September 19, 2007

The Musee d’Orsay in Paris

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:39 pm by classicalmusic

Formerly an elegant 19th century railroad station, this beautiful and graceful building is now an attractive museum.

Spend a Day in an RR Station without Taking a Train

Visitors to Paris invariably head for the Louvre, but the Louvre is so big that it frightens me.  I don’t know where to go first, and I easily become confused.  So I head for the Musee d’Orsay.  This beautiful former railroad station was inaugurated as a museum in 1986.  Even if you don’t like art, it is worth your while to go through the building to see how, overlooking the Seine and across the river from the Louvre and the Tuileries, this former RR station was transformed into a museum.  It is probably my favorite Paris museum.

I always head for the upper level, where looking out the windows one gets a lovely view of the Seine, and where you find the galleries with the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.  In addition to gorgeous Van Goghs, Renoirs, Cezannes and Monets, the Orsay has a marvelous collection of Degas sculptures: his ballet dancers and race horses.  I can stand for hours at a time contemplating these delicate bronze sculptures – figures that seem to have been arrested in full flight or movement.

After going through the galleries of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, you can get a bite to eat at the Orsay’s pleasant cafeteria, rest your feet for awhile, and then go on to the terrace where you can wander through the Rodin sculptures.  If you still have some strength left in your legs, the ground floor of the museum holds artworks from the Classic-Romantic era, but my favorites are the Impressionists.

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