Purely Paris: Impressionism and Paris Style

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Paris style has no more popular masters than the Impressionists and the city has just declared its own “Impressionist Spring.” Its centerpiece is the still-fresh makeover of the Musée d’Orsay, which, anyone must admit, provides a new and stunning setting for its precious paintings. But don’t stop at seeing that—the city has come up with plenty of new ideas. Below is a bouquet of things Impressionist fans may like. Some are for worshippers of the actual artists, others for those who just love their era.

Paris style: a self-portrait by Berthe Morisot

Autoportrait, Berthe Morisot, 1885 (detail). Photo: Musée Marmottan Monet Paris/Bridgeman Art/Presse.

An Impressionist Cruise of the Seine
Now available, Mondays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m. (1 hour)
Port de Suffren, €25; €15 for all under-12s

Departs from below the Eiffel Tower and features a lecturer in English or French, who gives passengers a look at the Seine through Impressionist eyes. Project yourself into the place of Berthe Morisot, Renoir or Monet.

Paris style: La Seine's l'île aux Cygnes, created artificially in 1825

La Seine’s l’île aux Cygnes, created artificially in 1825. Photo: Sophie Robichon/Mairie de Paris.

Even More Monet
Musée Marmottan Monet
The home of Claude Monet’s Impressionism, Sunrise (which named the movement), this museum has dedicated a new space to the artist. An impressive 2,000 square feet, it features works inspired by his garden in Giverny, by the Normandy coast and by a visit to London. The museum itself is a treasure, especially for its cache of Berthe Morisot art and—until June 20—a trove of works by Paris style fave Marie Laurencin.

Paris style: Trois jeunes femmes, by Marie Laurencin

Trois jeunes femmes, Marie Laurencin, circa 1953, Musée Marie Laurencin, Nagano-Ken, Japon Musée Marmottan-Monet.

Gardens of Renoir
Musée de Montmarte
Here the butte offers a view out over the river and this little museum sits on the spot of Renoir’s old studio. Due for a renovation in 2014, this year sees refurbishment of their three gardens. Each of these inspired separate Renoir works.

Paris style: Musée de Montmartre, home of the Renoir gardens

Musée de Montmartre, home of the Renoir gardens. Photo: Guillaume Lachaud/Musée de Montmartre.

French Cancan Class (Atelier Cancan)
Paradis Latin, 28, rue Cardinal Lemoine
Monthly at 6 p.m. (1 hour 30 minutes)
€95, must be over 16

Here’s a real test of your love for Paris style: learn the cancan! The Paradis Latin offers a cabaret for those who want something slightly more frugal than a big-ticket show. Opinions differ on their spectacle but the monthly cancan classes (started last year) have been a hit. You turn up in tights and sneakers and are coiffed, made up and dressed. Afterward, you’re given a champagne cocktail, snacks and a souvenir photo. “In French but friendly,” so email if you have language worries. Warning: those famous skirts weigh more than seven pounds each!

Paris style Atelier French Cancan, Cabaret Paradis Latin

Atelier French Cancan, Cabaret Paradis Latin. Photo: Cabaret Paradis Latin.

The Macchiaioli: Italy’s Impressionists
Musée de l’Orangerie, Jardin des Tuileries
April 10–July 22

Only a stroll across the Seine from the Musée d’Orsay, you’ll find this expo on Italy’s mid-1850s Macchiaioli. Revolutionaries who focused on macchia (“spots of light”), their poetic works greatly inspired the Impressionists. Later, they had an equal impact on filmmakers like Visconti.

Paris style: Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1876, Musée d’Orsay (detail). Photo: Musée d’Orsay.

They Owe It All to . . . Eugène Boudin?
Musée Jacquemart-André
Now–July 22

Real Parisian art lovers have been flocking to this show, a retrospective by an artist not shown since . . . 1899. It features landscapes with wonderful light and skies, from an idol of many Impressionists. (Manet famously said, “I owe everything to Boudin.”) Featured is the artist’s specialty: portraits of high society at play on the beach.

Paris style: Concert au Casino de Deauville, by Eugène Boudin

Concert au Casino de Deauville, Eugène Boudin, 1865 (detail). Photo: Washington National Gallery of Art/Museum Jacquemart-André.

Related Links

Destination Impressionism (all of France, not just Paris)

An Impressionist cruise of the Seine

Even more Monet

Marie Laurencin

Gardens of Renoir

French Can-Can Class (Atelier Can-Can)

The Macchiaioli: Italy’s Impressionists

Eugène Boudin

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