Monday, August 8, 2011

In Paris with Paige: the Musee d'Orsay

Claude Monet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We began our first full day in Paris with the breakfast buffet in the restaurant downstairs. It was complimentary and delicious. An island of cereals, breads and pastries; a long counter of cold meats and cheeses, and a cart for coffee, tea, juice and water. We didn’t need to walk four blocks to the little grocery and lug food back for breakfast. Hurray!

After our relaxed breakfast, we got ready and then headed out for the Musee d’Orsay. I had no idea what to expect. The museum only opened as recently as 1986, after my high school and college French classes were behind me, so I didn’t know much about it.

The museum sits on the left bank of the Seine in what was formerly the Gare d’Orsay, a train station that closed in 1973. Most of the art on display dates from 1848 to about 1915. It’s best known for having the largest Impressionist and Post-impressionist collection of masterpieces in the world. The museum displays photography, sculptures and furniture, but I was most interested in the paintings by Monet, Pisarro, Degas, Manet, Cezanne, Van Gogh and especially Renoir.

The Musee d'Orsay [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (photo by Nicolas Sanchez)

The line at the museum was long—over an hour wait to get through security and then purchase tickets. As we waited in the line outside, the clouds threatened rain, but never delivered. A three-piece instrumental group entertained for tips on the side of the waiting area. They made the line experience so much more tolerable. As we stood waiting, some Gendarmes passed by, following the line as it curved around, small machine guns of some sort in hand.

Interior shot of the middle of the Musee d'Orsay, Public domain photo (Wikimedia files)

No photography was allowed in the museum, but I came home and found out that a large portion of the artwork is no longer under copyright, so I will be able to legally share some of my favorites with you.

Of the ten art museums we visited on our trip, the Musee d’Orsay is my favorite. They have a significant number of Renoir paintings and I love to see Renoir’s work in person. His treatment of light and color just isn’t the same in copies.

I've posted some of my favorites from the museum, above and below, all public domain via Wikimedia Commons due to copyright expiration:

Self-Portrait, Van Gogh  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gladiolis, Pierre-Auguste Renoir [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Paul Cezanne [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Girls at the Piano, Pierre-August Renoir  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 I'll share a few more of my favorites in another post. 

Renoir Quote:” The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”


The Prude said...

What a great way to start the week! I love the idea of music while you wait, and not sure if the machine guns are comforting or frightening!
But I think we like much of the same sort of art. My favorites are Monet and Van Gogh.
Thanks Lori and Paige!

Lori said...

The Gendarmes were a comfort. I assumed they were making a presence to deter thieves.

There's a visit to the Van Gogh museum coming up, so stay tuned for that one. Have a great week, Prude.

Robin J. Steinweg said...

Monet, Renoir... my favorites forever! Were folks generous to the street musicians?

Thank you for taking the time to look up and post these beautiful paintings. I look forward to your next visit (and verse!).

Lori said...


I'm not sure I'd call them street musicians. They were on the grounds and it almost seemed like a regular gig for them, though I'm not sure. I wish I'd gotten their photo. They were top-notch.