An afternoon at l’Orangerie

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“All I did,” Claude Monet once said, “was to look at what the universe showed me and let my brush bear witness to it.”

This is how he described his most famous works of art, Les Nymphéas.

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The paintings are on display in two oval-shaped rooms at my favorite museum in the world, l’Orangerie. Monet spent the last 31 years of his life depicting his garden’s water lilies in Giverny.

How wonderful it must be to create an experience that can be enjoyed for so many years after you’ve gone.

Despite losing his eyesight, Monet managed to paint scenes even more beautiful than real life. He once said, “I must paint everything before I can no longer see anything at all.” And he continued to paint until he no longer physically coud. Being able to find and engage in a passion like that is something I still hope for.

It is truly incredible.

We stayed until closing. Late afternoon is my favorite time to visit because the tourists clear out and at the very end of the day you may find yourself sitting on a white bench completely alone, in complete silence, surrounded by these beautiful water lilies.

If I imagine my last day in Paris, I picture myself in this exact spot listening to Clair de Lune with a tear trickling down my face. One might say I’m a bit of a romantic.