I had friends from South Africa visiting Paris two weeks ago, and it was during our moments visiting the tourist spots and walking around Paris, that I felt that thrill I once did before I moved here. The old adage that living in a place is a far different reality from visiting it still holds true. I have become somewhat jaded in my perception of Paris, but since last week I have a renewed appreciation for all things Parisian. Wanting to not lose even a moment of that renewed curiosity about the city, I planned a Sunday outing with my children – something we used to do often before our blasé attitude towards Paris and its many monuments became the norm. The Musée National Picasso was our art and culture excursion yesterday.
I booked the tickets online for a 9:30am visit, which completely ruled out any Sunday morning lie in. My children grumbled all the way, but once there I saw them getting enthusiastic when faced with the absence of crowds, and a well lit and airy museum. I always limit museum visits with my nine year old son to an hour at the most – but we found ourselves wandering about well into almost two hours, exploring the differently-themed rooms; taking brief pauses on the numerous benches provided for seating, whilst we listened to, and read up on the artworks on our audio/video guides. The visit coincided with my son’s recent art class assignment on their favourite artists, and for whatever reason – definitely not my influence – he had chosen Picasso. Seeing the many and varied works of the artist concretised the reality of the artist more than his explorations on an iPad had done. I too left with renewed admiration for this artist, whom I had always just categorised as a Cubist artist. When we finally finished our visit, the queues outside were longer – partially filling up the enormous courtyard.
There are four floors to this museum and it is filled with Picasso’s paintings and sculptures themed along the varying periods and influences to his work. The huge proportions of the room and lighting added to the overall experience because at no point did we have that claustrophobic feeling that is often synonymous with museum visits. The early visit probably played a huge part in this. Go early if with young children, and definitely reserve the audio guides – they are well worth the extra cost.
Musée National Picasso – Paris
5 rue de Thorigny