Travel Tuesday: Un voyage à Paris

Article and photography by Tessa Lillis 

The weeks leading up to October 23rd were filled with the same question: 'where will you be spending your Independent Learning Week'? Unfortunately for me, I was still unsure until a mere few days before the break. I finally bought my ticket, and I was ready to kick back, relax and spend the week with my sister. Yet, a hiccup in my planning came my way, as my sister informed me that she would be unable to make it for the break. I mentally scanned through all my options. I could... 

 a.) let my ticket go to waste and go on a trip with friends 

 b.) try to convince someone at the VERY last minute to come along with me  

 c.) brave the week alone. 

I almost immediately made my decision. There was only one option that made the most sense... je suis allée seule à Paris!

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Having never travelled by myself before, I truly had no idea what to expect. Would I get lonely? Would I get bored? My week alone in Paris ended up being one of my most fulfilling trips, mainly because I was capable of doing whatever I wanted, and what I wanted was art! 

My first day in Paris was spent wandering through the Musée d’Orsay, a former railway station that was converted into one of the most impressive art museums in the world. As the museum houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces within its walls, I was in absolute heaven. I would walk through a corridor full of Degas, turn a corner and come face-to-face with Monet before immersing myself in works by Renoir. Manet, Cézanne, Seurat, Van Gogh! Trust me, if you are an avid art lover, you could spend hours upon hours in the Musée d’Orsay. 

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My next ‘art stop’ was the Musée Rodin, a museum in the middle of Paris completely dedicated to the wonderful works of the extraordinary sculptor, Auguste Rodin. The house itself, which is a former hotel that now holds his collection of sculptures, was clearly designed in the classical 18th century French style with its beautiful façade and extensive gardens. I saw works such as The Thinker, The Kiss, and The Age of Bronze in all their glory, surrounded by greenery and sun. 

Later on in the trip, I wandered into the Musée Picasso, an art gallery which is now solely devoted to the eccentric and inspiring works by Pablo Picasso. I couldn’t believe that there were nearly three storeys which were absolutely filled with the bright colours and fascinating depictions that are synonymous with Picasso. The stark shapes influenced by cubism, the sensual curve of a lover and more could be seen through the progression of his career. 

Finally, on my last day in Paris, I had the pleasure of experiencing the Musée des Arts Décoratifs’ fabulous Christian Dior exhibit, which celebrated the 70th anniversary of the creation of the House of Dior. After waiting in line for two and a half hours, it felt surreal when I was finally surrounded by his timeless pieces. I was able to experience the progression of the couture brand, and I realised the impact Monsieur Dior had on the entire fashion industry, as well as the significant changes the brand underwent once Yves Saint-Laurent and Raf Simons became the fashion house’s Artistic Director at different points following Dior’s death. 

After reflecting on my solo trip, I can say with absolute certainty that I would highly recommend trying one out. It may seem daunting at first, but it allows you an amount of freedom that you simply wouldn’t have with someone beside you. You can fully experience what you are passionate about, such as the wonderful art which can be found in Paris! Saying that, though, I feel as if I barely scratched the surface of the layers upon layers of art Paris has to offer. With that in mind, then, I suppose I will have to return some day! 

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ST.ART Magazine