Paris may be known as the City of Lights, but it is also a city of museums. Of course everyone has heard of the Louvre, home to such renown masterpieces as the Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory.
Many are familiar with the Musee d’Orsay, the transformed train station that now houses many of the world’s most famous Impressionist paintings.
And I am certain those who enjoy modern art have heard of the Centre Pompidou, a crisp, clean museum that houses an incredible collection as well as a comprehensive gift shop.
But Paris is also home to several smaller, equally excellent museums offering focused collections of art. There is the Musee Rodin (the thinker), the Musee Marmottan (19th century townhouse filled with some of Monet’s original work), and my personal favorite, the Musee de l’Orangerie.
I never would have discovered this honey-hole if I had not purchased the Museum Pass. If you plan to stay in Paris for any extended period of time, this pass is well worth the money. The first advantage is that it allows you to by-pass the ticket line; if you subscribe to the theory that time is money, then you know this value. Additionally, it allows you to revisit museums as often as you like – for the duration of the pass (2 – 4 – or 6 days). This is quite handy with such large collections as found at the Louvre or the Pompidou.
On the day I planned to visit the Tuileries Garden, Louvre, and d’Orsay … I arrived a bit early, and since I had already purchased the pass, I decided to visit the l’Orangerie; after all, it was free.
This museum is tucked away at the front of the Garden, and the entrance to the museum offers a rather nice view of the Eiffel Tower. In fact, I debated about sitting on one of the benches and having a picnic lunch, but resisted.
The one reason why you MUST see this museum is the exquisite showcase of Monet’s waterlilies. There are two large oval rooms that surround you with these serene images. It is a sacred place, where few words are spoken as those in attendance marvel and pay honor to this painter and his work.
As you walk the circumference, you can almost hear the rippling water and smell the fragrant flowers. The work in the first room is a bit more vibrant; those showcased in the second room Monet painted in his later years, and you can identify his failing eyesight in the muted scenes.
To view the murals in the manner in which they were meant to be seen is worth the cost of admission. However… downstairs there is an entire museum of other Impressionist art… introducing me to new artists that I dearly loved. In fact, when I return to Paris I plan to revisit this museum again… and again… and again.
I will leave you with a few of the other works of art that I found mesmerizing.
This post is part of the Paris in July series. If you would like to be an armchair traveler, please visit the other blog posts in this series.