On Sunday, I woke up later than normal, thinking I was going to be taken out on another outing with the group. As it turned out, I’d messed up my dates, and the plans for Monday and Sunday had to be quickly switched around. As a consequence, I arrived at the Musée d’Orsay later than I would have liked, but I was still able to spend around seven hours at the grand museum.
The Musée d’Orsay had been #1 on my list of things to do in Paris for as long as I can remember. My mum told me about her amazing experiences there when I was very young, and from then on, it was a dream of mine to visit the museum. I thank you so much for this, mum.
The Musée d’Orsay gave me the strange feeling that I had never been to a “proper,” museum before. It’s beautiful, grand and absolutely massive. I didn’t get to the second or third floors at all, it’s so darn big. [Make note: the Louvre is on a whole new level. The place is huge to the point of ridiculousness.]
Here are some fun facts about one of my favourite ever museums:
– it was built in an old train station, so the building itself is very beautiful and interesting.
I just love the ceiling. And the clock. And…everything.
– it has one of the largest Impressionist art collection in the world, with works by painters such as Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Sisley…the list goes on.
I got seriously irritated with the tourists taking selfies with the famous paintings, or just snapping quick photos and moving on without actually looking at the artwork. Come on people – appreciate the painting. Your face certainly doesn’t improve it. (Here, have a picture of a one of my favourite works by one of my favourite artists – Camille Pissarro – which I took after several minutes of examination.)
– there are also gigantic sections for Neo-Impressionism and Expressionism, with three rooms dedicated just to Vincent Van Gogh and another room for Paul Signac’s pointillist pieces.
Signac is another favourite of mine.
– Musée d’Orsay has a room for Edgar Degas’ work, which made me very, very happy. I’m a huge fan of Degas’ work.
I love his ballerinas.
– the central area is full of some of the most amazing sculptures I have ever seen in my entire life: huge, intricate pieces with fierce, carved wings, or delicate statues composed of three types of stone. I have no idea how that’s possible.
If someone could explain this to me, that would be great.
– I also managed to stumble into an area that looked like the ballroom of a palace, found inside the museum. I still don’t know its purpose or why it’s in the Musée d’Orsay, and have absolutely no decent photos to put up on here, but it was rather cool.
I had so much fun at the museum, but left incredibly fatigued. I hopped on the train to Vallerie’s house, ready to finish the day and have some dinner with the family, arriving at the station a little later than expected. While waiting for the bus, however, I received a text from Sylvie saying “Heather, we’re heading into Paris!”
Confused, tired, but grateful I didn’t have to catch the bus (I had no idea which one to catch, where to get off, etc. so that short trip would have ended in tears and a long blog post, probably) I took the train back to Hôtel de Ville, where we had agreed to meet.
Long story short, I ended up running over a rather busy Parisian road to get into the car while it was stopped at the lights. My homestay parents thought it was hilarious.
We had dinner at an Italian restaurant, which was absolutely lovely, but made me realise a few things about French pizza:
– the French make damn good pizza (I’ve consumed a few with my family, and they’ve always been top-notch)
– the pizzas aren’t sliced, but are instead served whole (this seriously weird fact is explained by the next point)
– French people use cutlery to eat pizza. I must have looked like such a slob, but I was determined to eat pizza the right way, so I sliced it up and ate it with my hands. It was hilarious when the youngest members of the group saw what I was doing, said “hey, that’s a great idea,” and copied me.
My goodness, I love to talk about food.
Paris by night is exceptionally pretty. I’ve never wandered around Lyon by night, but I imagine it would be similar – peaceful, glowing, and not eerie in the slightest. The city is still buzzing with life, but not crazy and crowded with people like it is during the day. All the monuments are lit up in gold and cast in shadow, and they seem somehow different, or even just a little ethereal.
The group wandered for ages along the Seine.
We walked without purpose, just soaking up the big city, and it was incredible. That’s a big deal for someone who has to write up an itinerary for every trip – I truly can’t do anything “aimlessly.”
The crowning moment of the day (actually, early the next day) was seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at midnight on the way home. I have a video, but my tablet won’t let me post it, so you’ll just have to believe me when I say it was magical.
Featured photo is of the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame at night.