No, two days in Paris is certainly not enough….but it’s a good amount of time for a refresher visit. Skipping the traditional “must do’s” as we’ve done them in previous visits – we went to Musee D’Orsay, Sainte-Chapelle, La Conciergerie, Musee de l’Orangerie, Musee National Gustave Moreau and a couple of our favorite cafes we so enjoy.
This art museum was once a train station that was saved from the wrecking ball at the last minute. It houses mostly impressionists like Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Gustave Moreau, Edouard Manet, Pissarro, Renoir, Henri Matisse and Cezanne. If you don’t have much time in Paris, this is the art house to see.
This was a first visit for both of us and boy were we shocked and amazed. Sainte-Chapelle was built between 1242-1248 for King Louie IV to house the relics of the Passion of the Christ. Most importantly, the crown of thorns.
The Holy Relics had belonged to Constantinople but was purchased by King Louis for more than the cost of the chapel. The Chapel had a great amount of damage inflicted upon it but the stained glass windows were never broken. From 1846 a great amount of restoration work keeps the chapel looking like it does today.
The Holy Relics were moved to Notre Dame after the French Revolution in agreement between Napoleon I and the Church. When Notre Dame was open, the first Friday of each month you could view these relics. They were saved during the fire at Notre Dame and are said to be safe in a secured location.
You do need a reservation to visit Sainte-Chapelle and it’s is a pretty tight circular staircase to get up and down. But, it’s worth it!
Musee de l’Orangerie
There are two reasons to visit the l’Orangerie and they are both Monet. In this museum you will see two of Monet’s water lilies paintings in 360° of full splendor. I can assure you that my pictures don’t do it justice.
These paintings were created specifically by Monet for this venue in 1918. The paintings express the seasons and the different times of day in his beautiful garden in Giverny. It is simply spectacular.
We had to walk around Cathedral de Notre Dame. In the past, this masterpiece needed no frame. The damage from the fire was devastating. But it needs to be whole again and the French are really working hard restoring it.
The building is almost totally shrouded in scaffolding but you can still see some of the progress. They have placed large posters along the exterior to show you what is being done during the restoration process.
Pay attention the the wood supports used to shore up the flying buttresses. These were all built in-situ for each individual buttress. It’s truly impressive and one day this national monument will be back to what it once was.
Musee National Gustave Moreau
We really had no idea about this museum and it was a great surprise. It reminded me of the Barnes Institute in Philadelphia.
Moreau’s originally lived in this house and then transformed it into a studio and museum to display his work. The three floors contain hundreds of paintings, drawings and sculptures.
Of the over 1200 paintings, some are finished and some are partially finished. Along the walls are drawing cabinets that you can open and see many of the over 5,000 sketches he used to create his masterpieces.
This visit we purchased the Paris Museum Pass for 48 hours for $50. Many museums are covered with this Pass. You just download your eticket, make reservations at required museums, and you are ready to go. When you get to the museum you will go through the security detectors, pass the queue and scan your eticket. Yes, it’s that easy. We visited five museums so it equaled $10 per visit.
Thanks so much for being such an excellent travel journalist and photographer. As I’ve said before, I live vicariously through your travel excursions….for now. Hope to be traveling again soon ourselves!