July 21, 2012 by jenniebean10
Look at me, I’m on a roll! Blogging up a storm here! Don’t expect it to last for very long…
Fun fact: on the first Sunday of July, most museums in Paris are free to the general public. If you’re under 25 and a member/resident of the EU, you can visit most museums for free (or very low cost) on a daily basis. Sadly, I’m not [yet](wishful thinking) a resident of the EU, so I grabbed my petit déjeuner, then joined the masses on July 1 for free entrance to a few museums.
I began at Musée de l’Orangerie, which is small and more like a gallery. This is where you can see Monet’s Water Lilies, as well as other impressionist/post-impressionist works by Renoir, Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Soutine, and some others I really can’t remember. I wasn’t allowed to take photos of the water lilies, and they were somewhat Nazis about it, so…sorry! Monet’s murals (this set is known as the Nymphéas) were truly beautiful. The Nymphéas were in two big oval-shaped rooms along the walls, and you could walk around or sit on couches in the center of the rooms to admire the works. They ask for silence in these rooms, but there were some obnoxious tourists speaking very loudly as they walked around. The museum guards were ON THAT shit, though! Told them to shut up pretty quickly, and it worked.
On my way over to the Musée d’Orsay, I walked along the quai and across Pont de Solférino, so I got to see the famous love locks on the bridge. People who are in love (*awwww*) will write their initials on padlocks, and affix them to the bridge. Lovers “lock up love and throw away the key!” to symbolize their undying, never-ending love for each other. Cute, and probably cuter if you’re with your sweetheart, putting a cutesy padlock on the bridge. Then again, no one bothered me trying to sell me a plain padlock for 5€…
Onwards to the Musée d’Orsay, which is in the former Gare (train station) d’Orsay. From outside, the line looked horrible, but it actually moved pretty quickly and didn’t seem crowded once I was inside. I really loved the inside of this building. There are tons of little rooms with more types of artwork than the Musée de l’Orangerie had, but there was plenty more impressionist work for me to see (my favorite!). Again, I wasn’t supposed to be taking pictures, so the photos aren’t that great. One of my favorite things here, besides Van Gogh’s Starry Night, was the exhibition on Misia Sert. Misia was the “Queen of Paris” during the roaring 20s, famous in the art scene, and she was the subject of many portraits. She was also good friends with Coco Chanel 😉 Oh, and I also caught the very last day of Degas’ nude exhibition. Surprisingly (?) less exciting than the one about Misia the muse.
After the Musée d’Orsay, I went over to the Musée des Arts et Metiers (arts and industry), which was lackluster and disappointing. I was really looking forward to this one, but I forgot how much of non-art museums can involve reading. Most things had little blurbs in English, and I can read/figure out quite a bit of French, but I didn’t have the patience for this and the English blurbs were incomplete. I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe something more like the Hands-On Museum in Ann Arbor? This kinda blew.
Later that evening, I ventured out of the city and over to Joinville, where I met another CouchSurfer – Armand – for dinner. With Armand’s busy schedule (running, climbing, fishing, Karate, gardening) and all my city exploration, I was surprised but happy that we found the time to meet up. Paris is amazing (the buildings, mostly), but I really liked how beautiful it was once I left the city. I mean, come on — look at this!
too much quite a bit of nice wine and dinner, photo sharing, chatting, and a failed attempt at dessert, I missed the last metro back to Paris! Thankfully, my new CS friend did what CSers do best, and let me crash on his couch. I made it back to Paris the next morning, then met up with Célia and Jany for dinner, as they had just finished their road trip and had arrived back in France.
True to their blog’s name, they journeyed to the sunset and caught quite a bit of sun on their way there. (You guys are so tan!) During our Gettysburg reunion, we grabbed dinner and Célia struggled with adjusting to speaking French again. Probably not very weird for the salespeople and waiters to whom she greeted by saying “hello,” since we were in Paris after all, but funny to witness, hehe.
Stay tuned for more stories about couchsurfers, Versailles, rain, and blasphemy. It will be a couple more posts until I start talking about Montpellier and the Alps, where my REAL vacation begins! À tout à l’heure!