Friday, May 18, 2012

18 May, Friday: More Museums! Orsay and Rodin

Friday, 18 May:  We got out around 10am today and headed to Notre Dame intending to visit the church and climb the Tower; see Sainte Chappelle and the Conciergerie; eat some ice cream at Berthillon; taste the macarons at Un Dimanche a Paris; and whatever else struck our fancy.  But—lord it was crowded.  The line to tour Notre Dame, much less the towers, was wrapped around the block.  Crazy busy.  We scrapped the plan, detoured into the Fete du Pain tent, right in front of Notre Dame, where bakers were showing off their expertise (and giving samples) and watched these artists at work.  Very interesting, and tasty!

So crowded at Notre Dame
Le Fete du Pain

Artisan at work

We decided to walk over to St. Chappelle but discovered a long line there plus it would be closed for two hours at lunch time. So we decided to wander down to the Orsay and see it. Hubby and niece thought “it isn’t that far to walk” so we did. Well, all you Paris experts know, it’s a lot longer walk than it appears. We got there and were hungry and thirsty. Thankfully we were prepared with a picnic which we ate on the steps. 

Walking to the Orsay

Samaritain Dept Store-boarded up, so sad...

That's a perfect picnic spot

The locks are kinda silly but I do love hubby and Paris, so...

Suitably refreshed, we flashed our Museum Passes and entered this busy, beautiful old train station. It is my favorite museum in Paris (probably anywhere). It felt like coming home! We decided to head straight to the Impressionists Galleries; hubby and I were impressed by the renovations. It was super crowded but we were able to see all the paintings in a relatively leisurely manner. Niece found a new favorite and wrote it down for her future reference! I’d be hard pressed to choose a favorite, I love the art in these rooms, start to finish.

The other thing I love about the Orsay is going out into the sculpture garden after being in the darker art galleries. The natural light and beautiful statues refresh me and prepare me to go back for more—like cleansing the palate before tasting a different wine. Lovely. I told niece and hubby that I could live in the Orsay! We wandered in the Post Impressionists rooms, the Toulouse Lautrec rooms and the furniture rooms before heading out.

Gorgeous old train station

The long line for non-Museum Pass holders

These ladies kept us company for lunch :)

Inside my favorite museum

View from inside the Orsay

Such a beautiful space!

We figured out the bus and caught one to the Rodin Museum. We quickly toured the house which is under serious renovation and not as impressive as it was on our last visit. The gardens, on the other hand, are incredibly lovely. We posed with the Thinker, took close-ups of the beautiful roses, sat by the fountain, gazed at the Gates of Hell and felt the pain of the Burghers of Calais. It was a lovely late afternoon and perfect to be outside in this gorgeous setting.

The bus: clear as mud!

Musee Rodin

The Thinker and the Invalides golden dome

The garden was so pretty

Posing "like" the statue
Silly niece

The house is under renovation

Up close with the Gates of Hell

The Burghers of Calais

Tonight we had a 7pm reservation for dinner at Reed so we decided to slowly make our way there via the lovely streets of the 7th. We passed in front of the Invalides with its green cannons, window shopped, had a drink at an Irish Bar, then found Reed at 11 bis rue Amelie.

It’s a very small restaurant, pretty and comfortable run by Catherine Reed and one helper. The food was delicious (I had morel risotto, niece had cow cheeks bourginion, hubby had osso bucco). The deserts were less outstanding but still good. Overall one of our favorite meals in Paris and a place I’d definitely want to return to on a subsequent trip.  

We walked back to the apartment and caught the 10pm ET sparkle show; it was an early night!  And yet another great day in Paris was at an end.

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