Octobre on Instagram

musee-dorsay

October was decidedly a month of transition, with autumn settling in Paris and many changes for me at work. Thankfully I managed to put in some fun in the midst of it all, as you could see on my Instagram @ritournelle__

The first Sunday of the month I spent at Musée d’Orsay. The free entrance gave me access to their exhibition Spectacular Second Empire, which takes us through a major period in French history. It truly shaped Paris as we know it today and it was a flourishing time for the arts. I then lingered around my favorite places in the museum: the Impressionist gallery, the clocks, the Salle des Fêtes, the restaurant… all of them packed with people. I’m really tempted to get the Carte Blanche, the annual pass of the Musée d’Orsay. It’s only 25€ for people under 35 and the thought of heading to the museum on a whim after work makes me quite excited.

Octobre a décidemment été un mois de transition avec l’automne qui s’est installé à Paris et des chamboulements pour moi au travail. Heureusement quelques événements de la vie parisienne m’ont aidé à franchir ce cap, comme vous avez pu le voir sur Instagram @ritournelle__

Le 1er dimanche du mois, j’ai profité de l’entrée gratuite au Musée d’Orsay pour visiter leur exposition Spectaculaire Second Empire. Elle témoigne d’une période fascinante aussi bien du point de vue historique que culturel et artistique qui a modelé le Paris que l’on connait aujourd’hui. Je me suis ensuite rendue dans mes endroits préférés : la galerie Impressionniste, les horloges, la Salle des Fêtes… pleins de monde, comme on pouvait s’y attendre. Je suis vraiment tentée de m’inscrire pour la Carte Blanche, le pass / coupe-file qui permet de profiter des œuvres d’art du Musée d’Orsay autant qu’on le veut dans l’année. A 25€ pour les moins de 35 ans, c’est vraiment une offre intéressante !

frichti-aperitif

October is the month when Montmartre celebrates grape harvesting. I did my own celebration at home by ordering the aperitif through Frichti, as I told you in this blog post. I ordered dinner through them several times afterwards and have been really satisfied so far with the quality of the food, the reasonable prices and delivery speed. It’s a great option if you’re visiting Paris and want to enjoy a good meal and bottle of wine at your Airbnb after a long day of walking around the city.

To continue on the food theme, October is also the month of the annual chocolate show in Paris. I attended for the 1st time thanks to my friend Solli. There was a lot of tasting going on (which was great) but otherwise no major discovery, except for the Laurent Duchêne patisserie.

Le mois d’octobre marque la Fête des Vendanges à Montmartre. Pour célébrer cela à ma façon, j’ai commandé l’apéritif chez Frichti, ce que je vous ai raconté dans cet article. Moi qui ne me faisais jamais livrer à manger chez moi avant, j’ai à nouveau fait appel à leurs services plusieurs fois les soirs où je rentrais tard du travail et que je n’avais rien dans le frigo. J’ai toujours été très satisfaite de la qualité des repas, au prix raisonnable, et les livreurs sont rapides. A recommander donc.

Le mois d’octobre à Paris, c’est aussi le Salon du Chocolat. J’ai eu la chance de m’y rendre pour la première fois grâce à mon amie Solli. Beaucoup de dégustations (ce qui n’est pas pour me déplaire) mais pas de grande révélation, si ce n’est le stand de la pâtisserie Laurent Duchêne.

laurent-duchene

Lastly, I went to Palais Garnier for the premiere of the Balanchine program. It was a lovely evening and the shows are until mid-November. What I will take out of it are the leading couples obviously enjoying dancing with each other and the music which is always central when it comes to Balanchine. The pinnacle of the soirée was the Brahms-Schönberg Quartet for which Karl Lagerfeld designed the costumes and set.

November is off to a good start with a visit of the Vuitton Foundation and my 1st ballet class ever given by a Paris Opera Ballet dancer – in the water! More to come soon on the blog.

Enfin, je me suis rendue au Palais Garnier pour la première du programme Balanchine, lequel est donné jusqu’à mi-novembre.  Une belle soirée dont je retiendrai avant tout des couples complices montrant leur plaisir de danser ensemble. Balanchine, c’est aussi la musique mise au premier plan, et on se surprend à avoir les notes dans la tête les jours qui suivent le spectacle. Le point culminant en est le ballet Brahms-Schönberg Quartet pour lequel Karl Lagerfeld a créé les costumes et les décors.

Le mois de novembre a bien commencé avec une visite de la Fondation Vuitton et mon 1er cours de danse donné par une danseuse de l’Opéra de Paris… dans l’eau ! Je vous raconte cela très bientôt.

A morning at Musée d’Orsay

Musée d'Orsay clock

Yesterday was Victory Day in France. Instead of remaining buried in bed on this bank holiday, I met Solli at Musée d’Orsay. This is probably my favorite museum in Paris. As you may know, it is housed in an old train station, and the place succeeds in making us travel in time indeed. The art is old enough to bring up a lost world with now foreign fashion and social conventions. Yet, it was created close enough in time that we can relate to it. It recalls the Maupassant novels we read in high school. Degas’s ballerinas delight me as much as my regular nights at Palais Garnier. The Impressionists’ depictions of nature take me back to the Normandy I grew up in. Paris was already the bustling and fashionable capital it is now.

Musée d'Orsay Salle des fêtes

Walking through the museum, it is at times easy to imagine women in corseted gowns eyeing men in evening dress to the sound of an orchestra playing a feisty waltz. Such is the case in the ballroom (Salle des Fêtes). It used to be part of a hotel housed in the train station.

Musée d'Orsay Salle des fêtes détail

Let us not forget the amazing views of Paris from the top floor. The skyline reminded me of the impression I had of the capital being an old village compared to other cities I’ve lived in, like New York City and Tokyo. Its apparent stillness in time is probably what makes its charm and an object of wonder and reassurance to so many people.

Paris skyline

French flag Eiffel Tower

Louvre Seine

We then headed to the Van Gogh exhibition. With about 40 paintings and other works of art, it focuses on the painter’s mental illness and his relationship to his surroundings. What moved me is how an artist could create such beauty amid the torments he endured in his mind. Though we are quick to disparage people suffering of a disease we fail to understand, we ought to acknowledge what strength some have to still see and pass on the grace they observe in the world.

Van Gogh Musée d'Orsay 1

Van Gogh Musée d'Orsay 2

The paintings struck me by their use of color. Mostly though it was the brushstrokes that brought them to life. In one case you could literally imagine yourself standing amid high grass with the wind blowing in your back and shaping the field ahead of you.

Van Gogh Musée d'Orsay 3

Van Gogh Musée d'Orsay 4

Van Gogh Musée d'Orsay 5

This painting was probably my favorite: it reminded me of when I walk home at night and wonder at the city lights reflecting on the Seine.

Van Gogh Musée d'Orsay 6

Van Gogh Musée d'Orsay 7

We ended our visit at the restaurant, which used to be the dining room of the hotel. I had often peeked through the windows when it was closed and I was delighted this time to sit down in such a grand setting, my back to a view of the Seine. A morning well spent.

Musée d'Orsay Restaurant

Musée d'Orsay Restaurant room