Saturday, 14 March 2009

Musee de l'Orangerie, Paris

I'm behind on the blog.  Apologies.

We went to Paris last weekend and spent part of one afternoon at Musee de l'Orangerie.  The Orangerie museum is exceptional for one reason: the two, oval shaped rooms that house a series of Monet's waterlilies (or Les Nympheas), which were commissioned to be painted for those two spaces.  And they are extraordinary. 

The experience of standing in those rooms, surrounded by his waterlilies, is unique and like nothing else in this world.  Despite the over-marketing of Impressionist art, and the almost cliche status that Monet's paintings have acquired in the past 75 years, this display makes you stop and really look at these icons of early modernism.  Monet, and this exhibition of his work, truly manage to create an "Impression," and it's memorable.  I had last been in the museum in 1994, when I was 12 years old, and I still remember the experience.  So many of my memories from that first trip to Europe have turned out to be inaccurate upon revisiting those places in the past 4 years.  But the memory of this museum, and the feeling of being engulfed by Monet's waterlilies, was unpolluted by the 15 years that passed.  

The museum is very worthy of an hour of your time, even if all you do is sit in those two rooms and try to pick your jaw up off the floor. The rest of the collection is less remarkable, but worth a quick spin through it for the sake of being complete.

To get there, take the Metro to Concorde.  Admission is a bit steep (7.50 Euros) but it's well worth it.  It's open every day but Tuesday, from 9am to 6pm.  Also, they have a nice little gift shop where I scored a cute baby book in French for our good friends who have a (hopefully) bilingual 7 month old.  So all in all, a successful visit.  

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