Sunday, 31 August 2014

La Baguette (and where to find the BEST baguette in Paris of 2014)

To say the French take their bread seriously is a genuine understatement. The ubiquitous French baguette is the cornerstone of French meals and a common sight everywhere in Paris. 

It also, you know makes a great travelling accessory for those wanting to feel like a bit of a local ;) 

I still unashamedly get a kick out of walking on the streets of Paris holding a freshly baked baguette in my hand. It makes me feel a little Parisienne (except for the giveaway grin on my face because I'm so chuffed at feeling like such a 'local' - which now that I think about it, isn't very Parisienne at all). 

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Why Musée d'Orsay is so "easy to do"

Musée d'Orsay is one of my favourite Parisian museums for a couple of reasons. For one, it's much smaller and more manageable than the Louvre (but really, to be honest, it's pretty easy for any museum to be smaller than the Louvre). I love the Louvre and all of its glory, but what I find often happens is that at the beginning of any museum visit, I'm all there - channeling my inner geeky school kid. I'm in awe of my surroundings and I'm super attentive. I want to absorb every tiny detail and read all the information on those little plaques, in French and in English. If only I had a clip board and a pen to take down some notes..! 

But this really only lasts for about.. you know, an hour.

Entering the second hour, I start to subconsciously gloss over the details and skip a piece of artwork or artefact here and there. My goal has changed from taking in the interesting artwork and appreciating its style to just getting through to the next room. By the third hour, my brain has reached its limit. The only thing I'm now capable of noticing is where the nearest bench is located so I can rest my legs and switch off my brain (oh wait, that was switched off roughly an hour ago..)

Needless to say, the Louvre takes well over 3 hours to properly "do". Whereas Musée d'Orsay is easily done under 3 hours, break time included!

Another reason why I like Musée d'Orsay is that it used to be an old train station - Gare d'Orsay. It was built just before 1900 and being on the left bank of the Seine, offers gorgeous views of Paris that you can catch on your "break" from the museum. Apparently Musée d'Orsay was meant for demolition once it became no longer suitable for housing longer trains (due to its short platforms). Luckily it escaped demolition, was used for a few other purposes including a mail centre (I know, that's where Frenchies used to sort mail..!?) and a movie set and is now a uniquely beautiful home to one of my favourite Parisian museums.