May 12, 2014

A Beefcake Tour of the Musee d'Orsay

The Louvre is my favorite museum in Paris, but the Musée d'Orsay has some points in its favor:  It's housed in the old Gare d'Orsay railroad station, which is kind of cool.  It's smaller and less crowded -- you can see everything in two hours.

And there's more beefcake.

Here is the perfect two-hour beefcake tour:

Go on Thursday evening, when it's open until 9:45 pm, and there are special concerts and lectures.  And, in the winter (the absolute best time to visit Paris), you can cross the Seine on the Pont Royal and see the museum lit up

6:00 pm:  You bought your ticket in advance, so go through Entrance C.  Climb the stairs to the Third Level, where you can look down on the galleries, and incidentally see some nice views of Paris (the Sacre Couer is visible through the Clock Window).

Unless you're a fan of Impressionism -- Manet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne -- you won't find much of interest in the galleries on this level, but go to Room 36 for Rodin's  Le Homme qui marche, Room 34 for his John the Baptist, and Room 29 for Renoir's Le garçon au chat (Boy with Cat, left).  15 minutes.

6:15: Downstairs to the Middle Level, and the Terrasse Seine, which offers more views of the galleries, plus Coutan's Chasseurs d'aigles (Eagle Hunters)Saint-Marceaux's Génie gardant le secret de la tombe (Genie Guarding the Secret of a Tomb), and Indrac's Mercury. 15 minutes.

6:30:  Go through the galleries on the Seine side, looking for d'Epinay's Portrait charge d'Ernest Meissonie (Room 57), Sicard's Oedipus and the Sphinx (Room 59), and Georges' L'homme à l'outre (Room 60).

The galleries on the opposite side contain mostly female nudes, but check out Bartlett's Homme debout and Homme accroupi in the Galerie Francois Cachin, and Signac's Le démolisseur (Room 69). About 30 minutes.

More after the break.

7:00: Stop in the restaurant, just as it opens, to check out the cupids on the ceiling and have a snack (dinner is a bit expensive).  20 minutes.

7:20: Downstairs into the Court of the Sculptures: Perraud's Le Désespoir (Despair), Guillaume's Anacreon....

des Fort's Abel mort (The Death of Abel)....

Moulin's Secret d'en haute (Secret from On High)...

Plus semi-nude statues of Aristotle, John the Baptist, and Narcissus, and look up for Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux's allegorical musclemen.  20 minutes.

7:40: Then browse through the ground-floor galleries, looking for Gemeto's Water Carrier, Barye's allegorical nudes, and Regnault's Automédon (Room 5), Hiolle's Arion (Room 7, left), and Ribot's Saint Sebastian (Room 14).   About 20 minutes.

8:00: Unless you want to stay for the concert, walk two blocks to Tan Dinh, 60 rue de Verneuil, for dinner, and then take the Metro to the Bains d'Odessa (5 rue d'Odessa), which you are familiar with from your tour of the Luxembourg Gardens.

It's always a good idea to end a beefcake tour with real beefcake.

See also: A Beefcake Tour of the Louvre and 12 Public Penises of Paris.

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