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Posts tagged Museum

France / Writing

visiting the Musée du Louvre

The Louvre is one of the world’s biggest and most visited museums with a massive 35,000 piece collection. It will take you 100 days without any breaks to look at each piece for 30 seconds.

We transferred accommodations and now stay at the Chatelet area, 1st arrondisement, which is much closer to the Louvre but thanks to our bad sense of direction, we still got lost on the way to the museum, wasting an hour or two trying to figure out how to get there.

We finally reached the museum, stayed for a bit outside to take pictures and people-watch.
Louvre and I.M. Pei's pyramid

outside the Louvre

La Pyramide, and La Pyramide Inversée, made popular by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. The Carrousel du Louvre is by this area, below the Louvre. Plenty of gift shops, an Apple store, McDonald’s, and a really fancy paid WC which I really liked.

La Pyramide Inversee

Louvre pyramide

I am really not credible enough to provide definitive directions, which piece can be found in which floor or wing, Denon, Richelieu, or Sully… the place was disorienting to say the least, we just walked around semi-aimlessly prioritizing a few pieces we want to see.

me and A

The Grecian pieces. Venus de Milo (Aphrodite, 100 BC) is one of the most popular sculptures. Found in 1820 in the the Greek island Melos (now Milo) – it is one of the few rare Greek originals, as most Grecian statues are actually Roman copies.

Venus de Milo
Another one of the most popular Greek originals – The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Nike of Samothrace, 190 BC). The windblown details of the gown, and the stance, I find so striking. We spent a long time gazing at this piece. Said to be created to commemorate a naval victory in Rhodes. One of the detached hands are also on display at the Louvre.
Winged Victory

Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna of the Rocks, and his Mona Lisa.
Madonna on the Rocks and the Mona Lisa

These are the people photographing the Mona Lisa (La Joconde)

people photographing the Mona Lisa

A couple viewing the massive painting opposite the Mona Lisa – Paolo Veronese’s The Wedding at Cana. The scene where Jesus turned water into wine.
Paolo Veronese's Wedding at Cana

I really wanted to see this Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People (La Liberté guidant le peuple), from the Coldplay record cover (ha-ha). It also inspired the Statue of Liberty.
Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People

Other pieces I wanted to see but we couldn’t find them: Cupid & Psyche, The Code of Hammurabi, Egyptian antiquities.

After seeing another dizzying number of art pieces, rested at one of the benches at the Jardins des Tuilieries, just outside the Louvre. Watched a pair of lovers sprawled like so.

Musée du Louvre
Open everyday except Tuesdays, 9AM – 6PM
Wednesdays & Fridays 9AM – 9:45PM
75058 Paris – France
Métro: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre
+33 (0)140205317


The Thinker at Musée Rodin

The Rodin Museum / Musée Rodin showcases the works of Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917), including The Thinker (Le Penseur), probably the most known sculpture in the world. There are more than a dozen copies of The Thinker all over the world– Singapore, Philadelphia, Kyoto, Moscow, Copenhagen– but the original bronze cast can be found here.

Musee Rodin Grounds
Musee Rodin grounds
Musee Rodin grounds

It drizzled for a while when we were there.
some drizzle at Musee Rodin

The museum was actually a former hotel called the Hôtel Biron. Rodin rented out rooms in the hotel and used it as his studio. Sometime later, the French Government acquired the property and Rodin donated some of his works in the condition that the grounds be turned into a museum. And so it was done, and Musée Rodin opened in 1919.
Auguste Rodin's The Thinker
Auguste Rodin's The Thinker

Hôtel Biron is a beautiful building mostly containing Rodin’s plaster and marble casts, photographs, and paintings, as well as his collection of artwork, plus even some sculptures by his student / mistress, Camille Claudel. (Note: from January – 3 April 2012, the building will be closed for renovation to meet modern safety standards.)
Hotel Biron

The gardens are equally beautiful, well-kept hedges and rose bushes, a terrace, a fountain and a café. The bronze sculptures can be found here; aside from the Thinker, other well know works include: The Burghers of Calais, and the Gates of Hell.

Hôtel Biron, The Fountain
Musee Rodin

Les Trois Ombres
Les Trois Ombres

St. John the Baptist Preaching, The Kiss
Inside Musee Rodin / Hotel Biron
Musee Rodin

 Here is a clip from one of my favorite movies last year, Midnight in Paris. I was thrilled that they shot in Musee Rodin, obviously as it is a place I have been to. Carla Bruni (Mrs. Nicolas Sarkozy) plays the museum tour guide. Midnight in Paris also shot in Giverny, and the gardens looked better in the film than in pictures! 🙂 About this movie– I don’t usually like the general theme of magic-realism, but I found myself charmed by this gem of a film; I especially get a kick out of Adrien Brody playing Salvador Dali.

Musée Rodin
79, rue de Varenne – 75007 Paris
Phone : +33(0)144186110
Metro : Varenne (line 13) or Invalides (line 13, line 8)
Open daily except Mondays


Musée d’Orsay, one of the best museum collections in the world

Admittedly, I do not know much about art. As a child I remember poring over a children’s art history book, and I distinctly remember reading about some artists and their works; Van Gogh’s Starry Night, the ballerina sculpture by Degas, the picnic scene by Mary Cassatt. Many years later, I find myself in Musee D’Orsay, where a lot of the works from my children’s book were housed. 🙂 This museum, I daresay, has such a very high concentration of popular and important works of art in a relatively small space. I say “relatively small,” because compared to the massive Louvre, it is small at 170+ meters, and you can see all exhibits in about 2-3 hours. Most displays in the Musee D’Orsay holds mostly French art from 1848 – 1914. Built in 1900, the building used to be a train station– the Gare D’Orsay.

Sculptures outside Musée d’Orsay
Sculptures outside Musee d'Orsay
Sculptures outside Musee d'Orsay

The “normal” queue to the museum. We were in a faster-moving one as we had very convenient Paris Museum Passes.
queue at Musee d'Orsay

Photos weren’t allowed inside, and I didn’t dare break the rule, because of some irrational fear of sounding off an alarm or something like that. I’ve been to museums (in Vienna) where alarms would go off when you come too close to the display. In the future, I should bring a small, unobtrusive point and shoot for times like these.
Museum interiors: photo from Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, a part of the museum was under renovation during our visit, the clock (horloge) included. I was so set on sneaking some shots from the clock, only to find out it was all boarded up.

Some favorite & memorable pieces: La Source (Ingres), Whistler’s Mother (Whistler), Petite danseuse de quatorze ans (Degas), Self-portrait (Van Gogh), The Artist with the Yellow Christ (Gauguin), Blue Water Lilies (Monet) , Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Renoir), Starry Night (Van Gogh – but not the more popular one on my bucket list, which is in MoMA in New York), Olympia (Manet).

Really enjoyed looking through almost everything at Musee D’Orsay, even if we were very cold (didn’t dress appropriately for the day’s weather) and hungry. We head to Rue Cler to have late lunch at Café du Marche.

Musée d’Orsay
Open 9:30am – 6pm
closed on Mondays
Thursdays until 9:45pm