Published: June 16th 2008June 16th 2008
Once again we had great weather for the weekend. James (study abroad student, just got here last week) and I caught the 13:00 train to Paris from Rouen, just made it by a few minutes. Picked up the Paris museum pass and headed to the d'Orsay, home of the main impressionist paintings, which is the main attraction. It's a relatively new museum (1986), built within an old train station that was to be demolished. I really enjoyed this museum, after seeing so many religious paintings, it's nice to see something involving nature and is a little more abstract. There were a lot of paintings from Renoir, Monet, Manet and Van Gogh. 5 of Monet's Rouen Cathedral were there, showing his progression of his impressions throughout his time in Rouen. A van Gogh 'starry night over the rhone' (not THE starry night, but kinda similar) was there as well.
We also made a stop at the Orangerie in Paris (the next day) to see Monet's famous Nymphaes or water lillies. We just stopped in for 10 minutes, wished we could have stayed longer, but we had a train to catch (which we missed by 2 minutes). The water lillies were painted
based on his garden in Giverny, a small town in between Rouen and Paris. There were 6 paintings and were very large. Each one was about 4 feet tall and 30-35 feet long. They were quite dark, painted later in Monet's life I believe.
Next I headed to Saint Chapelle. I was able to get in right at 5:30, before they closed. The entrance is in the lower chapel and at first I didn't see any path to another place. So I was quite disappointed, went out, and thought there was no way that was the church that was for the king and held the supposed crown of thorns among other relics. So after going back in; the ticket lady was a little confused, I found the small spiral staircase up to the main chapel. As soon as you exit the stairway, the color smacks you in the face and your eyes go wide and your mouth drops. The entire chapel is stained glass, with a small altar at the far end, and a rose window on the other. The altar is raised to show off the crown of thorns when it was displayed. All the windows tell 14
stories of the life of Jesus, read from left to right, bottom to top. It was designed to imitate the entrance into Jerusalem and the light of God, and it does a pretty good job. 2/3 of the stained glass is original from the 13th century.
We checked in to our hostel around 7 pm and dropped our stuff off and had some pizza at a restaurant nearby. Then we headed to the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees. We went up the Arc which has good views, including the Eiffel tower. We were there from 10-11, to watch the lights of Paris turn on (it stays light very late here).
There are more photos below