Thursday, July 10: Musée d’Orsay

Yesterday I accompanied Dr. Wengier and Dr. Mauldin and their classes to the Musée d’Orsay. The d’Orsay is a former train station that was converted in the 80s into a gorgeous museum; it holds a huge Impressionist collection as well as some gorgeous Art Nouveau decorative arts, beautiful sculptures, and some photography. It is just a great atmosphere for viewing works of art: very light and airy, and laid out such that even when it is crowded it does not seem cramped.  I will say that I find it a tiny bit hard to navigate but the mild confusion is worth it to see, e.g., Degas’s La petite danseuse de 14 ans. I’m even coming around, slowly but surely, on the Impressionists. Don’t throw things at me–I know that everyone loves the Impressionists; loving them is practically mandatory. I tend to think about Impressionism or see a reproduction and wonder what all the fuss is about. Then I get in front of one of the actual paintings and I understand it. I even got a new best-loved painting out of this visit, Gustave Caillebotte’s Vue de toits (Effet de neige). The white snow on the roofs is somehow really exciting to see. I actually got a little chill when I looked at it!

The only disappointing thing about the d’Orsay is that it does not allow photography except from a couple of vantage points. So I took a few photos but not as many as I might have liked:

Looking down the main hall from the entry

View back toward the entry from a balcony

This giant clock looks out over the Seine and toward the whole Right Bank.

“Hey, I can see my house from up here!”

Looking across the Seine at the Louvre; also playing with the “Grainy Film” setting on my camera.

And looking back across the Seine at the d’Orsay.

I would have stayed longer at the d’Orsay but I was famished, so I walked a bit till I found a boulangerie called Erik something and ordered a formule (value meal). Formules are your friends if you want a piece of quiche, a drink, and a pastry for 7,50€. The place was hopping but I managed to get a seat and enjoyed the hot quiche–the weather was quite chilly and I wore a sweater and scarf with my trench coat most of the day. Is this July?

In the afternoon I visited Italie 2 (it’s a mall, I’m afraid) and managed to buy some clothes. I’m slowly beginning to grasp the current style for wearing pants here in France. Absolutely no one wears boot-cuts and even the “straight leg” style pants are narrower than what I’m used to. Young people (or older people of particularly rigorous proportions), of course, wear skinnies or leggings and sheer tunic tops are popular. Lots of dress pants are ankle-length, which I simply cannot handle. After considerable trial and error and advice from dressing room attendants I bought a pair of black jean-type pants (more twill than denim) that I like. Plus a few inexpensive tops. Wearing the jeans now and I feel more chic already.

Back at home base it was time for our Thursday night cheese-and-charcuterie buffet. My colleagues and I walked down to the boulangerie to pick everything up, then brought it all back to the dorms for the students to demolish. My only regret is that the salami went really fast and I didn’t get any. Next week I will snag a piece out of one of the boxes on the way back from the pickup.

4 thoughts on “Thursday, July 10: Musée d’Orsay

  1. I'm just glad it wasn't demolished as was apparently a possibility at one point. They turned it into such a gorgeous building. I did think when I saw St. Pancras (Pancreas!) last year that it would make a good museum too . . .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *