May 31 2010
We started off Day 5 with a visit to the Musee d’Orsay. The Orsay is an incredibly fabulous museum. You do not get lost in it like you do in the Louvre, Victoria & Albert, Met, etc., because it’s basically all one giant room — the interior of an old train station — with smaller rooms partitioned off of a central sculpture court. They hang the impressionists against a dark dusky purple wall color that really makes the colors pop. They have a whole room of just pastels, by folks like Odilon Redon, and the colors there are more intense than most of the oil paintings. They have some famous textbook paintings like Monet’s studies of the cathedral at Rouen, but mostly what they have are incredible masterpieces you HAVEN’T seen in textbooks by the great impressionist and post-impressionist French artists.
One bad thing is that they don’t allow you to use a camera inside the museum, period. So here’s a shot of the outside, and a few sketches I did.
Then, the Eiffel Tower!
Of all the sites in Paris, this was the only one that was mobbed on a weekday in April. We braved the crowd to go all the way to the top level. Awesome views, as you might expect. They have Ben & Jerry’s up there, so I’m not sure what that says about the fate of French culture, but c’est la vie.
The tower lights up after the sun goes down. I rather doubt this is the entirety of the “light show” our guide book told us would happen each hour, but it was all that happened at 9:00 on this particular night, and we were too tired and hungry to hang around until 10.
We found a cool little restaurant that specializes only in duck. It was very good, and the other cool thing about the place is that they have toasters on all the tables, so you can toast your bread however you like it.
We took the train partway home, then hopped off and had a leisurely walk along the Siene before returning to our apartment in happy exhaustion yet again.