Hemingway called Paris a “movable feast.”
I’m not really a Hemingway fan, but when he says, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris … then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast,” I have to agree.
There is something about the city that makes the word “enchanting” sound understated. I have just returned from my fourth trip to Paris and I’m only now starting to understand her. Paris is her energy, her history. She is an eclectic culture, a curvy language, a black coat, a round table, rain and a tiny cup of espresso.
I am overflowing with thoughts, now that the jet lag is wearing off. I will start with Van Gogh. I really want to share the music from the Metro, my overwhelming desire to slap people that take pictures when it clearly states “no pictures,” and the shoes I never wore, but I’ll save those for another day. Van Gogh and the d’Orsay get first dibs.
We went to the Musée d’Orsay on Tuesday. It was raining, we waited in a long line, and I had not yet had my tea. A sultry french person came over the loud speaker and said that due to “technical” problems the museum would not open until further notice. I eaves dropped and heard a man say that it was because the cashiers had just gone on strike.
“This happens all the time, it will pass,” he said. Um…what?
I walked to the front glass windows and sure enough the row of cashiers had all taken their cash drawers out, placed them on the counter and their arms were folded. Now? This couldn’t wait? It’s raining for crying out loud.
To make a long morning short, I got huffy because we were leaving the next day. The d’Orsay is my favorite and I think I started pouting like a child. Michael, always annoyingly rational, said we should wait it out. We waited two and a half hours in line, in the rain, and they finally opened the museum. The cashiers must have still had issues to resolve because they let us in for free. Following some umbrella drama with Katlyn, we entered the main hall and it felt like a deep breath.
If you don’t already know, the Musée d’Orsay used to be a rail station. It’s famous for the big clock and the building alone is worth a trip. They had a special exhibit on Van Gogh. I’m always interested in Van Gogh because I like his yellows and blues, his twirly stars, but mostly I like that he lived in his head.
He saw things most people can’t see and he was never recognized. Not one painting sold while he was alive. I’ve blogged about him before, but this exhibit brought back all those feelings. He was troubled and brilliant in that he really saw a room, a chair. I love that and his work makes me feel so small and so limitless at the same time.
Van Gogh was special and I will forever remember waiting in the rain, finally entering the warmth and standing in front of the same canvases he stood in front of in an attempt to share the swirling mystery of his mind. Did you know he painted over 30 self portraits? I’ll stop now, that’s enough for one post.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Nighty Night.
Art Paris travel Art culture Musée d'Orsay Paris self expression thoughts travel trip to Paris Van Gogh
Glad to hear that you had a good time! I so want to visit France, if only to show myself the inadequacies of my French lessons from school. I too have always liked Van Gogh, I never really understood him, but I don’t think that’s the point. When we studied him at school my classmates looked at his artwork and just sort of shrugged. I really like the colours that he uses and the way that you can see the brushstrokes and imagine how his hands must have twisted to create them. Lovely.
It was a great time. I speak 5 words of French, but my son is studying the language, so he saved us. Van Gogh…it is the brush strokes too. So many layers, love everything I’ve ever seen. Half way through The Shining and I’m scared to death, but brilliant writing. I’m enjoying it.
It’s interesting: almost every time I read something fascinating about someone’s trip to Paris, it’s raining. Welcome home.
Thanks, Ron. That doesn’t surprise me. It does love to rain.
so glad it was a lovely trip, experience, journey
what a story… i mean, if you had just gotten into the museum…?
cashiers on strike?!?
then in for free?
Thanks, Marney. It was a great trip.