A few weeks ago, I went to the Musee d’Orsay for the first time. I know, I know; you don’t even have to say it. How in the world have I lived in Paris this long and never visited this fabulous museum?
Well, I have now, so there will be none of that.
The Musee d’Orsay is as wonderful as everyone says. The museum itself is gorgeous, a former railway station originally designed for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. And what it contains! A spectacular collection of impressionist (and post-impressionist) art with all the heavy-hitters: Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Matisse. Just to name a few, of course.
Be warned: Renovations are currently under way and the permanent collection from the (skylit) fifth floor has been moved down to the first two levels of the museum. This being Paris, though, even the renovations manage to be classy.
Practically, this also means that a fair number of the permanent pieces are out on loan. My friend Sarah was heartbroken that her favorite painting was currently at the San Francisco Museum.
But, we found plenty to feast our eyes on, as we meandered our way from one dreamy landscape to the next.
We were taken out of the artistic reverie by one pretty shocking display, however: a couple making out directly in front of the descriptive text introducing the museum’s collection.
I’m not talking a little kissing, either. (This is Paris! There is art! That could be forgiven). No, I’m talking about pushed up against the wall, hard-core, do they need a hotel room pawing. I’m no prude, but I felt so uncomfortable that I just had to leave the room (after picking my jaw up off the ground).
Now I know I’ve been encouraging a more friendly Paris lately; this is not at all what I had in mind, however.
Recovering from the incident and from taking in so much beauty, Sarah and I treated ourselves to lunch in the gorgeous restaurant. What would be become a 3-hour affair.
Now, I wouldn’t normally think to indulge in such a thing. Lunch in a museum would be overpriced, right? Not even. I had a delicious risotto for 16 euros, what you’d pay in a lot of places in Paris, and yet I felt like I was dining in a palace:
One thing, though: it seemed we couldn’t order wine by the glass. I guess there are worse fates than being forced to spring for an entire bottle (or half-bottle) of Sancerre. (This might have accounted for why we spent 3 hours talking away – more and more animatedly, I might add).
All in all, well worth a visit. Both the museum and the restaurant. I love visiting museums at night, too. If you do, as well, the Musee d’Orsay has extended hours until 9:45 PM on Thursdays.
At that hour, who knows what frisky couples will be up to, though. Beware!