“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


European Vacation - Paris - The Louvre

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The day after the long walk to the Eiffel Tower we decided that the Paris Metro would be the way to go.  We'd heard good things, about it and while we enjoyed seeing so much of the city on foot the day before, our feet needed a rest.

So we bought day-passes, studied the giant color-coded wall map, mispronounced many French names as we searched for the correct stop, and figured out how to get to the Louvre.  There were a couple of times throughout the day when we stopped at an information booth to ask for help.  My Geek had no qualms about walking up to them and saying, "We are ignorant Americans.  Can you help us find this?"  That approach apparently worked, because not one Parisian was rude to us.  We had heard so many horror stories about how Parisians will not speak English to Americans even if they can.  Our experience was quite different.  Almost everyone we spoke to was very nice to us.

We tried to get there a little earlier this time to beat the ridiculous line, but we there was already a line by the time we got there.  When they started letting people through, we noticed that it moved fairly quickly, so we decided to get in line anyway.  We really wanted to see the Louvre.

 While we were waiting, we noticed that a group of women who were directly in front of us in line were speaking English with American accents.  One of them, who introduced herself to us and told us she was from Michigan, offered to take our photo.  

 The wait wasn't too bad, and totally worth it.  The Louvre was amazing.  This is the inside of that famous glass pyramid, looking up from the main lobby area.

 Have I mentioned that the food in Europe was incredible?  I don't think you can get a bad sandwich there.  After viewing the Rembrandt exhibit, we stopped at the cafeteria and picked up a couple of sandwiches for lunch.  The bread is chewy, crusty, and flavorful.  Yum. 

 In case you didn't know (I didn't until we got there), the Louvre was originally a palace that was built on top of an old castle, which this is a model of.  You can still see some of the original castle walls as you walk through the basement, but it was so dark down there I couldn't get any good photos.

 Sphinx!  The Egyptian exhibit was huge!  We spent so much time there.  It was interesting to see so many artifacts, but we couldn't tell what much of it was since all the signs were in French. 

 I don't know for sure (since we couldn't read the French signs), but I think this was an actual wall taken from some ancient Egyptian structure.

 Those could not possibly have been comfortable.  Apparently Dr. Scholl wasn't around yet when these were made.

 The ceilings were gorgeous.  Every room was different, with their paintings, and ornate details everywhere.  Incredible. 

 More incredible ceiling art.  We took tons of photos of the ceilings.

 I loved this one with the figures carved around the sides and the bright light pouring through the skylight.  Beautiful.

 The Winged Victory of Samothrace took my breath away.  It was so incredibly beautiful.  I had seen photos of it, but it never really impressed me that much until I saw the real thing.

 It was also much taller than I thought it would be.  I had pictured it as something that would sit on a table top, but in reality it's probably about 10 feet tall.

The Mona Lisa was just the opposite – much smaller than I thought.  It was no larger than a portrait you might hang above your mantle.  There was glass in front of it, so my photo isn't very good, but it was amazing to see the original Mona Lisa just a few feet in front of our faces.

 The Geek told me to give him my best Mona Lisa smile.  Not sure it's very Mona Lisa-ish, but it's proof I was right there anyway.  :)

 See that crowd?  That is what we had to fight our way through to get to the Mona Lisa.  There is no line, just a massive crowd.  You slowly make your way forward (people there seem to have far less personal space issues than we Americans do, which was not always never pleasant) until you get to the front where there is one of those movie theater type rope barrier things.  After you are done admiring the piece, a guard unclips it and lets you out through the front because you would never be able to get back through that crowd.

 The Venus de Milo.  Also bigger than I thought, and very cool to see up close.

 The Geek posed for me in front of this lion statue.  Little kids kept running up to it trying to touch it and saying "Aslan!"  I hope they didn't think the White Witch had turned Aslan into stone.

The Greek and Roman section of the museum is huge just like the Egyptian section, but where the Egyptian area contained a lot of artifacts (jewelry, household items, etc.) the Greek/Roman part was mostly pottery and statues.  We saw many copies of statues of Diana in this exact pose.

These are only a small portion of all the photos we took and even less of all we saw, and we only saw a tiny fraction of what is there.  The Louvre is an amazing place.  I imagine you could go every day for a very long time and still see something new every time.

Later on this same day we visited Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe, but I'll save that for the next post. 

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At 10/14/2011 9:36 AM, Blogger MotherT wrote:

What marvelous pictures! I'm trying very hard not to be envious, but I am enjoying your posts about Europe.

I'm such a history buff, and you are scratching the itch nicely.

At 10/24/2011 5:46 PM, Anonymous HolyMama! wrote:

it's VERY mona lisa, that smile!


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