Doug and I first visited Paris in 2005. We're "museum junkies" so we, of course, spent time at the Musee d'Orsay on that first trip and again during our 3-week trip January 3-25.
The former opulent train station, slated for demolition in the 1970s, reopened in 1986 as the Musee d'Orsay. Although it's best known for its superb collection of Impressionist art - Matisse, Renoir, Cezanne, Monet, Van Gogh and Gauguin, it also has a impressive selection of sculptures, including 6 bronze sculptures (outside the main entrance) that were produced for the 1989 Exposition Universelle in Paris.
A plus in visiting Paris in January is avoiding long lines of tourists in the summer, especially at the very popular museum restaurants. On our first visit to the Musee d'Orsay this year, we only waited about 5 minutes for a table! The restaurant (on the first floor of the museum) serves traditional French cuisine in an impressive historic setting with chandeliers, sculptures and painted and gilded ceilings.
Doug and I both started lunch with asparagus soup.
Of course, the bread was delicious!
Doug ordered chicken.
I ordered the salmon.
Lunch was wonderful!
The historic giant gold-framed clock dominates the glass-and-steel atrium entrance to the museum.
Maturity by Camille Claudel - Rodin's talented companion/mistress - has been moved to a different display area than when Doug and I saw it on our first trip to Paris in 2005.
The Musee d'Orsay prominently exhibits the 19th century sculptor Auguste Rodin's original plaster of Balzac.
Dance by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.
Liberty by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi - this smaller copy was acquired by the French State in September 1900, first for the Musee du Luxembourg and later transferred to the Musee d'Orsay.
The majestic Seated Lion by Antoine-Louis Barye.
Woman Bitten by a Snake by Auguste Clesinger.
Penelope by Jules Cavelier.
Polar Bear by Francois Pompon, who at one time was an assistant to both Rodin and Camille Claudel. The popular sculpture is now on exhibition at the casual restaurant, Cafe de l'Ours.
Another bronze statue at the Musee d'Orsay exit facing the Seine.
On the Seine-side facade, this is one of 2 immense clocks, visible from the Louvre across the river, set in towers, which flank the former entrance bays to train departures for Orleans and other cities in southwestern France.
It was about a 30-minute walk back to our apartment on the Seine at the Quai des Grands Augustins in St-Germain des Pres.
(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)