An Orangerie…and not an orange in sight!

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.


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