Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Musée d'Orsay & Notre-Dame

Day 3 started with visit to Orsay Museum - for me the highlight of this museum is the Impressionist era paintings and the icing on the cake was a temporary exhibit of Van Gogh.

I was planning to visit Amesterdam after Paris but work schedule made me cancel the Thalys tickets that I had booked. So I was bummed about not being able to visit the Van Gogh museum. But I got lucky as Orsay had a temp exhibit when we were in Paris.

So naturally we started with the exhibit first. The queue to enter museum wasn't too long but was moving pretty slowly and it was drizzling a bit...by the time we reached the exhibit I was disheartened to find another long and slow moving queue. I decided to sit on the floor instead of giving up and after about 30 minutes we were able to enter the exhibition.

The exhibit had about forty paintings, plus a selection of his drawings and letters. Its title (and point of view) come from a book by Antonin Artaud, Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society, written from the painter’s Paris retrospective in 1947. This was my first time looking at the original Van Gogh paintings up close and I would say that one has to see the real thing in order to truly "feel" his work.

After spending 1.5 hours admiring and experiencing this fine collection, we directly proceeded to 5th floor which is completely dedicated to Impressionist era paintings by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Sisley, Bazille, Boudin, Cezzane, Degas and many more...I, personally, love the impressionist art and was happy spending  2 plus hours on this floor alone.

We then walked towards Notre Dame and en route found a bench on one of the many bridges on Seine that felt like it was calling us :) we decided to park ourselves there. The morning clouds had given way to a warm and sunny afternoon and the idyllic surroundings beckoned us to just sit down and observe the world go by. We must have spent good portion of an hour here before we got back on our feet and reached Notre Dame.

The queue to enter the cathedral was quite long but moved fairly quickly. After the cathedral, as we looked at the queue for the towers, we gave up - Not only was it long, it wasn't moving at all. The three long queues had done us in finally (museum entry, exhibit entry and cathedral entry) - we sat down at a small café near by and decided to indulge in some rose wine and crepes.

The evening started to get cold and as the tiny rain drops threatened to transform into a shower, we made our way back to subway station and headed back to hotel where we changed into some finer dinner clothes and went to a near by restaurant for another evening of good food and great wine!

Musee d' Orsay
A stained glass window @ Notre-Dame

The bridge where we spent an hour doing nothing!


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