Continued from Part 1.
September 30 – Musee D’Orsay
Saturday my big goal was the Musee D’Orsay. While I had expected the love the Louvre, the breadth of the Impressionists at the “MO” was pretty exciting too. But, after the Louvre the day before, my excitement was tempered with the expectation of an indifferent crowd.
The line here was one of the better lines, only three stages instead of five and I didn’t even try to get audio guides. I did my best to work away from the entrance and work my way back, figuring the biggest crowds would be around the entrance, food, and Impressionists. Indeed, the rooms devoted to the Impressionists were a mob scene. Everyone had to get a selfie with a Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. Look at a painting? Nope, just the selfie. Trying to step back and really look just felt impossible.
Away from the Impressionists, however, things were better. I enjoyed the robust sculpture collection, particularly “Ours blanc” by Francois Pompon and “Mediterranee dit aussi la pensee” by Aristide Maillot.
Even in the Impressionist wing, “Women at the Spring” (aka “The Danaids”) and “Le champ de ble d’or et de sarrasin” by Paul Serusier made me rethink yellow. Viewing “Danseuses montant un escalier” by Edgar Degas made me realize that all artists push color.
My favorite part, however, was Gallery 9 which was devoted to Orientalism.
Now, before I continue, please note that I understand that the Orientalism movement is fraught with imperialist and racist overtones. But I find the art, still in the Romantic period devoted to naturalism, very inspiring. Gustave Gillaumet’s work “L’Algerie” and “Le Sahara” take my breath away. I don’t remember Frank Brangwyn, but his piece “Un marche sur la plage” made me rethink color entirely. “Elephants d’Afrique” by Charles Emile de Tournemine made every other elephant painting seem like a pale imitation. Paul Lazerges’s “Dromadaires a l’oued” was a masterwork in temperature.
Upon leaving MO, I decided to take the Batobus back to the hotel. This was an excellent decision due to great scenery and the chance to see Notre Dame relatively close.
October 1 – Braderie de Houilles
Sunday was probably my most unusual day. I decided to go out into the Paris suburbs to a large garage sale called Braderie de Houilles. I’m not sure what attracted me. I had a vague idea of picking up antique art supplies or discovering a fun piece of art. I wasn’t shocked, however, to find a town festival devoted to people trying to get rid of their junk to other people who probably didn’t need it either.
It was a fun trip, though not my most exciting adventure. But it felt good to know that French people’s stuff is just as junky as ours.
Upon returning to Paris, I decided to tour the Cluny. This Museum is famous for the Lady and the Unicorn tapesties, but it has a lot to offer in other beautiful things to look at.
I then walked back to the hotel, which was beautiful all by itself.
I adored the hotel I stayed in, but I will admit that the jet lag was pretty tough. I am not sure I understood that, and these first few days I really pushed myself. But by the end of Sunday, I was developing a sore throat. I hoped it was just allergies, but with the plane travel and all else, I was very afraid (and rightly so) that I was going to get a cold. I’m not a good patient, so the next post may be somewhat short on excitement!