Saturday, January 16, 2016

Paris Travel Blog: Museums To Explore When You're Done with the Louvre

I'm not even going to pretend like this is an exhaustive museum list, because Paris seems to have a secret amazing collection of art and history around every corner.  But if you love museums, or you need to spend some time indoors and out of one of Paris' classic rainstorms, then here are few suggestions well worth your time.  Check this post for some tips for the Louvre!

Musee d' Orsay: If you're a fan of Impressionism then this museum is a no-brainer.  From Van Gogh to Monet, you'll see plenty of your favorites.  The museum itself is also spectacular -- housed in an old train station, there's a huge clock on the top floor that you can see through for a great view of the Louvre and Sacre Coeur in the distance.  Entry is 12 euro for adults but is free the first Sunday of the month.

These sculptures are outside of the museum; you'll have plenty of time to admire them as you wait in the long lines to get in.  This is one of the most popular museums so expect a large crowd.  You can purchase tickets in advance and skip the longest lines if you know the day you want to go.  You can also couple your ticket with Monet's Water Lilies exhibit at Musee de l'Orangerie  for a discounted rate for the two.

One of Monet's Water Lilies paintings.  The best place to see these famous works is at another Paris museum, though, Musee de l'Orangerie.

You an see Sacre Coeur way out there in the distance.
Musee Rodin: When we visited Paris last August, the indoor area of the Musee Rodin was under renovation.  This is one museum where you'll still have plenty to enjoy if you skip the inside museum and just buy the garden tickets at only 4 euro a person.  In the outdoor gardens you'll see Rodin's most famous masterpiece, The Thinker, and the visual overload that is The Gates of Hell.  We also found the crowds here in late afternoon to be surprisingly sparse, but that could have been because of a nearby protest.  Parisian police take protests seriously -- the entire area was pretty much barricaded by the time we left the museum.
The Thinker

The Eiffel Tower and Napolean's Tomb at Les Invalides peek out over the hedges.

The Three Shades

The Gates of Hell is Rodin's depiction of Dante's The Inferno.  It is completely overwhelming at first -- just under 20 feet tall and covered in minute sculptures.  You can pick out of some Rodin's famous works among the depictions here -- including The Thinker right on top. Some consider the inclusion of this recognizable work to be a depiction of Rodin considering his masterpiece or maybe the biblical Adam considering the fate he doomed mankind to with his choices in the garden of Eden.
Musee de Cluny:  We didn't make it here on our trip, but it tops my list for if when we make it back to Paris.  Here you can see the spellbinding Lady and The Unicorn tapestries, dating to the 1500s.  The tapestries are an exploration of the senses, and during the Medieval period of religious solemnity are a striking show of humanity, passion, love, and even lust -- scandalous for its time.

Not scandalized yet?  This tapestry is an illustration of desire.  Is she denouncing the necklace and the temptation of riches or lusting after it?  We'll never know.  via

Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature:  I saw this one on my favorite Paris travel blog, Messy Nessy Chic.  My stomach for taxidermy is quite touchy after seeing a really horrific siamese calf in New Harmony last year, but I might be able to work up a tolerance for a place as quirky and curious as this.  The collection is a odd combination of royal hunting party's collections and modern art; perfect for the person who thinks they've seen everything a museum could possibly deliver.

Want to sit inside a taxidermy bear?  Nope, me neither.  But this is the kind of weird Paris stuff you can do here. via

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