Posted by: vlibrizzi | May 17, 2009

The Orsay at Night

IMG_2576The clock in the photo to the left is the in the mail gallery at the Musee d’Orsay, and yes, you’re right. The time reads 10:47 pm. That’s the time that we left the museum last night. 

Now I know what you’re thinking…museums in Paris are usually only open until the early evening. Did the two of those rascals break in or something?

Rest assured, we did not break in. In fact, for one night each year, all the museums in Paris open their doors to the public for free until midnight. It is called Nuit des Musees (or “night of the museums” in French) and it’s a tradition that has caught on in most major cities in Europe too. 

IMG_2561To celebrate the occasion (and to get into the Orsay for free, of course), C. and I took the train into Paris this afternoon (after his Saturday class ended….yes, he had class this week on Saturday. Can you believe it?!?!?).

We knew we had to fuel up before spending until the wee hours of the night at the Orsay looking at some of the best Impressionist art ever painted, so we made a pit stop for some falafel by St. Michel at a small place called Maoz. We had first visited this really yummy falafel chain when we were in Barcelona, so when we heard from a friend that there was one in Paris (and a bunch in the US too!), we knew we had to go!


IMG_2563After dinner, we headed over to the Orsay. It’s good we got there when we did (at around 8 pm) because, as you can see in the photo to the left, the lines were long. It seemed like everyone in Paris was trying to go to the museums last night. And who could blame them?!? All the museums were open, they were all free to get into, and even better, some museums, like the Orsay, had actors, musicians, and other types of performance artists preforming throughout the evening. The even had art students and staff members  in many of the galleries explaining certain paintings. We tried to listen in on one person’s explanation of Manet’s Olympia but couldn’t understand everything she was saying because she was speaking in pretty rapid French. What a shame! 

IMG_2570After walking around the lower galleries and watching some pretty weird, but interesting performance art, we went up to the top of the museum (you can see me at the top of one of the towers in the photo to the left), and then visited the most famous Impressionist art they have in the museum. Seriously, if you have ever taken an art history course and studied Impressionism, you would recognize tons of the paintings in these rooms. I was floored by the amount of beautiful pieces of art I saw. From Manet to Monet, Sisly to Seurat…it was truly amazing! 

We left at around 11 and met up with some friends for a beer at the Great Canadian, a faboulous down-home bar near St. Michel where everyone speaks English (why weren’t any of them around to explain the art at the Orsay to me?)

IMG_2577Our friends invited us to stay the night at their apartment near the Place d’Italy, and when we woke up this morning, the four of us went into Chinatown for some lunch. 

We found out about this hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place called Le Bambou (see C. and our friends posing in front of the restaurant in the photo to the left). Although the place was a bit (that’s an understatement) cramped, and the service very rushed, the food was to die for! 

IMG_2578I had a great beef noodle soup that was so yummy, I just had to take a photo of it (I know, I’m a bit crazy!). 

Then, since it was such a yucky day outside (is it ever going to stop raining here in France?!?!), we thought that we’d try to catch a movie at Les Halles in Paris. Unfortunately, it seemed as if everyone in Paris had the same idea on this rainy Sunday and the movies were all sold out. So, C. and I hopped on the train, came home to Fonty, and saw a movie here at our local theatre that’s about at 10 step walk from our apartment. The movie was pretty awful (some weird British flick), but the theatre was really nice. I can’t believe we hadn’t been there before.

All in all, from our dinner near the Eiffel Tower on Friday to our night at the Orsay last night, I can easily say it was a really nice weekend here in France…although the weather didn’t seem to cooperate.


  1. I love the D’Orsay. It has to be a thrill to be there at night. I’m excited to return to Paris and see you and it later this week.

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