Thursday, January 26, 2012

Paris Day 3 - A day with Vincent

People who know me will vouch for the fact that I'm pretty vocal (and stubborn) about my views on art, what the world considers artistic and what art should stand for. So it can get a little dangerous for people to hang around with me in a place like Musée d'Orsay in the likely event that I might get a little too vocal!

Learning from our Louvre experience with queues, we had a quick breakfast and headed to the RER Station at Port-Royal, so we can get to the Museum before everyone else does. We quickly hopped to Saint-Michel  - Notre Dame on the RER B and then to Musée d'Orsay on the RER C. All through the Paris trip, I've smiled so much whenever I used the Navigo Découverte. It really is most convenient while traveling around don't even need to take it out of your bag. Just wave your bag over the purple scanner and beep yourself through.

I'd say we were at Musée d'Orsay pretty early. The people who were already there wouldn't say the same. We hoped our Museum Pass will help beat the queue but almost everyone in front of us had the pass as well. But this was one queue we didn't complain about, thanks to the wonderful quartet of musicians playing right outside the museum. About 30 minutes later, we were inside.

And we thought we were early!

Queues aren't so bad if you have your personal Quartet for company.

One of the famous Space Invaders mosaics. This is the one outside Musée d'Orsay.

The Musée d'Orsay is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a former railway station that's way too beautiful to be used for something as common as commuting. I decided to put my camera away because I really wanted to focus on the Impressionists (and post-Impressionists) and nothing else. They were all here...Cézanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Gauguin and the one artist I've followed all my life but whose work I've never had the privilege of seeing in person - Vincent Van Gogh. I'm no great art critic, so I'm not going to get into detailed explanations of the pieces here. But Van Gogh really stands apart. There's something there that isn't anywhere else. And I don't mean style or's an obvious observation that every artist in there does have her/his own unique style. But there's just something about Van Gogh.

We spent the entire day at Musée d'Orsay. My back was bad from sleeping two nights on a mattress I'm not used to (it had nothing to do with the mattress, I just take a while to adjust!). But I kept walking on, focussing on specific sections. After a while, there's only so much your mind, like a sponge, can absorb. After saturation point, you're just walking around and looking at pieces numbed. So we decided to not do that and stepped down to the lower level and people-watched. Young students sketching away in their art books, old couples in serious, hushed discussion and the occasional annoying flash-wielding photographer that I never fail to glare at!

By the time we got out, it had begun raining and was getting dark. With nothing else to do that evening, we decided to walk down Boulevard Saint-Germain.

I'll have that, that, that and...oh yeah, that one too, s'il vous plait.

Paris has this funny habit of creeping up and surprising you when you least expect it. And Église de Saint-Germain des Prés did just that. Although I'd heard so much about the Église de Saint-Germain des Prés, we hadn't put it down on the list for today. Much of the inside was covered but the little we could see was ethereal. There was a service going on, so out of respect, we didn't want to walk around too much. But we promised to come back here, maybe on this trip but definitely on the next.

We continued walking on down Blvd Saint-Germain to get to RER Saint-Michel - Notre Dame. Along the way, we made a fantastic discovery that we'd re-visit often during our trip - Rue de la Huchette. The 'food street' as we'd often refer to it. There's almost every kind of cuisine out there. We decided on something absolutely French tonight and had our first taste of Escargot. We loved it! I could eat this everyday and not complain at all! Along with the escargot came oysters. And after that enough food and wine for a small army!

With stomachs full and glasses empty, we finally left Rue de la Huchette as Michelle crooned that her baby just cares about her.

"My baby just cares for me..."


Another great day in Paris! D'Orsay is my favourite museum and Van Gough is my favourite artist at D'Orsay. His self portrait is haunting.
Really wonderful blog, can't wait for more.


Once again, GREAT BLOG.
I too, just love love Vincent Van Gogh art. The first time I laid eyes on a Van Gogh I was hooked. My very first viewing was in, off all places, Las Vegas, NV. One of the hotels there were exhibiting a few pieces of art. Since then I seek out Van Goghs in every city that I visit. In 2010, art from the Musee d'Orsay was on loan to a San Francisco museum. It was wonderful. I look forward to again seeing them in Paris this coming April. While in Europe, I am making it a point of going to the mothership of Van Gogh, The Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

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