The new approach to the Louvre (that we would descend a level whenever we met with a stairway or other means of downward conveyance) helped us speed up quite a bit, but we had come to the hard realization
that we would not, in fact, be able to see two museums in one day. We weren’t even going to see all of one museum in a day. We were going to see, at best, a quark of a museum. Maybe two. Anyway, as we descended and kept heading southwest (we had started in the northeastern corner), we finally found our way into some interesting archaeological things, but, becoming strongly aware of time and exactly how tired we were (remember, we started out the trip being sick for several days), we did not linger too long, since we were both fairly sure we could close out the museum there.
So we moved on. And we’re glad we did.
After descending yet another staircase, we walked through an arch and discovered ourselves in one of the most impressive areas yet. It was a courtyard of sorts, but with a glass dome over the top, and it was filled with statues. Some were carved, some were cast, but all were remarkably interesting. Some were of remounted onto small walls, obviously having lived in another setting. Apparently nearly all of the pieces in this area had at one time lived outdoor lives, but had been moved in to help preserve them. MK, being the huge fan of carving and sculpting that she is, was perfectly in her element. Meanwhile, I got to experience the normal average person response by looking at most things and going “cool” and then being ready to move on (which in museums is, well, rare). I mean some of it was really cool and complicated and…I just don’t have what it takes to properly appreciate it, for which I am sorry.
I did, however, realize that the Louvre has windows (not a new realization, I could see them from the outside, but it was a new that I could see them from the inside) and discovered that, well, one could see the Eiffel Tower from the Louvre even better when you’re inside than when you’re standing on the cold pavers outside. So I started taking pictures out of windows, which was fun. And then I stumbled across Athena, who is basically beautiful, and of whom there were some lovely carvings. I was looking back through both MK and my pictures, and you can tell that we were standing side by side when we took them. Of course, there are probably thousands of pictures because thousands of people have walked through there and looked at that same exact carving, but, eh, who cares. It was pretty.
When we finally got down to the lower levels, we were able to walk through Napoleon’s apartments, which, after being vacated, had been moved into the Louvre. Supposedly they’re accurate. I’m just over here wondering if they reconstructed the rooms with the original artifacts, or if they just picked up the rooms and plugged them in to the building. The first is probably the most likely, but the second does add credence to my build-a-room-around-a-painting thought. Also, Napoleon had chairs three people could sit in at the same time so they could all carry conversations on with each other. Other than that, it was a lot of gold and shiny things, and a spiral staircase. Strangely, I was more enchanted with the spiral staircase. At least the carpet here doesn’t yell at you to get off of it, like it does in Hearst Castle.
After we finished that, we retreated to the bookstore, which is basically located in the center of everything, and then MK had a stunning revelation.
We had yet to see the Mona Lisa.
“I don’t wanna see the Mona Lisa,” I said. “It’s the most-copied piece of artwork in this place.”
“But we can see it in detail!”
“Pull it up on your phone or computer. It’s probably the most scanned piece of artwork in here, too.”
“Come on, don’t you want to say you’ve seen the Mona Lisa?”
“I have, in pretty much every textbook that even thinks about mentioning the Renaissance.”
“But not in person!”
“Everyone is going to be trying to see it. This place closes in like twenty minutes!”
And we went round, and round, and round, and round. Until MK finally broke down and told me a story, which went something along the lines of the fact that her family had once been traveling, and some male relative had the chance to see the Mona Lisa, and basically walked by, didn’t even realize it was there, and got teased mercilessly, and she was not going to let that be her and Lisa’s experience. I, being the helpful human I am, pointed out we had never even gone into that wing, so there was absolutely no chance she could have just walked by, and that if she was really concerned, she should fib about it. But she insisted on seeing it anyway, so off we went again.
When we finally got to That Room, it was full. You can see the Mona Lisa, carefully protected high above everyone’s head, and of a postage stamp size (this is how you know I, Wren, have seen the Mona Lisa). I mentioned all of this, and hoped that would be good enough. Unfortunately it wasn’t, because I’m tall, which allows me to see over people, and MK is, well, not tall at all. I refused to be dragged into That Room, so she went off on her own to try and get a picture, and I loitered around waiting. She eventually returned.
“You’re right,” she said. “It’s basically the size of a postage stamp. Let’s go find some food somewhere.”
And that concluded our (free) day at the Louvre.