Get the Most from Your Paris Museum Visits

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Paris museums are a high point for many travelers. Here are 3 tips for getting the most from your visits.

• Save time. A Paris Museum Pass puts you on the fast track to the permanent collections at many museums. Enter where signage indicates Paris Museum Pass, or “reservations” to avoid waiting in long ticket lines. If you plan to visit a museum several times, check out their yearly membership for even quicker access, plus other benefits, such as free entrance to temporary exhibits and other museums. Memberships at the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, for example, are very reasonable.

For temporary exhibits and private museums without a membership (these are not included on the Museum Pass), buy your tickets on-line before you go. But beware: not all tickets can be printed at home or picked up at the museum. Clarify this before you buy.

• Learn more. Plan for a maximum of 2 hours in a museum—even the most avid art lover can’t absorb information after that. In a large museum, choose a section of the museum, a movement, or a time period. Focusing your attention this way helps you explore a subject in depth, and since it covers less physical space, keeps you from getting lost.

If you want to cover more ground, check to see if the museum offers a guided tour. Guides put the artwork in context by discussing selected works; they answer questions, and keep the directionally-challenged found.

Audio guides also provide information with a focus, and you can proceed at your own pace. Private tours are more expensive, but a wonderful investment of money and time, particularly for children.

• Stand tall. Even when I follow my own guidelines, standing continuously on a hard floor looking at art makes my lower back hurt. The last time I asked my physical therapist to untangle my knotted muscles, she taught me a new way to stand: knees soft, seat tucked under, and head lifted to lengthen the neck, as if I were a painting hanging on the wall.

And sit when you can. Many museums allow visitors to carry small folding chairs; check before you go.

Do you have other museum tips? Let us know!

Bonne visite!

Pierre Bonnard at Musee d’Orsay

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The plum, taupe, violet, and lime green walls at Musée d’Orsay are perfect backdrops to the light- and color-filled paintings in the current Pierre Bonnard retrospective, “Pierre Bonnard, Painting Arcadia“, on view until July 19.

Paintings, prints and photographs trace Bonnard’s inspirations (Gauguin and Japanese prints among them) over 60 years.

The show contains some of his most successful work, including patterned and sunlit interiors, gardens populated with friends and family members, portraits, nudes, street scenes, and still lives.

An exquisite show, rich in color, atmosphere, and humor.

Tickets are on sale through the museum website (though they can’t be picked up at the museum) and at the museum.

See a short video of the show here.

Archives of the Dream at Musée de l’Orangerie

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The Musée de l’Orangerie has rehung its impressive permanent collection, and, until the end of June, augmented it with a temporary drawing expo. Both are worth walking across Paris to see.

In the permanent collection, new signage, in French and English, reveals artists as collector (and the museum’s benefactor) Paul Guillaume would have seen them: the sculptural qualities of Renoir’s paintings a result of his beginnings as a porcelain artist; in Cézanne’s break from Impressionism, his movement toward works that are more sketching than painting.

Interiors and odalisques by Matisse are hung opposite works by Picasso—in the spirit of a show that Guillaume organized.

The current temporary exhibit, “Archives of the Dream,” featuring lesser-known works from the Musée d’Orsay, delves into the world of dreams. Organized by subject matter and specific artists, it includes many inspired works: portraits by Fantin-Latour and Courbet, sketches by Millet, arts and crafts compositions by Walter Crane, renderings by Maurice Denis, early pastels by Degas, and water colors by Cézanne.

Debussy, Music and the Arts at Musée de l’Orangerie

Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie are reaching across artistic disciplines – and the Seine – in a new expo devoted to Claude Debussy. The show, Debussy, la Musique et les Arts, at L’Orangerie, demonstrates the influence of French visual artists and poets on Debussy’s music.

Paintings, drawings and pastels by Degas, Renoir, Vuillard, Gauguin, and Maurice Denis among others, are shown beside letters and photographs by the artists.

Original editions by Gide and Valéry are also displayed, as well as manuscripts by Ernest Chausson, one of Debussy’s early supporters.

Debussy’s manuscripts are not only featured, but his work is performed. The d’Orsay will present two concerts in March featuring Debussy’s L’Enfant prodigue.

Until June 11.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,600 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 42 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 64 posts. There were 46 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 19mb. That’s about 4 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was June 15th with 119 views. The most popular post that day was Les Côtelettes.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were parisbydesign.com, mail.yahoo.com, mail.live.com, en.wordpress.com, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for musee d’orsay renovation, musee d’orsay renovations, paris, ephemeral champagne bar, and cos marais.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Les Côtelettes May 2010

2

Musée d’Orsay Undergoes Renovation January 2010

3

On-line Tickets and Champagne at Eiffel Tower December 2009

4

Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Announces 2010-2011 Season March 2010

5

COS opens new store in Marais February 2010

Musée Henner Reopens

After a four year renovation, Musée Henner has reopened to the public. Formerly a private mansion and studio built in the 19th century, the museum is dedicated to the work of Jean-Jacques Henner (1829-1905) – noted for his use of sfumato and chiaroscuro in paintings of nudes, religious subjects, and portraits.

The 130 works on permanent display follow Henner’s development chronologically, from his native Alsace to Paris, where he settled, and to Italy after receiving the Prix de Rome. Included are historical, religious and mythological paintings, as well as landscapes of Alsace and Italy, portraits, and still lives.

Henner was influenced by the paintings of the Italian Renaissance, particularly Titian, Raphael and Correggio, and the French painters of the first half of the 19th century, including Ingres, and Corot. Preparatory works (sketches, drawings, tracings for transfer, etc) give insights into the artist’s technique.

His paintings Jésus au tombe, Nus féminins, La liseuse, and Idylle are owned by the Musée d’Orsay. Musée Henner is located in the 17th, near Parc Monceau.