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Paris: Day 3 - Musee d’Orsay, Jardin des Tuleries and ‘Ugly Tourists’ (5 May)


After a quick breakfast at our hotel, we thought we’d get to the Musee d’Orsay a tad before 10 am to avoid the crowds. No such luck; the lines were already substantial. Nevertheless, it was worth the wait; there was a particularly brilliant exhibition of Degas that we were able to see. 

The Musee d’Orsay is located on the banks of the Seine, opposite the Tuleries Gardens (Jardin des Tuileries). Installed in the former Orsay railway station, the Musee d’Orsay was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Set over three floors, it displays collections of art from the period between 1848 - 1914, with main works featuring the great Impressionists: Manet, Monet, Pissaro, Renoir, Sisley, and also Toulouse Lautrec, Van Gogh and Gauguin.

After a couple of hours at the Musee d’Orsay, we were in dire need of some fresh air. Crossing the Seine to the Jardin des Tuileries, we enjoyed the semi-formal gardens and sunshine along with the rest of the Parisians and visitors. An outdoor gallery for modern sculpture, I was flummoxed at the number of tourists who were climbing on the bronze sculptures by Aristide Maillol (1861 - 1944) that dotted the Jardin des Tuileries, posing for photos with arms draped over torsos and hands grabbing at breasts. The lack of cultural sensitivity astounded me; had the shoe been on the other foot, the same tourists would not have been too amused had they witnessed visitors manhandling the cultural icons in their own country. It made me think back to a comment made the day before by another tourist whilst gazing at the splendid Notre Dame Cathedral, “You’ve seen one church you’ve seen ‘em all.” Sensitivity chip for the lady, anyone?

Posted by Victoria Ugarte on 5th May, 2012 | Trackbacks
Categories: France
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