We spent Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday morning in Paris this week. Our friends Mary & Gilles have graciously allowed us to stay at their apartment in Paris whenever we want, and I can tell you that it’s quite nice to be able to go in, stay a night or two and know that we don’t have do everything on our list of things we want to do; we can do them next trip.
Wednesday night we went to the Louvre, as it’s open Wednesday and Fridays until 9:30 and we hoped that the hordes of tourists might have thinned out later in the evening. We went specifically to see the new Islamic Art exhibit, as we have seen lots of Islamic art in southern Spain over the years and like it a lot. There weren’t many people in that exhibit, so it was nice and quiet.
I won’t be be able to say anything new about the Louvre. To say it’s huge understates its size; “hugely-immensely-monstrously-amazingly-humongous” touches on it. Here is one hall that contains a part of the Louvre’s Italian painting display:
And, of course, I have to show my standard, every-visit picture of people taking pictures of the Mona Lisa (which, in French, is called La Joconda, the French spelling for La Gioconda, its Italian name). I read one Internet discussion about the Mona Lisa that had this typical phrase in it: “…people stand there for a long time contemplating its beauty.” No, they don’t. People come in, pull out their cameras or cellphones, take a picture of the painting, and leave. I have never seen one person contemplating the painting. Do you seen anyone here contemplating the Mona Lisa?
For me, there are hundreds of paintings in the Louvre that I’d rather see. I am definitely underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa.
We left about 9 p.m. Here’s the very tired crowd outside the pyramid. It was a hot day and I suspect many of these people had sensory overload – the Louvre is crowded and noisy.
And please! what is it with people taking young kids there? There is nothing in this entire museum that a six- or eight- or ten-year old kid is going to enjoy. We saw lots of tired, cranky kids being dragged around by tired parents at 8 o’clock at night. Crazy.
More on our Paris days to follow…