Tuesday, April 4, 2017

First Full Day in Paris: Monet and Wandering

Before we leave for Paris, we check to see what exhibitions are currently showing at the museums and spot several that sound interesting:

   Camille Pissaro, The First of the Impressionists at Musée Marmottan Monet
   Jardins (Gardens) at the Grand Palais
   Rodin:  The Centennial at the Grand Palais
   Pisarro in Éragny:  Nature Regained at the Musée du Luxembourg
   Beyond the Stars, The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky at Musée d'Orsay

We can't take them all in, but we'll wander, see where the lines are short, and catch as much as we can.

Our first full day, we decide to walk over to one of our favorite small museums, Musée Marmottan Monet, originally a hunting lodge, purchased by the Marmottan family in 1882 and donated to the Académie  des Beaus Arts and opened as a museum in 1934.  The works focus on Monet, but there are often truly interesting exhibitions filling other rooms.  In this case, extensive works of Camille Pissaro, friend of Monet and one of the first impressionists.  Photography was discouraged in the exhibition, so we'll move quickly through it and head downstairs to the works of Monet, particularly some of the impressive Water Lilies.

Works of Monet!

After our first dose of impressionist pieces, we walk in the light rain back toward the Avenue des Champs-Élysée to find the crowds and lunch, passing a good view of the Eiffel Tower at Place du Trocadéro, across the river.

Eiffel Tower in the rain

On the Champs-Élysée, we stick our head into several car showrooms for delightful views of old vehicles and new concept cars, small museums unto themselves.

 Cars on display

For lunch, we're thinking mussels, and continue down the street to Léon de Bruxelles (Leon of Brussels), originally founded in Brussels in 1893, where we share a traditional Moule Marinière, mussels cooked in white wine, cream, garlic, and parsley, along with frites and two small light Belgium beers.

Moules, frites, and beer for lunch

All we need to round out our first day in Paris is some shopping and we head over to the department stores on Boulevard Haussmann to see what's in season.  The stores are busy changing their displays and contents from winter to spring and there are good sales everywhere.  We capture a few of the spring windows at Printemps as they first appear (Gallerie Lafayette windows are covered for the transition, we'll be back in a few days to see what they have to show).

 Windows at Printemps starting to show spring

We've covered a lot of territory in our first full day and it's time to head back to the hotel and contemplate where to head next.

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