One not-so-nice thing about Paris is unlike most nations where the national museums are free the Paris ones certainly aren’t- and in fact, they’re expensive! The exception to the rule is the first Sunday of the month which was fortuitously my first day in Paris, so I was up bright and early due to jet lag and went off to see the art.
I started at the Louvre, mainly because it’s so big I figured if any museum might need a full day it’d certainly be this one. And when you show up at 9am the line’s only five minutes long, as opposed to when you leave around 1pm and the line is snaking around the courtyard!
Finally inside! I don’t know why the glass pyramid is considered to be so controversial by the way, as I rather like it. I guess some of the argument is from the fact that they were hoping you wouldn’t see the structure of the pyramid itself, just the glass, but does anyone really care? Honestly the final result looks good, and I suspect most people who don’t like it are the ones who remember what it looked like before and get that opinion from nostalgia.
Anyway, time to wander around one of the world’s largest museums…
So there are a lot of amazing things here- I think what I like the best out of it is how even the slightest collection is something any museum in the world would make a prize collection, from the Egyptian mummified cats to the 18th century bronze sculptures. So naturally it’s filled with people, particularly at the so-decided “famous” pieces in the museum. If you look close in this picture you’ll find the Venus de Milo (I think this was around 10am, I don’t want to know what it looked like later!), which hey is nice but it amazes me how other rooms filled with Greek statues can be completely empty sort of thing.
And I won’t even get into the Mona Lisa, as there were so many people standing around taking pictures of something everyone already knows exactly how it looks! All because when you’re little and you ask your parents what the most famous painting is in the world and they tell you the Mona Lisa- honestly, I never heard a good reason as to why it’d be the most famous so I’m going with that.
Moving along, my second museum on free museum day was the Rodin one because I have loved Rodin ever since I first came across his work in high school. It has to do with something regarding me not being artistic in the traditional word whatsoever- I can be creative, but the closest I get to artwork is needlepoint to be honest and I can’t draw for the life of me. Sculpture I just can’t conceive of doing at all so I admire those who can, particularly someone like Rodin who can make it come alive!
Lots of beautiful things in this museum of course, most of which you’ve seen, but I submit this sculpture because I rather liked it and had never seen it before. Possibly because it’s right next to a very famous neighbor, The Kiss, sort of like who in the Louvre studies the paintings next to the Mona Lisa in detail? (I did!) Anyway, this sculpture’s called The Eternal Idol, and you should certainly check it out if you ever find yourself in the Rodin museum and are waiting for the crowds to dissipate around The Kiss (which, it turns out, is a lot bigger than I expected it to be!).
Finally, Musee d’Orsay, the famous museum for Impressionists built in an old railway station. This is another one I wanted to come back to because while in Paris half a lifetime ago I must’ve been tired that day because I recall spending a lot more time sulking than taking advantage of the opportunity, which yeah you’re allowed to do when you’re 12 but kind of annoys you later in life when you decide you like Impressionists of your own free will.
Being sulky 12 years ago or not I still had an awesome time at the Orsay. Why? Well because there’s a lot of funky furniture in the above floors which I’d completely forgotten about, and while wandering through I spotted a purple chair that had one leg due to leaning against the wall and thought wait a second, I know that chair! I had a memory of seeing it so many years ago but had long ago forgotten where to place it, and it’s a delightful shock to pin such a memory down. Particularly when the memory occurred in a strange land and you completely weren’t expecting it.
Needless to say, there were a lot of Impressionists and it’s hard not to love someplace that has so many Monet paintings they can put several in a row so you can compare the nuances of each. The one annoying thing though? Currently the Musee d’Orsay is undergoing renovations (and will until next year sometime) meaning they only had a very small smattering of the Impressionist artworks on display in temporary rooms- still world class, but could’ve been so much better.
So that was a bit of a disappointment in a sense, but kind of freed me up in another because I still have an excuse to return to Paris someday. I have been twice but still feel I haven’t done justice to the Impressionists!