We arrive at the Tuileries before the Orangerie opened at 9:45 a.m. The oval rooms featuring late works by Monet were dim and blurry in the gray light, but the lower levels were glorious with many Renoirs on loan from private collections and a lavish exhibition of art and events in the time of Claude Debussy and the Japanese woodblock of The Great Wave off Kanagawa. The Rodin Museum was closed for renovation and many of the works were on display in the Metro station near the museum and throughout the city.
The Musee du Quai Branly opened at 11 a.m. so we had time for café et un croissant. This is a fabulous new museum built expressly for the collections of aboriginal art which didn't look very good in the sumptuous setting of the Louvre. France colonized extensively in Polynesia and that's where this museum really shines. Well, shine isn't right. The museum is really dark, with the artwork illluminated with low-wattage spotlights to limit their deterioration.
The exquisitely carved and decorated donkey is from India, and the driftwood totems are from Polynesia. The early Christian art from Ethopia in the 1400s was breathtaking and the real shrunken heads were mesmerizing. Brazilian headresses from bird plumage seemed incandescent. Amazing art from French colonies in West and North Africa. Because the Spanish colonized the Americas, the collection of pre-Columbian art was limited and undistinguished.
They had an exhibit of raincoats from primitive cultures: reeds, twigs, leaves... and an exhibit on Patagonia. We used a two-day the Museum pass for the Louvre yesterday and these two museums today because the next day was the first Sunday of the month and many museums would be free and crowded.
Sunset was about 9:30 p.m. but it started to rain. We walked to the Seine to see about a sunset boat ride and saw these folks still lined up for the Eiffel Tower. Then the heavens opened and we were drenched as we ran for what we hoped was the right bus stop. The bus we wanted came immediately and I muttered, "Thank you Jesus." The lady in the bus shelter laughed. We dried off, polished off the last of our Rue Cler goodies and watched a Jackie Chan movie in French.