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Finding Inspiration in Paris: Exciting Alternatives to Paris’ Big Museums

At the Rodin Museum, Paris (Stephen Boisvert)

The other week, as the famed Musée D’Orsay was about to celebrate a grand re-opening after two years of renovation, museum workers went on strike. The strike ended fairly quickly, but for a few agonizing days disappointed Impressionistas were left wondering how to get their art fix in Paris.

Which brings up a good point. The Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre are not exclusive guardians of the greatest art ever, despite what your guide book tells you. Yeah, yeah, you want to see the Mona Lisa. But why not get out of the big musées and discover places you never knew you wanted to? I mean, you’re in Paris, for God’s sake. You can’t throw a pavé without hitting beautiful pieces of art. They’re not all in museums. They’re in gardens, on bridges, down hidden streets. Art is everywhere. Walk around and stumble upon it.

Sculpture by Dali (Amelia Wells)

Or if you’re looking for a little more structure, here are a few ideas:

Find Monet elsewhere in Paris. If you want to see what inspired all the lily pad umbrellas and tote bags, head over to the Orangerie in the Jardin des Tuileries, renovated a few years ago. The enormity of Monet’s paintings alone is stunning. And just on the edge of Paris, near the Bois de Boulogne is the Musée Marmottan Monet, which houses over 100 works by Monsieur Monet.

Rodin’s “Eve”  (Rachel So)

Ever heard of Rodin? There are more than 130 art museums in Paris. So don’t just pin your trip on the two BIG ones. I was never much of a fan of Picasso until I went to the Musée National Picasso. (Sorry, that one is closed for renovations until 2013). Instead, make it a priority to see museums like ones dedicated to Auguste Rodin or Salvador Dalí, depending on your tastes. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events | 8 Comments »

Being A Tourist in Paris: It’s All About the Pleasure

We first met the lovely Kari Geltemeyer when she stayed in Haven in Paris’ Livingstone flat and have been hooked on her witty writing and great photography ever since. Here are some musings and images from her latest trip to Paris this May… -Geneviève

Hi. My name is Kari, and I am a tourist. A lot of people don’t like to admit this, or feel guilty about it, and those people refer to themselves as “travelers.” That’s fine; we become what we wish to be, etc. But I’ve decided to embrace the “tourist” label wholeheartedly, unabashedly, with gusto—mostly because it takes too much energy not to.

According to Merriam-Webster, a tourist is “one that makes a tour for pleasure or culture” (no mention of fanny packs). I enjoy the culture, yes, but I go to Paris for the pleasure. I waited 40 years before I saw this city and now I love it the way I first loved New York, cinematically, as a hopelessly romantic construct no reality can touch.

Must be something in the air. I stumble around, staring up at the rooftops—those rooftops!—and the nonverbal part of my brain just takes over, the part that processes beauty and joy and awe, the part that wouldn’t be able to translate the emotion into language even if I spoke the language. (I do not. I flail and I fumble and I manage, but I deeply, fundamentally do not.) Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 14 Comments »

Not the Louvre: An Alternative Guide to Paris’ Museums

Hotel Biron – Musee Rodin/ Statue in garden of Rodin Museum (Dalbera; Kjerstin)

One can only bear the mob encircling the Mona Lisa so many times.

In my four months living in Paris, I must have visited Mona and her Louvre museum on half a dozen occasions, mostly while touring visiting friends and family around the city’s landmark attractions. You can’t argue that the Louvre is not fabulous, but one long spin around the place is enough to hold you over for a while. Luckily, during my last stint in Paris I had time to make the rounds of Paris’ smaller, more captivating museums and am happy to share these lesser-known finds with you now.

Dig sculpture? Need a spot for a sunny afternoon picnic? The Musée Rodin is dedicated to the works of Parisian and Western art’s greatest sculptor, Auguste Rodin. The museum, located just east of Hôtel des Invalides and within view of the Eiffel Tower, consists of an indoor display in what used to be the Hôtel Biron and a sculpture garden featuring a sculpture garden, luscious green lawn, pond and an area designated for lazying on lounge chairs and taking in the day—as Parisians so commonly do. See Rodin’s most famous pieces, such as The Thinker, Balzac, and The Kiss, and be sure to pack that picnic lunch.

Musée Rodin, 79, rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris. Closed Mondays.

Monet at the Musée de l’Orangerie (Benoit Deniaud)

Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living | 15 Comments »

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