Camus, Sartre, and Hemingway


This morning I was up and out in time to catch the #27 bus and get to the Orsay Museum just before it opened. My nice Museum Pass let me skip to the front of a very long line and I was one of the first to get in. However, things do change, and that was proven when I discovered that my very favorite rooms, which house the Degas pastels, was closed for renovation! Nonetheless, I spent a few wonderful hours among the other Impressionist works and got to see some of my favorite sculptures again. The Orsay really has a fine collection. Don’t miss it when you come to Paris.

Then I hoofed it south to the Delacroix Museum, which is in his last home and studio. Got to stand in the bedroom where he died. The studio has a delightful little garden out back and the entire museum is very charming. This is what can happen when a concerned private group works hard to save the legacy of one of France’s leading artists. It doesn’t take long to see everything but it was cool seeing his paint palette, easel, and brushes.

I lunched on bread and goat cheese at nearby Le Deux Magots, a very famous (some say too touristy, but I didn’t find it so) cafe where various members of the 20th century literary and intellectual elite used to hang, including Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre, Camus, Picasso, and Hemingway. By the way, the name has nothing to do with "maggots" as we know them; translated, it means "The Two Chinamen" and refers to two wooden statues in the place.

My next stop was the Pantheon, a huge cathedral-like structure dedicated to the heroes of the French Republic. Big, interesting, quiet, and includes Foucalt’s pendulum (proving the Earth turns) in the middle.

Ended the day with a stroll through Luxembourg Gardens (my fave) and a few glasses of Brouilly at Soufflot Cafe. Marvelous!

Tomorrow, the Louvre and Galleries Lafayette!


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