Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 5 - Impressionism and Tuilerie Gardens

The Musee d'Orsay is open late tonight and since this is my favorite, I plan to spend several hours here - perhaps until they politely kick me out.  The morning hours, however, I think I will visit another one of Rick Steve's suggestions and that is the market street, Rue Cler.  He has made this sound almost perfect - with quaint specialty food shops, friendly outdoor cafes, and bustling local crowds.  I can envision spending several hours here as well - using those skills obtained from  Tuesday's market class to perhaps buy some simple lunch provisions and have a picnic in a park or by the Seine.  Can I tell you how picturesque this sounds as I write it from my 95 degree Kansas home?

While traveling from Rue Cler to the Musee d'Orsay, I plan to stop at the Rodin museum (which is also included in the museum pass).  I do not have much of a refined taste for sculpture, but I understand that the gardens are simply beautiful (which I witnessed second hand in the movie, Midnight in Paris). I also hope to have some time to visit the local Bouquinistes.  How I LOVE used books - and used books in Paris must be the creme de la creme. I am also hoping to find some vintage Parisian postcards to bring home and use in possible mixed media art projects, or perhaps as writing prompts for future essays.

OK -- this is the pre-write that I did for yesterday - apparently in my excitement to write down my anticipations, I was off a day.  And of course, I did not accomplish all that I set out to do today - but I gave it a valiant effort.  I decided to postpone the visit to the Rue Cler - as that is closer to the Eiffel Tower than the museums.  While I still want to visit the Rodin (which is a part of the museum pass that I purchased yesterday),  I am really most interested in the gardens - which cost only 1 euro for entry.  So...if I don't make it to the Rodin by Saturday, I will still have the opportunity to see the gardens from the movie, Midnight in Paris. a side note....I think the bouquinistes are closer to the Latin Quarter than the museums -- so that is definitely on my agenda for tomorrow.

I began the day by taking the subway to the Place de la Concorde (where I walked to yesterday) and I spent quite a bit of time walking around the entire monument and just soaking up the center of Paris.  One of the unique aspects of this spot is that you look down one way and see the Arch de Triomphe - and then look up the other way and see the Louvre.  Quite fascinating.

artist:  Marie Laurencin
After reminiscing the fate of Sidney Carton from Tale of Two Cities --- I then entered the Tuilerie Gardens.  It is amazing how the familiarity of this place comes rushing back, no matter how long it has been since the last visit.  I loved the wide sandy pathways - and didn't even mind the bits granular pebbles that made their way into my walking sandals.  I just took it all in - vowing never to forget.  My first stop was the Musee de l'Orangerie and what an extremely pleasant surprise!  I knew that I would enjoy the Monet water lily exhibit - Les Nympheas - but I had no idea that the other works of art would be so vast and spectacular.  I found several new artists whose works I truly admire --- namely, Henri Matisse, Marie Laurencin, Henri-Julien Felix Rousseau, and Chaim Soutine.  I may even go back there again before I leave Paris.  The only downfall of this visit - and it was a minor one - was that the computer system went down for no apparent reason.  This was probably most upsetting to those who were entering the museum, but I only suffered by having to pay for my souvenirs en espece rather than by carte de credit. (and that is the extent of the french lesson for today).

My view from the cafe
I had a lovely lunch at one of the cafes in the Tuilerie Gardens.  The food was nothing to brag about:  I ordered un sandwich jambon mixte (basically bread - butter - ham and cheese) avec un verre de gamay (same grape as beaujolais) and un verre de l'eau.  A sandwich is about half the price of a salad, but at this point I think spending the money for some veggies is worth it to my diet.  While the meal was mediocre - the view was spectacular!  There was a slight breeze - but the sun was shining and the gardens were in summer bloom.  It was delightful!

As a side note --- I decided to leave my dslr camera at the apartment today as it was much to heavy to lug around yesterday.  I am glad that I did because I had to check my backpack at the Musee d'Orsay and no photography was allowed (most museums request no flash photography).  However, after experiencing the beautiful gardens and lovely statues of the Tuileries --- I plan to return one day with my "good" camera and take loads of photos --- dust speck or not!

The next stop was the Musee d'Orsay.  On the one hand I must admit that I was a bit disappointed. They are still in the middle of major renovations - so most of the Impressionism masterpieces (not all of them, for there is simply not enough room) are on display in narrow hallways and alcoves -- not the typical airy galleries.  Tourists were bumping into one another and the air supply was rather sparse.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, don't get me wrong - but I do believe that this requires a return trip once the renovations are complete **insert huge grin**

What I believe to be 81 Roo Loo
I finished touring the smaller exhibit about 5:00 and I was not ready to go home so what did I decide to do?  Why try to find the original home of Julia Child of course!  I had done my homework the night before I knew that the Rue de l'Universite was close to the museum.  I found it with no problem and I think I located her residence - 81 Roo Loo.  Or if not -- I did find an 81 on what I thought was the Rue de l'Universite (on one side of the street the numbers read 102 and 104 --- on the other side of the street the numbers read 77 and 81.  Who knows?)  But in any case --- here is a photo of what I imagine to be her first Parisian apartment.  Tres chic -- non?

All in all it was another good day with another 15,000 steps logged.  At this rate I should be in pretty good shape by the time I return home!


  1. It's too bad they're renovating the Orsay, because it's a fabulous museum. I loved the cafe there too.

  2. Your post today left me smiling my crazy fool face off!! I am loving reading your experiences Molly!!!

  3. Oh, that was so much fun. Luv those blue doors.

  4. Ah, I see the renovations are due to be complete this fall. Sounds perfect for a Christmas 2012 visit to me!! What a wonderful day, Molly:)

  5. Glad you're having such a lovely time. I'm really enjoying these posts.

  6. The Orsay was being renovated last summer, too, so we had the same difficulties. I was too awed by being in the actual presence of Art that I didn't really mind the crowded feeling there.

  7. What a great idea to find Julia Child's apartment. Thanks for the sneak peek.


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