Walked my shoes off on my first full day in Paris. I began the day at the Musée Rodin and ended up at the Arc de Triomphe. In between I visited the Hotel Invalides, Musee d’Orsay, Garden Tuilleries and avenue Champs-elysses. All in all a full 12 hours of walking was had.
Musée Rodin’s Hôtel Biron houses the largest collection of works of Auguste Rodin. The rooms are full of natural light, which gently caress each sculpture and highlight the movement Rodin brought to his work. The lush gardens house many of Rodin’s famous pieces, including The Thinker. I enjoyed a slow stroll through the garden and found a bench to sit on and do a small sketch. I totally forgot about my sketchbook! Crap. Oh well, I did get two sketches in.
After the museum, I ventured down the street and came across Hotel Invalides. It was not somewhere I was planning to visit, but I was there and it was free, so why not? I’m very happy I did. The place is a massive complex dedicated to the military history of France. It also houses Napoleon’s tomb. Boy did that dude have a bad case of short-man syndrome. Everything he did was over-the-top. The tomb could fit at least 50 clowns.
This place is one of the largest military museums in the world. It looks like the French keep everything! They have thousands of pieces of armour from medieval times alone. And the amount of artillery, swords, crossbows canons and horse armour is impressive.
I would highly recommend seeing this place if you visit Paris. It’s beautifully laid out and there are demonstration areas that allow you to try on some armour and play with the artillery.
They also had these huge screens depicting historical war battles. You could watch and listen to how a battle was won or lost. I listened to the Battle of Waterloo completely entranced.
What a contradiction though. In London, they have so many monuments and are so proud of defeating Napoleon. And in Paris, they are so proud of Napoleon and his accomplishments. It’s interesting to hear both sides. It makes me want to learn much more about this crazy little man.
Afterwards, I walked over to the Musee d’Orsay. Ok, this is my favorite museum ever! The amount of impressionism and post-impressionism is, in a word, impressive. The one piece that absolutely “wowed” me was van Gogh’s self portrait. I bet you can see it a mile away, it’s that alive with colour. The aqua tones in the painting are so bright and contrast greatly with the orange of his hair and beard. It’s almost cheerful until you look at his face, which looks sad and full of pain.
I saw so many other pieces that I loved, but I will not go on and bore you with my nerdiness.
But I do have one art story left to tell, I am in Paris after all. After the Orsay, I sat by a fountain in Garden Tuilleries and there was a woman beside me painting in a small book. Her shoes were off and she was resting her feet on the fountain’s edge. She held two little metal bottles of paint while she painted. I kept looking over at her work. It was beautiful. It looked like art deco from the 40’s. I finally got up the nerve to ask her if she was willing to sell. Unfortunately, she couldn’t. She is making a new design for a larger piece she is working on. Her name was Rusudan Petviashvili, she’s an artist from Georgia. Too bad, I would have cherished it, but it wasn’t meant to be. Before she left, she gave me her card and a small pamphlet of her work.
What a soul-filling day. Bonsoir.