Thursday at Musee’ D’Orsay
On previous visits to Paris, we were unable to get tickets for the Museum D’Orsay, but had no problem on this visit. With proof of age, visitors under age 26 can get a discounted ticket and the museum accepts U.S. driver’s licenses as proof. The museum also has a coat check, free of charge, They only accept coats, no hats or scarves. My daughter tried to check a pullover as well, but the coat check personnel declined because whatever is checked has to be put on a hanger.
The museum is housed in a former railway station and the building is notable from the street by the huge clocks that I’m sure were useful for the early twentieth century commuters running late for their trains. You can get some spectacular views of Paris through the clock, be patient (it was field trip day and we had to wade through an ocean of French high schoolers) and you can get next to the clock face.
Their collection of Impressionists is like a who’s who of 19th-century art and they have many of the masterpieces of Monet, Manet, Gaughin, Rodin, Pisarro, Degas, Cezanne, Renoir, and VanGogh. For me, the collection of Monet’s winter landscapes was a revelation. The collection of sculpture is also very impressive. Unfortunately for us, the museum’s two floors of Art Nouveau were closed.
We ate a light lunch at the Cafe Campana. The setting is marvelous and is a nice break from touring. It has sit-down service and, especially by Parisian standards, our soup and salads came out very quickly. Alas, they forgot our bread basket–sacre bleu!–but they did have Lillet by the glass, so I still give it two thumbs up. The museum has a quick-bite food counter and what looks like a more formal restaurant on the first floor as well.
The Purple Truffle had recommended and made reservations for us at Semilla in St.-Germain-des-Pres for Thursday evening. It was a nice walk across the Seine from the Westin through a neighborhood of art galleries and restaurants and wine bars. The menus are only in French, but we used our phones to look up the foods we weren’t familiar with. The kitchen is mostly open, and if you have a table against the wall, there are hooks for your coats on the wall behind you! I decided on what was basically a deconstructed lamb tangine followed by a cheese course and a pear and gingerbread dessert. As I vacillated between two bottles of wine, the waiter recommended I go with the much less expensive bottle. So points for that. He may have given up on us when my daughter ordered a glass of dessert wine from the “Stickie” section of the wine list for dinner. One of my daughters ordered the sole and said it was the best thing she ate in Paris. New post tomorrow!