Planes, Paintings, Pyrotechnics

This post chronicles the events of two full days, in which we visited two art museums and watched the festivities for La Fete National, the French national holiday also known as Bastille Day.

Day 1: Musée Marmottan-Monet, Bastille Day

Starting with yesterday, we woke up at around ten in the morning to watch the Défile, a parade down the Champs-Elysees featuring the French armed forces. Both the presidents of France and the United States were in attendance. 

While the troops march down the avenue, the French Air Force demonstration team flies above. We watched it all from our 30th-floor apartment’s balcony.

After watching the flyover, we headed to Musée Marmottan-Monet, a small privately owned museum that houses some of Claude Monet’s most famous works. Photography was forbidden inside the museum, but it was pretty cool seeing so many great artworks.

After returning home, we played Uno and Monopoly until 11:00, when the Bastille Day fireworks show began. There are a bunch of different shows all around the Paris area, but the main one takes place in the center of the city.

The entire Eiffel Tower closes and becomes a giant fireworks launch platform. The thirty-minute show was the most spectacular fireworks show I have ever seen.


Also, our suburb of Puteaux put on a pretty impressive show as well. They actually launched them from a plaza in the middle of a complex of high-rise apartment buildings.


Day 2: Musee DOrsay, Arc de Triomphe, Our Last Day

Today, we decided to visit Musee d’Orsay, a huge art museum housed in a converted Victorian train station and dedicated primarily to Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Works by Cezanne, Degas, Monet, and Van Gogh are all housed here. Here are some of the highlights:

The main hall of the museum.

One of Van Gogh’s Starry Night paintings.

One of Monet’s Waterlilies.

Cows by a Neo-Impressionist painter (early 20th century).

Musee d’Orsay was impressive in more ways than one: the architecture, the size and scope of the collection, and the quality of the artworks within. After we visited the museum, we rode the Metro to Place Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, which houses the Arc de Triomphe.

Built by Napoleon I to commemorate a military victory, the arch is one of Paris’ most recognizable landmarks. It is possible to visit the top of it, but the lines were too long for us to do so. We do have some nice photographs from the base, however:

After getting crepes at a streetside cafe,

we rode the Metro home.

Unfortunately, this marks the end of our trip. Tomorrow, we fly back to Philadelphia from Charles de Gaulle Airport. To everyone who has read my blog this year, I thank you for taking the time to read about some kid on another continent describe his daily experiences.

Thank you, and goodbye (for now.)

- Hayden M. Strong

© Knstrong 2013