Call it an embarrassment of riches but I can't tell you the number of times I've planned to go to a concert, a show, or an art exhibition and by the time I got my act together, it was too late. That could have easily happened with the Willy Ronis exhibit at La Monnaie de Paris but fortunately it didn't. And there's still plenty of time for the rest of you. This incredible show of black and white photographs, mostly from the 1940s and '50s, is on until the 22nd of August. And unlike the Orsay and the Louvre, there are no crowds and the exhibit is the perfect size, enough to absorb without completely exhausting you.
If you don't know Ronis by name, you will certainly recognize some of his pictures. That iconic photo of the little boy running with his baguette? Ronis. That amazing shot looking down a flight of stairs near the Parc des Butte Chaumont? Ronis again. And even if you don't recognize each one like some old school chum, you know the atmosphere right to your bones. Ronis's subjects are prosaic, factory workers, shopkeepers, and ordinary people at work and play, but even so, these pictures show the Paris of your dreams. If you're in town, make sure you get there in the next six weeks. If not, you can get a glimpse of what you're missing on the Web site of the Hackel Bury Gallery which is still representing Ronis, even though he died last September, just shy of his 100th birthday. Even better, if you have $6,000 lying around, one of these can actually be yours.