Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Paris is prettier when the sun is shining

Most of my Paris photos are less than stellar because while I was there, the sun didn't shine much. This didn't bother me in terms of sightseeing. When you're in Paris, things will be amazing no matter how cloudy it is. But I find that for photographic purposes sunshine does wonders. But I promised photos, so here they are. Above you see the Place de la Concorde with the famed Egyptian obelisk. The Place de la Concorde is also a place that you do not want to be at rush hour. If you think you can cross this street at 5 p.m., you are sadly mistaken. The stereotypes of Parisian drivers being hyper aggressive are all true. If you value your life, do not attempt to cross.

This is the Musee d'Orsay. Of all the museums I visited I think this is my favorite in terms of gallery space. The building is huge and flooded with light--fitting for all the impressionist paintings that are displayed here. The building was once a train station, hence the tall, convex ceiling and the huge clock. If you get a chance to go, the best painting (in my opinion, of course) are on the 5th floor. That is not to say that there aren't some incredible works of art on every floor (and on the first floor there's some beautiful art nouveau furniture and odds and ends in addition to a fascimile of a grand ballroom), but if you like impressionism as opposed to more realistic, classical pieces, the 5th floor is the place to spend most of your time.

Ile-de-la-Cite metro station. I wish I could come back here in the summer. This is where the oldest flower market in Paris is housed, and I think, on a certain day of the week, there is an exotic bird market as well. Unfortunately, during the winter there aren't many plants for sale here, although I saw some bonsai that appealed to me in spite of the fact that bonsai are the only plants I can't seem to keep alive. And besides, what on earth would I do with a small tree walking around in Paris?

Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. Truly a spectacular church and quite different from the Notre Dame de Paris. You can see this church from pretty much anywhere in the city, as it sits on a hill. Not to be lame, but I think I prefer this church to most of the cathedrals I've seen. After a while, gothic architecture just gets to be too much. Unfortunately, I couldn't take any photos of the interior of the church as they were having mass when we were there. Montmartre is an interesting district. The part the Sacre Coeur is in is the good part of Montmartre. Beautiful, narrow, cobbled streets, quaint apartments, cute shops and cafes--the perfect, postcard Paris. This is where the artists perch their easels on the sidewalk and paint hackneyed, yet charming Parisian scenes. But there is also a really sketchy part of Montmartre that I would advise you not to frequent, especially after dark. If you can, avoid the Pigalle metro station. Oh, and there are lots of people here that will try to grab your arm so they can braid a bracelet onto it and make you pay for it. Don't fall for it. Just keep walking.
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Tartelette said...

My parents are leaving Paris in a few days to come and visit us for some sunshine. My mom said she as tired of all this grey!! The Musee d'Orsay is by far one of my favorites in Paris. Another one is Le Musee du Monde Arabe. Such beauty! One thing not to do: missing the last shuttle thing in Montmartre at night on a cold winter ain't much fun going down all the stairs freezing!
Looking forward to reading your adventures!

meg said...

We were actually very close to missing the last metro train in Montmartre one evening. Montmartre is a long way from the Tour Eiffel district!
I'll have to go back to see the Institut du Monde Arabe. It was on my list, but Paris is so huge that I never got around to it.