Part II of David’s visit to Vitry-sur-Seine
What do you do with a whole day free in Paris? Having not been to the Louvre since I was 12 we headed for the great glass pyramid which now marks the entrance. After half an hour in a queue which seemed a mile long we felt the first spits of a heavy shower. We gave up; made a dash for cover in the trees of the
Jardin des Tuileries. The Italian styled gardens have become a sculptural park in the centre of Paris. Dodging the showers we followed the signs to the Orangerie; no queue – great!
Well what a shock! After passing through what seemed like airport security,
x-ray machines, scanners….what did we find? We found an orangerie with no oranges, no trees, no shrubs, only paintings; astonishing paintings.
We walked into two galleries, each contained only four paintings; they were full of people, many sitting; yet it was silent. The paintings were Monet’s Les Nymphéas: landscapes of water and reflection; water lilies floating on ponds in Monet’s garden at Giverney. I have never felt quite so calm, so relaxed and contemplative whilst looking at a painting. The largest were between 12 and 15 yards long. I’ve experienced calmness before when sitting looking at Mark Rothko landscapes in Tate Modern; but there after 15 minutes I would begin to feel my mood swinging downwards. Here it was totally different; the calmness lifted my spirits; made me feel that I had come into contact with something very special.
If you go to Paris, go to see them.