eco travel: les musées et jardins de paris

museums have always felt like a safe haven where i am ensconced in centuries of creative energy + uncensored emotion. albrecht durer, the 15th century painter + printmaker of the renaissance period, was my greatest influence and i’ve carried his works + his self-portraits in my mind, having admired them in books for many years. my first time seeing an original painting by durer was at the louvre museum. it was in this moment that i realized that seeing a masterpiece in person is indeed a gift + one of life’s simple pleasures.

one of my best friends recently asked me about my favorite museums in paris, thus i was inspired to compose this post about one of my favorite topics of all: paris art museums + their sister gardens, gorgeous green spaces seemingly found in every far-reaching corner of paris.

it was quite near impossible to pack all of the brilliant artwork and museums into a short list, so I’ve put together 14, my favorite number. today, the first 7, along with my favorite green spaces in paris!

louvre

the museum: the louvre museum is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in paris. the louvre was originally built as a fortress in 1190, but was reconstructed in the 16th century to serve as a royal palace. the louvre was opened as a museum in august 1793. masterpieces from history’s greatest artists abound here. visitors flock to see leonardo da vinci’s mona lisa, painted in 1503, but tucked into the lower level is my personal favorite 16th century art piece by albrect durer.

the garden: jardin des tuileries is an expansive garden created in 1564 by catherine de’ medici and opened to the public in 1677. 5 min by foot

the address: rue de rivoli, 75001 Paris

musee d’orsay

the museum: musée d'orsay is housed in the former gare d'orsay, a beaux-arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. the museum holds mainly french art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography.

the garden: jardin luxembourg is a meticulously manicured garden, a magical maze of flowers + sculptures that will steal the heart of any green space enthusiast; there are benches + chairs galore for readers, people watchers, visitors + lovers alike. a popular spot for runners + strollers. *remember, no stepping or sunning on the grass in the main areas, there’s a lovely special section reserved for picnickers and those getting their earthing fix in! 10 min by bus/20 min by foot

the address: 1 rue de la légion d'honneur, 75007 paris

musee rodin

the museum: the musée rodin, housed in an 18th-century mansion in paris, is a museum that was opened in 1919, primarily dedicated to the works of the french sculptor auguste rodin. rodin’s pioneering work in modern sculpture linked traditional art with modern art. find the work of brilliant female artist camille claudel here as well. if you like smaller museums, with their hushed, serene rooms + ample space to take in the artwork, then this museum will surely top your list as well.

the garden: this secret garden, with its canopy of leafy trees, is located on the grounds and is home to some of rodin’s finest works, including the thinker

the address: 77 rue de varenne, 75007 paris

petite palais

the museum: the petit palais is an art museum in the 8th arrondissement of paris. built for the 1900 exposition universelle, it now houses the city of paris museum of fine arts. lesser known, hence less crowded, this museum allows visitors to view masterpieces of painting + sculpture in four wings built around a semi-circular garden.

the garden: this lush inner courtyard garden, located on the grounds, is a quiet + calming retreat in a bustling milieu. a charming outdoor cafe can be found adjacent to the museum + garden.

the address: avenue winston churchill, 75008 paris

I ask but one thing, that is to keep your eyes wide open.
— Albert Kahn

musee bourdelle

the museum: when i told one of my french friends that this petite museum, with a menagerie of blossoming gardens, bulging statues + free admission, was one of my favorites, he asked, “who is bourdelle?” a lesser known artist + an incredibly gifted sculptor, antoine bourdelle worked as an assistant to augustine rodin while building his own career. the musée bourdelle is the artist’s former home + studio, where you can now see where his artwork, which was instrumental in bringing the world of beaux-arts into the new world of modern art, was created and you can step through history as you step through his airy, sun-drenched working area.

the garden: bourdelle’s work space looks out onto a charming garden offering over-sized hydrangea bushes, the perfectly confident flowers complement his monumental sculptures. located on the grounds

the address: 18, rue antoine bourdelle, 75015, paris

musee albert-kahn

the museum: the musée albert-kahn, located just outside paris city limits in boulogne-billancourt, is made up of four hectares of gardens {or ten acres}, joining together bucolic landscapes of various traditions including an english garden, a japanese garden and a french garden. the museum includes historic photographs and film collection by the banker and philanthropist albert kahn.

kahn was known for initiating the archives of the planet, a vast photographical project spanning 22 years, in which photographers + explorers were enlisted to venture out into the world to capture the spirit of cultures around the globe. it resulted in a collection of 72,000 color photographs and 183,000 meters of film.

the garden: the garden beautifully reflects the care, efforts + diligence set forth by kahn in creating a space for people to come together and explore our commonalities, our love for nature + the beauty of green spaces. located on the grounds

the address: 10 rue du port, 92100 boulogne-billancourt

versailles palace + gardens

the museum: the palace of versailles was the principal royal residence of france from 1682, under louis XIV, until the start of the french revolution in 1789, under louis XVI.

louis XIV ruled France for 72 years, and in that time transformed versailles by encompassing louis XIII's chateau with a palace that contained north and south wings, as well as nearby buildings housing ministries. versailles is a spectacle to behold, saturated in art. every room, every wall + every furnishing is steeped in opulence + fine adornments.

the garden: in 1661 louis XIV entrusted andré le nôtre with the creation and renovation of the gardens of versailles, which he considered just as important as the palace. work on the gardens lasted over 40 years.

the address: place d'armes, 78000 versailles

{simple pleasures} ressources naturelles: natural resources

The greatest victory in life is to rise above the material things we once valued most.
— Muhammad Ali

ressources naturelles: i think i value sunshine most. i'd be happy with pockets full of sunshine as my only possession. spring's shimmering days will soon unpack my favorite season, summer. this nature-loving girl has been waiting patiently for the days of full-time sunshine. this is parc des buttes-chaumont, where you have a "window seat" for great people watching anywhere in the park + whether you prefer full sunshine or a little shade under a tree, you've come to the right place.  the petite square pictured in the second image is rene viviani, home to the city's oldest tree, adjacent to the church saint julien le pauvre + across from notre dame. it's the perfect, peaceful locale for an afternoon lunch or for reading a good book. you'll find shakespeare + co's cozy cafe across the way with lots of veggie menu offerings. for more green spaces, here's a terrific list of 15 secret gardens in paris.