France: Paris Landmarks – Museums

I have never been a good patron of art museums. I think it’s because there is often such a huge amount of art to see in any given museum that I instantly become overwhelmed and can’t handle it. This dates back to a family trip to Italy, when my dad dragged us to so many art museums that my brother and I (ages 10 and 12 at the time, respectively) decided that our Gameboys were far more interesting. To this day, whenever I see a Renaissance painting I have an overwhelming urge to play Pokemon Yellow.

That said, I knew I would have to set foot in at least one art museum in Paris. It’s practically a requirement. For the casual art observer, which is even a stretch of a title for me, there were basically two options: the Louvre, which holds mostly the Italian Renaissance art that I so sarcastically adore, and the Musée d’Orsay, which contains Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist works. Being far more interested in the latter, I chose the Musée d’Orsay for an actual viewing experience.

The Musée d'Orsay.

The Musée d’Orsay.

Obviously, I wasn’t allowed to take any photos of the art, but I found it an overall pleasant experience. The museum is located in a former train station, which automatically gives it a certain coolness factor. Plus I actually enjoyed looking at the art, at least until my feet started to ache in my cute-but-not-conducive-to-walking flats and I started getting sleepy.

I think what attracts me to Impressionist art and other similar styles are the brightness of the color palette, the use of light, and the variety of subject matter. It’s much more cheerful to look at than Renaissance art, and each individual painting tells a completely different story. Sorry Italians, but there are only so many versions I can handle of Mary and the baby Jesus.

Anyway, after exploring the Orsay for a couple of hours, I crossed the Seine to hit the other major museum landmark: the Louvre pyramid.

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The Louvre is far more photogenic than the Musée d’Orsay, and obviously a much more famous sight as well. As I had no interest in seeing the artwork inside (except the Mona Lisa, and I didn’t feel the need to pay for a whole admission ticket just for that), I came simply to take some photos of the pyramid, and indeed I got what I came for.

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I even got to sit down for a few minutes and stick my sore feet in the fountain. La vie Parisienne est bonne!

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