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Posts tagged ‘Paris Museums’

No. 346: The Orient Express


Only by interrogating the other passengers could I hope to see the light, but when I began to question them, the light, as Macbeth would have said, thickened.

– Hercule Poirot, Murder on the Orient Express

If you are in Paris and you haven’t yet seen the intriguing Once Upon a Time the Orient Express expo at the Institut du Monde Arabe, make your plans now. Its final departure is 31 August 2014, 19h. France’s national railway (SNCF) and the Institut du Monde Arabe worked together to bring this real-life and cinematic legend to the public. Film enthusiasts and vicarious travelers get ready for a nostalgic journey on the extravagant train line.

One of the finest exhibits I have seen, the detailed curators make it easy to imagine those first voguish passengers who boarded the luxurious liner in Paris in 1883 for their 80-hour journey to exotic Constantinople. The train oozes with the old glamor of courtesans and kings, duchesses and diplomats, spies and starlets, smugglers, tycoons, treasure hunters and rogues. It took nearly a year for SNCF to restore the 20th century locomotive used in the film “Murder on the Orient Express”, and they did not spare any expense. Visitors can marvel at the sheer opulence of the era that must have rivaled, if not surpassed, Europe’s finest hotels of the time.

The tour starts inside the Institute with vitrines filled with advertisements, travel documents, luggage and personal items and then continues with fully restored compartments and period clothing. After that you wander back outside to the Seine and board the lavish locomotive beautifully reflected in the institute’s glass-paneled walls.

It is great fun to marvel at the sumptuous wooden paneled corridors and leather-covered ceilings, rich leather armchairs, art deco bars and other early 20th century excesses. The curators have meticulously included all the details: Harry Potteresque newspapers with photographs that come alive with scenes of the time, original china, cutlery, silk sheets, velvet curtains and personal items famous travelers brought aboard.

Look for the steam and listen for the whistle, two weeks left to clamber up the stairs and catch your ride on the Orient Express!

Il était une fois l’Orient Express runs until August 31, 2014 at the Institut du Monde Arabe, 1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris, France.



No: 262: le Musée Marmottan Monet


I was so inspired by Giverny and Claude Monet, I decided to make the short trip to one of Paris’ secret treasures, le Musée Marmottan Monet, to take in the exceptional expo marking 80 years since the museum opened. The expo: Les Impressionnistes en privé: Cent chefs d’oeuvre de collections particulières (The Private Impressionists: One-hundred Masterpieces from Private Collections) did not disappoint. I could sit for hours in this spacious and manageable museum, especially on a rainy day, which it was, and simply Zen-out, and be taken away to Monet’s gardens and Londonscapes, Morisot’s femmes, Degas’ dancers, Renoir’s portraits and parties, and Pissarro’s campagne.

The Marmottan is not usually on the standard tourist itinerary, so you can enjoy your viewing without worrying about taking an elbow in the ribs or competing for the best view. Serenity and tranquility are the two words that come to mind when I visit this maison-turned-museum. It’s like coming home to your (extremely wealthy) dotting aunt’s manor and taking an almost private tour.


I am a bit reluctant to share the details of one of my favorite Parisian escapes, so please don’t let the word spread too far.


Musée Marmottan-Monet

2, rue Louis-Boilly, 76016

Mardi au dimanche de 10h à 18h

Dernière entrée: 17h30 
Nocturne; le jeudi jusqu’à 20 h 
Dernière entrée: 19h30

Fermé au public le lundi



campagne: countryside

femmes: women

No. 239-248: Ten Random Things I Love About Paris

  1. The Clean-up Crew (affectionately know to me as the Little Green Men) who show up every day without fail, plastic green brooms in hand, to clean up other people’s crap.

    source: villedeparis advertising campaign

    source: villedeparis advertising campaign

  2. Barbe à papa: papa’s beard, AKA cotton candy. How can that word not make you smile?



  3. Unusual and frank billboards. I love that the French aren’t (yet) stifled by the conservative Christian right and can post billboards like this in the metro without causing a media firestorm.buildboard_paris_metro.jpg
  4. Free museum entrance for children and young adults up to the age of 25. (Another example of the French’s commitment to cultivating a love of the arts.)alvaroo-museum-ticket-swap-musee-du-louvre-paris
  5. Thegendarmeries on their horses trotting about the city keeping the gypsies in line: c’est tellement chic.



  6. Round windows. Moi, j’adore.



  7. The postmen and women delivering mail on their bikes. (Being a cycling postwoman has always secretly been my dream job.)



  8. Pistachio éclairs.pistachio_eclair_paris.jpg
  9. Grown men in business suits on fold-up bikes: captains of industry join the circus.urban-folding-bike2
  10. Those hunky pompiers who work so hard to stay in shape each morning and add a little extra attraction to a city already oozing with beauty.calendrier-pompiers-france

No. 115: Le Musée du quai Branly

You know you are a very spoiled museumgoer when you sometimes just need a break from ‘western’ art and want to be reminded that the rest of the world is filled with spectacular art and artists.



That’s where le musée du quai Branly comes in.


I am extremely fortunate because this striking contemporary building and collection is right at my doorstep. Set among a massive diverse garden, the museum showcases and celebrates the colorful and native arts and objects from Oceania, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

musée Branly Quai Branly Museum


le musée du quai Branly: the Quai Branly Museum; 37, quai Branly, 75007 Paris