Come across a museum in Paris seemed almost as common as going back and forth to the “bakeries” that seemingly dot every corner of the city. Well, maybe not to the same degree – Paris enjoys an amazing More than 30,000 bakeries and nearly 300 museums – but it certainly seems to be the case. A lot of Parisian life and energy mingle in its art, literature and fashion. I really relish the opportunity to wander around a museum at my own pace, to open up to its knowledge. I’ve selected a few of my favorite museums and exhibits to share, ones that have each filled me with a unique sense of joy and wonder.

Orsay Museum

I found myself in the corridors of the station-turned-art-museum four times in the last two months, with no intention of quitting anytime soon. My favorite works are on the upper level of the museum and reflect the Impressionist style, composed by painters like Monet, Manet, Degas, Cézanne, Pissarro and Renoir. I love how the colors and hues of each painting blur and overlap, how a fleeting moment in time is captured by light visible brushstrokes, and how light and movement organically emanates from each painting through light explosions of color and texture. One of my favorites is “The artist’s garden in Giverny” by Claude Monet, which depicts rows of vibrant purple irises arranged beneath trees that shimmer with light, almost like streams of rain on the canvas. You feel like you’ve been there before or been taken there instantly. You are standing in the garden, feeling the sun and smelling the irises.

Carnavalet Museum, “A Parisian Novel”

“A Parisian Novel», a temporary exhibition currently on display at the Musée CarnavaletMarcel centers Proust himself as an author and displays his relationship with Paris through a mix of art, literature, historical synopses and immersive elements. I read by ProustIn Search of Lost Time” last semester in a Tufts English lessons and I enjoyed how this exhibit perfectly blended the inner worlds of by Proust novels and the political and social environment that influenced him. My favorite parts of the exhibit were the heavily annotated drafts of Proust’s novel and the replica of the bedroom in which the young marcel sleeps in “In Search of Lost Time.” Together, like the taste of the madeleine dipped in tea that evokes memories of At Marcel’s childhood, this exhibition transported me to that time, last semester, when I myself started reading his novel.

Museum of Decorative Arts, “Thierry Mugler, Couturissime”

Paris is home to some of the most fashionable and best-dressed people in the world. One of those people was, of course, the late fashion designer Thierry Mugler, whose haute couture reflected avant-garde and theatrical styles blending seamlessly to define her garments as works of art. This exhibition at Decorative Arts Museum showcases works from across the designer’s career, combining clothing, fragrances, colored lighting, mirrors and film to create a walk-through gallery that traces the evolution of the designer’s work and collections over the past five decades. My favorite piece was a blue, green, and purple dress that billowed in waves at the waist, mimicking the flow of water or the seepage of some other unknown but intriguing substance. The exhibition, taken as a whole, gives the image of Mugler as a trendsetter and fashion icon, titles he rightly deserves.


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