Paris Museum Passes


Shortly after arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport the morning of July 1, 2012, I searched for the booth where I'd buy two Paris Museum Passes. Consulting Rick Steve's Paris during flight, I'd calculated the euros that Aggie and I would spend on tickets to individual museums. That total was at least euro 69.50 without counting admission to the Louvre or Eiffel Tower. The euro 65 museum pass looked like a good deal and it was, except for the fact that the first time we used it, the meter began to run. We had just six days before the passes expired.
Needless to say, we spent most of our time during our first week museum-hopping. Not a bad choice in Paris, but we did feel the pressure of using the passes every day. As we mapped out our visits, we had to factor in the days that museums were closed. Some are closed on Mondays and others on Tuesdays.
Versailles is closed on Mondays which means, per the guidebooks, that then the Louvre will have much greater crowds. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, which means that Versailles will be more crowded. We took all of this into consideration. Finally, there are those museums that are open later than 6:00 p.m. which is helpful when pressed for time. Another good things about the passes - we were almost always allowed us to go to the head of long lines. A real bonus.
Whether we scheduled our museum visits with maximum efficiency is a mute point. We loved each one and always, our feet and eyes were weary at the end of the every single day. And we always vowed we'd return, because we'd not seen enough or had missed entire wings, entire eras. 
We did our best during those six days and used the passes for visits to Sainte-Chapelle, the Conciergerie, Versailles, the Cluny and Musee Rodin. I'll write about all of them. The photo above is of Aggie at the doorway of Sainte-Chapelle, a place I fell in love with because of its painted columns. I suspect most folks would cite the magnificent stained glass windows, but it was the elaborately, elegantly painted columns that got me.
Below is the Cluny, a wonderful place filled with stunning ceramics, reliquaries, tapestries, on and on and on.
The Carnavalet Museum, Sacre Coeur and Pere Lachaise Cemetery were all free for the looking and we saved them for our second week. We scheduled Versailles for Friday and found it jammed. Of course. I suspect it was just as jammed as in King Louis XIV's day. I've read the books. Every French man and woman was allowed access to Versailles. Imagine.
During our visit, we were shoulder to shoulder with thousands and in this 21st century, everyone was photographing with a digital camera or an iPad, including me. Here we are in front of the king's bed. No privacy, whatsoever, then or now. Much more to be written about Versailles in another post. The place is incredible, as I remembered from a visit in the early 1980s. 
Aggie and I used our museum passes for the first time on our second day in Paris, Tuesday, July 3, for Musee d'Orsay. We met Aggie's friend Jane from San Antonio there. She was staying with her sister Susan, who works at the American Embassy. 
The three of us headed straight for Misia, Queen of Parisa special exhibition I'd read about in Vogue or perhaps Vanity Fair. It was a wonderful compilation of paintings, photos, objects and text about this woman who held Paris in thrall from the Belle Epoque through the 1920s. She was a friend and inspiration to Bonnard, Vuillard, Lautrec, Diaghilev and Coco Chanel. 
No photos were allowed in this exhibition area and both the catalogue and Dominique Laty's biography of Misia Sert and Coco Chanel were in French ONLY. I was fit to be tied and almost bought the two books ANYWAY.  By the way, I am now reading Misia, a biography of this extraordinary woman written by Aruthur Gold and Robert Fizdale. My stay in Paris did not end when I returned to Houston. Books are stacking up by my bedside and have the effect of greatly extending my trip.
Back to the Musee d'Orsay. No photos were allowed anywhere in this museum's galleries, though I managed to take a few. After all, the place is jam packed with paintings we all know and love (see the Renoir below), as well as decorative arts and sculpture. The guards stopped our furtive photography more than once and Aggie, Jane and I took to sketching what we wished to remember.
We saw a fraction of the collection, but after several hours, we were on visual overload. This happened time after time. Obviously, I need to take another trip or two to Paris....
Readers, do you have an idea how much I have yet to write about this trip to Paris? I took several thousand photos and every time I search through them, I see more to write about. This trip was dense.






Comments

scott davidson said…
In a way, for an art-lover like myself, decorating our home is quite easy. I just please myself mostly, with my poor husband going along with most of my choices. I am always collecting beautiful things, like handicraft decorative pieces, little sculptures and hangings.
And I simply hang lovely paintings in all our rooms. Not all are originals of course, as who can afford many of those.
I order many prints on canvas from wahooart.com who have a vast collection of images from Western art, that you can choose to make economically-priced prints like this Interior in Aubergines, by Henri Matisse, http://en.wahooart.com/A55A04/w.nsf/Opra/BRUE-5ZKCMX, from there.
I can choose the frames as well and my orders are delivered quickly to my home.