Part of the Museums team was visiting Paris the previous week. It was a short business trip, but we also managed to take a stroll through this beautiful city. Paris in November, when the summer crowds are gone, is much easier to navigate and enjoy.
We were sad to leave after a couple of days, but we came home with lots of memories and a few photographs on our phones… We wanted to share the story with you and that’s when we got an idea!
There’s thousands of you visiting museums all around the world every day. You come home with new experiences, unforgettable memories and – we bet – a lot of photos. Did you visit a museum and would like to share your insights with the Museums community? Or maybe you just like to read museum reviews before your visit? If yes, we have good news for you. We started working on a brand new museum report functionality which will enable you to create photo stories of your museum visits for other museum lovers to enjoy. Do you like the idea?
While you’re waiting for us to do the work, we invite you to take a look at our report…
We arrived in Paris on a train from Brussels where we received the .EU Web Award. You’ve probably read the news here. The award ceremony took place at the amazing Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels where 130 guests congregated among the dinosaurs. Reception and dinner were followed by the presentation of the awards and the night ended with a live performance by Kim Wilde! The event was hosted by Irish presenter Conor McNally and the organisers did a really great job!
The autumn visit of Paris might require a warm coat and an umbrella, but even then the city looks magnificent.
Cross the Pont Alexandre III, widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in the city, and catch the first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.
Visit L'Hôtel national des Invalides, a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l'Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d'Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France's war heroes, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
You can never get enough of the iconic Eiffel Tower! This iron tower, located on the Champ de Mars was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair. According to Wikipedia, the tower is the tallest structure in Paris (324 m) and the most-visited paid monument in the world! It held the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Because of the addition of the aerial atop the Eiffel Tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 m. If you have time, you can climb on one of the three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second.
The highlight of our sightseeing was the Musee d’Orsay. Reserve at least two hours for the visit and then some more for the museum shop! This art museum, housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900, houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. The audio guide (5€) is a nice addition to your self-guided tour.
It’s hard to pick a favourite, but in our opinion these are some of the highlights. Photography is not allowed in the museum, but these images are already in the public domain.
- Vincent Van Gogh's Self-portrait (1890) and the Starry Night over the Rhone (1888).
- Paul Gaugin's Arearea (1892) and other colourful paintings from Tahiti.
- Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and other Neo-impressionists.
- Claude Monet's Poppies (1873), Study of a Figure Outdoors: Woman with a Parasol, facing left (1886) and many other works.
- Edgar Degas's Blue Dancers (1890, below) and the Little Dancer of Fourteen Years sculpture.
- Auguste Renoir's Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (1876).
- Not to forget masterpieces by Edouard Manet, Maurice Denis, and sculptures by Auguste Rodin, especially the Ugolino (between 1882 and 1906, below).
Even if you don’t have time to visit a museum, Paris is nice to walk around. In the evening after the meeting we enjoyed a tasty quiche and a glass of wine at one of the many restaurants around the Centre Georges Pompidou, a high-tech building housing a vast public library Bibliothèque publique d'information, the Musée National d'Art Moderne, which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe, and IRCAM, the centre for music and acoustic research.
In the morning of our departure day we even had enough time to climb the steep stairs of the Arc de Triomphe and marvel at the Paris from above. The monument stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle at the western end of the Champs-Élysées and honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. It costs 9€ to climb to the roof terrace and the visit includes a small museum inside the arch.
While you’re in the neighbourhood, you might even do some shopping on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées or – this time of the year – enjoy the Christmas Market.
We did all the photos with our smartphones and got some additional information from the Wikipedia. The artwork images are public domain.