Tours and Classes

Art Paris: Monet at the Grand Palais

by Lily Heise

Lily Heise from the Paris walking tour experts Context Travel recently stopped by the Monet exhibit currently taking place at the Grand Palais. Since Paris is currently overrun by an imminent shortage of petrol, enduring public transport strikes and the madness known as contemporary art week, we thought it would be fitting to give you a little dose of tranquility, starting with Monet’s lovely waterlilies…

Monet Grand Palais Paris

Every season ushers in a series of new exhibits in Paris and one of the most talked about this autumn is certainly “Claude Monet 1840-1926” at the Grand Palais. Slightly skeptical due to all the buzz, I visited the show last week to see if it was actually worth all the hype… and left two and a half hours later completely enchanted by the artistic impressions of the master impressionist.

The retrospective is certainly a must for impressionist art-lovers, bringing together over 200 works from 70 international collections, it offers a once in a lifetime chance to see so many of his paintings united side by side. Many of the works come from the Musée d’Orsay, however, dozens come from North America, where an avid appreciation of the Impressionists developed much ahead of France.

I was rather lucky to tour the exhibit with artist Marie Theres Berger who gave us some wonderful insight into the works on display, the artist’s career and his personal life. The show was beautifully curated, with the works organized thematically instead of purely chronologically, demonstrating how Monet’s style evolved through his subject matter, often revisiting the same subjects years later, such as the stormy Normandy coastline. Visitors can also admire Monet’s experiments with light through his famous series, including the lofty haystacks and the façade of the Rouen Cathedral painted at different times of day.

Monet Grand Palais Context Travel

My favorite part of the exhibit was probably the section dedicated to people, because this was the most surprising, the artist being first and foremost revered for his landscapes and flowers. Figures were merely a continuation of his study of light and color, nevertheless, it was fascinating to see his depictions of his first wife, the very pretty Camille, and his artist friend Frédéric Bazille in the various Déjeuner sur l’herbe.paintings and other scenes, giving us a little peak into Monet’s private life.

The one disappointment of the exhibit (besides the crowded traffic jam at the very beginning of the show) was the poor representation of his later works. The last room of the show, dedicated to the end of his life, is rather sparse and the painting not among his best. I guess visitors will just have to go to the Orangerie Museum afterwards to admire his large water-lily tableaux there!

The exhibit runs through January 24, it is highly advisable to purchase advance tickets to the exhibit and to aim to go either first thing in the morning or in the evening to escape the intense crowds. Context Travel is organizing very small group tours of the exhibit led by art experts on Monet.

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Written by Lily Heise from Context Travel. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out our website Haven in Paris.

Written By

Lily Heise

Lily Heise has been living in Paris for more than 10 years. When she's not getting into romantic mischief, she writes on dating, travel, and culture. Her writing has been featured in Frommer’s Guides, the Huffington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, City Secrets, DK Eyewitness Guides, and other local and international publications. She is the author of Je T'Aime, Me Neither, and Je T'Aime... Maybe? lively novelized memoirs on her romantic misadventures, and continues to share dating tips, stories and travel features on her blog View Lily Heise's Website

15 comments on “Art Paris: Monet at the Grand Palais

For anyone dying to see the Monet exhibit, but can’t get advance tickets, join one our walks of the exhibit to skip the line!

Thanks for your additional comments The Fashionable Traveler, Magic of Spice and Susan! the National Gallery also has some lovely Monets. One of the exciting thing about this exhibit is that there were many of his series paintings that were reunited from different collections from around the world, a real once in a lifetime opportunity. But if you can’t make it to the exhibit, hundreds of his works are still on display around Paris.

Susan Ross Donohue

Ahhhhhh! I can’t believe I’m going to miss the Monet exhibition. I have to get back to Paris….SOON!

I would love to see that exhibit…beautiful.

Candice at NotesFromABroad

Erica, not soon enough ! But everyday we discuss it ..

Lily, the last time we were in Paris, I spent a very long time in the Marmottan, sitting and gazing .. I have never been to Giverny, poor me.

The Fashionable Traveler

Monet’s Waterlilies were some of the first paintings I fell in love with as a child, visiting the National Gallery. I’ve always had a soft spot for Monet but have developed more contemporary taste over the years. However, I was recently and in Santa Fe, over the course of my journy down Canyon Road, I was amazed at all the impressionist artist that peaked my interest. Thanks for the great post.

Candice, we wish you were. Soon, maybe? Erica

Thanks for your comments Carol, Candice and Hazel. I can see you are all Monet Lovers! If you can’t make it to this show, the Orangerie and Marmottan museums or as Hazel recommended, Giverny, are great options and lovely places to experience Monet!

I went to an exhibition of Monet paintings at the National Art Gallery in Canberra about 7 years ago. I loved the way he captures light at different times of the day and the use of aqua and yellow and colours of summer, amazing.

Candice at NotesFromABroad

Oh weeping … I want to be there !
I love Monet. I love Paris… it is only right that I should be there 🙂

Sounds so lovely. I just missed it by days but I did manage to visit Giverny and took over 80 waterlily photos of my own. Hard to take a bad picture there.

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