10.15.2010

Paris – Day 5

Our fifth day in Paris started out the way that every good day should start – amazing breakfast pastries at Gerard Mulot.  We were so fortunate to live one block from this high end boutique – a fabulous patisserie, boulangerie, and chocolatier.  Every morning should include a pain au chocolat of such caliber.

After breakfast we walked along the Seine and returned to the Cathedral Notre Dame to get in line for the tower tour, such a popular attraction that lines can be over 2 hours long later in the day.  There wasn’t so much a “tour” as much as a self-guided experience going up the tower, seeing the giant bell, and getting an amazing view of Paris.  This was our first aerial since we hadn’t yet visited the Eiffel Tower or Arch de Triomphe. It was a beautiful morning and a perfect view of the city.

Cathédrale Notre-DameCathédrale Notre-Dame

 

So many amazing things are contained in those streets below.  If you look to the left, the large church steeples with the crane are on the street where we lived.

Skyline from Notre-Dame

Cathédrale Notre-DameSkyline from Notre-Dame

This is Kirk having fun with his gargoyles in Photoshop

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

After the tower tour, we went into the Notre Dame Crypt, which honestly sounds much cooler than the actual experience.  It was interesting, however, to see the original structures, despite it being underwhelming.  For lunch, we picked up some gigantic quiches and a la religieuse pastry (delicious!), ate in the park, and then slowly made our way to our next planned museum stop.  On the way, we visited the Palais Royal, where we enjoyed the modern art installation, garden, and shops.

Palais Royal

Palais Royal

Next, we walked over to see the Louvre and get some pictures, in case it was rainy for our official visit later in the trip.  Lynne was amazed by its size, and it really was a perfect day for pictures, but we’re saving some for a later post.  Just past the museum is the Jardin des Tuileries, which was beautiful, and we enjoyed sitting by the fountain (even though we already had a lot of sun from watching tennis the previous day).

The Louvre

The Louvre

Our next stop was the Musee de l’Orangerie, which is located right along the Jardin.  When I (Kirk) was in Paris in the summer of 2000, the museum was closed (from 1999 through 2006!), so we were both quite excited to see it.  The museum’s main claim to fame is its collection of Monet’s large water lily paintings (Nympheas).  It also has a lot of other impressionist paintings, including those by Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, and Matisse.

One reason for the lengthy remodel was to present the paintings in the way Monet intended.  When you first enter the water lily gallery you find yourself in a completely silent white chamber with the intention to deprive all your senses prior to viewing his paintings.  Inside, there are two rooms with an enormous canvas on each wall.  The paintings are all viewed under direct diffused light, another nuance that Monet desired for his works.  I can’t really do the art justice in mere words, so enjoy the pictures below.  We highly recommend everyone visit this museum at some point in their life (and the other works on the lower level are fantastic as well)!

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

After the museum, we walked further past the gardens to see the Petit and Grand Palais.  We had heard the Petit Palais was free to enter and worth a look inside, but due to a Yves Saint Laurent exhibit, it was a bit too costly for us.  At least we got some cool external pictures.

Galeries Nationales du Petit Palais

Galeries Nationales du Petit Palais

Then we walked along the banks of the Seine, looking at all the colorful boats, crossed a bridge and decided it was a good time for a snack (or early dinner).  We finally did the “customary” Paris thing by sitting outside at a cafe facing the street (instead of each other).  We enjoyed some delicious onion soup, a fantastic goat cheese and bacon tartine, wine, and some French beer (Kronenbourg 1664).

After we ate, we walked a couple blocks to the Musee d’Orsay which was open late into the evening on this particular day of the week.  unfortunately, photographs are not allowed inside (they were back in 2000 when I visited, so that was quite a bummer).  The museum is housed in a former train station, and it’s really a breathtaking site.  There is a ton of art to see, including major impressionist paintings, post-impressionist works, and lots of sculpture.  It was nice going in the evening hours because it wasn’t terribly crowded.  The only disappointing aspect of the visit was the fact that the impressionist wings were being remodeled, so hallways were turned into galleries, and since there was limited room, some of the collection (including some key pieces) were travelling and currently located in San Francisco.

After the museum kicked us out (literally, we were the last handful of people to reluctantly leave), we decided to walk home and see more of the city.  We ended up getting a bit lost, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  By the time we found our neighborhood, it was 11pm and we were really hungry.  We passed by a small side street just two blocks from our apartment, and it was bustling with tons of people and many quaint little bars and eateries.  Little did we know this all existed so close to our place (and though it was pretty loud, you couldn’t hear any of the noise from our apartment).  We found a great little place that had some amazing calamari and stuffed grape leaves and enjoyed those with some house wine.  Every time we ordered wine at a restaurant we went with the house wine – it was pretty inexpensive and delicious every time.  It was a short walk home, and we were ready for sleep after a fun-filled day.

1 comment:

Megan said...

How is it that LYNNE looks so fashionable in all pics? She is a babe! XOXO