17 March, 2012

Museums, museums, museums.  That was the name of the game today.  My jet lag kicked in around 4:30 this morning so I gave up and went for an early breakfast.  Then it was out the door.  I also got my first picture of Notre Dame, but more to come I'm sure.

As I walked along I saw what looked like lights strung on a pedestrian bridge.

Up close it was something completely different.  As they do on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, lovers fix a lock to the bridge with their names.  The entire length of the railings on both sides are covered.

First stop the Louvre.  I didn't have my museum pass, but the ticket line wasn't very long so I just got in it.  About 9:05 I'm under the pyramid.  Good timing on my part as the line tripled in length in about 10 minutes.   Chatted with some ladies from San Fransisco as we waited.  It genuinely surprises me how little some people prepare for a trip or how little they pay attention to signs around them.  Two lines... One for ticket holders and one for those buying tickets... pretty simple.  Why do you get in a line if you don't know which line is correct?   Anyway I digress...

The Louvre - So I managed to cover good chunks of two of the wings of this monstrous palace.  I swear at one point I thought someone was going to have to send in a rescue party when I got completely lost in the Egyptian collection.   I was able to see most of the main pieces I wanted to see.  The Winged Victory, the Venus de Milo and of course the Mona Lisa.  Surprisingly the crowds around this trio of ladies were not too bad so I was able to enjoy each one.  Of course with the Mona Lisa, they keep you about as far back as possible.

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Venus de Milo

That's some serious security.

See how tiny she really is?

I also stumbled upon one of my favorite paintings on loan from the National Gallery in London. Just randomly there in the middle of the Louvre.

photo from the National Gallery in London

And just because I love him, here is a Botticelli.

Next it was a stroll through the Tuileries Garden to reach the musee l'orangerie.

Musee l'Orangerie - This small museum is a must for anyone who loves Monet.  I don't have any photos for two reasons.  A) I'm a rule follower and B) I was too stunned to think about it.  Apparently Monet helped design the space specifically to house some of the last water lilies he painted.  He died months before the museum opened.  His paintings housed in two oval rooms with four paintings in each room.  Two small and two large in each.  The paintings are just over 6 foot tall and range in length from 19 feet to 55 feet.  Here's a cool virtual tour that shows all the paintings and how they measure up to a man standing next to them.  Click on each side of the two ovals to see all the paintings.
The museum is also home to other impressionist and  post impressionist art including works by Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso, Rousseau, Matisse and Derain just to name the ones I had heard of before.

Last I made my way towards the Musee d'Orsay.  I was daunted at first by the huge line of people waiting to get in.  Then, I discovered the pass holder line.  My museum pass saves the day.   Honestly I think it's one of the best investments here.

Musee d'Orsay - This stunning museum was built as a train station in 1900 and it functioned as such until 1939.

Now it's Impressionist heaven.  No really.  If you like Impressionists, this is the place to be.  Almost endless rooms of Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Manet, Sisley and Pissaro just to name a few.  And that's just the Impressionist gallery.  There is also a stunning collection of Van Gogh.  Including for all you Doctor Who fans...

I checked, no aliens in the windows.

Just a couple last images to leave you with tonight.  Before you enter the Impressionist gallery, you have a chance to look out the most unusual windows to the Seine and a view of the Louvre.  Hope this post hasn't been too long winded.  Let me know if things are hard to follow or if the pictures are slowing things down.   Bonsoir mes amis!


  1. Those ate gorgeous pictures! I'm really jealous of how much you've seen. I only had a few days and we stayed far from the city with some friends. I'm happy you included the doctor who pic. I checked that our too ;) ah you sound like you're having a blast!!


  3. I'm a sucker for architecture and things from the past. The Musee d'Orsay looks so gorgeous to me. I'm a geek in the sense that I enjoy sitting and daydreaming about what types of things happened there or who visited...
    Love your photos,makes me feel like Im there!