Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The blog with no photos - Musee d'Orsay

For some years now, Marianne has wanted to go to the Musee d'Orsay, so we took the Metro there and lined up with a few hundred people outside in lines that snaked back and forth. It was like going through immigration at a major US airport like Newark, NJ (EWR). After about 45 minutes we got through the door into the museum to discover the cause of the holdup was just two security gates you had to walk through, each with its guard checking bags.

There were plenty of counters for buying tickets (9 euros) so that didn't take long at all. You would have thought somebody had worked out where the bottleneck was and increased the number of security gates. The museum is certainly making enough money from ticket sales to afford them.

There is a reason for the title of the 'blog with no photos'. The museum prohibits taking photos. Quite a few people were ignoring the signs and were happily snapping away, particularly with their cell phones. It's a great pity that they have this rule because the building itself is spectacular. No doubt years ago when it was a train station it was grimy and smoky but now it is cleaned up and a joy to be in. The huge clock at one end of the main hall is absolutely magnificent. 

Marianne and I separated and agreed to meet at the miniature Statue of Liberty which is in the main hall. I have to admit that my knowledge of art is pretty limited but I did recognize quite a few of the major names. The problem with this museum is that it is full of Art Majors who have come to see the paintings they studied at college. Let me tell you, there are a lot of Art Majors out there, most of whom have their sights set on this Museum.

It was very crowded. Not enough that you had to have sharp elbows but all the famous paintings had huge crowds around them. You got a glimpse of the painting from a distance to check it off on your list, and then you moved on. 

The Museum should have been named the Pierre Bonnard Museum since his stuff was everywhere. I see on the Museum website that they have 339 of his works, well I reckon all of them were on display.

After a while, I started to look at the traffic flow. There are a couple of areas with the really famous stuff like Monet and Van Gogh, Degas and Manet etc. The former coupling are on one level off to one side in relatively small rooms. The others are up on the top floor in a larger area that I almost didn't find. The map the museum issues is pretty useless. When Marianne and I met I asked her what she had thought of the Salle de Fete. She had missed it. There is no logical path through the building, which considering the French are the most logical of people, is rather strange. Perhaps the logic is that you have to miss things and come back on another day.

Since photos of the more valuable paintings are all over the web, you have to wonder why they have this policy. Security? Don't make me laugh. Many of the rooms with really valuable paintings had no security guards at all. Just hundreds of people almost falling over the precious objects.

By now you are probably getting the impression I didn't like anything there at all. In fact there were lots of things I enjoyed seeing but I will mention just three. 

The first was this by Amaury Duval who I had never heard of.

The second was a cutaway model of the Paris Opera. I now want to do the tour of the real thing.

The third was the aforementioned Salle de Fete.

For some reason or other when Marianne and I agreed to meet at the Statue of Liberty, she did not see it and thought we were to meet at another statue that she could see down the hall with its arm raised in the air. We both duly arrived on time, I at my statue, she at her statue. Eventually she wandered down the hall and found me. I used the waiting time looking at the people from all over the world wandering up and down. Most of them were in the twenty to thirty age group. There were not too many children and thankfully no huge groups of school children.

If I went back again I would definitely do the reserve the day before thing and print out my ticket to go in the fast entrance. I would also go about two or three hours before closing time in the hope that most people had come in the morning.

1 comment:

  1. I don't recall that photography rule there. I know for sure that flash is not allowed, but not sure if photography is not allowed. Anyway, I have some shots from it here:

    I loved the Musee D'orsay... One of the better ones. Don't know why I wrote at the time that I did not like them... the musees of the world. Pertinent untrue... Glad to see you got to Paris allright!