A day in Paris by Esprit de France #9

Our hotels and residences | Exhibitions | Museums
Do you want to visit Paris ? Stay at
Hôtel d'Orsay
Hôtel d'Orsay de la collection Esprit de France

Cézanne’s most beautiful portraits

The Musée d'Orsay, located a few steps away from the Hôtel d'Orsay which belongs to the Esprit de France hotels & demeures collection, is the second major museum in the capital just after the Musée du Louvre. Throughout the works on display, it describes the glory of 19th century Paris and the emergence of the artistic avant-garde trends that marked the birth of modern art. Every year, more than three and a half million visitors come to see the magnificent collection of impressionist paintings, and the museum also features some splendid temporary exhibitions. The one to see this summer is devoted to Cézanne. Although this painter is famous for his still lifes and his representations of the Sainte-Victoire mountain near Aix-en-Provence, a mountain that he often liked to paint from the gardens of the Hotel Le Pigonnet - another member of the Esprit de France collection - the two hundred portraits he made in his lifetime remain the least known aspect of his career.


The present exhibition offers, for the first time, the opportunity to discover them through a chronological as well as stylistic approach. We can admire rare works, often created in series: that dedicated to his uncle Dominique at the beginning of his career when Cézanne works his impastos with a knife, that depicting his wife Hortense when he experiments deconstruction and geometry, that, made of watercolour lightness, representing his gardener in Aix at the end of his life and, of course, his many self-portraits: we particularly liked the 1875 one where the painter's bust stands out against a pink background that exalts the tones of his face admirably. Both Matisse and Picasso regarded Cézanne as the father of modernity in painting but his aesthetic questionings fortunately do not overshadow his personal and authentic approach. This exhibition is dazzling both by the quality of the works and by their violent questioning of humanity. On leaving the museum, you can head upwards along the banks of the Seine and cross the river at the Louvre to have dinner under the arcades of the Palais-Royal in one of the foremost gourmet tables in Paris. Le Grand Véfour has also been a Mecca for political, artistic and literary life for more than 200 years. Classified as a historical monument for its preserved Directory style and because of its history, it proposes a journey through time as it welcomed Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine, then Victor Hugo, Balzac, Colette, Cocteau or more recently Jacques Brel and many others. Jean Véfour imparted his culinary fame in 1820, but today the chef Guy Martin (two stars) satisfies our expectations with his dishes, a balance between great classical and creative recipes.