• Day27

    Oct 16 - Orangerie and Orsay Museums

    October 16, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    We began today with a visit to Marché Grenelle, a street market that takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. What a weird collection of merchandise - rather like a cross between a farmers’ market and a tawdry flea market. We could have bought pots and pans, lingerie, cashmere sweaters, 100 kinds of cheese, fresh fish, pork hocks, bed linens, shoes, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and the list goes on. The food and flower vendors looked okay - the other vendors and their inventory had a rather sketchy aura about them.

    We hopped on the metro (we are getting quite adept now) and went to Museé de l’Orangerie, an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. Napoleon III had the Orangerie built in 1852 to store the citrus trees of the nearby Tuileries garden from the cold in the winter, hence its rather odd name. The museum is most famous as the permanent home of eight large Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet. The paintings depict his flower garden at his home in Giverny, and were the main focus of his artistic production during the last thirty years of his life. Many of the works were painted while Monet suffered from cataracts. Eight panels, each two meters high and spanning 91 meters in length, are arranged in two oval rooms which form the infinity symbol. Monet also required skylights for observing the paintings in natural light.

    We sat and enjoyed the serenity of the murals for a long time. I took photos but they simply can’t do justice to these murals. They are mesmerizing and gentle and calming. We viewed these murals when we visited Paris in 2015 but we wanted to see them again. Doug’s sister, Martha, was a lover of all things French, and her favourite artist was Monet. She wore the colours of his paintings with panache and grace and elegance. Martha died 20 years ago and we still miss her dearly. We felt close to her while we sat there in Monet’s garden.

    Our next stop was the Musée d’Orsay. It is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900 so the building itself is a work of art. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914 and bridges the years between the art held at the Louvre and that held at the National Museum of Modern Art at the Pompidou Centre. While there are paintings, sculptures, furniture and photography exhibits to see, we chose to concentrate on the impressionist and post-impressionist artists such as Monet, Renoir and Gauguin.

    We soaked up the gentle colours of the impressionists. They are so very different from the vibrant colours of Tahiti used by Gauguin. After almost four hours with a quick lunch break squeezed in, we were museumed-out. We walked home in a alight drizzle, picked up some dinner provisions and are now enjoying some well-deserved downtime. We are hoping it will dry up so we can enjoy the light show at the Eiffel Tower in person. Not looking promising at this time. Two more nights to try after tonight…..
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