Europe

Musée d’Orsay: Observing Art, Observing the Observers.


Thursday, October 14th, 2004: Paris, France

Today we dawdle through the Musée d’Orsay. Greg enjoyed it more than I did: the crowds on the top floor, where the impressionists hang, made me crazy; I admit that I was tired after hanging out last night with Bob and Bill on their last evening in Paris. Greg, on the other hand, is an impressionist aficionado, and could have spent another couple of hours just hanging around, if not observing the art, then observing the observers.

I, on the other hand, discover that the museum is “polyvalente”, as the French say (i.e. multidisciplinary), and make my way to the 3rd floor, to the rooms and furniture exhibit, where I was more or less alone and could really enjoy them. I discover that the Gare d’Orsay had a grand hotel built onto one side of it for the 1900 World’s Fair, and some of the rooms have been preserved in their original, over-the-top state.

Greg and I meet up again on the main floor, and discover the opera spaces, with incredibly wonderful maquettes of the Opéra Garnier and the whole neighbourhood around it as it was in 1914. We spend an extra ½ hour studying them, both of us fascinated by the technology of the theatre, and the detail of the maquettes themselves.

The museum itself is lovely, soaring space if a somewhat complicated one to manoeuvre around. Perhaps those who wish to turn Toronto’s Union Station into a cultural beacon should begin their research at the d’Orsay.

Walking back to our place, we walk along the Seine for a bit, then turn away and walk along the rue des Saints Pères, full of wonderful little art galleries and antique stores. We see a florist’s shop and quickly decide that the should open a store in Toronto.

 

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