Louvre Museum

POSTCARD from Paris: Louvre Museum

The Louvre is one of the ‘big three’ museums in Paris. Comprising an impressive group of buildings – and offering the opportunity for much walking! – it is said to be the largest museum in the world.

The other two ‘big’ museums in Paris are the Museé d’Orsay which was featured in the previous postcard (with Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art from the years 1848-1914) and the Centre Pompidou (with 20th century works created after 1914) which we didn’t have time to visit during this trip.


The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays!

The Louvre Museum is always top of the list when Anne and I visit Paris. However, this time, we arrived on a Monday afternoon and the Louvre is closed on a Tuesday, so we had to hold fire on our excitement for an additional 24 hours.

We took the advice from Booking.com to purchase our fast-track ticket from the Paris Tourist Office at 25 Rue des Pyramides.  For the newest information about the Paris Travel Guide, click here.

If you think the queue we joined – on the left of the featured image above – was long, the one for those without tickets – on the right – was ten times longer. The tickets were no more expensive … and those in the longer queue were understandably frustrated.

Once inside, despite the crowds outside, the galleries were relatively empty.


The Louvre marquees

The pyramid outside the building is eye-catching enough but, inside, apart from the paintings, the architecture is wonderful.

There are great sweeping stairways and three marquees: Mona LisaVenus de Milo and Winged Victory.

Long, long corridors, with hundreds of framed original paintings on display. And, you must remember to look upwards too, at the ceiling.


The Louvre boasts 35,000 art treasures inside

One of the world’s most authoritative museums, the Louvre’s collection ranges from arts and crafts of ancient civilizations right up to the middle of the 19th century.

The brochure boasts that there are 35,000 artistic treasures inside. We didn’t have time to count them … It’s also impossible to see everything in the Louvre in one day!

Antonio Canal by Canaletto

We consulted the free tour guide and identified the exhibits of most interest to us.

We were delighted to see paintings by our favourite artists: Archimbold, Bosch, Brueghel, Caravaggio, Carpaccio, Constable, Delacroix, Dürer, Gainsborough, Goya, Guardi, Ingres, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Turner, van Eyck, Vermeer

One by Canaletto sparked a discussion as to when we might return to Venice. This stunning location is always on our to-visit list and, one day, I might find time to paint some scenes of Venice myself.

The paintings by Arcimboldo, Bosch and Brueghel also provoked discussion; they reminded us of the exhibition we’d seen at Les Baux-de-Provence only a few days earlier. I wrote about it in this postcard.

The Mona Lisa, of course, warrants a visit. It is tiny, and the crowd between you and it is huge.


One last indulgence: the Louvre gift shop

In all, we spent a good couple of hours walking up and down and around, and eventually had to admit, we needed to stop … and come back another time.

One last indulgence was a visit to the gift shop … where I treated myself to the Guide to the Louvre, which has proved very helpful in writing this postcard – and which I shall treasure.


The treasures outside the Louvre

Back out into the sunshine, we were delighted to see this sculpture.

Usually, I also take a photo of the label. But, by now, we were so weary, we just headed to the nearest eatery for much needed refreshment.

Next to the Louvre are the Tuileries Gardens and yet more art to enjoy: statues by Maillol, alongside works by Rodin and Giacometti.

We have walked through these gardens on a previous visit and no doubt will do so again.

We will be back!

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. It’s the third and final one for this particular trip. The previous postcards were from Paradou, and Paris (the Musée d’Orsay)

SHAF Arts Trail: Fiona Cocks

Fiona Cocks is one of 60 artists opening their studios for the SHAF Arts Trail.

Fiona Cocks

She will be exhibiting a selection of her work, including her sea glass and flower collections.


The South Hams Arts Forum (SHAF) is a lively, actively engaged association of artists and craftspeople from across the region. Over the past decade, SHAF has regularly staged a number of exhibitions in the South Hams, and is glad to announce that the annual Arts Trail has this year been extended to include the Half-Term week and will run from October 14th – October 29th in most venues.

SHAF membership is extremely diverse, so while some artists create in purpose-built studios, others produce their work at the kitchen table. Consequently, the Arts Trail will lead visitors to some artists working in their home studios – as is the case for Fiona – and to others exhibiting in galleries and exhibition halls.

Found objects, such as sea glass, can be set and made into lovely pieces of jewellery

At each venue, visitors will find artists happy to discuss their art-form, explain the processes involved and provide the opportunity to view, appreciate and buy unique pieces of work.

Following the Arts Trail also gives visitors an unusual opportunity to explore the glorious South Hams as they map their route and discover more and more artists’ venues (as well as cream tea venues).


Meet Fiona Cocks

Fiona has been working as a Metalsmith since graduating from Sheffield Polytechnic in 1987.

After her daughter completed a Foundation in Art and Design, Fiona has set up a business from our Devon home with their combined jewellery interests.

Fiona has lived in Devon by the coast all her life and, since a little girl, she has been collecting beach finds. This has influenced her work today, often using these finds either for mould making and casting, or for incorporating shells and, in particular, sea glass into her jewellery.

Fiona is fascinated by the weathering process sea glass has undergone after decades of being pounded by the sea, the smoothness and the frosted look gained, and the recycling of our pollution!

A few years ago, Fiona took up surfing which has further influenced her work. Having seen first-hand what our pollution is doing to our seas, this has encouraged Fiona to use as much recycled materials and packaging as she can in her work.

Fiona cocks Sea glass jewellery

Jewellery Making Workshops

Fiona also runs workshops!

You can learn to make jewellery using traditional techniques: texturing, soldering, piercing, drilling, stamping, stone setting, casting, colouring, forming, hot and cold enamelling, anodising aluminium, etching, and hand engraving.

Fiona holds her courses in a well equipped metal working workshop at Bigbury Mint in Ermington. There are five-week workshops for beginners leading on to more advanced techniques, or taster one-off workshops.

Taster workshops might result in your making a silver bangle or silver ring.



SHAF Arts Trail brochures are available in libraries, information centres and many other places in the South Hams. There are 18 SHAF Arts Trail venues, each with one or more artists displaying their work and available for you to see them at work, and to answer your questions.

Fiona Cocks SHAFIn case you can’t get you hands on a copy, here are the details for Fiona Cocks’s venue in Ermington – and the opening times.

This venue is being hared by three artists: Fiona Cocks, Jackie Gale and Sue Stewart.



You can contact Fiona by email at f.cocks@blueyonder.co.uk or call her on 07986 253666 or visit the A & F Jewellery Facebook page


Visit the SHAF website for more details.

Postcard from Paris: Musée d’Orsay

Musée d'Orsay Au Pied De CochonDuring our recent trip to Paris, we visited the Musée d’Orsay – a first time for us – and what a delight!

What made us choose this venue?


The Musée d’Orsay comes recommended

While enjoying a lovely French dinner at the Au Pied de Cochon restaurant on the Monday evening, we fell into conversation with the couple at the next table.

Having discussed what we might order from the menu, talk turned to our plans for our two days. The Louvre is top our our list, I declared.

Musée d'Orsay

Central area with sculptures

No! They thought the Musée d’Orsay was much better.

Then the following morning, when we went to purchase our tickets, we discovered the Louvre doesn’t open on a Tuesday, so off we went to find the Musée d’Orsay.


At the Musée d’Orsay – so much to see?

As you walk through the entrance to the Musée d’Orsay, this huge exhibition space is what you see first: a central walk filled with sculptures.

It takes more than a moment to take in the layout of the building, but, having consulted the free tour guide, we identified the exhibitions and ‘rooms’ of most interest to us.

We were pleased to discover the lifts. Our first chosen exhibition – the Impressionists – was on the 5th floor!

En route, we walked through the cafe area. That was a masterpiece in itself, but we did not sample the delights.

Later, we were to explore all the rooms which led off from the left hand side of the upper corridor (level 2) of this enormous entrance hall area.


At the Musée d’Orsay – more Impressionists than you can shake a stick at!

Musée d'OrsayI have attended many Impressionist exhibitions in London but none compare with the one on at the Musée d’Orsay at the moment.

I saw more of the Impressionists in one day than I had in my entire life: Bazille, Caillebotte, Cassatt, Cézanne, Degas, Fantin-Latour, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Whistler.

It was a knock out!

The catalogue (at 14 euros) is a delight and is split into three historical sections.

  • Impressionism from 1863 to 1874
  • Impressionism from 1874 to 1886
  • Impressionism after 1886

If you are quick, you can see the Portraits by Cézanne exhibition – ends 24 September.


At the Musée d’Orsay – Les Régates à Molesey by Sisley

Musée d'OrsayOne exhibit, I had never seen before, by Sisley, was Les Régates à Molesey (Boating at Molesey).

Painted in 1874, it shows a spot on the Thames, near to where I lived for many years.

Seeing that painting brought back memories …

I’m not sure if we were allowed to take photos in the Musée d’Orsay; certainly, the placement of the exhibits in relation to the windows didn’t encourage it!

This post is one of my POSTCARD series, sharing all things ART with you when I go travelling. It’s the second one for this particular trip. The previous postcard was from Paradou, and the next is Paris again, at the Louvre.