I have just returned from a two week adventure in the Isl de France. Paris is a bustling city full on monuments that have existed for thousands of years. Accompanied by my sister, Jackie and sister in law Emi, we ventured out daily to explore and experience the city of lights. I want to share some of the highlights and discoveries we made along the way.
A trip to Auvers-sur-Oise
This village inspired Van Gogh in his final months. We hiked to the location of the wheat fields, visited his grave and his tiny room above the Inn. Such brilliant painting from such deprivation!
Musee D’Orsay and the Marmottan Monet
Here is where the original work of the impressionist and post- impressionist artists can be viewed. The D’Orsay has added substantially to their collections from bequests of collectors. When I visited here last, over 20 years ago, this collection took up part of the fifth floor. Now it fills many halls of the fifth and fourth floors.
The son of Dr Gachet also donated a number of paintings. He was a homeopathic doctor who treated many artists, and Van Gogh sought him out to help with his afflictions…alcoholism, use of absinthe, bipolar illness and depression. Fortunately Vincent Van Gogh left the world the gift of his paintings. A special show of Van Gogh's final months is scheduled to open in October 2023 at the D’Orsay. There are many works by other important artists of the period: Manet , Monet, Sisly, Pissaro, Dega, Lautrec, Mattise, Gaugaun, and others. A feast for the eyes!
The lower level of the Marmottan-Monet Museum, houses a large collection of Monet’s painting, from plein air landscapes to final work in his waterlily garden series.
Monet’s garden and home in Giverny
We planned a trip to Giverny, from the train station at Gare Saint Lezare to see Monets home and gardens. I visited his home 25 years ago with my Mom and sister. The village has become a major tourist attraction! The park where we ate our lunch is now a parking lot. The gardens were lovely regardless of the crowds. The garden was filled with salvias, dahlias and zinnias, each area portraying a different color palette. There was also an impressionist museum across the road from Monets home, and several artists have established atiliers in the village. There is art to see, but no original Monets. When we walked to our shuttle to return to the train, at least 10 tour buses filled the parking lot. I hope all these visitors gain an appreciation for art.
Other trip highlights:
Three mile walk on an old above ground railway line that has been converted into a walking and biking trail with ponds and plants growing along the well maintained pathway. Perhaps Santa Cruz can take a lesson from this project for our rail trail. The walk begins behind the Opera Bastille and is called “Coule’e verte rene’ Dumont- Viaduc des arts”. It is a quiet escape from a bustling city.
A Ride on the Seine on the Vedettes du Pont Neuf at night to see the moon rise behind the Eiffel Tower and watch as the flickering lights on the tower put on a show every hour after dark.
Collecting seed pods from various annuals along the many routes of our trip.
The Hotel de Sully mansion which houses the National Picasso Museum. The mansion is quite extraordinary for all the sculpture adorning the ceilings and walls
Visit to Saint Eustache Cathedral with its massive stone columns, organ pipes, and stained glass windows.
Visit to E. Dehillerin’s the chef’s shop where Julia Childs bought her cookware, with a later stop at a café to savor chocolate crepes with a glass of red wine.
There is much to see and do in this art filled city. Walking thousands of steps daily took us to many more sites. Happily exhausted, I’m glad to be back to my quiet home and preparing for the Open Studio tour.