If you find yourself in Paris for an extended period of time, I do recommend becoming a member of AWG (The American Women’s Group in Paris–https://www.awgparis.org). Since I am a member, I am looped into receiving their newsletter, which mentioned, among other tempting activities for the month of June, the American Friends Musee d’Orsay (AFMO) invitation to attend a private evening at the Musee Orangerie of Monet’s Water Lilies. I immediately accepted, as it was on my list of ‘to dos’ anyway. I had not been there since the Museum’s renovation had been completed in 2006 so I was long overdue for a visit.
I consider this evening to be a privilege and it’s now embedded in my ‘forever’ memory! When does one get the opportunity to be surrounded by Monet’s Water Lilies in a ‘hush-hush’ atmosphere of either no one else in one of the two oval rooms housing them or just a few others that were also having an ‘in awe’ experience?
Once we completed our individual touring, we made our way back upstairs to the main entry room where we shared champagne and chatter with the volume turned up from our quiet oval room ohs! and ahs! In fact, I was so captivated by the Water Lilies I now need to go back and see the other artists represented there because I never made it throughout the museum!
To catch you up on the museum’s renovation, some of you may remember the ‘renovation works’ being delayed but may not have known why:.
This excerpt (taken from an article about the chronology of the Musee Orangerie) is about the renovation: 2000-2006
“Complete renovation and extension of the lower part of the building by the Agence Olivier Brochet, Agence Brochet Lajus Pueyo and Michel Goutal, chief architect for Historic Monuments, with a view to hanging the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume Collection there, without altering the installation of the Water Lilies. The upper floor is removed, re-establishing the natural light from above. The entrance hall to the Water Lilies is re-established in its original form. The building work is delayed and modified as archaeological excavations reveal vestiges of the ancient ramparts of the Tuileries Gardens: the “yellow ditches” from the 16th century. An exhibition area, educational facilities, an auditorium and a bookshop are also created.” What a find!
But back to my recent private evening experience. The space was serene when first entering. Of course, it felt this way even more because there were a limited number of us gathered here. While making my way down to Monet’s Water Lilies, this was the view onto the Tuileries Gardens, from one of the windows. Seeing this view already lead to some excitement in my anticipation of what I was going to see next…
And bright-eyed and overwhelmed I became, once I entered this oval room, as I was surrounded by an almost barren room, save for the water lilies! WOW! I tried to capture the enormity of the paintings by this photo, showing an attendee standing in front of just one of the paintings….and this was one of the oval’s shorter walls.
As I was able to get closer, I could appreciate the colors and likeness to lilies even more.
See this woman on the left about to enter. Does that give you an idea of the expanse of this painting?
Another of the shorter walls.
Feeling dreamy yet?
I only wish my panoramic photos could really capture the expanse.The close-ups might read better to you?Once the evening event was over, we reluctantly scattered outside in various directions. I didn’t want to head to public transportation just yet, as I was still savoring the moment, so I decided to stroll. The traffic was dying down, as was the sun. A view of the Eiffel Tower with Place de la Concorde, not shown, but to the right of this photo. Crossing the river was an additional moody event. Followed by my continued stroll down Boulevard Saint-Germain, until I decided to save my steps. I hopped on a bus for a few stops to get back to my neighborhood. A contrast of the old and new (motor bike below). Crowds or not, I would still recommend you make your way to be in the presence of Monet’s water lilies. My guess is you will have an intimate experience. And/or take a tour of Giverny: http://giverny.org/gardens/fcm/visitgb.htm