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Paris: Day 2

02/24/2012

On our second day in Paris, we embarked on an ambitious trek around the city. The weather forecast threatened rain for the rest of the week, so we packed in as much walking as we could before that. But we also had numerous museums to visit, most of which were closed on either Monday or Tuesday, so we had to hit one of them on Sunday afternoon. The Musée d’Orsay had so many glowing reviews that we made it our top art-going priority.

First stop was the Sacré-Cœur basilica and Monmartre neighborhood, just a few Metro stops away from our apartment. It’s quite a hike to the top of the hill and the church, where tourists flock for a view of the city. Unfortunately, although it seemed to be a clear day, the horizon was surprisingly hazy, so our view wasn’t very good. But the walk around Monmartre was fun, although bitter cold!

Sacre-Coeur

Sacre-Coeur 2

La Maison Rose bistro. Gets mediocre reviews, so I wouldn’t eat there, but it’s a cute building. Very charming.

Maison Rose

Maison Rose

The famous Au Lapin Agile cabaret, still in action.

Au Lapin Agile

Le Bateau-Lavoir, once the location of Picasso‘s studio, as well as an artistic/literary gathering spot.

Studio of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

The Moulin Rouge.

Moulin Rouge

Beautiful cart, but I can’t even think about shellfish before noon.

Shellfish Cart

Sausage, on the other hand, was smelling good …

Sausages

Next, we hopped on the Metro and got off at the Arc de Triomphe, which, like many things in Paris, was bigger than I expected. Pretty impressive.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Then we strolled down the Champs Elysées to the Seine, a classic Paris walk. By that time, we were feeling almost warm under the midday sun. Almost.

Pont Alexandre III, the most elegant bridge in Paris.

Pont Alexandre III

Collecting water from the Seine.

Collecting Water at Pont Alexandre III

More on the bridge.

Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III

Me at Pont Alexandre III

I seem to have a thing for stone lions. Wherever there is one, I’ll take a pic.

Lion at Pont Alexandre III

After crossing the bridge we visited the wonderful Musée d’Orsay, where photos of the art were not allowed. I snuck this one from an upper level. You can tell that the building is a former train station, which makes the environment a very open and fun place to explore.

Musée d'Orsay

The one thing I disliked about Musée d’Orsay was that the work was not clustered by artist. You’d see a piece here and a piece there, all divided. It made selecting one’s route rather arbitrary, but as the museum is a manageable size, it’s not hard to see the whole thing.

I was particularly pleased to see Henri Rousseau‘s The Snake Charmer, a favorite from my youth that held up well in person. (More on that subject tomorrow.)

Snake Charmer

But the most compelling thing we saw there was actually a special exhibit of work by the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela, whose style was alternately traditional, bold, weird, abstract, and illustrative. Again, no photos permitted, but you can see/read more about it here.

After the museum, we walked to the Eiffel Tower to see it light up after dark. Then off to a friend’s house for dinner. A full and wondrous day!

La Tour Eiffel

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From → Art, Travel

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