A day at the Musée d’Orsay with kids

Clock at the Musée d'Orsay I’ve done some text-heavy posts, so I’m going to try to keep this one light on words, with a few more pictures. Matt and I took Tommy to the Musée d’Orsay today, a deeply satisfying experience if ever there was one. He’s a child that responds to beauty and it has to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing museums there is, since the building itself (once a Belle Epoque train station) is stunning and full of interesting visual details, inside and out, like the clock above. We took him on a quick tour of the downstairs, talking a bit about Delacroix and Orientalism and why people painted pictures in the first place. We showed him Dejeuner sur l’herbe by Manet and he completely got that it was weird that one woman was naked and everyone else had clothes on.

Taking photos in the Musée d'Orsay Before this trip, I bought each of the kids a disposable camera so that they could take pictures to put in their own journals. This has proved very funny as they want mostly to take pictures of completely random things, like the sky or a crane or, as was the case on the Metro today, the two punky women sitting near us (“Je n’ai pas eu le temps de sourire!” one of them said, laughing, “I didn’t even have time to smile!”). We asked Tommy to think a bit before snapping photos in the museum and he did take some pictures of the rosettes on the ceiling and his favorite statues. He liked the one below because it is of Pan, which made him think of the Narnia books.

After a quick snack, we went out on the viewing area on the roof of the museum and Paris was our oyster, although it was a bit gray today (our first really cloudy day). Here’s Tommy watching a bateau mouche pass:

Looking at the Seine And here’s the picture he took of Mommy and Daddy (this is the one that had our heads in it):

Mom and Dad at the Musée d'Orsay We cruised through the Impressionists, stopping to really look at and discuss the Van Goghs and a couple of the Monets (ahead of our planned trip to his house on Friday). When we were through, we walked up the Rue du Bac in the rain and stopped a cafe full of locals where we had lunch. Tommy is having a rough time here since he really doesn’t care for cheese (so croque monsieurs, the most obvious kid-friendly bistro food is out). But we let him have a chocolat and he gamely ate oeufs mayonnaise.

Chocolat chaud in Paris

Tomorrow I promise to write more about the lovely Caroline, our au pair (I’ll post a picture too). While we were out with Tommy, she took Teddy to the Jardin des Plantes, which is a block from our apartment. They saw dinosaur bones and stuffed and live animals, played on the playground, ate a baguette, and basically had a jolly time.

After Matt and Tommy went back to the apartment, I walked along the Boulevard Saint Germain in the rain. I stopped in at Saint German des Près, where 18 years ago I heard a magnificent performance of Mozart’s Requiem. The vaulted ceiling still has the same faded blue paint dotted with stars that I remembered. At the Carrefour de l’Odeon I discovered that Le Dix, the dive bar where I used to buy pitchers of sangria is still there and looks to be going strong and as grungy as ever. On the way home I stopped and bought some macarons at Eric Kayser (his shops come recommended by Dorie Greenspan, whose blog I really like). The French love these cookies. None of us is sure we think they are all that great, mostly just kind of sweet and chewy, but they look pretty:

Eric Kayser macarons We finished the evening with dinner at home. I poached some fantastic salmon that I bought at the market this morning – impeccably cleaned, I may add.

It’s pretty great to be here.

Please see Paris in its proper order if you’re interested in a chronological list of posts from my family’s July 2008 trip to Paris.

Reader Responses

2 fellow travelers had this to say

  1. WOW – that must have been some dinner & walk last night – you are a new woman. We are all allowed a bad mommy day. I LOVE that you are keeping us in the loop!

  2. bad mommy day, schmad mommy day. Sounds like it was ok. All things being equal, le dejuner t’a laisse tres stressee, mais alors, c’est seulement quel’ques petites heures dans le jour. Ne t’inquiete pas, cherie! Prends le kir pour aperitif et vas-y!

    I am totally nostalgic. I loved the walk from Bastille through le Marais, past Hotel de Ville and to the Louvre. So beautiful!

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