Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 18, Day 11: The Musée d'Orsay

When I lived in Paris, the Orsay Museum did not exist; there was just the old Gare d'Orsay (Orsay Station), which was no longer used as a train station. But after I left France in 1973, it became an art museum. I never managed to visit it before now, so today seemed the perfect day. After our lunch with Isobel and Martin and our visit to Starbucks, we walked down the Champs-Elysées, past the Plqce Clemanceau; the Grand Palais, and the Place de la Concorde with its Egyptian obelisk, to the Passerelle Solferino, a new footbridge over the Seine which leads to the giant museum, which did not disappoint  (when we finally got in; after queuing up for tickets for a long time under a burning sun--summer finally came to Paris today!). Photography is mostly not permitted in the museum, but I took a few photos outside and on the terrace:
That's the Musée d'Orsay in the distance with the footbridge over the Seine (Passerelle Solférino) visible in front of it.
Crossing the Passerelle Solférino
My only photo taken inside the museum
Wall art on the Right Bank of the Seine as seen from the museum terrace (I particularly love the immense eyes; which look so real!)
On the terrace (the Louvre visible behind me)
It was so clear that you could see the Basilica of the Sacré Coeur from the terrace!
Happy (though tired)
We spent about two and a half hours and saw a lot, but nowhere near everything. We spent most of our time looking at the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, and to my delight, there was a room with 13 pastels by Odilon Redon; who has been my favorite artist for over 40 years. There were also three oils by Redon which were part of a special exhibit, "La Passion Française: La Collection Marlene et Spencer Hays," and one more in the Post-Impressionist section. I have never seen so many Redons in one place, so I was in heaven.

We saw some very well-known works; such as Whistler's Mother, Seurat's Cirque, and Renoir's Bal du Moulin de la Galette, Degas dancers, Monet bridges and (only one) water lilies (nymphéas), lots of Renoirs, Gauguins, and van Goghs, and on and on. I took note of some of the paintings I liked the most and will try to find Creative Commons images of at least some of them on the Internet so I can link to them here. But there were too many of them! After a while one begins to feel overwhelmed by all the masterpieces. (I am not complaining!)

Then we walked across the beautiful Pont Alexandre III, passing the Grand Palais (where I was a student of Russian in 1970 - 1971) and the Petit Palais, which is across the street from it. Both are now museums.
Le Grand Palais, as seen from the Left Bank with the Alexander III Bridge to its left
A little girl enjoys riding on her father's shoulders on the Quai d'Orsay
One of the towers of the Pont Alexandre III. I used to cross this bridge daily on my way to school, but I don't remember all that gold.
Le Petit Palais, its columns adorned with color
And after sitting a short time in front of the Théatre Marigny, we walked all the way back up the Champs-Elysées to the Etoile, where we caught the RER train back to Rueil. And now it is 1:00 AM, so I think I will go to sleep! I will try to add commentary to the Strasbourg posts tomorrow morning. We plan to stay in Rueil and (weather permitting) talk a walk along the Seine.

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