorian interiors include heavy ornamentation and rooms cluttered with items on display. The walls are postage stamped with art, including the collection of, and works by, Moureau.

I particularly like the teacup by the bed, it seems to suggest the artist will be right back.

Upstairs you'll find Moureau's duplex studio where many of his painting are displayed. 
I particularly liked seeing many of the incomplete works which give  an insiders view into the process and production of his work.

There are also a number of sculptures on display in wonderfully old fashioned wooden cases.
I loved the spiral staircase that takes you to the second level of his studio. I couldn't resist this shot. Again, there's a lot more of Moureau's work upstairs both finished and unfinished.

His work has a wonderfully rich symbolic quality, it's filled with mystical creatures and virginal maidens. 
I particularly like the naked female figure caressing a unicorn below!
Some of the unfinished works are reminiscent of much more modern works, the macabre painting below entitled La Parque et L'Ange de Mort reminds me of something by Rouault.
There are lots of Gods and Goddesses including Jupiter and Europa.
Amongst it all, staring out at you as you stroll around, is Moureau himself, seen in the self portrait below.
I think this final picture gives you a good idea of both his work and the manner in which it's displayed. I really like this museum because it's both an art museum and a period piece. Moureau designed the museum before his death and picked the items and the manner of their display. Consequently it give you real insight into both  Moureau's milieu,  life and work, highly recommended.
Tip: If you have a membership at the Louvre remember to ask for a discount on the ticket.