Friday, April 10, 2015

France: The Louvre and Opera House

The Louvre Museum is massive. The rooms are big, the halls are LONG, the ceilings are TALL, the stairs are many and the art is EVERYWHERE. But it's not the sheer size of the place that hurt my poor feet. The biggest problem was just how gobsmackingly beautiful everything was and how much there was to look at. 

I knew going in that the Louvre was too big to see in a day. Christelle even told me to have a plan. So, my plan included the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and sculptures (my favorite type of art). Saying "sculptures" in the Louvre doesn't narrow it down enough. There are Italian sculptures and Greek sculptures and Egyptian and on and on. But not only that, just trying to get to the start of one's plan is difficult. Let's say, for example, that you are trying to get to the Mona Lisa. You might find yourself in a room where this is the ceiling (And how the hell are you supposed to just blow by it to get to your "plan", which I'm sure is good, but is it as good as what's on the damned ceiling? Let alone all the other art on the walls that you're trying to ignore.)

So, now that you have an idea of just how distracted you'll get by every square inch of the place, here is my advice. At the Louvre, you can spend 5 Euro for an audio guide. DO IT. It is not JUST an audio guide but it is also an interactive map on a Nintendo DS. I suggest you get this, sit in a cafe or food court and explore for an hour. Just play around with the DS. Get to know the layout of the Louvre on the interactive map, where the art is, which art you might like to see. Save your poor feet having to walk through each room. This guide is easy enough to use and has features like the standard audio commentary, but also 3D views of major art or HD views. It's worth playing around with and isn't at all a waste of time to sit there with the DS rather than walking around. Your feet with thank me. 

I eventually did see the Mona Lisa, which is smaller than you'd think, but I'd heard that a lot so it was larger than I thought it would be. I also saw the Venus de Milo. I was lucky on both accounts because the crowds were relatively reasonable. I was able to get in there for a good look and a picture or two, but I'm not super into art because others say I should be, so I basically snapped some shots and said, "ok. next." 


How excited do I look?
Having hit the major sights, we wandered around the Greek and Roman sculptures for a a while. At some point, we pulled ourselves away to have quiche lorraine and apple tarts (both BRILLIANT). And then went back to the sculptures and, for a change, some Italian paintings. Here are some of my favorties. I won't pretend to know who created them or what they represent but if you're interested, let me know, I did take pictures of that information.

The detail of feet and hands in sculptures always impresses me 

Michelangelo's Captif (or Slaves). This one is dead tired.

Apollo and I taking selfies

Oh and some paintings too.

After all this wonderful art, my feet HAD ENOUGH. Luckily, there was a garden right outside the Louvre. In this garden, I saw at least three fountains the size of small lakes, a few cafés (which meant coffee and crĕpes), more sculptures and beautiful grassy/flowery areas.

Then we walked to the Paris Opera House for our final sight to see for the day. Here are a few pictures I took along the way (and photos of the Opera House itself).

Recognize this from the end of The Devil Wears Prada?

It was another gorgeous Parisian day. Loved every minute of it.

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