Today started relatively later, around 10 AM. We took the Metro to the Louvre Museum. Thanks to our tour guide from Saturday, we knew that there was another entrance to the museum in the metro station and basically bypassed the huge lines outside.
Once inside, it was a mad dash to see the world’s most famous – and most overrated – painting, the Mona Lisa. It was my second time seeing it in my life, and I was still not impressed. The painting is tiny and not any more impressive than the millions of reprints I’d seen through the years. Still we got some pics for kicks and proceeded to spend the rest of our stay at the Louvre at a much more leisurely pace.
The first exhibit we walked into was the ancient Egypt exhibit. To give you an idea of what it was like – think of all the Egyptian exhibits you’ve seen at different natural history museums, and combine them altogether. It still won’t come close to matching the sheer number of artifacts at the Louvre exhibit.
It was mind-boggling. Tombs, tools, carvings, even parts of temples – from all periods of the ancient Egyptian civilization spanned an entire wing. It was cool seeing how different even one civilization becomes through the ages. Great example: Egyptian sarcophagi (coffins) were originally decorated wooden boxes and didn’t become the elaborate human-likeness stone carvings we’re used to seeing until much later.
After the Egyptian exhibit, we took a quick lunch break and headed to our next exhibit, the French paintings. I’d forgot to mention up to this point that I’d rented a really cool audioguide, a Nintendo 3DS (!), that had interactive maps and knew which rooms you were in so it could automatically introduce the room and paintings. It was really helpful during my visit and I got a kick hearing the DS sounds whenever I selected an option.
The French exhibit was equally impressive, spanning many centuries and including a lot of paintings from one of my favorite art periods, the Romantic Period. I think the best representation from my visit today was the painting titled Animals Resting around a Large Oak Tree by Jacques-Raymond Brascassat. The oak tree was at the center of the painting with much smaller people/animals around it, showing how the shift to Romanticism meant a shift from people to nature in paintings.
We walked around some more and visited the medieval Louvre exhibit (actual stones used for the castle), Greek sculpture exhibit (Aphrodite and Winged Victory), Renaissance paintings exhibit (more Da Vinci and friends), and decorative arts exhibit (statues from Louis XIV’s own backyard).
We kicked our food snobbery into overdrive after the Louvre by hitting up the trifecta of crepes (Nutella), macarons (the best ones I’d ever tasted), and authentic French bistro food (the best duck confit I’d ever tasted plus some really good wine). I’d haven’t had food THIS delicious in a long time. The bonus was that our restaurant was tucked away in a quaint alleyway, away from a lot of the tourists and surrounded by small streets and classic-looking French apartments. We’re living the life.
Tomorrow is looking to be a chill day, and we’ll finally be visiting the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe!
Read about my other days spent in Paris and London!
Steps taken: 20,547 | Miles walked: 6.81
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