Well our visit to the garden was enjoyable if a little disjointed, we hopped off the metro at the Tuileries stop with the intention of visiting the L’Orangerie. Of course we got turned around and headed off to the eastern end of the gardens, until we realised which way we were going, i.e. the wrong way!
Walking through the Tuileries you notice that it’s a garden of precisely clipped chesnut trees that form islands of deep shade, which is a welcome relief on a hot and muggy summer day. The other thing you notice, a little more gradually, is the sculptures. Tuileries is filled with them some modern like Étienne Martin’s Personnages III above, which we admired while having lunch at the Cafe Reale. Others are, well, determinedly neo-classical in style.
At western end of the Tuileries garden we found a set of six, slightly disturbing, sculpted bronze hands, including one tiny single hand, laid atop a series of granite blocks. The hands form a sculpture called Welcoming Hands, by the artist Louise Bourgeois.
There are an incredible number of other artists represented in the garden from Rodin to Moore and Lichentsein. My only regret is that we didn’t get around to seeing them all, especially Bourgeois’s spider :-).
But the real gem of the garden lies within the Musee L’Orangerie. Here you’ll find eight of Monet’s water lilies murals that he painted at his water garden in Giverney. If I visited Paris for one thing, and one thing only, then this would be it.
Not only are they breathtakingly beautiful, but sit long enough for clouds to obscure the sun and as the light plays and changes so to does the character of each mural, astounding.