Monday, March 16, 2015

Le Louvre

Paris may be the city of love but it is also the city of museums. As our bike guide explained yesterday, when the initial purpose of a building becomes redundant, the Parisians turn it into a museum.

Because this trip only allows us time to have a 'tea towel' look at Paris, we chose the mother of all museums, The Louvre, for our only museum visit this time. A delayed onset tummy bug ( courtesy of our gorgeous twin grandsons at home) meant that we didn't need to linger over our breakfast this morning. Instead we opted for some hydrolyte and an early arrival at the Louvre. We were rewarded for this effort by being at the head of the line when the doors opened at 9am. We also beat the crowds to the 'must sees', the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and The Winged Victory of Samothrace.

I'm not an art buff AT ALL. In fact, I'll be totally honest and say I don't get the excitement about any of these works, except that they are very famous and I'm glad I've seen them in person. The Mona Lisa is much smaller than you imagine it will be and the statues are broken ;-) The Louvre itself though is AMAZING! It's like a city within a city and you could easily spend days there. It's like the Disneyland of the world's art treasures and just like Disney, you need plenty of hydration, a game plan for the bits you want to see and good walking shoes.

Because we only had one day, we each chose a favourite part of the museum and worked out a plan from there. Starting with the Mona Lisa gave us an opportunity to check out the Renaissance paintings, incredible in their size and detail. We spent ages looking at 'The Wedding Feast of Cana', discovering minute details in every corner and discussing the relationships between the different characters. Taine wanted to see the Greek Gods and this gallery led to a fascinating conversation about body shapes and image. I wanted to see Napoleon's Apartments and this part of the museum was definitely the highlight for me. How incredible to be able to see the grandeur of his dining room and the salon and the not so intimate bed chambers. The other highlight was the Medieval section of the Louvre, the remaining original structures of the moat and the dungeon from the time when the building was a fortress for Philip 11 back in the 12th century. The 12th C!! Australians of European heritage like us can only goggle in wonder at structures from that long ago. 

Until today, no shopping has occurred on this trip so we rectified that with a quick trip to the Galleries Lafayette, (for those who are playing at home, kind of a French version of Chadstone). It was worth the trip just to ogle the inside of the building, just another gorgeous Paris ceiling! We also checked out the food hall - a destination in itself. From Lafayette we popped back to the Champs Elysee's to pick up a 21st birthday present at the Paris Saint Germaine merchandise shop.

After a breather back at the hotel we did a bit more Metro hopping to visit the Eiffel after dark. This was well worth the trip. Watching the tower sparkling was a fitting end to another special day in this enchanting city.

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