Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

Musee D’Orsay, Tuesday 11.10.05

Posted by Lisa Hill on March 17, 2006

What a great day! We took the Met to the Musee D’Orsay, which turned out to be an old railway station, complete with two massive clocks and a monumental facade, overlooking the Seine. We bought a guide book straight away and planned our tour, beginning with the Impressionists on the top floor (to avoid the crowds on the ground floor – whom we had neatly bypassed with our prepaid museum passes – I’m so glad we bought them!)
Once again it was a joy to see the real paintings, though this time quite a few were familiar from exhibitions we had seen in Melbourne. The En Plein Air Gallery seemed rather ordinary after the ones we’d seen at home, but with others the pleasure of seeing them again was intense.
Visiting this gallery made me realise, however, how lucky we are to have a purpose built gallery in Melbourne. The National Gallery of Victoria has easy visitor access & excellent design, appropriate framing, and carefully managed lighting both to protect the pictures and to make it easy to see them. At the Musee D’Orsay there were some heavy, florid frames which really diminished the paintings: bright, cheery Gauguins seemed to have all the colour leached out of them, and the beige plaster walls made some pictures look quite drab. A shame, really. They should come to Melbourne to see how to do it properly!
We had a light lunch in the restaurant, where we admired the glorious ceilings and impressed some Americans from Detroit with our French. After that we strolled across the Pont du Royale to the Tuileries and then went home to the hotel. The sun shone, the people smiled and everything was lovely.
To cap off a perfect day, we dined at Restaurant Le Petit Marguery, on Boulevard de Port Royal. Dinner at this restaurant had been the highlight of our last trip to Paris, and once again, we had a wonderful time. There was the same waiter, who pretended to remember us, and the food, of course, was sublime. This time it was Tim who had the salt-cured duck with cabbage and I had Liévre à la Royale, a boned wild hare, stuffed with foie gras and truffles, and braised in red wine and brandy.
Paris, all is forgiven!

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