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Musée Musings: Paris Gallery Guide

There’s something quite special about a day trip to an art gallery and although I know relatively little about art (I did once read a book about modern art, though, which makes me feel like I can talk about this subject with great authority), leaving a museum always makes you feel pretty cultured (and maybe even a little smug). Here’s my musings on some of the galleries Paris has to offer.

59 Rue de Rivoli

So damn edgy, it doesn’t even have a name, just an address. 59 (just my pet-name for it – think of it as the equivalent of talking about a celebrity by their first name) is six stories of art-in-the-making, where you wander in and out of pocket-sized workshops and watch the artists working to bohemian soundtracks which I suspect were pre-made playlists on Spotify. Admittedly, it was all a bit awkward at first. Do I say hello? Is it socially acceptable to stare at them like a caged animal? My inner hippie told me to ‘just go with it man’ and one of the artists obviously sensed this new-found carefree spirit and drew me a tree. Next time I go, I think I’ll wear some patterned trousers and get a nose piercing and maybe he’ll dedicate a whole canvas to me.



That scarf though 


I had avoided the Louvre for a long time. The queues outside were a bit of a turn off (and I’m too lazy to arrive nice and early as advised), especially when I knew I could just buy an ice cream and look at it from the outside. But I knew I couldn’t end my semester abroad without ticking it off the ever-growing list, even if I knew I would never come close to seeing all the art the museum has to offer (according to my guidebook, it would take more time to glimpse at all 35,000 pieces than the human birth cycle – not too appealing). It was a little daunting, but seeing the Venus de Milo in the flesh (well, marble) was well worth battling the crowds. My top tip would be to visit a few times rather than hitting it all up in one visit and getting an extreme case of Museum Legs.



Spot the human

Musée d’Orsay

Great for fans of clocks (if there is such a thing). The d’Orsay is housed in a disused railway station, with a beautifully grand clock that has definitely been subjected to more selfies than any artwork in the gallery, and is just as much a part of the experience as the paintings and sculptures on display. I found it much less intimidating than the Louvre and there’s even a large balcony overlooking the Seine for when seeing another Van Gogh just becomes a bit much.



Massive clock appreciation

Musée de l’Orangerie

Quite possibly my favourite museum in Paris (though not the world, because Nottingham Contemporary). It’s a lot quieter than the other big names and if you go mid-week, you can quite often have the place to yourself (or at least to yourself in the sense that other people won’t get in your photos – priorities). It’s set in an orangery so the natural lighting is pretty on point and makes Monet’s Water Lilies look so au naturel you could be in his gardens in Giverny.

All public art galleries in Paris are free for under-26s from the EU, so if you’re heading over to the capital, they are well worth a visit (even if just for the über-cultured instagrams).




Ruining the painting for everyone else

Edited by Katie Randall 

English gal in Paris.
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