Two other great small museums to explore

When Peter and I were in Paris in October, we went to several exhibits, two of which were in small museums that are well worth a visit. The first is the Musee Jacquemart-Andre, at 158 Boulevard Haussmann in the 8th arrondisement. You can get there by metro, line #9. This museum was built as a private home at the end of the 19th century and still feels like a home as you walk through- not that it resembles any home you or I live in! There are both “state apartments” and “informal apartments” that you can wander through, giving a great feel for life as an aristocrat of the time, and that’s before you even go to whatever the current exhibit is.  The exhibit we saw (which is there till January 21st) is a celebration of two Venetian artists, Canaletto and Guardi. It is an exhibit that will give you fond memories of Venice if you’ve been and will make you want to go if you haven’t. The one thing to be aware of in this museum is that the rooms for the exhibit are relatively small, so try to go at the end of the day when the crowds are smaller. www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com  

The second museum is the Pinacotheque de Paris, which is right in the Place Madeleine, also in the 8th arrondisement. There is an INCREDIBLE exhibit there through March 17th comparing Van Gogh’s Japanese-inspired work with Hiroshige, an amazing Japanese wood block print artist. The museum is actually housed in two buildings, next to each other, and each of the exhibits is in one of the buildings. It’s a unique chance to really see the Japanese influences on Van Gogh and you will be amazed by both artists. My suggestion is go to Hiroshige first, then with those images in your mind, go across the street to the Van Gogh exhibit. For Hiroshige, you’ll find you want to stand as close as you can to really see the incredible detail in his block prints. For Van Gogh it’s the opposite. Standing back brings the images into focus through the broad paint strokes. We went about 11:00 in the morning, so it felt like we had fewer people (maybe because it was around lunch hour)? It let us spend an hour or so with each artist. I was never a wood block fan, but came away totally hooked. Peter was not a Van Gogh fan, and came away totally mesmerized. It’s a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours, and then go sit and have lunch at one of the multitude of cafes around that area to discuss what you’ve seen. Incredible!! www.pinacoteque.com  

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