PARIS, FRANCE – Just got back from a four day whirlwind tour of Paris. It was my first time to the city of lights and I loved it.
Most of the trip was spent hitting the major sights so it’s no wonder that I came back to London without having spent much.
I decided early on that I couldn’t leave Paris without a trip to the Musee d’Orsay. It sits on the banks of the River Seine and is easily accessible by the Paris metro. It is housed in what was once a railway station and has gorgeous clocks on the inside and outside.
After purchasing a ticket for 9.5 euros, you can check your handbag, coat and small luggage in at the cloakroom (in fact, they insist that you do). I spent about 4,5 hours walking around the Musee marvelling at the extensive collections. The entire fifth floor is all about Impressionism and so there is something of a crowd there, but at this time of year it wasn’t too bad.
There are also many works by Vincent Van Gogh. Apparently he did several self portraits as he couldn’t afford to pay a model. I saw one of them up close. You can really get a glimpse of the mental anguish he experienced just by looking into his eyes. It’s unfortunate he never lived to experience his success.
I loved seeing the paintings by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. I first learnt about him in my teens when I saw a film on TV one day that was a biography of his life. He was born into wealth, but chose to live in Montmarte where several artists lived. He is now well known for capturing the life of the performers and patrons of the Moulin Rouge.
I left the Musee at around 4:30pm but there were still crowds of people waiting to get inside. I recommend getting there as early as possible and make sure you wear comfy shoes. You aren’t allowed to take food inside or eat in the galleries but there are a few restaurants and cafes inside. Also, pay 5 euros for the audio guide. It makes the entire experience more interesting and informative. It’s easy to just drift past paintings and not learn anything new.
By the way I did head to the Louvre but only had 2 hours to peruse the work there. I’d still say that the Musee D’Orsay is my preferred art museum in Paris, so far. Have you been to both? Which did you like better?