With 1 pm Louvre reservations I scrambled to locate a taxi as it took 4 hours from plane to hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel the manager offered an upgrade and I grabbed it. In the hotel lobby fellow tourists briefed me on the strike and the need for Uber as a back up.
After 45 minutes of Uber AP installation challenges it was installed. Wondering if a 17 euro visit to the Louvre was worth a 35 euro cab ride I went. At this point I knew this would be my last visit to France.
On my visit 10 plus years ago students were boycotting and my bus was caught in the cross fires. The students lay in the roundabout and valuable Mount St. Michel was lost waiting for the police to pull them out. Do I attract these things or what? Well, on to the Louvre.
The Uber driver came promptly, was courteous, and thankfully spoke good English. A friendly Frenchie, what a joy.
The area surrounding the Louvre was a delight as was the famous triangle. While I never like the I Pei triangle appreciation for the structure was achieved when viewing its impact on the lobby as it provides depth and light.
Once inside the museum I found the Information Desk unmanned and some exhibit halls limited due to the strike. The guard at the escalator gave me directions on the most expedient way to tour.
The Louvre dates back to the 1200’s and was a royal residence. Once the Palace of Versailles was completed in 1634 the royals moved to that Palace as their residence. That said, the architecture of each room along with its walls, windows, and floorings are as beautiful as the works of art displayed.
There are 3 wings with each wing having 3 levels, 0, 1, 2. These are named after prominent figures from French history: Richelieu, Sully, and Denon.
The Richelieu Wing – in this wing European sculptures, Near Eastern Antiquities, French and Northern European Paintings, and European Decorative arts are displayed.
These two pictures are an interesting combination. The first is a self portrait of the painter and the second is the artists portrayal of The Consecration of Napoleon and Josephine which combine politics and royalty. It is a massive painting with much depth, color, and emotion.
The Sully Wing – Greek, Egyptian, and Roman Antiquities, French paintings, and European Decorative Arts, prints and drawings are displayed here.
The Venus de Milo
The Denon Wing displays Eastern, Egyptian, and Islamic art as well as Greek and Roman Antiquities, and European sculptures.
The Mona Lisa is a guarded painting with a line to view. This is partially due to its inability to be insured as it is priceless. Smaller than one would imagine it remains the prime interest to those visiting the museum.
The painting is of Madam Lisa Giocondo, the wife of a wealthy silk merchant. Leonardo da Vinci, the painter, never completed the painting as it lacks a lower landscape. Multiple layers of oil were used to produce the shadow effect. This created her smile.
Upon completion of your visit take time to visit the retail area.
At this shop you can create your personal fragrance.
Outside the Louvre is the Carousel and Tuileries Gardens. In the spring and summer these gardens are an extraordinary place to visit. There also is an open air sculpture museum in this area and the Christmas markets are held here. The Gardens are free.
Across the Seine is the Musee Eugene-Delacroix where one can visit the painters apartment, studio and garden. Admission is included with Louvre ticket.
Other Louvre treasures…
And a find, American Thomas Cole, from the Hudson River School of Painters.
Stay tuned.. Moulin Rouge is next.