We spent day 4 relaxing a little bit and enjoying our neighborhood some. We decided a little late in the afternoon to go to Musée d’Orsay. We stood in line for a little bit and decided we wanted to come back when we had more time. So…we rushed over to Luxembourg Gardens – just as they were shutting the gates. The rain really started to pour so we tucked into a café. Scott had some Vin Chaud (warmed red wine with cinnamon). I took down another bowl of Gratined Onion Soup. So good. We meandered through neighborhoods, stopping every now and again to warm up. Eventually, we made it back to our apartment. We purchased our tickets online for the museum so we could bypass the long lines, best idea ever.
On New Year’s Eve, we got up and headed to Musée d’Orsay. It is an old train station, converted into a museum housing mostly french art. It’s most notable collections include some Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and Degas. The building itself is breathtaking.
We were able to see several works by Monet. This one below is Carrières-Saint-Denis and was painted in 1872. Many of Monet’s best known works are housed here, but were not on display due to some construction (boohoo).
This sculpture below is called La Nature se dévoilant à la Science (Nature Unveiling Herself to Science). It was carved of marble and polychrome onyx. The robe uses red marble and lapis luzuli on her eyes. The detail of the carving is really hard to grasp. Very beautiful. It was created in 1899 by Ernest Barrias to decorate the new medical school in Bordeaux.
We really wanted to see Van Gogh’s exhibit, but as expected, there was a really long line. We decided to see the rest of the museum first and if we had time, would stand in line for Van Gogh. As they started closing the exhibits, we leaned over the ropes to peek into the Van Gogh exhibit. A guard was watching and asked if we wanted in. Of course, we said yes. He let us slip through the ropes and go on in. It was still packed, and hard to get pictures, but we saw his self portrait, Dance Hall in Arles and Thatched Cottages at Cordeville. It was hard to get a picture without other people in it, but I managed at least one wonky, lopsided one.
After the museum, we decided to start making our way in the direction of the Eiffel Tower for the New Year’s festivities. We sort of had some negative expectations, we had heard most cafes would be closed, tables were impossible to find at fine restaurants, and the Eiffel Tower would be too crowded. We decided to brave it anyway, because it really is a lifetime opportunity to be at La Tour Eiffel for the stroke of midnight.
We found some open restaurants, a little pub to stay warm in between dinner and midnight, and ended up practically under the Eiffel Tower beside some very nice people. It was so fun. On our way, per recommendation from locals, we picked up a bottle of French Champagne before heading there.
New Year’s Eve was C.O.L.D. and foggy. At some points in the evening, when we were walking, we couldn’t even see the tower. We were a little nervous, but the fog stayed away for the celebration.
Here is a video Scott took of part of the presentation to midnight. The actual midnight happens around minute 3 of the video. It was so loud there, that it took everyone a minute to realize it was midnight. In case you were wondering, we did smooch, not just video the whole time, you can kind of hear me say “Happy New Year” and the video shakes. 🙂
He was holding it down near his chest so as not to be flashing to all the pick pocketers that we had a nifty little camera ready for the taking, so it’s kind of off some of the time. Still cool to see and hear.
As soon as I opened the champagne, I realized I had no glasses. One of our neighbors laughed as we tried to take dainty sips from the whole bottle. he shared two plastic flutes with us so we didn’t look so ridiculous. He was kind. That is me below laughing about the whole thing.