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Musee du Louvre: Is it about the Art or the Crowds?

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This morning, we went to the Louvre…somewhere I’ve always wanted to go…to see the World’s largest collection of art.   We arrived 30 minutes early,…skipped the lines with our pre-purchased Museum Pass…made our way inside the glass pyramids….ready to see historic treasures of art.   But before we could decide where to start, it happened.  Within minutes, MASSIVE swarms of tour groups of all nationalities, families from all over the world, couples of all ages, shapes and sizes began to spill down the escalators and fill the corridors like an invasion of insects.  I’m sure there is some time lapsed video available on line that represents this.  It happens so quickly.  Within minutes we were surrounded.  Little old grannies from Japan raised up their ipads to photograph any and every object hanging on the wall…whether it be a sign for the toilette, and exit sign…or a work of art…they don’t care…it MUST be photo documented for posterity.   And then there are the youngsters of all Nations who are required to take a selfie in front of every work of art.  And god forbid you approach a famous work of art….it is mass histeria…a recreation of the French Revolution itself!  You can’t see the work of art…you just see a sea of raised arms holding iphones and cameras…taking a picture.

We lasted about 90 minutes….but honestly, it was all we could tolerate.  The Louvre is just too big and too crowded.  The Art is almost obsolete when there are so many people surrounding it.  You can’t appreciate the details of a painting when a gaggle of grannies from Tokyo knock you out of the way to take a group shot.  It was too much for us!  But we did see some of the famous stuff….we did appreciate what we saw…and in the end…all 3 of us can see that we’ve been to the Louvre and that yes, we have seen the Mona Lisa (from about 30 feet away).

The Mona Lisa…what can I say?  I really can’t.  Just take a look at this picture.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

I think for me, the Louvre (the building) itself was more interesting than anything.  It was, after all, the King’s palace before the French Revolution…and afterwards as well.  It’s super opulent, as is everything in Paris.  I found myself photographing the building more than anything else.

But truth be told, we did get to see some of the more famous works of art (Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa, etc)…and we went into Napoleon the 3rd’s “Apartments” which were done in the 1860’s in the high Second Empire (super tacky) Style.

Venus de Milo

The Winged Victory

Napoleon III’s apartments

We were already inside the museum when I took this shot…look at the line of people waiting to get in….

Up next…Josette and Lena went to the “Fair Rides” beside the Touilleire Gardens, and I took a walk down to the Pont Alexandre III to take photos.   Apparently, Lena had the time of her life and rode 4 “big girl” rides.  She is 100% ready for Disneyland on Thursday.   And I enjoyed a quiet walk down to the bridge with great views of the Eiffel Tower.

Next up was a visit to the Palais Garnier…the Paris Opera House (the setting for amongst other things, The Phantom of the Opera).   We expected opulence (it is Paris, after all) but this place was over the top…oozing with gold leaf and gilding and bling from one corner the other.  Beautiful, but in a beautiful-on-steroids kind of way.

And to end the day, we went to the famous Galeries Lafayette department store, right behind the Opera House.  It was built in the early 1900’s and has a HUGE round, stained glass dome over the main shopping area, which is in the round as well.  We did not do any retail damage here (the Euro is too strong against the US dollar) but we did window shop, and we rested our feet and had a nice cappuccino and a few pastries from the fancy eatery on the top floor.  Nice way to end another day in Paris.

View out of the top store windows looking up at Montmartre..and Sacre Coeur…from one of my earlier posts.
Lena with a life sized Calico Critters

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