31.08.2011 - 31.08.2011 28 °C
Got going at a pretty good time this morning as I wanted to go and tick off a couple of the famous art galleries here in Paris; Musee d’Orsay and the Pompidou Centre. Neither museum opened til 11am so I first went back to the Saint Chapelle (the cathedral I wasn’t able to see the day previous because of the filming of a documentary).
The Saint Chapelle has probably the most ornate and beautiful interiors of any cathedral I have ever seen. The Chapelle was built by Louis IX to house some of JC’s relics that he bought off the Byzantine Empire; the crown of thorns and fragments from THE cross. The Chapelle was the personal chapel of the king and it shows. Almost all of the four walls are stained glass and the glass windows portray the story of Genesis and of course the Passion. The Chapelle is no longer used for services which is a real shame because I would attend a mass just so that I could sit inside that chapel for a couple of hours to just admire the stained glass! The relics are now housed in Notre Dame inside the treasury (which I was too stingy to spend the couple of Euro to enter!) so really you are just looking at the shell of the chapel when you go in.. the shell is really impressive so I would have loved to have seen it in its hay-day!
From the Chapelle I went back across the Seine to the Pompadour Centre. The Pompidou centre houses the Gallery of Modern Art so I spent the next couple of hours cruising the corridors of the centre admiring the Modern Art. I’m not a massive Modern Art fan there are just some aspects that I love.. The thing that is great about Modern Art though is that you can easily work out at what point you want to stop touring! For me I stop once the art is getting to a canvas of one colour or random splotches on a canvas.. for me this isn’t art, this is the type of work I could do… (In fact maybe this should be my next career move…. I could do splotches on a canvas and call it “memories of a tortured turtle” or something equally obscure and make a fortune…. Mmmmm) No, in all seriousness, I went to the Pompidou to see the Modern Art up until the 30s—I wanted to see the cubist exhibitions and the surrealist exhibitions and the rest of it I decided to leave!
The Pompidou houses a great lot of Picasso’s earlier cubists’ works of which I haven’t seen many, so I spent a pleasant couple of hours just admiring the clean lines and colour changes of the cubist and surrealist exhibitions. I also had a glimpse at Kandinsky’s works (although he isn’t really one of my favs) and at the couple of works by Dali.
After lunch I headed across the river (again) to the Musee d’Orsay. In my opinion it has the greatest works of art in Paris! I really think the Louvre won’t be able to beat the d’Orsay in my opinion. The d’Orsay houses many many works from the French Impressionists (ala Monet, Renoir, Degas) as well as the Post Impressionists (ala Van Gogh, Gaugin, Cezanne).
The one thing I didn’t like about the Musee is that it is currently under renovation meaning that the French Impressionist and Neo Impressionist exhibitions are being temporarily housed in special rooms.. meaning not much room to admire these incredibly beautiful pieces of art and many, many hundreds of people all trying to get a glimpse!
For me the works by Monet and Renoir were just spectacular in the Impressionist area. The colours and the shadows really make these paintings seem really quite lifelike! Some of the Monet paintings of Montmartre are just awesome and I can almost imagine those types of ladies and gentlemen walking down the road out the front of my hostel!!
Like every other gallery the highlight for me was the Van Gogh section. M d’Orsay has maybe 10 of his works on display both his earlier realist works as well as his later impressionist works. In particular, my favs of Van Gogh’s are the ones that he produced when he was in the asylum.. Maybe that says something about my taste in art?????
By the time I left the M d’Orsay it was well after 6pm and time for dinner. I stopped at a small restaurant and had a homemade cheeseburger (which was damn good) and then went up to the Sacre Coeur a large cathedral on the Montmartre hill. The cathedral is up many, many stairs or you can take a fernicular.. Again I’m a cheap skate and walked and was rewarded by not only puffing a lot when I got to the top but also by being really hassled the entire length of the stair case by sellers trying to sell cheap crappy souvenirs (I’ve been hassled before but never have I felt unsafe when being hassled). Needless to say my visit to the cathedral was really marred by my trip up the hill and so I didn’t hang around too long to get photos etc (the area just plain wasn’t safe to be wandering around as a lone female with a pretty nice camera for someone to hock!)