The Orsay is situated in a former train station which is why it has such an interesting lay-out.
Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Degas, Manet, Cezanne….In one way or another, the common folk has come across some devolution of their work. Printed in cheap mugs, spring notebooks, a candy wrapper, or a billboard along a highway somewhere. Not a lot of us would know who painted what exactly, but they are influential enough to corner the “pretty artworks” most of us now consider real art. Well, what the heck is Impressionism anyway?
As the term implies, Impressionism is about the impression of a particular view to the naked eye. It's less concerned about looking real (that's Realism), but more on how to capture a particular image in shadow and light. So this painting style is about simple, singular brushstrokes, capturing the love affair between light and dark, forming a whole. I love the Impressionists because, during the 1860s, their style violated the accepted art precepts of society. It took a while for people to appreciate the fresh perspective, but when it did, it gave birth to other impressionistic arts such as in dance and literature.
My sister grew up loving the Impressionist masters because our Dad had the same love for them. He put up copies of Monet’s Woman with Parasol and The Japanese Footbridge, and Van Gogh’s Starry Night at home. He would buy calendars and cut out the pictures and frame them. These were the artworks that inspired me to learn to paint. My first ever artwork was to copy Van Gogh’s Starry Night in gouache followed by a Monet revision of Fields with Haystack. He framed my works as well, and it was hung right beside the Masters. I paint because of my Dad. We were thinking of him the whole time we were in D’Orsay. He would’ve cried tears of happiness. If only we could have brought him there before he died.
View of Musee d'Orsay. Photo from Wikipedia
Sentiment aside, however, Musee d’Orsay is smaller than the Louvre and easier to appreciate. The architecture of the former train station turned museum was amazing. The famous round clocks were there, and everything is laid out in an organized manner, especially if compared with the Louvre.
Our favorite pieces (amongst sooooo many) were those that reminded us of our childhood. It was great feeling recognizing the artworks, and realizing how much it has influenced our memories. These works has actually been part of our lives.
My sister and I also had a newfound love for Renoir’s work. So clean and so pure!
We went insane purchasing from the gift shop. I just wanted to bring home everything. But I was able to limit myself to a couple of coffee table books, and some art prints. When my son is older, I promise, I will bring him to D’Orsay as well, and continue his grandfather’s legacy of loving the Impressionists.
Strollers are allowed, and it was friendly to kids. The washrooms are roomy (amazing!) and there are elevators to get you to each level.
There is a café in the museum, with the most exquisite interiors. We wish we could’ve tried something, but we just came from having lunch and desserts.
Taking of photos are allowed, and I saw a number of kids playing amidst the statues. It felt so different from when we were in the Louvre! It was lighter, happier, brighter.
We didn’t get a guided tour for this one --- no need! I just bought a ticket online. Cost of ticker is 12Euros each. The museum is open from 9:30 am to 9:45 pm daily except on Mondays.
The Museum is easy to spot in its prime location beside the Seine. Easy to get to via bus (which will land you closer to the museum) or the Metro (with some walking involved but that particular arrondissement is pleasant).
My last word then, is go visit already! It is not to be missed in Paris. Especially if you are pressed for time, this would be the perfect museum to get your culture groove on.
This ends the Paris Museums series, and next week will be our last 2 features on Paris. I can't wait to start telling you about Switzerland!
Smell ya later,