Because my friend Rod is visiting Paris this week, I’m finally getting out to do the things that people think I do during my time here every August, but I really don’t.
Truth be told, I work the same 10 to 14 hour days, five days a week, here that I do in DC. (Someone’s gotta pay the mortgage.) But with a friend visiting, I have the excuse I need to put the blog on hold (if just for a bit), and traipse around to all the good tourist haunts, like today’s visit to the wonderful Musée d’Orsay, and the churches of St. Germain and St. Sulpice.
I’ve written about the Musée d’Orsay before (a few times in fact). It’s built in an old train station, and is one of the best museums of impressionism in the world. It’s a wonderful collection of art, and laid out in a gorgeous space.
Having said that…. they no longer permit photography, which strikes me as absurd for art museum. I’ve noticed more and more museums doing this of late (the new Acropolis museum in Greece has the same ridiculous policy). While I can appreciate that everyone nowadays has a camera in their phone, and that this could really become a problem if everyone in a museum is taking photos, making a rule that no one can take photos is absolutely ridiculous. You can charge people a fee to take photos, and most won’t take you up on it. Or you can permit photos on day a week. Something.
One of the guards told me that they think it’s the museum management trying to force tourists to buy more stuff in the gift shop. (I remember being told some bizarre story in Athens about the guy running the Acropolis museum not believing in photography, whatever that means.) Well, the kind of photography I enjoy doesn’t come from a gift shop, and sorry to disappoint the man in Athens, but I’m a believer.
Whatever the reason, banning photography outright is ludicrous, and offensive, especially in a place of art. Rod tells me that the Smithsonian is now doing the same thing in Washington, DC. There needs to be a rebellion against this rather un-artistic view of art.
Oh, and obviously it didn’t stop me from taking some photos, but most of the artwork that I wanted to snap, I didn’t because of the rule.
One more last thing about the Orsay. If you’re coming to Paris, order the tickets online in advance and PRINT THEM OUT AT HOME. Then you can get in the quick line, rather than the hour-long line. Yes, you have to print out the tickets, which strikes me as a bit last century, as what tourist has access to a printer. But whatever. You can also buy advance tix on line for the Eiffel Tower and other places. TOTALLY worth avoiding the line.
Next up, was giving Rod a walking tour of Paris on the way home from the museum.
We stopped along the way at the St. Germain church, the belltower of which was built around 1000 AD, and it seems the church itself dates back to around 550AD or so, but it remains unclear whether any of that original structure is still there. I just read that the French philosopher Descartes is buried inside, but we must have missed his tomb. Here are a few shots from St. Germain:
We then stopped in at St. Sulpice church, which is the church from the Da Vinci Code (and boy it ticks them off being associated with that movie).
When we arrived, the church bells were ringing, announcing the 630pm service (we think). So I grabbed a quick video, intentionally shooting it vertically as the church is rather tell. It’s short, but let’s you hear the pretty bells.
And here, apropos of nothing, are some mannequins in a store window across the street from St. Sulpice. As it’s August, Paris is empty of Parisians, who are only now returning from their month-long vacations. So, many stores are between their summer and fall collections.
And finally, I took Rod through the Jardin du Luxembourg, that I wrote about last weekend. I failed last week to get a picture of my favorite fountain in the garden, but I got it this time. Enjoy. (Other than it not being black and white in real life, it truly looks that heavenly in person.)