After spending five hours viewing the art works at Musee D’Orsay, it was 3pm when we walked out into the bright sunshine again. We crossed the bridge over the Seine and found ourselves standing at the entrance to the Tuileries Garden, so instead of walking back to the hotel, we thought we’d spend a little time in the garden first. Even though we hadn’t experienced large crowds at the museum, the garden was much more crowded. It seemed that coming down to the garden was a good way for a Parisian (or a tourist) to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.
One of the first things we noticed was that people were pulling up chairs to the rim of the pool around the fountain and sitting down to watch it. We did the same. Nothing much happened, but it really was relaxing and we probably could have stayed there all afternoon enjoying it, because that’s what everyone else seemed to be doing.
There were some elements of what we’d seen in Versailles present in this garden, including the marble statues in classical poses on pedestals and the long, tree-lined avenues.
Soldiers with automatic machine guns patrolled the garden, making it clear that Paris is still on edge over recent attacks on its citizens and is making public safety a very high priority in response to this.
At the far end of the Tuileries Garden, in the Place de la Concorde, was the famous Cleopatra’s Needle monument, originally brought to France from Egypt in the 1830s. In the distance we could see both the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. It was here that we found Rodin’s sculpture The Kiss. Marg and I struggled to take a selfie that included both of us and the two people in the sculpture behind us. We eventually succeeded, but if we’d tried to replicate the kiss while taking the selfie we would have tied ourselves in knots. Therefore, it’s a very static selfie from us with a bit of hot and steamy romance in the background. It’s a very beautiful work of art nonetheless.
We were only metres away from a large building at this end of the garden, which just happened to be the Orangerie, another one of Paris’s famous galleries. We got onto the end of the short queue and soon we were inside, where two large oval shaped rooms house eight of Claude Monet’s huge water lilies murals. Having recently visited his house and garden, and then seen much of his work at Musee D’Orsay, this was just an added bonus for the pair of us. We love his work. So, too, do the many people who strike all sorts of different poses for selfies with the water lilies as a backdrop.
Downstairs we came across more great works of art, including paintings by Renoir, Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani and Rousseau. We would have liked to stay longer, but it was late in the day and closing time was not far away. Marg and I walked slowly back to the hotel, passing through Tuileries Garden and the Louvre courtyard before crossing over to the river and walking along the path past the vendors of collectables and second hand books.
At this time of day the foot traffic was as busy as the car traffic on the road alongside us. It seems that Sunday afternoon was the time of the week for Parisians to get out and about. But not for us. Our feet were hurting and it was time to rest, so we dropped into a cafe for an early dinner before returning to our hotel and taking it easy for the rest of the evening.