Musée d’Orsay

This week I’ve been feeling a little worse for wear and quite dépaysée, so on Friday my lovely English friend Kat dragged me out the house and to the Musée d’Orsay on the left bank of the Seine. Looking at endless rooms of art isn’t usually my thing, but this museum is home to a lot of famous French artists and paintings that I actually recognise. It’s always good for your inner ‘bohemian French girl’ soul when you can spot a piece of artwork and immediately know it’s Monet, Cezanne or Van Gogh. I even discovered a new favourite impressionist artist; Pissaro. Don’t I sound French. And pretentious.

The Musée d’Orsay is housed inside the impressive old Gare d’Orsay railway station. It has a high, ornate glass ceiling and a big golden station clock at the end. Down the middle are all the sculptures (mostly by Rodin, who else) and the rooms along the side have all the paintings. I’ve now seen Monet’s ‘Waterlilies’ and ‘Coquelicots’, and Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ among others. We never did find his infamous vase of Sunflowers though. Perhaps, like the Mona Lisa from the Louvre, they’ve decided to move it to the National Gallery in London. Slightly ironic, I feel.

Editor’s Note: after making full use of my Google toolbar I can confirm that Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is in fact in the National Gallery. See their website here. Clearly all the best things are in England.

After walking round for a good two hours (and only getting told off twice for taking illegal photographs) we decided we’d had enough and were in desperate need of a good sugar rush. After spotting it in the guidebook, Kat decided to take me to the Berthillon ice cream shop on Île Saint-Louis by Notre Dame. The first Berthillon shop was opened in Paris 1954 and it is known by locals and tourists as being the best place for ice cream in the city. The ice cream is made using all natural ingredients, with at least 15 flavours on offer everyday. I opted for a cherry sorbet and Kat chose parfum de chocolat blanc. It was just as divine as promised and I will definitely be going back to try out at least another 12 of the flavours from their list of about 75. You can see them all on their website here.

It was a lovely sunny day away from the house and away from the stress I’ve been feeling this week. I can’t thank Kat enough for just being there to keep me sane! Plus I got to visit two more places I may not have seen otherwise and instantly feel at least 5% more cultured. Here’s to the next Museum Friday.

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