Magazine article Sunset

Even More Great Museums for Paris

Magazine article Sunset

Even More Great Museums for Paris

Article excerpt

Even more great museums for Paris

Another museum? In Paris, a city of grand museums, the opening of still more galleries is like adding pastries to an overloaded dessert cart.

But museums, like desserts, deserve selective sampling, and some recent additions to the city's arts menu are worth a try. One is a collection of 19th-century art housed in a restored train station. Another is an explosively energetic display of works by Picasso in an austere 17th-century townhouse. At the Louvre, you can also check progress on its controversial expansion and visit its recently reopened museums of decorative arts and fashion.

Art in an old railroad station

The newest is the well-publicized Musee d'Orsay, a turn-of-the-century station spared from the wrecker's ball in 1973 and transformed into a stunning exhibition hall. It opened this past winter.

As the new home for Impressionist paintings from the Jeu de Paume, the Orsay is more than just a picture gallery. From its Beaux-Arts exterior to its eclectic exhibits, it's truly a monument of 19th-century French art. Documenting its evolution from 1848 to 1914, the museum bridges the gap between earlier European paintings at the Louvre and modern collections at the Centre Georges-Pompidou.

Space is arranged chronologically: you start at street level with neoclassic and romantic art and work your way up to the third floor and early 20th-century art. Some 4,000 works represent everything from furniture to photography, as well as painting; they include press accounts of the times, exhibits on architecture, even a display of circus posters. Descriptions are all in French.

A cafe on the third floor is one stop for the foot-weary; a restaurant on the second floor is set in delightfully ornate rooms.

The best time to arrive at this popular museum is just before opening on a weekday morning. Hours are 10:30 to 6 Tuesdays through Saturdays (to 9:45 Thursdays), 9 to 6 Sundays. Admission costs about $3.50.

The Musee d'Orsay is at 62 Rue de Lille, just across the Seine from the Jardin des Tuileries and a short walk from the Louvre. Closest Metro stop is Solferino.

The Louvre: work in progress, two completed renovations

A 10-minute stroll from the Orsay will give you a look at one of the city's most controversial projects: the expansion and reorganization of the Louvre.

A platform above the fenced construction site overlooks the excavation. …

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