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Photo by Chris Cadiris on Unsplash

🇫🇷Paris I - Impressionism, Pantheon, and more..


It was my second time in Paris, and I should say that I didn’t do much in my first visit. I had joined free walking tour to see the most famous touristic places, went up to the second floor of Eiffel Tower, hung out with people from my hostel, and that was pretty much it. I was dreaming of beaches in Barcelona, which was my next stop. I was alone and too anxious because I didn’t want to be robbed. So, I couldn't enjoy the city. But it was just the opposite this time!

Transportation from/to Berlin

I flew with Air France from Berlin to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on my way. From there, I had to go to the city center with a 11 euro (zone-5) ticket, and it was packed because it was rush hour. We barely fit in standing still.

On the way back, I flew to Prague with Ryanair. But the airport was Paris Beauvais Airport, the 3rd airport in Paris, and there was no transportation other than a shuttle. The shuttle takes 1 hour and 15 minutes and costs 17 euros. You can check the shuttle *here. *

Next time I go, I may prefer to go by train because it is more comfortable and enjoyable to work on the train. Another advantage is that the train stations are usually in the city center and you get rid of the airport-central transportation problem. It takes around 8 hours to go.

Accommodation

I have stayed in a hostel for the first time since the pandemic started: The People — Paris Nation. It was cleaner than some of the 3-star hotels I have stayed in before, but the idea of staying with random people in the same room was a bit scary initially. I think the pandemic has played with our minds a lot! Anyways, the thing is that accommodation in Paris might be pretty pricy, even though you stay in a hostel or low-star hotel. It makes sense to book in advance. The hostel had a nice view of Nation square, and breakfast with lots of butter, croissant:

Another good thing about this hostel is that there is 24/7 supermarket just next to it. It’s called Supermarché Casino.

Impressionism

I always had an idea that most of the artists are visionary, they love challenging the usual of their times, pushing boundaries. But whenever I read about a new art movement, I see that the prominent artists of their times didn’t accept new art movements easily. For example, when the first impressionist paintings were exhibited in Paris, they were interpreted as incomplete, unfinished sketches.

(A small parentheses about this) The same thing happens for other new movements/technologies as well. Maybe it’s not only about art, maybe it’s about people and how easily we get used to something and never want to see something different, something changed. But once we get used to a new thing* *then our defence mechanisms start working for it. One-side of me is iconoclast and I think that’s why I like artists who are iconoclast and controversial: Godard, Impressionists, and a lot more…

Okay, let’s get back to Impressionism. What’s different in this movement? Actually, tons of things are different!

  • They challenged academy’s values. They rejected tradition, embraced the modern, new ideas about art, you see painting from the most-talented artists’ view, in delightful way, it’s pleasant. Not dark, violent or dramatic.
  • Smaller canvasses were used which were easy to transport, paintings usually show outside-world, landscaping etc. They did improvisation as well, it’s not only the landscaping they see.
  • Sometimes, paintings just show people doing regular stuff instead of mythology, religion, or historical figures. They tried giving us windows into a fascinating historical moment, capturing atmosphere of some moments, passing minutes.
  • They sometimes painted the same thing again and again. The only difference was the conditions and times. For example different lights, or different times of the day.
  • Paintings are colorful, vibrant, pure, intense, bright.
  • More women were painted.
  • Brushstrokes are visible. They didn’t have any attempt to make them imperceptible.
  • Pioneers are Manet, Monet, Renoir, Morisot, Degas, Bazille and more.

Here are the some painting photos from my gallery:

***Dance at Le moulin de la Galette*** / Renoir*Dance at Le moulin de la Galette / Renoir*

**Bazille’s Studio** / Bazille*Bazille’s Studio / Bazille*

There is one interesting thing about this painting. Bazille painted Renoir and Manet! They are also inside Bazille’s Studio.

[Olympia](https://youtu.be/bihBbqzL96Y) / Manet, he was also a part of the Realism art movement. This has traces from both movement.Olympia / Manet, he was also a part of the Realism art movement. This has traces from both movement.

Monet’s Water Lilies are not only a few paintings. It’s an art collection and this collection is one of the most famous paintings of the Impressionism. There are 250+ of paintings. You can see a few of his masterpieces (also his last artworks) in Musée de l’Orangerie.

As you may notice, they are curved panels and specifically designed for Orangerie. He described these artworks as:

It gives the illusion of an endless whole, of a wave with no horizon and no shore.

Post-Impressionism

The paintings in this movement, show more emotion of the artists than its predecessors. Instead of recording what the eyes see, the artists used different painting styles and created interpreted compositions. Their purpose was enriching Impressionism. So, we might say that it’s more subjective than Impressionism.

Pioneers of this movements are: Vincent Van Gogh, Cezanne, Pissaro. Honestly, it’s difficult for me to differentiate the artists of this movement and the Impressionists. Because some artists changed their style during their career and painted using both styles.

Vincent Van Gogh

I don’t need to tell much about him and his masterworks. So, I’ll cut to the chase and write only a few things and share his paintings:

  • He sold only one painting in his life. But he dedicated himself to paint more and more. And he was very productive.
  • He was impressed by impressionism movement while he was in Paris. However, his paintings are very emotional and he used unnatural colors all the time.
  • An interesting article: Fluid Dynamic of Starry Night, and video: Fluid Turbulence of Starry Night.

Everyone knows the The Starry Night, right?* *Did you also know that he painted 21 versions of them? You see one of them above and it’s called Starry Night Over the Rhone. And it was painted before the iconic one.

The one everyone knows is in New York: The Museum of Modern Art. He painted that one when he was in a mental asylum. Doctors believed that painting was the only way he could survive and let him painted. And he painted one painting every other day when he was there.

Pantheon

As you might guess from the name, this monument was inspired from Rome’s Pantheon, especially the front facade. The things that were interesting to me are as follows:

  1. This monument was under the influence of secular-side and church from time to time. But after the French Revolution, the church functionality disappeared and it became a monument.
  2. It is possible to find many infamous scientists, writers, philosophers and other intellectuals’ cemeteries in this monument. To name a few: Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Maria Curie, JJ Rousseau, Emile Zola and many more!

  1. A copy of Foucault Pendulum is in the middle of the monument because the real experiment was held here in 1851. You can also read about it in the monument. There are scientific explanations, videos.
  2. You can read a lot about the history, architecture of the monument using the devices in the middle. If you’re lazy to read, checking only the images is also an option of course :)

Sainte Chapelle

This is a very old (was built in 13th century) gothic-style chapel that has amazing interior. Look at the long window panels! Gothic-style architecture uses pointed arches and flying buttresses, which means that it’s possible to build giant buildings with giant windows.

Notre-Dame de Paris

Unfortunately Notre-Dame is still under restoration. It is planned to finish the restoration and open the cathedral before the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. If you go there now, you could still see the two towers:

This is another beautiful Gothic-style cathedral example. As you know, it’s has a long controversial history. There is Victor Hugo’s famous book, and its musical that prevented its destruction: The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The most famous song is *Belle*. I was lucky enough to watch the musical at Zorlu PSM Center in 2014.

Montmarte

You can find many things in this hill: cafes, narrow streets, museums, churches, viewing points, wall of love and art of course!

Sacré-Cœur Basilica

You might need to wait a lot in the queue if you want to go in. Because it’s free and one of the most popular touristic place in Paris. You could also climb to the Dome if you want to see panorama view of Paris. Check out more information here.

Place du Tertre

This is a square next to the basilica. It’s famous with paintings, cafes. For me, these cafes looked very touristic and I preferred walking around rather to sitting in a cafe.

By the way, have you seen Amélie? If yes and you’re a fan, it’s mostly shot in Montmarte. You can check Café des Deux Moulins. Or you can make your own Amelie tour. Here are the locations.