Le Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, France
There is no photography allowed inside the upper galleries of le musée de l’Orangerie.
On lower levels, there are works by Modigliani and Matisse and Rousseau, and countless others. Supposedly you can take photos of these, but by then the moment had passed, and this was all I happened to get:
Admittedly, that’s not a very informative photo, so here’s one that I made Rand pose for just outside of the museum, near a water fountain. I thought if I angled it right it would look like he was peeing.
So I suppose you will just have to take my word for it that the museum at l’Orangerie is worth visiting, sans photographic evidence.
The biggest draw of the museum seems to be a collection of giant waterscapes by Monet known collectively as Les Nymphéas (French for “The Nymphomaniacs”. No, just kidding. It means “water lilies.”). They are enormous, and encompass two full rooms, taking up much of the space between the floor and the high ceiling. The paintings work together to create a sort of 360 panorama, so we felt like we were inside a world of Monet’s making.
There are worse things in life.
And in his works we walked, along the edge of a pond dotted with lily pads. We – and the countless others with us – managed to tread without trampling the delicate reeds, and could peek beneath the trees without needing to bend over. I read that Monet created this world to bring a bit of tranquility to Parisians. Just outside was the city, noisy with traffic and the incessant hum of people carrying out a thousand different tasks.
But inside the l’Orangerie, it was quiet and calm.
We did the best to internalize that, to carry that peace out with us once we left the museum, and walked into the vibrant Jardin de Tuileries, full of people and noise.
We tried, as best we could, to make life imitate art. Sometimes, we took this task far too literally.
Or we’d get stressed, and frustrated, and failed altogether.
But for a few brief moments here and there, we were able to walk along the water …
And peek just underneath the trees …
And find a little bit of peace in Paris. Just like Monet had intended.
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