#035: Museums in Paris
June 20 - 26, 2019
I’ve visited 4 museums in Paris this time: The Louvre, YSL, Pompidou, and Monet Museum. Here are some highlights on my visit!
Being the largest museum in the world, it’s still impossible to finish it in one day. Trust me, I’ve tried, and I failed. 😆Here are some tips first before you visit the museum.
Get your ticket online (although it’s 2 euros more than at the door.) Yap, you don’t want to queue up because the average wait is 2 hours!
Arrive at your designated entrance. There are 4 entrances, the pyramid being the main, and please read your ticket. It will tell you which one to go!
The museum opens at 9. Be sure to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowd. I arrived around 8:30, had my breakfast at nearby cafe and headed to the entrance around 8:45. My gate is Richelieu, where it’s for members or individuals with tickets already. The wait is very short for security check. And I’m in no time!
Map out your plan for which exhibition / hall you wanna see the most! I mea, the Louvre is HUGE and it’s a shape of ㄇ. It’s not easy to go from the east to the west. You have to go through the middle. Just be sure to check out the map first on the website and plan ahead.
Strongly recommend to rent an audio guide or use app on your phone. It was really insightful if you want to know more. By the way, audio guide machine is Nintendo DS with double screens. (3D included) It’s a bit hard to control at first, but once you know the way, you can navigate without problems. You can rent to at any hall, just find the one near you.
If you don’t want to spend 5 euros on audio guide, you can download the app and listen on your phone. I didn’t want to waste my phone battery power so I didn’t go this way. Btw, I find a FREE PHONE CHARGING machine with locks at the lobby near the coatroom under the pyramid. Very useful for me to put my phone there and visit the museum.
I know everyone is dashing to Mona Lisa and the Italian hall, but please check out some special exhibition beforehand as well, you might be surprised!
This is my second time to the Louvre. I spent the whole day from 9 am to 4 pm wondering from hall to hall and here are some of my favorite artworks. After I went into the museum, I started from the special exhibition about Hittite Empire. This is the name just briefly appears on the history book. There is also a Japanese manga depicting this period which I believe a lot of people my age will remember. There are actually not a lot of artifacts of that era lasted this long. The exhibition also has artifacts from kingdoms descended from Hittite. Actually some of them are from Pergamon museum in Berlin, which I have a vague memory about history of Syria. Anyway, the exhibition display itself is pretty amazing. I especially love the Cuneiform or pictorial images projected on the wall!
Another impressive hall is of course the Italian paintings. As everybody knows, the Louvre has 5 painting from Leonardo Da Vinci and my favorite is VIRGIN OF ROCKS. It’s kind of amazing when you came to face to face with the painting. The light and texture of the painting is master piece. It’s quite interesting to think that Da Vinci at his time was considered to be modern and unique by the church standard. And nowadays we classified his works as classic!
I first saw the famous FOUR SEASONS by Giuseppe Arcimboldo when I was in Tokyo last year. They wasn’t the real piece exhibited at the time, and I was surprised when I saw the real ones because of the size. They are not as big as I thought, but the detail is nonetheless impressing. Remember to check out the coat of arms on Autumn and Winter!
If palace is your thing, you can visit the apartment of Napoleon III. You won’t be disappointed if you are a fan of Rococo style. It’s a shame that I didn’t get the chance to see the French Gallery because of the restoration including the coronation of Napoleon. They are still some in Sully I haven’t seen and I am sure I’ll be in the Louvre once again!
Fashion fades, but style lasts forever!
Being the fashion capital of the world, there are several fashion museums I would love to visit. It’s kind of sad that more than 2 main museums were closed because of the installation for the upcoming exhibitions. YSL museum is located in the former couture house of Yves Saint Laurent. It’s really close to Arc of Triumph and the river Seine. It’s quite small compared to other grand size museums. They have selective collections on display this season and it was inspiring!
I read about the bio of Yves Saint Laurent sometime ago and it all came back to me when I watched the video of him and Pierre Bergé. (Do yourself a favor, visit the museum website. It’s well done!) When I visited, they have the collection of his well-known Mondrian dresses (autumn-winter 1965) and the gowns made in collaboration with the artist Claude Lalanne (autumn-winter 1969).
I love the recreation of his studio in particular. You can get the sense of how he works, his thought process, and books, materials that inspired him, and so on. As a designer, everyone has his/her own routine of absorbing information and transform it into something beautiful.
If you say the Louvre is all about the classical artworks, then Pompidou is all about modern and post-modern. To be honest, I was surprised to see the appearance of the building. It needs cleaning!😅But the inside is pretty cool and huge. You can spend the whole afternoon inside!
For some reason, there are a lot of people in the surrounding streets, but not inside Pompidou itself. There are 6 floors in total and with the rooftop / terrance view of the city of Paris. They have quite a collection of Henri Matisse and the Fauves (wild beasts). You can see quite a few works of the 20th century artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, and Paul Klee. It was a fresh air for after seeing so many classical works.
Only the 4th floor, there are some work of modern artists with installation. The one I remembered the most is “ticket” by MAYA DUNIETZ. The installation uses thousands of earphones to create the web that generates acoustic cloud with image and sound.
There happened to be a special exhibition called “ORIENTAL VISIONS FROM DREAMS INTO LIGHT“ when I visited, and it is by far my favorite exhibition. Like its name sake, it’s artists’ “visions/fantasy “ about the middle east that drive them to create those paintings. Most of them are 19th century works, which vivid, very realist painting style was the trend. The audio guide to this exhibition is also very informative, and they have Japanese as well (shocker!!)
The museum is located in the park in the west side of Paris. Accessible from bus. One interesting thing, on my way to the museum on the bus, the drive had an accident and broke the mirror, so we had to change to another bus. It was 32 celsius with no AC and I thought Europe was cooler than Taiwan. 😅
Anyway, here are some of my favorite paintings from the exhibition. I’ve always loved the tribe pattern and colors, especially turquoise blue. These painting reflects the details of the fabric and landscape. At the same time, it’s the artist’s imagination of what it might be there. Quite interesting to see their world view, though.
Besides the exhibition, the permanent one includes painting from the family of Manet, Berthe Morisot, and Renoir as long as furnitures. There are not many Monet Paintings. I guess his most famous ones are all in the Musée d'Orsay.