Friday was our last full tour day with our group. We had a guided tour with Elizabeth again, which would be our last, and then a Bon Voyage dinner that night.
Elizabeth took us through the Mussee de L'Orangerie. The museum holds a total of 8 Claude Monet Water Lilly paintings that he did specifically for installation in the museum. They are massive and surround the interior of two oval shape rooms. Elizabeth gave us about a hour lecture on Monet which was nice. Not so much because Monet is a very interesting person, in my own opinion, but because she was very good at what she does and could have made a rock seem interesting.
Side note: I'm not a big fan of the Impressionist movement. I just took a class last semester with a teacher who was completely in love with it, yet she was very boring about it. One thing that does impress me with the movement is their determination to continue with what they where dedicated to doing - which was painting in a style that defined themselves. It's hard for me to look at an impressionist painting and think of it as revolutionary, but they are. Anyway, just some personal thoughts.
The basement of the Orangerie also has a collection of other artist that where really great. Overall, this is the only museum that we have been to that has been completely manageable in size.
All week long there was question whether or not the Orsay would be open. This is another museum located across the river from the Orangerie and it has a ton of great stuff - including quite a few Van Goghs. All week long the museum workers had been on strike and facility was closed.
Our luck has been running hot and the Orsay opened its doors this morning for the first time in 9 (?) days or so.
It is a great building and the installations where very well put together, but honestly - after you see a couple Romanesque statues, you've seen them all! Luckily they had a very cool furniture installation and the painting exhibits where great as well.
Have I mentioned the Paris is a hard place? Everywhere you go your standing on 6 inches of marble or a slab of concrete, a cobblestone road, or a rocky side walk...can a brother get some cushion for his poor little baby feet? No seriously, everyone tells you that you need comfortable shoes, what they should tell you is to bring a gel pad to stand on. Ha-ha. It's been good. You find your grove and go with it. Ours has been strategically placed naps and wine drinking.
Our final dinner with everyone was such a good time. The wine was flowing, the conversation was great, and the food was good. We sat at a table with Toni, our Steve's guide, and got to pick her brain on european politics and her travels over to the states.
Everyone was having such a great time we grabbed a few bottles of champagne and took a short walk over to the Champ de Mars. If I haven't cleared this up before, that is the park area you see in Rush Hour 3 when Jackie Chan is hanging off the side of the Eiffel Tower.
We proceeded to watch the light show on the tower that happens on the hour. What a great way to end the time spent with these people. For being a group of strangers at the beginning of the tour, it sure felt like we had made some friends in the end.