Hi lovelies, as the days get cooler, I’ve been nesting more and thinking of pastimes that involve being indoors, warm and cozy.
Since living in Paris, I’ve been seduced by the city’s myriad of cultural and artistic landmarks and can attest that museum visits are the perfect fall activity!
But with so many museums to choose from, it can be a challenge to choose which ones are a must. So I’ve rounded up the top 5 that I believe are worth exploring, wether you plan to visit one day or live in the city, these 5 art establishments will undoubtedly leave you wanting more!
5. Musée Nissim de Camondo
This is a charming museum that I really enjoyed visiting. Not only did the elegant establishment hold many treasures from various artists, there was a movie on the history of the founding family and how their private mansion became a national landmark.https://journeytolovely.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/img_0448.mov
It is a tragic story to say the least. The banker Moise de Camondo’s legacy and his love for the arts can be felt in every nook and cranny of the estate. Sadly, the De Camondo family was left without heirs as they were deported to a concentration camp during World War I and perished along with their namesake. The silver lining to these tragic circumstances is that their beautiful home was preserved, just as it was when they resided. You can literally feel the love for refinement, the arts, respect for artists and a true passion for aesthetics. The Nissim de Camondo mansion is all together a work of art: tapestries, statues, a library, a fantastic kitchen, paintings, a vintage elevator and other decorative elements can be found in this outstanding museum. I also love that it is near my favorite park, Monceau, and secondly, the art, the story and interior decor of the once family estate, resonates with me and is a true inspiration in my pursuit to adding more beauty to my life. I remember looking through home decor books and magazines and wanting to visit this lovely museum and it was even more beautiful in person.
My only advice would be to wear comfortable shoes (there were some people who struggled with the stairs- there are 3 floors) and plan to set aside a minimum of 2:30 hours to serenely visit and take in all of the beauty of the property.
4. The Centre Pompidou
This museum holds a soft spot in my heart as a law student I would spend hours at the adjacent library’s law section. At one point it became like a second home due to the unlimited WiFi, great selection of books and overall vibe: to be surrounded by hundreds of others studying helps you to stay in work mode and focused.
That’s how I was first introduced to the Centre which is an iconic museum which boast the largest collection of modern art in Europe, rivalled only in its breadth and quality by MoMA in New York.
It is definitely worth a visit or visits if you are a bookworm like me!
3. The Palais de Tokyo
This museum is definitely one of my favorites in Paris. Decked on the Seine river, overlooking the Iron Lady herself- if the location isn’t dreamy enough, the stunning architecture and grandiose columns are enough to leave an impression.
Personally, I enjoy their exhibits and always have a lovely experience when I resonate with the theme. My last one was this summer and it was about “Childhood”. There were different rooms each with a different atmosphere evoking the different rites ig oassage from childhood to adulthood. As a visitor I immediately was called out of my comfort zone and made to reflect on the many ways our childhood can be daunting? Scary, imaginative and even creative. It was a mix of emotions and the two displays that stood out to me were the clown room, in which a bunch of life sized clowns sat gazing at the floor. And the empty class room pictured above that reminded me of my long days in class when I’d think that it would never pass but here I am decades later looking at a primary classroom. Quite fascinating.
The earlier exhibit that I enjoyed at the palais was the rowing one where you would enter a mini rowing boat and row your way through the circular circuit.
They literally installed an entire water tank for the experience. The artist wanted the visitor to feel like he was taking a long voyage down in the Hades or the long lost memories of his hidden psyche as images of shadows reflected on the surrounding walls.
2. Musée d’Orsay
I remember my first time visiting the musée d’Orsay. It was a cold, rainy Saturday morning and a friend and I decided to head early to avoid the crowd and even then we stood in line under our unmbrellas for about 30mins.
During that particular time, there was a wonderful exhibit of Van Gogh’s art and many flocked to experience the masterfully curated experience before it ended.
I loved walking into the large entrance which still holds its original Belle Époque train station magnificence. The grand antique clock is a masterpiece in itself and incarnates the perfect backdrop for the myriad of artifacts displayed.
Although we arrived quite early, taking in the artwas converted into the Musée D’Orsay in 1986 to house one of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist and Post-impressionist art. Aside from works by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec, you’ll find a dapper collection of decorative arts from the Art Nouveau era and a wide range of 19th-century sculpture.
I also love how the Orsay collection contains some of the most beautiful art reflecting Black personages, displayed in a dignified way.
Indeed, the Capresse des colonies by Charles Cordier is a stunning statue that showcases this beautiful woman, in traditional garb and with a pleasant expression. She seems content and dressed appropriately, adorned with luxurious accessories.
And the “Noir du Sudan” by Charles Cordier.
It is commendable and worth mentioning, given the colonial past of France and its current state of affairs with racial dynamics. Diversity is important and must be celebrated.
My most impressionable moment however, was finally entering the impressionist hall and laying my eyes on the ethereal beauty of it all. I remember photographing a board which recounted the history of the movement and of course the main protagonists, such as Claude Monet. Monet’s classic paintings were displayed and I was able to capture a few on my camera, although we were advised not to with the flash. The pictures are on a USB key somewhere. To be continued.
So do yourself a cultural favor and visit the Musée d’Orsay. It’s definitely one of the top museums in the whole entire world and certainly one my favorites in Paris!
1. The legendary Louvre Museum
A historical landmark of the City of Lights and the world’s largest art museum, the Louvre takes our #1 spot!
The Louvre museum is also the worlds most visited museum with a whopping 8 million visitors in 2017!
The famed musique is home to art from the Middle Ages to 1848, in addition to collections of ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations, as well as graphic and Even ancient Sudanese arts. From room to room, the former royal palace reveals its masterpieces to the public: the Mona Lisa, The Raft of the Medusa, the Venus de Milo, and The Winged Victory of Samothrace.
I was thrilled to revisited the Louvre today, after a long time and must say it was great to be back. You could tell that I was excited to see the Mona Lisa, as I asked several staff persons about her location. It felt like a maze. Finally, I saw a sign. Then an arrow pointing to a hallway called “Peintures Italiennes”. Her image was posted and I started to practice my smirk. I kept walking and a few minutes later was face to ace with a congregation of admirers. And at the back, there she was, smiling or as Tyra would say “smiling”, knowing that she is hidden behind tons of glass and security equipment and yet- in her surprisingly small frame, she remains the star.
After gazing at Da Vinci’s chef-d’œuvre for the longest, i decided to wander about the Italian art gallery. And stumbled on this gem:
Saint Veronique holding the shroud of Turin, reportedly displaying a the bloodied face of Jesus, the Messiah.
During my last visit I focused on the Egyptian exhibit during a group tour which educated us on the importance of ancient Egytian (Kemet) art. It was great, I was able to stroll down that hall today and it remains as regal and mesmerizing as I had remembered.
One of my favorite parts of the museum is the exhibit of Louis XV to the Napoleon era. The Baroque and rococo themes of the decor, furniture and ustensiles are simply amazing. I especially loved looking at Marie Antoinette’s personal travel case, made in opulent mahogany wood and containing dainty royal necessities fit for a queen.
A visit of the Louvre museum always inspires me and allows me to reflect on the beauty of life and my personal journey to lovely. Live in the moment. Be grateful. So many little miracles surround us.
So just like museums, we can collect those memories as a wealth of treasures to be revisited at any moment.
The Jacquemart André museum
I have yet to visit it but according to reports, it contains some of the loveliest collections of art, worthy of great museums. Often compared to the Frick Collection in New York, it has maintained its magnificent Second Empire mansion atmosphere, which makes it unique in Paris. I will be covering it soon and peruse not only their art collection but their tea time selection as well. I’ve heard great things!
La Cité des Sciences
The largest science museum in Europe, this venue is also one of the largest and most popular in the world, boasting an impressive 5 million visitors annually. The biggest exhibitions are inspired by transport, energy, innovation and the human body, although the section known as ‘Cité des enfants’ is one of the main draws as it aims to educate and entertain 2-12 year olds through the use of interactive activities, workshops and experiments.
Have you visited any of these musuems? Which one is your favorite? Does a particular piece stand out? Share your thoughts below!
Thanks so much for stopping by!