Friday, October 23, 2009

Musée de l'Orangerie, Tuileries, Notre Dame and St Germain

On Monday morning, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and we set off to walk across the very centre of Paris so we could visit some of the places my niece wanted to see.

Here's our route (which seems to be misbehaving at the moment) - I said we walked a lot ! This is a link to a larger version of this map (where you can see the route!) of where we went - starting at the Place de La Concorde and finishing up at the Boulevard St Germain.

View Place de la Concorde to Saint Germain in a larger map

After getting a good look at the Place de la Concorde and the view down the Tuileries in the morning haze, we started with the Musée de l'Orangerie. This is where Monet's famous large panels of waterlilies are located in two oval shaped rooms which were specially built to house them. You can read more about them in Gardens in Art: Monet's final Nympheas.

The Clouds by Claude Monet
200 x 1275 cm, (three adjoining panels 200 x 425 cm)
Salle 1, Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I wrote about our visit yesterday on Making A Mark - see Monet's Nympheas in the Musée de l'Orangerie

You can also view a video of what it was like to be in the two rooms viewing the Grand Decorations on my YouTube channel. I've also got two slightly different slideshows - which provides close-ups of the brushwork and way he painted - which you can view either on Flickr or YouTube

After the waterlilies we visited the paintings collected by Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume

I'm skipping fast through the rest of the day because if I don't I'll never complete it. (I'm completely inundated this week with trying to prevent my council ruining my neighbourhood with some thoughtless proposals!)

I should also explain that I'm very bad at sketching when I first get to a place in terms of the wide open spaces and big buildings. Small stuff - what's on my plate - I can cope with (hence what I sketched on Sunday). However big urban scenes need some time for my eyes to accommodate the different visual language of my surroundings. Even the parks and gardens look different in Paris. However for those of you who would like to go on a virtual journey I can provide you with sets of Photos on Flickr which I'll be linking to in my bullet point highlights below.
Two ladies in the Tuileries
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell
  • After lunch we walked through the Gardens towards the Louvre. We decided that the practice of having very comfortable but movable metal chairs in the parks was an admirable practice. Mostly because it enabled you to sit where you wanted to rather than where the park planners wanted you to.

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is at the easternmost end of the so-called Axe historique ("grand historic axis") of Paris, a nine-kilometre-long linear route which dominates central and western Paris. Looking west, the arch is perfectly aligned with the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe and (although it is not directly visible from the Place du Carrousel) the Grande Arche de la Defense.
Wikipedia - Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
  • past the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and into the coutyards of the Palais du Louvre with its glass pyramid main entrance to the Louvre Museum (of which more in later posts). I stopped to do a video which you can see here Panorama: Louvre and Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. For those who have not visited Paris, bear in mind this video only shows the exterior of about half of the Louvre - which sort of explains why people can get lost in it and you can spend days in there and still not see everything! (I'm interested as to whether my filming is improving!)
  • then through the next courtyard of the Louvre and out on to the road that runs alongside the River Seine. We dropped down to the riverside but discovered you can't walk along it in the same way as you can walk alongside the Thames in London
  • over the Pont Neuf, the "new bridge" that is now the oldest bridge in Paris and on to the Île de la Cité - the larger of the two islands island between the left (south) and right (north) banks of the River Seine
  • we then had a debate as to whether to queue for Saint Chapelle and decided to go and see Notre Dame first and then return and see whether the queues had improved. This is my Flickr set for Notre Dame de Paris. I'd been reading about the carvings on the west front and took rather a lot of photos! Notre Dame also started a bit of a Joan of Arc trail we followed across France.
  • Back outside Saint Chapelle the queues were exactly the same - was it ever thus! At which point I rememberd that I've always seen it first thing in the morning! I'd already decided that my feet were not going to hold out if I shuffled in a queue. So as I've seen it twice before (and it is STUNNING!) I decided to join Parisian cafe society and wait over the road at the Les Deux Palais where I sketched what looked like important men in grey suits in the later afternoon and sipped a Citron pressé (no sugar!)
Cafe society at the Brasserie Les Deux Palais
11.5 x 8.5, pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
  • after which we walked over the river to the left bank and in to the Latin Quarter of the sixth arondissement.
  • Time for a little shopping followed by dinner at the Relais de l'Entrecôte Saint Germain - that's entrecote, frites and the famous 'green gold' sauce! By this time I was too tired to sketch plus although I got my sketchbook it out the service was too fast!
Addicts of a "mythic entrecote", "crip, hot frites" and "secret-magic sauce" "stand in line" (no reservations taken) and sit "on top of each other" at these "outstanding" steakhouse "staples" in Saint-Germain and near the Champs; when ordering from the "friendly but no-nosense servers","rare", medium or well done are the only words you need to know" because the "reasonably priced" beef’s the only game in town here; but "when they have perfected this so well, why serve anything else?"
Zagat Survey
Then back to the hotel via Metro -
Châtelet where I really could have done without the massive underground hike to change lines - and so to bed to read my new book about Monet's Nympheas!

Sketchercise: probably about 4+ miles altogether with more exercise than sketching!


  1. I really enjoyed this video, Katherine. Great sense of being there.

  2. I'm just dipping into your trip sketches and stories and, needless to say, am loving every moment you're sharing. I can very easily visualize all you've described. I'm sorry the plantings at the Jardin des Plantes weren't as glorious this year---I found the same to be true at the Tuileries and at Jardin du Luxembourg. The worldwide recession is taking its toll everywhere, in all corners and aspects of life. Your sketches are luminous---you've really captured that great French autumn gold/green.


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