The museum I call home


I love the Musée d’Orsay for many reasons. First of all because it’s in a former train station, the Gare d’Orsay, an architectural masterpiece which reminds us of the golden age of steam. An age when travel could be elegant and railway stations weren’t just shopping centres. There’s a fabulous story of how Jeanne Moreau went to visit Orson Welles in his suite at the Hôtel Meurice overlooking the Tuileries gardens (how I envy him!) and he spotted two twin moons across the river which she explained were the railway clocks. Captivated, they rushed out in the night for a closer look and the station was later brilliantly used in his adaptation of Kafka’s The Trial. But back to me. I have been going there so long that this place almost feels like home. It helps that I feel like I belong in 19th and early 20th Century France – many of the works of art even feel like old friends. Daumier’s Célèbrités du Juste Milieu, paintings of Scapin and Don Quixote with the dead mule, Millet’s The Gleaners, Manet’s portrait of Zola, Olympia and that astonishing asparagus, Robert de Montesquieu by Boldini, Proust by Jacques-Émile Blanche (although this wasn’t on display last time which is outrageous), the Gates of Hell and that sculpture of Balzac by Rodin, Courbet’s Burial at Ornans and The Artist’s Studio (last time I visited the museum I bought a book about Proust, only to discover an inadvertently stolen postcard of Courbet’s Origin of the World which is my least favourite painting there, surely hidden away by a schoolboy), Pompon’s Polar Bear and Owl, all that Art Nouveau furniture and glass. It’s torture trying to see everything until overcome by exhaustion, I must accept defeat and head for the exit. Until next time.



7 thoughts on “The museum I call home

  1. That art nouveau desk is to die for, I must ask if it is for sale next time I‘m in Paris. 😉
    But strangely enough, your “home“ made me miss the Bremen Kunsthalle with my favourite Manet ever, his portrait of Zacharie Astruc, – that lemon peel! – during my years at university in Bremen this art gallery used to be my “home“…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a feast! Thank you for sharing what this glorious place means to you and for the wonderful photos. I first came here as a small child and was overwhelmed by everything I saw. Even my father describing Whistler’s mother to me (and my thinking how ancient she looked compared to my own mother 😋).
    I so look forward to you blog posts and this is one of my favourites yet! Thanks Emily ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the Musee d’Orsay more than I can ever express. The collection is incredible, and it holds so many dear memories of visits with my family in happy times. I love your writing style and what you share with us sweet Emily. I highly recommend the Picasso miniseries with Antonio Banderas on National Geographic, I’ve seen the first two episodes and I’m in love with it. They show glimpses of Paris when our beloved museum was a train station. While I do not like the way Picasso treated women it is a fantastic story.


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