Posts Tagged ‘Musee D’Orsay’

On Paris Time

February 19, 2013

Not on my time.

On the city’s time.

Which is almost like playa time, I told a friend of mine today as we stood next to one of the three Metro stops that our mutual friend might or might not be coming out of next to the Louvre.

“Like this, I’ll meet you a 9 o’clock between the big purple sun sculpture by the sound camp underneath the red and white shade structure, bring your kite.”

And then you show up and wait and wonder where are they?

I mean, really I gave perfect instructions.

Except it is Burning Man and there are 100 and 1 distractions and things to look at and the next thing you know you have fallen down a rabbit hole and you are on the other side of the playa in an art car with friends you randomly re-unite with at the monkey chant.

Except that it is Paris and just because you say “let’s meet by the Louvre,” it is not just meeting by the Louvre.

The Louvre is enormous.

The Metro stop has three different exits and despite standing next to the one I thought would be the most noticeable, my friend pointed out, “to you.”



He would not have even noticed it.  In fact, I realized once I had looked over the Metro stop again, although a gorgeous piece of the Paris landscape, it was only one of a thousand things to look at and it doesn’t look at all like a Metro stop.

Fortunately we all met up and all went well.

Despite getting a late start to the day, we were all together sitting in a cafe, with the sun shining down and the waiters bustling about.  My cafe allonge was quite lovely and my companions happily smoked cigarettes, ate baguette with Camembert and Jambon and tarte tatin.

Quintessential Paris.

It was lovely to get to be a part of the journey.

Surreal to be sitting with a couple of friends from San Francisco in Paris.

How small the world can be.

How large as well.

We walked everywhere and really did not cover that much ground.

That happens in Paris too.

You walk in circles.

You get turned around.

The skyline can be disorienting and until you get the gist of the landscape it is easy to wander around the same four block radius without making any kind of progress.

A simple trip to the Tabac can take you off schedule in moments as you scour the side streets for a place to buy your next packet of smokes.

Not that I am smoking, but my friends do and if you are in Paris it seems, if you smoke, you have to indulge, almost overindulge, as it is not as taboo to smoke here as it is in the States.

We all went to the Louvre, only to discover it is closed on Tuesdays.

This was news to me.

So, a slight detour, after of course, snapping some obligatory shots of the courtyard.

Musee de Louvre

Musee de Louvre

There is so much to see, that even after numerous times strolling through the area, I can always find something new to see.

Another photograph I must stop and take.

The blue of the sky reflected in the blue of the windows against the patina blue of the lamp-post; just there, and I must stop and take out the camera.

My camera may be one of the greatest investments I have ever made.

Shortly followed by my MAC book and my Iphone.

I still cannot believe that I am one of those people.

I am also one of those people who don’t really know what I am doing.  Sure, I can get connected to the internet, but once there I can almost never tell you how to do the same thing.

I struggled trying to co-ordinate coordinates and phones and internet and help my friend get from here to there.

Things progressed, however, and when we weren’t busy tying to find a WiFi signal, we saw some Paris.  It was pretty lovely, this city.

Since the Louvre was unavailable, after a stroll through the Tuileries we went over to the Musee D’Orsay and got some Impressionists on.

The crowds were not bad at all and I got some art fever walking through the salons.

It was also just wonderful to be with my friend, his first time in Paris, and observe his reactions and how he saw things, appreciated things.

I won’t soon forget the swooning look on his face when he took his first sip of a Valhrona chocolate chaud in the cafe on the fifth floor of the Orsay.

Cafe d'Orsay

Cafe d’Orsay

“It’s like drinking the best chocolate bar melted down into a cup and hot!” He exclaimed with a swoon of a smile on his face.

We talked art and paintings and life and travel.

I got to sit across the table from a friend in cafe on the fifth floor of the Orsay Museum in Paris.

Life, my friends is not too shabby.

I am on Paris time.

I figure that is why I got the not one, but two turn downs today in my inbox.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Oh well.

I just laughed, two rejection e-mails in one day once would have made me sad.  Today I had nothing to be sad about.  I took a walk in Paris. Had a cafe allonge at one cafe by the Louvre and a cafe creme in the Orsay.  I walked across the Seine three times.  I saw the sunset in a glowing haze of soft fury blowy and scattered gold on the buildings tossing a good night to me as I stood on Pont d’Alexandre taking a photograph of my friend in the falling light; the back drop of the Eiffel Tower and the spire of the American Church on Quai D’Orsay framing his smiling face.

I still have plenty of adjusting to do to my home, but I am falling more and more in sync.

All in due, Paris, time.



Death by Museum

January 6, 2013


I seriously think I may have been trying to kill myself.

I did three museums today and almost, no, I did not, but almost, ended with the Louvre.

But I reigned it in.

When I swapped Metro lines and changed at Palais-Royale Musee Du Louvre, I just changed trains instead of going up into the museum.

Thank God.

I might have gone museum on some tourists.

From here on out I am going to leave the big gun museums to the tourists on free days.  It was a little too much.  I got overwhelmed more by the crowds at points than I did the art.

That being said, I got art fever.

Standing in front of  La Naissance de Venus, I must have flushed over and trembled audibly.

Yes, an audible tremble.

I felt as though I was being strummed, I radiated in front of the piece.  I could have stared at it for hours, except I had some one, a tourist, and hey, yes, I know, I am one too, even if I am trying to live here, I am a bit of a tourist, but yes, a tourist, explaining to his girlfriend the meaning of the work.


Can’t we just stand here, quietly, in awe.

Can’t you see I am in awe.

You have peed on my art moment.

I moved off.

The fever hit again in front of a small triptych of Seurat’s post Impressionist pointillism paintings.  Three different angles on a woman, so small, so glorious, my face is flushing from the remembrance of the colors, the shadow on the woman’s thigh, the purple crush of light against the chin and the way her foot, turned out just so, captured by rose petals of tiny pointed paint dabs.

I was stunned.

Then a Japanese boy pushed me, literally, shoved me out-of-the-way.

I am sure it was an accident, but it was the last straw for this lady.

I walked out of the hall and went back down the escalators.

I had already had a full as full can be day.

“Have you lost weight?”  A. asked me at dinner tonight, at a cafe in the St. Germain neighborhood.

I smiled, probably, I have walked a lot lately.

Plus, I stopped the cheese, dropped the dairy, and have not had pomme frites in quite some time, hell considering how much I walked today, it was probably noticeable.

I already know my legs are going to be sore in the morning when I get up.

I walked a pant size off today is what it felt like.

I eschewed riding my bike this morning to the Sunday morning commitment I have.  I knew I was going to go to the museums.  I did not want to hassle with the bike, taking off the seat, securing it, and locking it in one place for too long.  Plus, it was misty wet and I did not feel like slipping on the cobblestones.

When I left the spot at 1:15pm.  I had intended to walk down Rue Commerce to the outdoor market that runs along the Metro line.  I planned on grabbing some fruit, apples, maybe a piece of cheese, or a sausage.  I do not know if it was the crowd, my feet, or what, but nothing caught my eye, nothing called.

I left the market and decided to walk along the Trocadero and go to Musee Branly, which is right after the wrack and ruin and the fractious crowds of the Eiffel Tower.

The best thing about the museum was the gardens, I walked in, the art was not my style, and I went back out to the gardens.  The rose arbor, despite being long past its season, still had a few roses clinging to it.


The rose hips were full and scattered across the metal beams and I stared up at the sky.  Off to my right the Eiffel Tower, across the way the Seine, and I knew, I was going to walk more.  I stretched my arms up and shouldered the bag.  Rose Arbor

Off towards the 7th and Invalides.

I had no desire to go to the Army museum, rather I wanted what was on the other side of it.

Musee du Rodin.

Invalides, from the Rodin Gardens

What I found the most amazing, aside from the white marbles in the main exhibition hall, was the profligacy of his work.

I had no idea how many pieces.  The sculptures kept coming and coming and coming.

Every where I turned, more.

The models blew my mind.  Looking at a small model of Cupid and Pysche with the screws and pins in a perfect miniature of the larger sculpture was astounding.

The white marbles also were astonishing.

I wanted to pet them.

They called to be touched.

They looked silken and stuffed with shattered prisms of light.

I saw a little boy duck under a rope and pet one.

I wanted to do the exact same thing, just trail my hand along the smooth rapturous flank of a sculpture, feel it sing to my hand.

I went through the front museum, the back exhibition hall, then the gardens.  It was a vast collection.  And I know that there are so many more pieces my mind boggled thinking about how much time he must have spent.


As I was rounding out my spin through the gardens a bus, double-decker, unloaded.

I fled.

I turned down a street actually looking for a market.

I was hungry and knew I could not tackle much else without a snack.

I had an apple in my bag and started with that.

Paris, to me will always taste like apple.

It will feel like sore legs and aching feet.

I turned here, turned there, but it is Sunday and I did not find what I wanted.

I did, however, stumble upon another beautiful church on my way to Musee D’Orsay–Eglise Saint Clotilde.

Saint Clotilde


The best thing about the church was the scramble of boys playing soccer in front of the doors.

It must, in fact, be quite the place to play.

I noticed a little something incongrouus on the church facade.

Soccer ball!




Apparently the saints like to get in a little football action as well.

I ducked past the game and headed out to a busy avenue.

I was not sure exactly where I was, but I was not so uncomfortable.  I was not exactly lost, I knew which way the Seine was and I knew which arrondissement I was in.  Despite not having my exact where about pinned, I felt that I would find my way.

I did.

The sign pointing the way to Musee D’Orsay didn’t hurt either.

I queued up, ate the second apple in my bag and let it sink in that I was getting to go again to the Musee D’Orsay.

I have gotten, in one life time, to go to the Louvre twice, the Centre de Pompidou twice, and now the D’Orsay twice.

I am truly a lucky girl.

I once had a boyfriend who wanted to go to every museum in the world.

He still lives in Wisconsin and I don’t believe he ever got out of the Mid-West.

But that aspiration rubbed off on me, just a little.

I went in.

I paused on the stairs as they opened up into the courtyard full of sculptures and I just took a breath.  Partially to let my legs rest, partially to breathe in the air, rarefied with art.



I felt the fever begin.

I shivered.

I shook.

I trembled.

I felt hot and cold.

It was not just the ache of my tired legs, but it was my heart being siphoned off into the air and sucked into the art.

I felt bombastic with art.


So when I made the decision to make the train line transfer instead of walk up into the Louvre, I think I may have saved the city from having to scrub my shattered self off the Delacroix.

I am still fevered as I write this.

Statue of Liberty Model

Flushed with the enormity of what I saw.

I feel like my eyes have been seared with art.

I went back to the Birth of Venus one last time before I exited the museum.

Then I sat down.

I just sat and let the art air fall upon my aching shoulders and vibrating heart.

I have been given so much.

So much love.

Clock Musee D'OrsayI am not wasting any more time feeling that I am doing anything wrong, that I made a mistake, or that I am wrong in being here.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

In Paris.


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