Paris Weekend: Day 2

Space Invader mosaic in the Marais.

Space Invader mosaic in the Marais.

On the first Sunday of each month, most of the major museums and many monuments in Paris are free. So last Sunday, February 1, I spent the day indulging in as much art and culture as I could handle without getting killer fatigue. I started by bicycling from the hostel to the Marais to visit the Musée Picasso. The museum is in the Hôtel Salé, a beautiful building in the Marais, and includes over 3,000 works by Picasso as well as works he collected from other artists. While the quantity of works is impressive and covers Picasso’s entire career, most of these aren’t famous recognizable pieces. In that respect, it’s more of a biography than a highlights exhibit. Since the museum wasn’t originally built to display art, it was a little hard to navigate at times. Although I was thinking about how people my age might go through the museum differently from older generations. We’ve spent so much time with video games where if there’s a room to the side, you have to explore it before you can move on. Or it’s just me who can’t stay on the path.

Red Rhinoceros at the Pompidou.

Red Rhinoceros at the Pompidou.

After the Musée Picasso I walked to the Centre Pompidou. The Pompidou is my favorite museum in Paris due to its amazing collection of modern and contemporary art. I especially like that they recreate art installations to be as close to how they were originally displayed in galleries. It’s mindblowing to see so much significant art in one place. You can gaze at paintings by Ellsworth Kelly, Mark Rothko, Marc Chagall, Yves Klein, or Jasper Johns while in the room with or around the corner from a sculpture by Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, or Louise Bourgeois.

Airplane at the Pompidou covered in sharp objects that were confiscated by airport security.

Airplane at the Pompidou covered in sharp objects that were confiscated by airport security.

While I was touring the Pompidou I thought about how I’ve visited Paris enough times to connect people with many of the places. I will always associate the Pompidou with Elizabeth due to her art history enthusiasm, for example. Or I think about visiting the Musée d’Orsay with Cecilia, eating crepes in front of the Eiffel Tower with Hannah, going to the Arc de Triomphe for the first time with my family, and celebrating New Years on a bridge over the Seine with my assistant friends.

Monets Les Nymphéas at the Musée de l’Orangerie

Monet's "Les Nymphéas" at the Musée de l’Orangerie.

After eating a falafel, I moved from modern art to impressionism and went to the Musée de l’Orangerie. I’d never been before and had heard that Claude Monet’s “Les Nymphéas” were displayed in the way he’d intended them to be shown. I wasn’t disappointed. There are two oval shaped rooms that give you a 360 degree view of his long waterlily canvases. As gorgeous as the two soft lit rooms were, the rest of the museum wasn’t that interesting to me. So I figured, why not go to the Louvre.

French sculpture at the Louvre.

French sculpture at the Louvre.

The crowds were as crazy as I expected, but as long as I stayed a safe distance away from the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo it was fine. I walked through the French sculpture, Naploeon III’s apartments, and the decorative arts wing before sitting for a while with the French paintings. I’d been walking all day and my feet were killing me, so it was nice to just relax and look at Théodore Géricault’s “Le Radeau de la Méduse.” Eventually I made myself wander a little more and saw the African art and then was herded out with the rest of the visitors at closing.

No trip to Paris is complete without a photograph of the Eiffel Tower.

No trip to Paris is complete without a photograph of the Eiffel Tower.

I relaxed a little at the hostel and then went out again, this time to the Eiffel Tower because I thought it would be pretty at night. Which is was, but not much else was going on. So I walked to the Arc de Triomphe and realized it was still open and free (because of the first Sunday) so I climbed to the top and enjoyed some panoramic views of Paris at night. It was freezing and after I walked down the Champs-Elyéee to warm up.

Place de la Concorde.

Place de la Concorde.

I ended up at the Place de la Concorde to take the metro and while I was looking at the Obelisque the Eiffel Tower started sparkling its blue lights. It doesn’t get much better than that.

4 thoughts on “Paris Weekend: Day 2

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Jalouse!!!! I think that’s how you say jealous in French, though I’m sure I should have added an article, personal pronoun, or something like that. I am really embarrassed about how poor my French has become, I should probably remove “Minor in French” from my resume. I digress….your museum experiences look phenomenal! Was the airplane made by Cai Guo Qiang? I’m pretty sure I’ve read about him creating something like that, and have always wanted to see it in person. How fantastic! Also, if you can, please pack that rhino up and send it to me. I’ll throw away my couch and put him in its place. It would be worth it.

  2. Thank you for sharing your walk through Paris with us.
    It is the place of my dreams. I enjoy stopping by and
    walking with you. The Eiffel Tower at night is lovely!

  3. Cecilia says:

    I had no idea that the Arc was free on Sundays. That’s awesome, and I must store this little tidbit away for next time.

    I hope you went to L’As for your falafel.

  4. Allie says:

    Elizabeth: I think it is by Cai Guo Qiang. It was very cool and I liked that it was hung in front of the painting of all those people with expressions of terror. I’ll work on getting you that rhino. Although you might have to throw away more than your couch. You don’t need a kitchen, right?

    Ahrisha: Thanks for stopping by the blog! Hopefully there will be more Paris walking before I leave France.

    Cecilia: It’s only free on the first Sunday of the month. I did savor more delicious L’As falafel. I could eat there every week.

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