Paris: Le Grand Tour of Museums

We are doing Le Grand Tour of Museums these days.

Today, our grand tour continues today with the Monet, Turner, and Whistler exhibit newly-opened at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, built for the 1900 World ’s Fair, just south of the Rond-Point of the Champs- Élysées. Ten minutes into the exhibition we notice that some of the works have been loaned by the Art Gallery of Ontario, the museum situated in Toronto and we proudly beam to be Canadian, silently gloating over all the references to the AGO. We later see in the gallery program that this exhibition was originated at the AGO. More pride and more gloating! The show originated in Toronto and were an incredibly interesting example of these three great artists of the Impressionist period and how they influenced each other. One would not ordinarily see these separate canvases together, and it is a seamless and geographically-connected exhibition. I have not looked at another landscape in the same way since.

The rain has started again, and as we view the last painting, I look out and see the long line of expectant gallery goers, their faces hidden by their black and multicoloured umbrellas, chilly and wet from the Paris rain.

We walk to place de la Concorde and take some very touristy pictures in the breaking sun.

The wet cobbles lead us to the Madeleine, and we stick our heads into the church for some moments of solitude. The reflected sun on the wet rue Royale greets us as we amble down the slippery steps of the Madeleine.

Then we make our way along the Grands Boulevards to the Opéra. More tourist shots here.

We head for home relatively early today – 4 p.m. – and have a quiet early evening of it. We are planning to meet John, François, and their friend Tom after a concert that they are attending. The arranged time is 11 pm, so we nap, grab some local supper and take the métro to the infamous Pigalle, home of the Moulin Rouge and the old red light district of Paris, for an 11 o’clock rendezvous. Totally innocent, of course!

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