Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rodin's Museum and Musee d'Orsay

For our second full day in Paris Sue wrote, “We slept well and rose early, left by 7.30 am – just before the dawn broke. Leon didn’t go for a run, poor boy has sore thighs. We had breakfast in a café at Place de Saint Michel, excellent and friendly. Went to the tourist office and booked a tour of Versailles for tomorrow.”

The Hop on Hop off bus is something you should do on your very first visit to Paris.
Discover the usual Tourist attractions and then go on foot for your own personal discoveries.

We decided that on our first trip to Paris, the hop-on – hop-off bus might be the best way to discover an overall quickie view of the city’s main attractions. It wasn’t to later visits to Paris that we discovered that the best attractions were the hidden, not so well known ones.
As a student, I was always interested in art and studied the great masters and also had a preference for the impressionists. We had our own impressionists in Australia but more about that at another time. Two of the Museums on my list were Rodin’s and of course the Musee d’Orsay.

After the bus took us by Place de Concorde, up the Champs Alysse and past the Eiffel Tower, we jumped off at Musee Rodin. Walking through the gates and into the garden, we knew we would be in for a treat. Rodin’s “The Thinker” was hit by the sunshine of midday and in the background stood beautifully manicured trees and further in the distance the gold dome of Invalides rose above the wall of Rodin’s garden.

This building where Rodin lived holds a most amazing collection of his own works combined with his personal collection of fellow artists and scupturers.

The Kiss and the Thinker - I'd seen pictures in books but to see the real thing required me to spend some time absorbing Rodin's great works.

The collection held not only the many Rodin masterpieces, but also item’s from his own collection gathered over the years. I’m not sure you can do justice to the collection in a short time but we had it mind to move on to Musee d’Orsay where I wanted to see the many artists that I had studied in my teenage years.

The Musee d'Orsay gold clock

In later visits to France I became interested in the history of Joan of Arc. Athough this statue is rather magestic, there is a most amazing sculpture of her in full flight on horseback in Chinon.

Just a few of the Art Nouveau settings at the Musee d'Orsay

They were all there, my very favorite, Toulouse Lautrec, Matisse, Monet and Manet. It also held the most superb collection of Art Nouveau furniture and accessories. Words can’t do the exhibition justice and only photographs come close – you need to be there.
And in fact, I can call this my first visit as I returned in 2009 and was even more impressed.
It had been a long day, so we caught a taxi outside back to our hotel and the ever friendly concierge Vincent.

At the end of the day Sue wrote in the diary, “The language is interesting. I don’t understand the words but I seem to get the meaning somehow. I love the music of French. Leon on the other hand doesn’t cope if people speak to him. He looks like a rabbit caught in headlights and I need to ride to the rescue. HOWEVER – he seems to know which way to go and we get there AND he carries the bag – what a team.”
Yes, that's Sue wondering which way to get back to our hotel.

And a word on the Parisians from Sue’s jottings for the day, “I am astonished by the charm, helpfulness and good humor of the Parisians. Definitely NOT what I expected. So far they have been uniformly delightful (except for the sullen boy with attitude at the internet café, but I think he’s just like that – poor soul).”

Next week – Versailles, the Pantheon, Luxembourg Gardens and Dinner.


  1. Great photos. Being surrounded by great art is good for the soul. We must make the effort to go back to Paris before too long.

  2. I just love Rodin's work. I mostly admire the way in which he managed to put so much emotion in liveless materials.

  3. Jean,
    Yes Paris has its great share of art but so has Albi and Arles. That will come in future mid-week posts.
    We could have spent the whole day at the Rodin museum.

  4. Did you see the Champs Elysees Paris ? it's an amazing avenue! The most famous in Europe!

  5. Beautiful, very nice post. In my opinion the best way to enjoy Paris is discover the city guided by local experts, I found this site very useful to do that and I recommend to have a look at Local Paris Tours



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