Saturday, June 23, 2012

Coupe de champagne at the Opera Garnier

Act V: The sun came out and a clear blue sky greeted us this morning.

What a gorgeous morning. The sun greeted us head on this morning with the dark clouds moving on. Having said that, this was a three coffee breakfast.

The four of us decided to take on the Impressionist at the Musée D'Orsay. Both Ian and I are enamored by this period - Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Seurat and Van Gough. Ian and I have now done several museums together, The Metropolitan in New York city, Van Gough  and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the National Gallery in London, but he said that this was his favorite. The National Gallery in London has long been my favorite, so, I was curious as to how this would compare.

French Jazz musicians outside the Musée D'Orsay.

 The Musée D'Orsay is a former train station built in the 1880's, on the left bank of the Seine,  that was converted to a gallery spaced and re-opened in 1986. The space is bright and airy and the best of the original features of the building were left and utilized to the peak advantage.

I saw many of my "must knows" from my art history classes — Seurat's Circus, Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles, Gauguin's White horse, Renoir's Dance at the Moulin de la Galette, Cezanne's Bathers and Monet's Poppies. What a haven for the Impressionist fan. This truly was a wonderful museum, set up on five floors, with the centre space open, and artwork running around the perimeter of the building in defined gallery spaces. Floors two and five were where I found my favorites. On the fifth floor, there was access to a terrace, on the Seine side of the museum, allowing for wonderful views up to the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre. Also on the fifth floor were the two massive clocks from the original train station. The clock at the far end was surrounded by clear glass, allowing us to see up to the Sacré Coeur through the 15 foot tall clock, as it were. It was an interesting perspective. Sorry, no photos were allowed, otherwise I would have snapped it.

On the fifth floor terrace, looking up to the Sacré Coeur.
It really is quite the landmark on the hill.

My Mom with the Sacré Coeur in the background.

The roof, very typical of it's period.

The original dining room for the train station's hotel is still a dining room today, and that is were we decided to have lunch. What a magnificent room. The grand room has twelve huge chandeliers with a facade of windows running the length of the room. It was a very pleasant place to have a very calm and civilized lunch.

Lunch in this grand dining room.

Fish for Ian and Sue, Vichyssoise for my Mom and me.

We thought we would take a bateaux up to Notre Dame, only to discover that we would have to purchase a day pass and opted to go up to the Opera Garnier, and do a self guided tour. Before we hit the taxi stand, both my Mom and I bought artwork outside the Musée D'Orsay. Yes, I had to agree with Ian, this museum has just snuck ahead of the National Gallery as my favorite, but only by a hair.

Beautiful architectural details on the museum.

Sue, my Mom and Ian looking up at one of the clocks on the fifth floor.

We taxied up to the Opera Garnier only to discover that there was a performance on that night, and that we would have very limited access and time to look around. The Chagall ceiling is a must to see, and that area was already closed, due to the performance. Plan B - coupe de champage in the Opera's streetside cafe. We wanted to take advantage of this drizzle free day. Sitting outside in a street cafe is just so Parisienne - and so suited all of us this afternoon. Surprisingly, the day moved quickly.

Ian and Sue had a late night flight back to the UK, so we bid our adieu's, until the next time.

10:00 at night, and it's still light out. My Mom and I have just come home to the hotel after having a yummy Italian meal. Queen's Jubilee shortbread from Mark's & Spencer, care of Ian and Sue, supplied our dessert back in our room.

Tomorrow we will plan to return to the Opera for our walk-about, and then explore the foodie shops in our neighborhood and La Madeleine, and the up to Printemps and Galeries Lafayette for a little last minute shopping.

I fell asleep to the roar of motorbikes flying up the narrow street of Rue de L'Arcade.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.