Posted by: ganymedes1985 | October 29, 2009

The things I’ve seen in Paris: Day 3

Ok, last day. Finally posting this, I’m so lame to procrastinate everything!
If you want to read the 1st and 2nd day, just follow their links ūüėČ

For this day, I didn’t have much planned, because I had taken in mind the previous ones were already intensive enough. The only change in my original planning was the¬†Mus√©e d’Orsay in the afternoon instead of the Cit√©, because the previous day d’Orsay had proven to be overcrowded at the ticket line.¬†
So after breakfast, packing, checking out and dropping our luggage in the car, we took the metro towards our first of (only) three destinations of the day.

click for larger resolution

For those who might not know it (though I hope most will): P√®re Lachaise cemetery¬†is pretty much Western¬†Europe’s most popular burial ground for the rich and famous of the past (and present to some level, there’s not much room left). It’s got Balzac,¬†J.-L. David, Max Ernst, Ingres, Lalique, Modigliani, Moli√®re, Jim Morrison, √Čdith Piaf, Oscar Wilde¬†and many, many more.
Of course, those last 3 names are with ease the most popular of the place: Wilde’s monument has lipstick kisses all over it, Piaf’s simple tombstone always has flowers (expensive ones¬†> roses and I also spotted some¬†orchids)¬†and¬†Morrison’s stone¬†is even fenced off!

If you want to visit it, please keep the following in mind:

  • the cemetery is on sloping terrain and has plenty of different height levels + it’s almost completely paved with old-fashioned cobble stones, meaning they’re large, uneven and over the years have developed large gaps between them (sloping terrain + rain = soil erosion) > so ditch the heels / formal shoes¬†and pack decent walking shoes!
  • metro station “P√®re Lachaise” is located¬†across a¬†small side entrance,¬†once there all you get is a large sign board with the names of the “important” graves and their position; only¬†the cabin at the actual main entrance¬†hands out¬†small maps (but it’s not a very practical map¬†one if you ask me, back home I Googled this map, it looks a million times better, so download and print either the PDF or JPEG file)
  • go off the main roads, it’s so worth it for the views¬†(however that day it¬†had rained¬†during the morning and sometimes the narrow paths and stairs were¬†still slippery > good walking shoes will help here!)
  • keep on going all the way to the back, the¬†monuments at the far eastern end¬†of the cemetery (close to where Piaf lies) are from various countries to remember their war heroes, and some are real works of art!
  • it’s a big place, you’ll easily spend 2 or 3 hours there even if you’re focused on checking¬†a selection of¬†graves,¬†but if¬†you only want to check out Morrison’s stone it’s¬†roughly 30 minutes¬†(still a long time because his stone is¬†at the other side of the cemetery if you take the side entrance across the metro station)

click for larger resolution

Taking the metro back towards Montmartre was easy: Metro 2 is a direct line! We got off at the famous¬†Blanche¬†station, and first took a moment to gaze at the Moulin Rouge! Well beyond our budget, we only checked out the exterior, and not too long after that went to search the Caf√© des Deux Moulins. It’s quite close to¬†the Moulin Rouge, just keep walking uphill in the Rue Lepic and you’ll spot it soon enough.
Sadly, it’s popularity made it quite expensive for this neighbourhood, and the interior has been changed a bit (no¬†“Tabac” stand, more and different tables). We decided to¬†do our wallets a favour and with a bit of sadness kept on looking for a more budget friendly place to have lunch. We found one, but we all left the place with still unsatisfied stomachs.

Since we were close to it, we went to check out the notorious Place Pigalle, and after a while gave in to our urges and dove into one of the many sex toy shops (urges created by almost being bullied into checking out strip clubs by promoters).

Time was making fools of us again and we had to rush towards the metro if we wanted to enjoy our visit to the Mus√©e d’Orsay, which I really wanted to do because it was¬†something I still hadn’t done on my previous trips. One of my friends wasn’t all too keen on coming along to another museum¬†and decided to chill in the Tuileries Gardens¬†before his 3 hour drive¬†back home after¬†the museum visit.

click for larger resolution

All I’m going¬†to say about the Mus√©e d’Orsay is that it’s absolutely fabulous!!! It holds plenty of¬†masterpieces¬†it’ll leave you wondering what’s left to display at the Louvre, and it’s situated in an architectural gem.
We arrived at 4 PM, and for the next 2 hours it was one visual orgasm feast after an other.

click for larger resolution

The Impressionists section on the top floor is divine! The small halls devoted to decorative pieces like glass work, curvy Art Nouveau furniture and alike are gorgeous. There are also many sculptures, Chat Noir cutouts, architectural concept art, stage design maquettes for the Opéra de Garnier (and this way we still got to see some sort of its interior without visiting it) and so much more, all scattered over smaller halls as you make your way up to the Impressionists section on the top floor.
Also the reception foyer and the old 1st class restaurant of this former railway station will take your breath away.

… As a teaser, I’ll give in and spill 3 of the permanent pieces of this museum,¬†three you all know (or should have¬†heard of at least)¬†and might not forgive yourselves if you didn’t go see them:

We reluctantly had to rush trough and even¬†skip some halls as at 5.30 PM they start closing the halls one by one… so if you plan to visit this museum, please make sure you’re there¬†around¬†3 or 3:30¬†PM as you’ll need all the time from that point till the place closes (at 6 PM all halls actually were empty, gift shop stays open a bit longer though).

We hurried to meet our friend at the Place de La Concorde, where we quickly grabbed a hot pancake and soon enough, we had payed the parking fee and were struggling our way out of the City of Lights



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: