Monday, May 31, 2010

Lost in the Louvre

After a most pleasant loooong walk along the city's most-est, mentioned by hubby in the previous post, we reached the Louvre Museum. Contrary to what we thought, it was open on Mondays. Closed on Tuesdays.

Except for Nikki and Noemi, who did some errands, the five of us quickly decided to get tickets and spend the rest of the afternoon inside it till closing time.

The main entrance to the museum is through the large glass and metal pyramid. Below is an underground lobby where you can buy entrance tickets at 9.50 euros each for a full day.

From the underground lobby, you take an escalator going up to any of the three wings of the Louvre: Sully, Richeliu and Denon.The signs are big, you won't miss them.

Because the Louvre is enormous with thousands of works of art--according to its website, 35,000 in all plus 380,000 objects--we agreed that the first thing we wanted to see was the Mona Lisa. It was impossible to see everything in three hours anyway. Not even in a day.

I looked up the lobby and vaguely remembered the sign Richeliu from my first visit with Gino. "Let's go there," I said. I wasn't sure about it, but I thought it sounded, uh, very French. Besides, any entrance would take us to the same places. Correct. But with the size of the Louvre, that could mean a big difference in time.

Here's a piece of advice: If you plan to visit the Louvre, read up prior to going there. Or check out Rick Steve's website for tips. Inside the Louvre, you can easily get lost in wonder. Or simply get lost and wander!

After walking for some time through halls and alleys and admiring great collections, we stopped to check where we were.

"We're on the other side," April said. The Mona Lisa was in Denon, the opposite wing.

Bob and I were getting tired. We had been walking since morning and wanted to take a break. "You can go ahead," we told the younger ones as we looked for a place to sit down. I changed into my slippers too.

I found a bench to rest my tired legs while
reviewing the map.

Although we were getting impatient to get to the Mona Lisa, we were amazed by many interesting murals, artifacts and works of famous artists, several of whom were familiar to my artist husband. He explained artsy things to me, I thought it was better than renting an audio guide that would overload me with information. We kept appreciating the genius that created those works centuries ago.

Finally, we found the Mona Lisa after asking a uniformed museum staff. Tip: If you want to see the Mona Lisa, go to the wing called Denon.

When we finally found this famous painting with the famous smile, we could only frown. Both our cameras had run out of batteries. Along with a crowd of people taking pictures of this glass-encased painting (flash not allowed), we simply spent a few minutes in front of the painting. I was sure Warren or Michelle would be taking its pictures.

The Mona Lisa painting was smaller than I thought
and cordoned off. Certain people were probably given
special privilege to go closer. (Photo above, and a few
others here, were taken by Michelle).

A tour of the Louvre will not only make you tired. It will make you hungry. Bob and I decided to eat at one the museum's cafes and bought a large baguette with ham and cheese. Famished, he took a big bite. "Sobrang kunat! (What a tough bread!)." We ended up taking mini-bites which meant our hunger took a long time to be satisfied. I suggest you bring your own snacks. Bring bottled water too. Then take a break outside by the fountains or in the lobby.

Recharged, we were ready to go back inside, this time to see Venus de Milo. Bob wasn't that enthusiastic, but, hey, when else would he have the chance to see this famous sculpture? I checked the map and led the way to Sully.

Wrong again. It took me a while to figure out where we were. I was normally good with maps but not with the Louvre one. The numbers confused me. But with each mistake, I began to understand the map's logic.

So Venus de Milo is also in Denon! And it was not very far from the Mona Lisa. We could have seen it earlier.

Finally, we entered this hall with several sculptures arranged in a row on each side. Denon, I thought. As soon as I saw a sculpture with missing limbs, I excitedly pointed out to hubby, "There it is! Venus the Milo!"

Bob turned around. "That's a guy!" he exclaimed and chuckled.

"Bakit babae ba yun? (Why, is it female?)" Why would I ask a stupid question like that? Of course I knew Venus was the Roman goddess of love and beauty, not a drag queen. But this boo-boo will go in our book of blunders--Nikki says blonde moments--perhaps to be recalled for a long time...

This is VENUS!

It seems the Louvre did not only make me tired, sweaty and disoriented. Somewhat dumb too. Effect of too many naked or partially clothed statues with missing limbs and other parts?

Male or female? Another famous sculpture, Nike.

I think I saw more of the Louvre just by getting lost inside it. I ended up in halls I did not see the first time. I'm sure there's still more to see and appreciate. For next time.

We went out of the museum exhausted and visually satiated. Bob and I were was so so ready to go home. Warren, April and Michelle were tired too but still had energy to do jumping stunts for the camera. Young people.

For those of you who will take a self-guided tour of the Louvre, sans an audio guide, and you want to see the Mona Lisa or Venus de Milo, go to Denon wing.

Remember, de name is Denon.

Previous, ...and Paris by day

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