I love love love nothing more than European Art. Its what I grew up learning about and so, of course, will always have a place in my heart. What better place to visit some of these great works, than Paris! For this trip I’ve brought along the Italian, so I can show him a bit of my world and what makes me tick.
The Italian and I by the Seine
When the city itself is a work of Art, filled with amazing landmarks, architecture and alfresco dining, the ‘Art’ is an added bonus and makes for a fun filled trip with A LOT to take in. It was a full sensory whirlwind of an experience and I loved it! Even the weather couldn’t put a dampener on the trip (it rained for 3 of the 4 days!)
The Sacré Cœur
After dropping off the bags it was straight off to the Sacré Cœur in the bustling Montmartre district. Making our way through the hoards of visitors, I purchased a beret – I needed a hat to cover my freezing ears and decided why not go full tourist- don’t hate me for it 😉 The building itself is pretty spectacular as its white and has stunning views over the city. The surrounding area at the top is very charming and incessantly French. There are many art vendors just a short walk away, and even more places to sit outside and enjoy a chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) which I did!
Enjoying a hot chocolate with my fabulous beret!
The Espace Dali was just around the corner so it would have been rude not to visit! As a bit of a zany artist who captures the imagination of anyone who see’s his work, its not difficult to see the draw that gravitates tourists and art enthusiasts alike, to the gallery space here. It did not disappoint and as a printmaker by trade it was great to see many of his etchings and lithographs as well as the famous installations and pieces depicting melting clocks and such like.. it certainly was a great way to spend a dreary afternoon!
Salvador Dali Museum
The Pompidou Centre was up there on my hit-list as a leading contemporary art venue with the famous coloured tubes woven into the exterior. Along with the views from the top (and first glances of the Eiffel Tower!), we enjoyed a leisurely walk through their extensive exhibition space viewing original Kandinsky, Miro, Matisse, Picasso and more, was insane and literally gave me goosebumps. Its one thing to see these works in books but totally different to experience them up close, I am so so grateful to be able to do what I do!
A Picasso… in the Pompidou Centre not the Picasso Museum (go figure)
Next up was the Picasso Museum, I think the building that houses the collection was more impressive than the current exhibition inside although it was interesting to get an insight into his relationships, with both his wife and later, mistress and how they played out through his work. Having a 2 hour wait to get inside made sure we got a good look at the courtyard, definitely worth a visit!
La Tour Eiffel
Of course no trip to Paris would be complete without a trip to the Eiffel Tower and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We made it all the way to the top and even though it was raining it was a definite highlight of the trip… so were the cocktails we consumed after! Popping back to see the light show was electric and really should be treated as an art installation piece of its own. J’adore.
The glorious ceilings of the Louvre
It was about time the famous Louvre made an appearance – cue 3 hours walking its huge galleries and halls, spanning more than 650,000 sq ft. It certainly is the most impressive of Parisien Art houses in terms of sheer size and grandeur. I always seem to find myself paying more attention to the beautifully ornately painted ceilings than anything on the walls. With so many pieces, they do, unfortunately begin to all blur together after a while… but then there is Mona. Possibly the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa has her own security and a permanent rotation of tourists vying to see her and we were no different- selfie with Mona; check! The atmosphere was great in the Louvre, you really get a sense of history here.
Mona’s strong fanbase
Unfortunately we were unable to make it to the L’Orangerie gallery, famed for Monet’s lily paintings on this visit but I do remember them being really impressive last time I was here. We did get to visit possibly one of my favourite galleries – The Musee D’Orsay, which houses many of the impressionists and my favourite piece – the little dancer by Degas. I fell in love with her when I visited during a university trip many years ago and she still gives me goosebumps now. We thoroughly explored the converted station, ending with lunch in the restaurant behind the famous clock, a truly magical end to a fabulous time in Gay Paree!
Inside the clock face at the Musee D’Orsay
Other highlights included the Arc De Triomphe, Moulin Rouge and Notre Dame, as well as walks beside the Seine river and just generally taking in the sights and sounds (and smells!) of this great city, full of culture, diversity and LIFE. This visit has inspired me to get creative and hopefully I have absorbed some of the sparkle that really makes this place shine as a top destination for travel and ART. J’Adore Paris!
The streets of Paris, au revoir mon ami