Online musings of everyday life....

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Louvre and Eiffel Tower

(Inside the glass pyramide of the Louvre)
The next day we thought we would take in the Louvre Museum. In between breakfast and the museum we also thought we might get on one of those tour busses that take you all over the city and that advertise points of interest you can hop on and off the bus.
There was a tour bus kiosk right up the street by Madeleine that we went and stood by waiting for it to open. (We also did this the day before and it didn’t open when it said it was supposed to – 10:00 a.m. but to a Parisian maybe this meant 10:30 – 11:00 but they never showed) Again, we waited around by the kiosk and watched (in horror) a guy park his car by ramming into the car behind him until it moved back 3 feet and ramming into the car in front of him moving it up 3 feet until he could park his car. Now I know why the cars aren’t so nice here. Again, kiosk tour worker never showed and we took off for the Louvre.

Advice: Do not think that you can see everything in this Museum in one day! Also, just know that you will get lost even if you plan out your route.

Once at the Louvre we went into the Pyramid Entrance of the museum – which is the main entrance since it was built in 1989 by I M Pei. Once inside you see that the museum is divided into three wings (and, each wing has 3 floors if that tells you anything): The Sully, Richelieu and Denon Wings.

We decided to follow the crowd to the Denon Wing to see the Mona Lisa. Not a bad procession and the museum didn’t seem too crowded. We had a Paris Museum pass that allowed us to get into all the museums in Paris and it proved quite useful in skipping all the lines to get into these places.

The procession led us to through the grand gallery which had paintings the size of my house! It was breathtaking how large they were. There were hundreds of French oil paintings dated as far back as the 16th century. This gallery went on for miles it seemed.
We then came out into an open space that had the famous “Winged Victory of Samothrace”. It was enormous, of course.
(I always wondered about this - did the person who made this famous sculpture decide to just knock off work before making the head?)

By the time we reached the Mona Lisa we had seen so many beautiful and inspiring paintings and sculpture she seemed less inspiring to me. We were actually able to get closer than I imagined but still I just didn’t see what the fuss was about. I think my sister was inspired by her but I wasn’t.

After that, we got lost and in a big way. We ended up in the Sully Wing wandering around through Oriental, Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiques and sculpture. It was all very surreal.
(Ok, can we say "BC" here -the egyptian sculpture, not my sister)
Eventually, and I don’t know how – we ended up in the Richelieu Wing and by that time I was wanting to get out. And, the only way out of that museum is the same way in – through the glass pyramid. Where was that glass pyramid? We wandered by windows looking out onto Court Napoleon.

(Looking out on the plaza wanting out!)

I longingly wanted to be out there. I was tempted at one point to grab a bust, throw it through a window and escape.

Finally, we found the glass atrium and sat down for lunch in the little café’. We recharged our batteries but I wasn’t having any more that day. Just the small (or large to us) amount that we saw was very overwhelming.

(Later we bought a video of both the Louvre and Versailles and when we watched it we realized there were things that we missed and things that we unknowingly stumbled over that we saw – this was true at both places.)

That night we took a river boat tour on the Seine and had dinner on the second tier of the Eiffel Tower. Seeing the city lit up at night on both the boat and at and on the Eiffel was amazing. Here are some pics of this:

(Taken from the second tier of the Eiffel Tower)
Next up: Tour bus hell and the D'Orsay Museum


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