Musee d’Orsay, Paris

My favorite museum experience in Paris was the visit to Musee d’Orsay. Our purpose for visiting was to see “Luncheon on the Grass” by Edouard Manet. The painting is considered to be the jumping off point of the Impressionist revolution.

The shocking painting features a nude woman with fully clothed men at a picnic in a park. During Manet’s time, a classic nude painting was acceptable, except in the presence of clothed men. It was morally unacceptable. The painting was rejected by the salon that displayed paintings approved by the official French academy. In response, Manet displayed his painting with the work of other impressionists at Salon des Refuses.

Today, “Dejeuner l’Herbe”, is displayed with the paintings of other impressionists in a gallery at Musee d’Orsay. Visiting the gallery was a feast to the eyes! Even though there were many visitors, I got the chance to spend enough time to appreciate the paintings on display. Pierre August Renoir’s “Dance in the City and Dance in the Country” are eye catchers.

There are paintings by Seurat, Cezanne, Monet, Pissaro, Cassat, Degas, and Van Gogh. I spent too much time at the gallery where “Luncheon on the Grass” was, that I totally missed seeing any Van Gogh! The museum was closing when I learned that the Van Gogh paintings are displayed at the next gallery. Tragic, as I am a Van Gogh fan. My husband consoled me with a Starry Night scarf from the gift shop and a promise to visit again someday.

Le Bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie verte,
Claude Monet, 1898

I wish we had more time at Musee d’Orsay. A half day there was not enough. Hopefully, I would get another opportunity to visit. Crossing my fingers.

Visiting the Palace of Versailles

I was very excited about visiting the Palace of Versailles. My travel guidebooks list it as a must see when visiting Paris.

I watched the movie “A Little Chaos” that tells a story about a female landscape gardener who was awarded the honor of designing a section of the grand gardens of Versailles. While historically inaccurate, it definitely perks the interest of the audience in obtaining more information on the palace. I binged-watched the 2 seasons of the tv series “Versailles” on Netflix. The series relates the life of King Louis XIV and his court while in residence at Versailles.

Influenced by guidebooks, a movie, and the tv series, I absolutely had to see Chateau de Versailles. When my husband and I with my sister-in-law got there, I realized that my research on visiting the famous palace was not thorough enough. The only way to skip the lines in visiting Versailles is to book a guided tour on its official website. Even with timed entry tickets, visitors still line up to enter the palace.

My mistake was thinking that since we had the Museum Pass, entering the palace would be a breeze. Especially that it was not peak season. Wrong! With the Museum Pass, we did not need to line up at the ticket booth, but we did need to line up at the entrance. The line to get inside Versailles was ridiculously long. It took us at least an hour and a half to get in. Standing in line was not fun, and my husband entertained the idea of leaving, but we stayed. I was in Versailles, and I must see the palace!

Once inside, I forgot all about the hour and a half I spent in line as we walked from room to room. It is always an incredible experience walking through grand historic edifices. Versailles offers a glimpse of the grandness and magnificence of the life of French loyalty.

Before it was a palace, Chateau de Versailles was a hunting lodge built by Louis XIII, Louis XIV’s father. The Sun King enlarged it, and made it the seat of his government. He brought his court and courtiers to Versailles.

The room I was most excited to see was the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles’ most famous room. The hall is lined with mirrors designed to reflect the windows that look out into the gardens. Chandeliers hang from painted ceilings framed in gold. It is a very beautiful gallery, and undoubtedly dazzled during Louis XIV’s time. There are, of course, other rooms that make Versailles a magnificent palace. Not to mention its vast gardens.

There is plenty to see and experience at the Palace of Versailles. It is no wonder that 7.7 million visitors went to see it in 2017. It is a historic monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Reason enough to land on everyone’s must see attractions in Paris.

Obelisk of Luxor in Paris

Why is there an ancient Egyptian obelisk in Paris?

At the center of Place de la Concorde, Paris’ largest public square, is a giant ancient Egyptian obelisk decorated with hieroglyphics describing the reign of Ramesses II. It once stood at the entrance of Luxor Temple.

Why is the obelisk in Paris?

The 3,300 years old obelisk was gifted by the governor of Egypt to France in 1829 and placed at the Place de la Concorde by King Philippe in 1836.

The Luxor Obelisk is one of 30 ancient Egyptian obelisks spread around the world from Egypt to the United States.

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet

Art is subjective. But there are artworks that are considered essential. These are works that have influenced how the art world works today. One such art, according to Professor Carol Krinsky an American architectural historian and Professor of Western Art, is Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise.

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet

The painting is said to have moved the art world into the Impressionist era. It depicts a scene in the port of Le Havre in France’s Normandy region. The red sun dominates the scene and a hazy mist serves as a background for the scene. Small boats can be seen in the foreground while dark vessels at the back are not immediately visible. Monet’s purpose was not to create an accurate landscape, but to record an impression of it.

Entrance to the Claude Monet Collection at Musee Marmottan Monet

Monet’s painting was panned by critics. One derisively used the term , “Impressionist”. Although it was used with a negative connotation, Claude Monet and his contemporaries such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas were happy to adopt the term. Hence, they became known as the Impressionists.

Impression, Sunrise is displayed at Musee Marmottan Monet in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. The museum holds the largest collection of Monet’s work. It also displays the work of other Impressionist artists.

Musee Marmottan Monet, 2 Rue Louis Boilly, Paris (Photo by Sailko, Wikipedia, CC BY 2.5)

I totally enjoyed my visit at Musee Marmottan Monet. There were tourists, but not so many that one could not spend time as much as one wants to appreciate a painting. I got to enjoy looking at the painting that ushered in the Impressionist movement.

Ticking Off My Travel Goals, One Place at a Time