21 July 2015

Paris: Part 3

With my limited time in Paris, I chose to forgo the Louvre in favour of the Musee d'Orsay. Why? One reason: the Van Gogh gallery. I love Van Gogh. I've driven ten hours in one day to see an exhibit of his work (totally worth it). I'm planning future trips around Van Gogh-related sites. So I knew as soon as I decided to go to Paris that my time would include a visit to the d'Orsay.

I didn't take any pictures of his paintings, though, because  they need to be seen in person. They do not translate well in photographs. The colours don't show up properly. The magic gets lost. This might be true of all paintings, but I think it's especially true of Van Gogh. I would have had trouble getting decent pictures anyway because the gallery was swarmed, in part because every other person insisted on taking selfies with the works. Handy life hint: when you're in a crowded space with lots of people who want to see the thing you're standing in front of, have enough courtesy to move on instead of indulging your ego. Why, no, I'm not a fan of selfies. But that's a rant for another time.

If you've seen the Doctor Who episode "Vincent and the Doctor" (beautiful episode, by the way, but totally inaccurate...) you might think the Van Gogh gallery at the d'Orsay is a large, well-lit open space, with the paintings arranged logically for viewing purposes. It's not. It's narrow, dark, poorly organized, and horrible to navigate when crowded (which I assume is always). Big miss. But the paintings are amazing and make up for it.

I have to say that the d'Orsay, while featuring a stunning main hall, really suffers from poor design and organization. It needs more bathrooms, some water fountains, and a cafeteria, because there's no way I'm lining up for a bottle of water (they had three places to eat, of varying levels of size and swankiness and unvarying lineups). It would have been nice if the wifi network they offered to visitors actually existed. And it would have been even nicer if there was clear path marked to the exit--I was starting to feel like a rat in a multi-level maze. Very frustrating experience. But the art is amazing, so at least they got the most important thing right. Despite my frustrations, I will go back to the Musee d'Orsay--in the off season.

If you're thinking of going (and you should), make sure you buy your ticket ahead of time in order to skip the line (here's a tip about that). Bring your own water/snacks. And please forget the selfies.

The first few photos were taken as I walked from the Musee de l'Orangerie to the Musee d'Orsay.

The Seine


The Statue of Liberty seemed a little out of place, until I remembered it came from France in the first place :)

The d'Orsay has a nice Art Nouveau collection
A combination hat/coat rack and umbrellas stand made by Adolphe Bergue c. 1880-90 for the actress Sarah Bernhardt

Emile Galle

Vase, Emile Galle, 1900

Not a great photo of an amazing piece of art. Saint Michel terrassant le dragon (Saint Michael slaying the dragon), Emmanuel Fremiet, 1897

                                     Sérénité by Henri Martin, 1899

I've seen pictures of this statue many times and always loved it but didn't realize it was at the d'Orsay. Happy surprise. I also never knew what it was called: La nature se devoilant a la science (Nature unveils to science) by Louis-Ernest Barrias, 1899. Beautiful piece.

Aurore by Denys Puech, 1900

La Danse Guerriere (The War Dance) by Victor Segoffin, 1903

There was a display of a series of amazing miniature set pieces made for operas. This one was made by Auguste Rube and Philippe Chaperon for an 1875 opera production of Hamlet

Just outside the museum are six bronze statues representing continents, originally made for the Exposition Universelle in 1878. Above is L'Europe by Alexandre Schoenewerk.

Next Post: Paris Part 4

Missed one of my posts about France? 
Provence the Beautiful
Paris: Part 1
Paris: Part 2

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