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The museum you never knew existed

August 9, 2009

So last Sunday was free museum day in Paris. (This would be the first Sunday of every month, and  on this day every national museum is 100 percent free for tourists, children, Paris natives — everybody). I had decided to hit up Musée Rodin, but fate had other things in mind …

That day, I met Mme Gaudouen on her way to the Musée d’Orsay. She explained to me that the Musée Rodin was better on a clear day (it was cloudy) because of the gardens at Rodin. I sighed and started to go back to the apartment when …

Mme Gaudouen came walking up the stairs to tell me that we should go instead to the Musée Moreau, a little Musée near métro stops Blanche and Pigalle in Montmartre. Happy to follow, I strapped on my latest pair of heels and headed out.

Only to find myself walking gingerly and concentrating on stepping first on my heels as we walked down the giant mount that is Montmartre. (I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. The name does mean “Mount of Martyrs” after all.) Trying not to look bothered, I followed in line as we wandered around the district looking at addresses and the handy-dandy pocket map that all Parisians carry at all times and trying to avoid the stares of women inside the little pleasure shops that litter the area.

And then, as I walked behind Mme Gaudouen, she took a sharp turn. My first instinct was to stop her from entering someone’s home, but after a minute I realized that this was the museum.

Musée Moreau is named for Gustave Moreau, a painter who lived from 1826 – 1898. Upon his death he donated his house to be used as a museum for his own paintings — a pretty good scheme if you want to stay a well-known painter, if you ask me. Either way, the place is magnificent. There are two large rooms which hold nothing but his paintings and various drawings hidden away in cupboards that guests can snoop through at any time. Meanwhile, lower rooms show the artists’ furniture and bedchambers.

Moreau’s paintings are a strangely satisfying mixture of Pollock-esque paint splatterings and almost photograph-like accuracy. His subjects are mainly mythological or Biblical and yield darkly dramatic results. After the visit, I must admit that he is likely my new favorite painter.

So if you can, never pass up a visit to the museum you never knew existed. It might just be the best thing you’ve seen yet.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lise permalink
    August 9, 2009 7:38 pm

    Kate ! Museums are ALWAYS free for under 25yrs old now, Sarko decision =)

  2. Lise permalink
    August 10, 2009 10:42 am

    Pfffff no way…. c’est horrible de faire ça, pourquoi les non-européens n’auraient pas, eux aussi, droit à la culture ????

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