Earlier this trip I visited Giverny, so I really wanted to see Monet’s water lily paintings. The metro stopped at the Concorde Station, which has walls covered with the text of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, one letter per tile, no punctuation or spacing between words. I knew about this see this, but wasn’t sure where it was located, so it was a nice surprise to find it completely by accident.
I headed off to the Orangerie today and although there was a bit of a line it only took about half an hour before I was inside. I was going to have a cup of tea and a bite to eat before taking a look at everything but was surprised to find that there were no facilities here for eating, or even getting a tea or coffee, so I was out of luck.
There was a special exhibit of Emile Bernard’s work so I headed there first. No photographs allowed in here, but there were eight rooms of his work and it was an excellent collection.
The permanent collection also featured Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Modigliani, Derain, Laurencin, Rousseau, Utrillo and Soutine. Unfortunately most of the Modigliani’s were not available for viewing today. There was a hallway full of Renoirs!
Some of Picasso,s earlier works. The Orangerie isn’t a huge place but it still took a while to see everything, and then I went to view Les Nymphéas. No photos in here either. I tried a sketch to get a feel of the size of these paintings but it wasn’t very successful, so I sneaked a photo from the entry to one of the two galleries. I am going to have to practice some architectural drawings, not having much success with them at all.
Monet designed these galleries himself and I couldn’t imagine these paintings displayed any other way. I knew they were huge works and I have a beautiful book at home with great close up views of the paintings but I was certainly not prepared for the impact of actually being in their presence. There are seats in the centre of each gallery to sit and contemplate, and I certainly did that. This a monumental work. I could picture Monet painting these canvases, and there are so many layers of paint that the surface of the paintings are actually quite heavily textured. Looking into the layers of paint was much like looking into the dark reflective waters of lily pond at Monet’s Giverny.
I planned on going to the Louvre for of a couple of hours but on the way there were a lot of people milling about near some big white tents. So I went to see what it was all about.
This is Fashion week in Paris, a very big event, and a fashion show had just ended. The attendees were leaving and posing for photos. There are photographers with huge lenses everywhere, it was rather chaotic and surreal.
I have no idea who the lady in the black coat is, but she generated a lot of attention and was pretty much mobbed by professional looking photographers who seemed very pleased to have taken photos of her.
There were the certainly lots of very beautiful people and then there were some rather strangely dressed people as well.
And, perhaps one of the strangest of all! He posed for a lot of pictures and seemed very pleased with himself.
By the time the crowd was thinning out it was too late for the Louvre, so I found a cafe in the Jardin des Tuileries and ordered a salad and a pot of tea.
It was good, but it was also 21€, which is thirty dollars Canadian! Having my own little kitchen and preparing meals has certainly saved me some money!
Stopped for one last photo on the way home beside one of the dozens of big tents erected for Fashion Week.