Archives du mot-clé wonderlust

Orsay Museum

I’m not what you will normally describe as a fan of museums, however I have to say on our recently trip to the Orsay museum I was pleasantly surprised. In many ways it reminded me of the MET in NYC. Located in an former railway station built in 1898-1900, the Orsay museum is a site to be hold even for the jaded Parisian. After a brief restoration completed a couple of years ago, the building itself as well as the view of the Seine are breathtaking and worth the visit itself. Also most visitor to Paris put the Louvre at the top of their list, the Orsay museum provide a spectacular alternative. The price is 13$ (this is the standard museum admission fee for most of the museum in Paris) per person but admission is free if you are under 25 and show an ID at the cashier. Unfortunately, when we arrived it was already late and we were only able to spend 2 hours exploring, however I would suggest setting a side an half day. You might also consider that the museum is close on Thursday and you can have free admission on every first Sunday of the month. Note, this Sundays can be very crowded, so come early.

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As I mentioned earlier, most of the people consider the Louvre at the top of their list of museum to visit. Personally after our recent visit, I have to say with all things consider I prefer the Orsay museum. It is not as overwhelming in terms of scales and exhibitions and you won’t be as overwhelmed as you might trying to take it all in at the Louvre. I also felt a personal connection to these paintings, they almost talked to me. These are the paintings and sculptures you grown up seeing in books, movies and documentaries. I’m sure you will recognized at list one painting or sculptures for some moments in your life. To be able to get up close and see the marks of the brushes and see how meticulous the artists were in their work was informative and inspiring. Even as a novice like myself, being exposed to this grand masterpieces gave me the curiosity to pay more attention to the details and learn more about the artists.

You will find a large collections of impressionist and post impressionist masterpieces, from such legendary artists like Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh… to just name a few. It is one of the largest museum in Europe. There is something to see in every corner, even if like me you do not necessary like art, I promise you will find a painting or exhibits that will touch your heart.

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If you decide to visit the museum, choose a day when the horizon is clear and the sky is blue. There are so many great view points on the second floor to take in the sites of Paris, especially of Montmartre. Unfortunately we didn’t have a great weather during our recent visit and the pictures we took just did not do the view justice. Luckily, there is a beautiful café on the second floor, located just behind the Railway station clock. The location is really cool and the food is excellent.

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My parents visited the museum 20 years ago and this was the first time they returned since. My husband has been pushing us all to rediscover Paris, through the eyes of a tourist and as opposed to a busy Parisian who doesn’t have the time to appreciate this amazing city. It is been a lots of fun to actually rediscover some of the city little secrets and hidden pleasures.We had a great day and I will definitely try to take my husband back when we have the time. If you happen to be traveling to Paris in the near future, you should seriously consider adding a visit to this museum on your list. 

If you are fortunate enough to have good weather during your visit, you might consider a nice leisurely stroll along the Seine. Stop at one of the many side café and have a coffee and some croissant as well as people watching like a true Parisian.

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As I mentioned, the Louvre can be very overwhelming, as one day might be enough for a visit at the Orsay museum, the Louvre might be 2-3 days. I have been fortunate enough to visit the Louvre around 5 times in my life mostly due to school visit. Now that we have visited the Orsay museum, I’ll make sure on our next trip that we have enough time to take in everything the Louvre has to offer as well. I will say that as a Parisian, I now appreciate even more how fortunate we are to have two such specials jewels in our wonderful city.

New York Women’s march 2018

The weather this weekend was beautiful, so I decided to go do some exploring on the Upper West Side. I had a list of a few spots in mind and I was determined to get it all done. As I mentioned recently in a previous article, the MTA is just a mess during the weekend, let alone when you have a protest march in town. You really have to be courageous and a little crazy to try to go anywhere. However, I had come too far, so as I made my way through the madding crowd at Colombus Circle, it wasn’t long before I figured out that I stumbled into the women’s march and that this would be an interesting experience. I decided to try to obverse the protest from a better vantage point at the top of the stairs of The Museum of Natural History on 81 street and Central Park West. From my left to right, I could see thousands and thousands of people. Women as well as men and lots and lots of children. Some people wore pink hat, some people wore rainbow hats. Everybody seemed to be carrying a protest sign against Donald Trump. This particular march in NYC was one of over 250 similar protest planned around the world this weekend.

I think it is important for me to take a moment to try to explain to you what is going on in the land of the American Dream. It is important to try to understand what is going on here, and how it affects our everyday life. Being an expatriate as well as permanent resident here, I do not have the right to vote. I totally understand why that is the case, but it doesn’t stop me from offering my opinion: this President is making everybody’s life a living hell. I normally do not talk about politics often if at all, because I personally think that politic like religion is a very personal and tough subject to discuss with people. They tend to get very emotional and irrational and it can literally ruin a friendship or family relationship.

When I arrived, I thought at the beginning the march was for the #MeToo movement. I’m sure you have all heard about this movement. Doesn’t matter where you are from or what your feelings are, it is obvious that there is a massive movement across the world to hold powerful men accountable for abusing women. As we all also know, this particular President is not immune from similar accusations.

However, while I  was there, I noticed that there were lots of signs about the Dreamers and immigrants that this President wants to exclude. The Dreamers, if you are not aware are children that were brought to America illegally by their parents when they were too small to have their own choice. There is no need to say that these children and families have tried to integrate into the society and build a life that they can be proud of. To me personally, as an expatriate I found The President’s actions to be despicable and somewhat desperate.

These are just two of the topics people were marching about, but there were hundreds  and thousands of people that were there this weekend with their own personal reasons, whether it be the dreamers, victims of sexual harassment, equal pay, abortion rights, the travel ban… It is safe to say that the majority of Americans are fed up and frustrated by all of this. Whatever personal reason brought them to this march on this gorgeous January day, they all joined forces to make their voices heard, which to me as an expatriate and observer is the fundamental principal of living in a democratic country.

This President seems to live in his own reality TV show. There was in excess of more  than 120,000 people in the streets of NY according to the Mayor’s office this weekend. You could feel that people were feeling empowered and feeling that energy was an amazing experience. People were festive, energized and excited even while they were protesting against very serious issues. Everybody look like they were happy to be able to meet and share with people of similar points of view. Walking to the crowd, you could feel the combine strength of all these people as they gathered along Central Park West on a massive display of unity.

I don’t like big crowds and honestly I’ve never been a rally or a protest before. This march was a first for me and the fact that I was in my adoptive country made it that much more special and educational. Since Trump got elected, listening to the news on a daily basis can be exhausting. How can a man like him rise to the level of the Presidency in the leading democracy in the world? What kind of example are American settings for the rest of the world? How can somebody accused of sexual harassment by over 10 women actually be elected President? The United States of America is the country that represent the American Dream.  The idea that if you work hard enough and play by the rules, anything can be possible, unfortunately it feels over the last year that ideal has change. I felt pride taking part in this demonstration with the other American citizens, expressing themselves and demanding to be heard. It is apparent somebody is trying very hard to divide us, whether it is along religion, ethnicity or politics. It felt good to stand with other people and take pride in our unified voices. Some pictures I took speaks volumes for themselves, please take a moment to look into the faces of these people, read some of their signs and maybe not feel so alone and frustrated. I’m glad I went.

 

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