Monumental understatement coming up – there is a lot to see and do in Paris.
You’d certainly need a substantial amount of time in Paris if you wanted to tick off all the big and small ‘must sees’ in one visit. As a result, most visitors understandably prioritise their precious time, concentrating on either the big names or specific areas of interest.
Despite our frequent trips, we still haven’t checked off the entire to-do-list (and I kind of hope we never do) but we have got to a point where the big ticket items are well and truly covered. We have now moved on to some of the sweet little treats that make up the smorgasbord that is Paris.
Over the coming weeks I want to share a few of these treats with you. None of them require the time or stamina demanded by some of the big names (Musée de Louvre, I’m looking at you). They are also relatively inexpensive. And when we visited them during June they were all queue free.
But they all deliver something unexpectedly special – kind of like biting into a Pierre Hermé macaron!
The first of these smaller Parisian gems I’d like to share is the Musée de l’Orangerie.
The Orangerie is an amazing little museum which is very easy to get to, given it is located within the Jardin des Tuileries. If you are a Métro fan, Concorde is the most convenient stop.
We purchased our tickets at the museum itself – there was no queue on the day we visited – however you can also buy your tickets online. Combo tickets, pairing the Orangerie with the Musée d’Orsay can also purchased (although I have to say that Scott and I rarely purchase the combo tickets…you only save a few euro but you have a big chance of art fatigue setting in. Remind me to explain art fatigue one day…).
On first level of the Musée de l’Orangerie, you’ll find Claude Monet’s spectacular Les Nymphéas. These massive works, which depict parts of Monet’s garden in Giverny, are beautifully housed in two large oval rooms.
Personally, I found Monet’s artworks quite fascinating. The depth of both perspective and colour needs to be seen to be truly appreciated. Every vantage point you viewed the works from evoked a different emotion and I could have stayed in the upstairs space for hours.
However, while I imagine most visitors to the Orangerie would be visiting primarily for Les Nymphéas, there is quite a surprise in store downstairs.
Down just one flight of stairs, visitors will find the perfectly curated Walter-Guillaume art collection. While there is some marketing for this collection, it fails to give you any real idea of the works you will discover on the lower floor of the Musée de l’Orangerie. Names such as Picasso, Cézanne and Renoir can be seen in an easily manageable space.
We had an hour or so to spare one morning (prior to our lunch at La Gare) and we were able to view the entire collection at a leisurely pace – and without sore feet setting in.
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the Orangerie. I would definitely rate it within my top two or three Parisian museums. It really proved that good things certainly do come in small packages.
Have you visited the Musée de l’Orangerie? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it in the comments below.
Until next time – au revoir.