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Art in Paris: 4 Must-See Museums

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Paris is the place to be for exploring art! Of course there's the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, and the Centre Pompidou, but here is a guide to some slightly lesser-known art spots in Paris that I enjoyed checking out during my time there. What’s really great about Paris and most large cities in Europe is that you can get into museums for free (or at least for much cheaper than in the U.S.) with a European student ID! So, be sure to take advantage of that during that time abroad! 

Musée de l’Orangerie

Located in the Jardin des Tuileries, the Musée de l'Orangerie is most well known for housing Monet’s later water lily panels. The two oval rooms provide a truly unique and immersive experience into the artist’s later work, where Impressionism begins to meet Abstraction. I really enjoyed how the layout of the room allows you to really let you focus on Monet’s expert skill as the multicolored brush strokes come together to create his masterpieces.

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L’Atelier des Lumières

This is actually the spot where the Statue of Liberty was assembled, and it is now used as an exhibition center for art shows. While I was in Paris, the Atelier des Lumieres had a main show on Gustav Klimt, as well as a pre-show on Hundertwasser, but the art shows change every few months, with their latest one focusing on Vincent Van Gogh. Their artworks were illuminated onto the walls and the floor, with the moving images accompanied by music. You can walk around the area all you want and get to see the art show from different points of view. Seeing Klimt’s shimmering gold paintings come to life all around me was one of the most unique and amazing art experiences I’ve ever had! (Check out this video I created to see a glimpse of this incredible exhibit!)

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59 Rue Rivoli

This five-story art space is an incredible and completely free art experience located just a few minutes away from the CEA Paris Center! Artists from all over the world set up their workshops at 59 Rue Rivoli, and display and sell their works. The space is beautifully decorated by the artists themselves, and even hosts a variety of free events. It was a really interesting experience to be able to watch the artists work, and even discuss their art with some of them. One of the artists had a stack of small pre-made paintings on which he would sketch his visitors based on quick conversations. He drew me when I visited, and I was able to buy a small original piece which served as a great souvenir of the Paris art scene when coming back home! 

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Musée de Montmartre

This museum tells the story of Montmartre through its paintings: from a mill outside the city, to the bustling cabaret, and to the spot of choice for bohemian artists living in Paris. It mainly focuses on Suzanne Valadin and her son Maurice Utrillo who lived and painted the story of Montmartre. Aside from the paintings themselves, the museum used to be a house which belonged to the Impressionist Renoir, and visitors are able to walk through his garden and enjoy an afternoon in its flowery alleys. There is also a replication of an artist's workshop that overlooks Montmartre, allowing visitors to get an idea of what it was like to be an artist living in Paris in the 1900s. I really enjoyed sitting with a cup of coffee by the miniature water lily pond and people-watching in the garden on a sunny September day.

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Tali Pilip is the Fall 2018 Alumni Ambassador in Paris, France, and is currently studying at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.
 
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