Day 4 – Wednesday – The Louvre
Today was the Louvre. This was the only thing we pre-planned and bought tickets for, and so it was the only thing we had to make sure we set an alarm for. We had a hearty breakfast, navigated the metro, and got to the Louvre pyramid early. It was not very crowded, and we did not have to wait in line at all. Like everyone, we headed straight to the Winged Victory and Mona Lisa (La Jaconda). I really expected I would be disappointed by them, but I wasn’t. The crowds were too big to fully appreciate them, but they are lovely works of art. I’ve seen so many bad, comical, and ironic versions of Mona Lisa that it was refreshing to see the original by Leonardo. People say it is small, which is true compared to the massive paintings all around, but it is appropriate for a portrait. She really is beautiful, and I can see why people have loved her for centuries. The Louvre is a wonderful museum, and we spent much of our time in the Italian Renaissance. After we had sensory overload from beautiful (and some lesser) paintings, we made our way to the antiquities section. Somehow in my life I always wind up in Egypt and Babylon. It was fun seeing things from the palaces of Sargon II and Darius I, whom I read about in seminary. A highlight was the unrolled scroll of the Book of the Dead, but all in all, I think I enjoyed the Cluny Museum most. Nothing equals the unicorn tapestries and the Limoges enamels (blue). We were completely exhausted after several hours in the Louvre navigate all of the stairs, and so after a rest we went out for a fabulous dinner at a bistro near the hotel. We started with escargot. Yes, I can check that off the list. I like mollusks. Julie had duck and I had beef with the best au poivre.