Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our last night in Paris was spent at the Van Gogh exhibit at the Musee d'Orsay

The chateau of Chambord,
taken with my iPod for Instagram.
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Today we drove from the beautiful Loire Valley back to Paris, stopping for a morning break in the castle of Chambord and then for lunch in the town of Chartres, known for its lovely cathedral.

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I was to spend only one night more in France, in Paris, and then it was on to an airplane for the long trip back to Asia. And onwards, too, to another chapter in my never-endingly eventful Travelife.

ART INSTEAD OF FOOD


For our last night in France, we initially planned to have dinner at one of my favorite Michelin-starred restaurants.

But as we have been having one big delicious meal after another for close to two weeks now -- at least it's been two weeks in my case, including my week in Prague -- we decided to instead spend the evening enjoying art at the Musee d'Orsay.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE MUSEUMS


The Musee d'Orsay is one of my favorite museums in the world, by the way.

I have been going to see this collection of Impressionist works -- perhaps the best collection of Impressionist works anywhere -- since I was a child.

ONCE A SMALL MUSEUM IN THE TUILERIES


The Musee d'Orsay didn't exist in its current form then.

Instead, the collection was housed in a small building at one end of the Tuileries, under another name. As a high school student spending the summer holidays in Paris, I used to go to here to see the works of Degas, Renoir, Matisse and Van Gogh, among others.

I especially remember how the ballet dancer statues of Degas were displayed so prominently in this little museum, which I always enjoyed visiting.

LATE THURSDAYS AT THE MUSEUM


So tonight, after dropping off our bags at our hotel, off we went to the Musee d'Orsay to catch the late night Thursday session and to see the special Van Gogh exhibit.

On Thursdays, the Musee d'Orsay is open until 930 PM.


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OUT OF THE BLUE

We caught a taxi from our hotel and were hurrying across the courtyard of the Musee d'Orsay, when I suddenly heard my name called out.

What do you know?

It was an old friend from back home, and there he was perched on a ledge and listening to music as if he was your everyday Parisian.

What a nice surprise that was, to see him in Paris.

A WONDERFUL COLLECTION OF VAN GOGH


Then we went into the museum.

The Van Gogh exhibit is truly wonderful, by the way. It has a brooding theme and it's combined with a French director's analysis of Van Gogh as a mad genius.



But more than this rather complicated handling of a collection of beautiful works, I really was just happy for the opportunity to simply admire so many works of Van Gogh in one go.

If you find yourself in Paris sometime soon, you should go and see this.

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It's an impressive collection of his works, displayed in chronological order, so that you understand how his style developed.

I realized then that the style of Van Gogh that I like, and that he is most famous for, peaked in 1890. Prior to 1889, his painting style was rather different.

THE LOVELY RESTAURANT
OF THE MUSEE D'ORSAY


And then, because we were still not through viewing everything, we had a nice last meal instead at The Restaurant of the Musee d'Orsay.

Again, this is such a lovely place for a casual meal, and it was perfect for our last night in Paris.


I had the veal as a main course, and we had glasses of wine -- a very nice Pinot Noir. Then we went back to viewing the exhibit with a bit of buzz in the head.

How nice that was, too.

THE KIND OF COMPLIMENT I LOVE


At the restaurant, I had a conversation in French with the waiter about the butter, as he had brought us a pat of delicious Echire butter to go with the bread.

Then he said to me: "Your accent is excellent. You should keep that. It's truly charming."

I don't know if he was after a bigger tip, but that compliment on my language skills certainly made my day, in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.

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