About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Muse'e d'Orsay and the Champs-Elyse'es

Once again we woke up to a chilly morning in Paris. I guess I am having a hard time accepting that fall is here. I love the cooler weather, but I want summer to last a bit longer.

We visited our favorite bakery again this morning. So many tasty treats and not very expensive at all. We've been averaging 5 - 7 euro total for breakfast.

Our first plan for the day was to visit the Muse'e d'Orsay. We had to take the Metro to get there. Katrina and Brandon are good at figuring out where we needed to go and which train to catch.

Our train arrives.

Two happy guys on the Metro.

The Muse'e d'Orsay displays art from the 1800's to 1914, basically picking up where the Louvre leaves off. The Orsay is all about Impressionism. The Orsay displays works by Edouard Manet, Monet, Renoir, Edgar Degas, van Gogh, and Gauguin.

Of course, our first stop was in the book store to find a childrens guide for Brandon. He led us on a tour of some of the most important works in the museum. Each time he spotted one, he would read aloud and tell us all about it. He even had other visitors listening in occasionally.

This was my favorite museum so far, out of all we have visited in 5 months. I loved the works of art and how they were arranged. I loved the architecture of the building and how it was modernized in keeping with its architectural heritage. It only helped that the museum is located inside an old, very large railway station.

Beautiful clock over the entrance to the museum.

The Fifer by Edouard Manet 1866

I don't know what this piece is called, but to me it is: A Boy and His Dog. Every boy needs a good and faithful friend.

The Dance by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux 1869

The Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet 1858-59

Poppies by Claude Monet 1873

The Luncheon on the Grass by Edouard Manet 1863

We walked through most, if not all of the museum in a few hours. Near the end Brandon got a little bored so he found a bench in each viewing area and read one of his books. We took a break at a cafe on the top floor of the museum to rest our feet and recharge.

Beautiful...and the Monet is nice to look at as well.

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1876

Women Ironing by Edgar Degas 1884-86

The Floor Scrapers by Gustave Caillebotte 1875

Apples and Oranges by Paul Cezanne 1895-1900

The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise by Vincent Van Gogh 1890

Taking a break.

The Orsay makes its home in an old railway station.

Polar Bear by Francois Pompon 1922-27

These were some of the most important works at the Orsay. There are hundreds and hundreds of other works of art. What an amazing museum.

Musee d'Orsay

After leaving the Orsay, we headed across the river to find the Champs-Elysees. The first sight of it was the Place de la Concorde, the city's largest square. The Tour de France bicycle race ends here, as do all parades of any significance. For more a few hundred years it has been the place to cruise, whether in carriage or sports car. It was also here that the guillotine took thousands of lives including King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Back then it was called the place de la Revolution.

View of the Eiffel Tower

Place de la Concorde

The street is very busy and full of high end boutiques, auto dealers showing off futuristic concept cars, and famous cafe's and restaurants. We found it to be much like a high end shopping mall, but outside. Not being big shoppers, we were not all that impressed. To me, the most interesting aspect of the street is its history as the finish for the Tour de France. Watch next July as Lance and team RadioShack lead the Tour down this famous street.

We walked all the way up the hill from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. Napolean had this Arc commissioned to commemorate his victory at the battle of Austerlitz. This is the biggest triumphal arch anywhere, at 165ft tall and 130 wide. 12 streets converge on the place. Visitors can go to the top of the arch if they are willing to climb 284 spiral stair steps.

Arc de Triomphe

We climbed to the top and enjoyed the views. Today was a bit hazy, but the views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower were still magnificent. Inside the tower are displays about its history.


It was a bit hazy today, but we could still see pretty well.

View from the middle of the Champs-Elysees

We were getting a bit hot and tired and needed a break. We planned to take a late afternoon river cruise on the Seine. The boat docks are located on the river at the base of the Eiffel tower, so Brandon was excited. He wanted to go back and look at the tower again. We decided to walk. The tower is massive, therefore it looks closer than it really is. We walked for a good 20 - 25 minutes before we reached the river and tower.

Back at the Eiffel Tower

Once at the river, we decided to cool off with some granite. I had cola. Brandon had lemon and Katrina had raspberry. Katrina made the best choice.

We bought our boat tickets and were off after a short wait. Our river cruise was on a Bateaux Parisiens tour boat. It was a nice break for our feet and interesting to get a view of the city from the river. On the other hand, its also hard to see a lot of things because the river is down low and the banks are high walls.

The audio guide said that this bridge was a gift to France from Russia.

Views of the Eiffel Tower from the River Seine

Notre Dame

Parisiens and tourists enjoying the riverfront.

Our river cruise was a one hour roundtrip ride. After returning to the boat docks, we made our way across the street to the Eiffel Tower to check it out one last time. The plaza was very crowded with tourists. As was the case on Friday, there were several military police with automatic weapons wandering the plaza. As we were leaving the plaza we noticed several blue police vans arrive with many policemen in full riot gear. We didn't stick around to see what that was all about. We've already had that excitement for the evening.

We started walking to the Metro stop and accidently ran across a bus heading to the Bastille, so we decided to give it a try. Transit tickets are good for the Metro, RER trains and the city buses. It turned out to be a good choice. It was a quick crosstown ride with only a few stops.

We exited at the Bastille (no demonstrations going on today)and started looking for a place to eat dinner. We found Yaki, a great little Japanese place. Katrina and I had some great rolls and skewers of chicken, beef and fish. Brandon had some miso soup and pot stickers. On the way back to the hotel we stopped for some gelati.

It was another great day in Paris. Our feet are very tired this evening, our last night in Paris.

23 Week Gelati Count: 116
23 Week Wine Bottle Count: 21

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