Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Musee d'Orsay

Rebecca and I picked Bonnie up from the Charles de Gaulle airport. We unpacked suitcases, checked out the neighbourhood grocery stores, found the local Metroprix where we could get some food and tr to visit the local cemetery which closed an hour before we got other. We wandered down charming side streets, enjoyed the night lights of the local walking street and headed home to make a plan for the next day.

Each of us was to come up with something we really wanted to do while we are here. Bonnie wants to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The very top,… if the day is clear. I want to go to a local scarf market. Rebecca says she can planthe rest of our days though collectively we decided that these are the 6 days together when we should do together what other people don't want to do with us. That would be … go to museums.

view of Sacre Coeur from Musee d'Orsay
The tourist dollar can be stretched from a 2 day museum pass to a four day pass and even to a six day pass. Sixty possible museums and sites, all in the fast track lane and now all free. Daunting. Not even do-able. At least we didn't make the mistake of going to the Louvre today, because online we read that Tuesday is the day that it is closed. But the D'Orsay museum was open, and point for us, there was a special Van gh Exhibition that focused on paintings done just before his suicide.

I know about museum fatigue. Just reading the text, looking at the pictures, then reading the text and looking at the picture again … that act can wear a person out. Better to have someone whispering in your ear what to look for, which is what the five euro audio guide was to do for us. The exhibit paired a critical essay of Antoine Artaud's work with Van Gogh final painting masterpieces.

... looking down on the mail gallery ...
Both of the men were painters. Both of them spent a considerable time in mental institutions after major psychotic break-downs. This is what gives Artaud's essay such purchase power.

The number #68 bus takes us directly from the 13 arrondissement, where we are staying, to the Seine, to the Louvre and there is a place where you can get off for the Musee d'Orsy. That is if you can figure out where that stop is. Even with Rebecca holding the small Blue Paris Guide in her hand, we missed the stop until it was too late to get off. At the end of the line she said to the driver, "We missed our stop."

His comment? "Evidement."

We just smiled.

He told us we could ride the bus back with him so we treated the morning as though we were riding a city transit Hop-On, Hop-Off bus.

Who is Spartacus, we wondered.
I am a big fan of the audio guides.

The Van Gogh guide reminded us of the friendship between Van Gogh and Gaugin, something else that was on again, off again.

Finally Rebecca revealed her biases. "The more I see Van Gogh, the more I like him. But the more I see Van Gogh, the  less I like Gaugin. I am so mad at Gaugin today that I will just pass by his work." Now that is mad.

Tuesday at the Louve. Closed for inside viewing.
We darted in and out of rooms with our second audio guide in the afternoon, this time concentrating on museum masterpieces.

"How long are you good for," they asked me.

"I only have a museum shelf life of five hours in one day so when I close down and they still have the energy to look I paintings, I am happy parked a bench where I can just view one painting, watch other patrons walk by and even get some sleep.

A perfect day at the museum, followed by a walk over the Seine where the Tuiliere Gardens beckoned … structured paths, sculpted marble statues, and a wonderful long distance view of the Seine.

Thus endeth Day 1 of the Paris Museum Pass which we cut down to a four day pass instead of six … in the interest of doing more walking outside and less viewing inside.



  1. What fun you ladies are having. I should have gone even though Arta told me I was not allowed to go.

  2. Did you walk up 265 steps to get to Sacre Coeur or did you ride the bus? That is one of my favourite places. The walk down is fabulous! Much better than the walk up.
    I laughed to read that you missed the bus stop...so easy to do.