Dec 302011
Musée d’Orsay, October 2009

One of several big clocks at the Orsay (a former train station), this one is over the entrance.

Clock at Musée d’Orsay

I rediscovered this picture while looking back in my files for images relating to the Orsay’s new photo policy.  This was shot in 2009.  The museum now believes that allowing normal people to produce images like this is too disruptive, probably not dignified, and ultimately harms the museum.

The camera was a Leica M8, and the lens was the incredibly sharp Zeiss 25mm f/2.8.  Shot at ISO 320 and 1/45 second exposure.

Nov 242011
24 November 2011

Actually arrived on the 23rd, but arrival days are recovery days.  Of note from the arriving flight:  (1) The White Cliffs of Dover really are white in the morning sunlight (sorry, but no picture), and (2) that ugly green de-icing stuff (from Toronto) sticks.

Green De-Icing Goop…

First Stop was the Musee d’Orsay.  One of my favorite museums, but recently saddled with a rather unfortunate “No Photography” policy. This is baffling.  I’m not convinced that the museum management is in touch with visitors and the 21st century — and how visitors interact with museums these days.

There are a few places where it seems to be tolerated, most notably behind one of the two big clocks that face the Seine.

Photos at one of the d’Orsay’s clocks

Oct 232009

Might as well use some of those miles.*  Flew out on Wednesday — Arrived Thursday morning.  And I admit to dogging it on the arrival day and just crashing for the rest of Thursday.

Friday I hoofed it from my hotel (near UNESCO) to the Musee d’Orsay.  This remains one my favorite art museums mostly because of its content — art from 1848 to 1914.  The building is an old train station saved from the wrecking ball.  As a result, the main hall is spacious and airy.  There are plenty of places in the main hall to sit and relax, a good restaurant with a wonderfully ornate dining room, another restaurant overlooking the Seine, and a snack bar.  (Some snooty architecture critic was praising NYC’s Guggenheim, remarking that it was unique in that it didn’t look like an old palace or a train shed.  Would that more museums looked like the d’Orsay.)

The Main Hall of the Musee d'Orsay.

Along both sides of the main hall (the former train shed) are exhibit rooms.  On the River Seine side (the right side of the picture) are several levels of galleries.  The museum’s impressive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist work is on the 5th level (picture taken from what would be the 6th level), stretching the length of the building and across the end behind the clock.  Additional rooms hold pastels in special controlled lighting.  My only critique is that while the galleries are great, vertical access in the building is a totally bizarre mixture of ramps, stairs, and escalators.

A four day Paris Museum pass gets you access to about 60 museums and attractions, and avoids the longer lines.

For Saturday?  Probably FIAC 2009. (Look it up.)

* Actually, it only took 40,000 Alaska miles to get a flight on American from Washington National (DCA) via Miami — the first time I’ve taken DC’s Metro from home to an airport for a European flight.

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