My last two days in Paris were arty ones. The benefit of being by myself for this leg meant I spent a luxuriously long time in the Musee D'Orsay and the Centre Pompidou. And while I could go on forever about the gorgeous art, I will try to keep it to a minimum :-) The first day, I visited the Musee D'Orsay, a great museum dedicated to the period around the impressionists, so there were heaps of beautiful Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Gaugain, Degas, etc for me to goggle at. Its a great museum, in a converted railway station. I got all excited and bought a bought a beautiful jigsaw puzzle of one of the beautiful Renoir paintings, before realising there was no way it was going to fit in my pack. A trip to the post office for my first package home was in order!
That afternoon, I went up the Eiffel Tower to take in the view. It was incredibly windy that day in Paris, so I was a little worried, but it was beautiful up the top, I went at 6pm, and the haze had lifted so you could see for miles, with cool long shadows.
That night, I went out for dinner with my roommates, a great Aussie couple called Kim and Kane who were about to start the Busabout route. We decided to have a picnic, so after a couple of cheeses, salami, and wine from the supermarket (4 euro a bottle! And it was nice!) and a loaf from the bakery, and we headed up the hill to Sacre Coeur, and constructed a fantastic dinner while watching the sunset over Paris, accompanied by an awesome busker.
The next day I did the Centre Pompidou, which is a huge building, distinctive in that the architect built it with all the internal pipes, escalators, lifts, ducts and other construction elements on the outside, leaving the inside clear. It was brilliant. As well as a complete collection of all the modern masters, starting from Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, through to Pop Art.... with art from all the biggies like Picasso, Jean Arp, Miro, Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock.... I can't remember if I've said this before, but it felt like visiting old friends, I knew the paintings and the artists so well from so many art history lessons! They also had a huge section of recent modern paintings too, which was cool. A very satisfying day.... and I didn't have to feel guilty about boring anyone to tears by spending so long in the gallery :)
That evening, I talked Kim and Kane into coming with me to a wee restaurant I'd passed in Montmatre... that served frogs legs! (How could I not try them in Paris!). It was a great experience, the restaurant was full of Parisians, the waitress spoke very little English so with the help of my Lonely Planet phrasebook (and especially the menu decoder!) we got through, and felt very proud of ourselves. In France you can get set menus, which are great value, so for a set price, usually pretty reasonable, you get a set choice of entrees, mains, and a dessert. We ended up with the most amazing french onion soup to start, chicken casserole type thing for main (don't know what it was in French sorry) and great chocolate mousse for dessert, YUM!!
And the frogs legs? Very interesting! The consistency of chicken, with a gamey seafood flavour. And very fiddly!
The beautiful main atrium of the Musse D'Orsay, in a converted railway station
The extortionately overpriced restaurant in the Musee D'Orsay
Me on the balcony outside at the top of the Musee D'Orsay.
This really cool museum that had a garden growing on the outside of it, not just vines, but full on bushes and small trees.
Me up the Eiffel Tower!
Me and the aussie couple from my room, Kim and Kane, at Sacre Couer after our sunset picnic.
Sacre Couer looking beautiful at night.
Cool signage at the Centre Pompidou
Cool mural at the Centre Pompidou
Modern sculpture at the Centre Pompidou
The gallery from the far end (yes, that's a giant red rhino scuplture in the foreground)